Tag Archives: Conscience

Moral Patterns and Moral Decisions

All human beings were created in the image of the Divine Creator and as such got implanted in them brains which could think or reason. After getting to know good and evil, each one of us has the instinct for knowing the difference and having the choice to choose between good and evil.

Too many christians do think because they are saved they do not have to obey the commandments of God. They are so wrong and deceiving themselves. Still today they have to base their moral reasoning on obeying rules (deontology), on producing good results (utilitarianism), on imagining what a good person would do (ideal observer theory) we daily having to recognize the often heartbreaking difficulty of moral choice, letting us engage both logic and feeling.

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To remember

  • we always want things to be simple =/= just intellectual laziness => Our minds automatically prefer things that are simple + symmetrical
  • 20th century, Gestalt psychology explored how we find patterns in information > Pattern-finding = one reason our memories are often unreliable.
  • moral decision =/= always simple >requires more than just logic => also requires feeling, imagination, + courage.
  • God gave us both intelligence + conscience. => giving us questions => expecting us to figure out the answers

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Additional reading

  1. Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

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Related

  1. God is the greatest question
  2. Utilitarianism Discuss the ideologies associated with utilitarianism and deontological ethics concerning human behavior and the ethical or unethical decisions and/or actions of those working in law enforcement
  3. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism (Religion and Ethics 2b) Which two thinkers do you need to know about for the exam? What kind of theory is Utilitarianism? What is meant by the term Principle of Utility?
  4. Is Utilitarianism a thing?
  5. Utilitarianism against Utility
  6. Utilitarianism: John Stuart Mill
  7. An Argument for Utilitarianism: Omelas
  8. Discussion on Bentham’s and J. S. Mill’s Doctrines of Utilitarianism (university paper / philosophy)
  9. The Dangers of Utilitarianism in “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  10. How to be happy-according to Jeremy Bentham
  11. Why I became a utilitarian
  12. A Letter to Utilitarianism

The Thousand-Year View

Gestalt-PatternsMy new blog post for The Jerusalem Post:

Some things in life are simple. Some aren’t. In fact, a lot of them aren’t.

That’s a problem, because we always want things to be simple. And if they aren’t, then we still try to see them as being that way.

It’s not just intellectual laziness. Our minds automatically prefer things that are simple and symmetrical, whether they are political ideas, scientific theories, melodies, or geometrical shapes.

In the 20th century, Gestalt psychology explored how we find patterns in information, even if the patterns aren’t really there. Pattern-finding is one reason that our memories are often unreliable. If a past event didn’t make sense to us, then when we remember it, we unconsciously impose a pattern so that it makes sense in retrospect.

Moral situations are often too complex to fit into simple patterns or be solved by simple moral principles. Consider…

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Essai écriture : migraine

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Senator Loren Legarda says climate change not impossible to address

Senator Loren Legarda from the Philipines,  a panelist speaker at the Summit of the Consciences for the Climate in Paris, said that everyone, especially leaders, should reflect on how they have contributed to the deterioration of our environment and what they can and must do to protect the planet.

“Water and food insecurity, deteriorating health impacts, loss of biodiversity and culture, greater poverty and greater political instability and conflict–these are the issues we face with global warming. Moreover, climate change is every inch a woman’s issue, thus, inaction leads to gender inequality,”

she stressed.

In signing the Call to Conscience, the Senator further said,

“While climate change is a complex challenge, it is not impossible to address. The solution can be found in each one of us. We need to reflect on what we have been doing that contributes to the warming of the climate and what we have not done to reverse this dangerous trend.”

Legarda said she will also launch a Summit of the Consciences for the Climate in the Philippines, noting the importance of such gathering. She cited the statement of Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, in initiating the Summit of the Consciences in Paris.

“I see the Summit of Consciences as a moment of pause and collective thinking ahead of the climate conference in December 2015. We are going through a crisis of civilization that does not speak its name. If we meet the challenges before us only by technological tools, legal or economic, we will only displace the problem. We need a spiritual and philosophical inquiry into the causes of the impasse in which we find ourselves,”

said Hulot.

The Senator also agreed with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, who said, “It is time to stand up for the responsibility that we all share as human beings. What binds us all is our moral responsibility. We have been preparing for Paris for five years but time has run out. What we have done is to increase emissions and reduce the Earth’s capacity to absorb emissions. At the end of the century, we must reestablish the balance of the Earth’s ecology in order to survive.”

Legarda said that the Paris Summit is an important prelude to COP 21,

“Before we even talk about what nations must do to save the world from the threats of climate change and agree on a universal climate deal on greenhouse gas emissions, each of us should have a personal reflection on what we can do to contribute to protecting the planet.”

“We all need to embrace meaningful change–change in the way we think, change in the way we live, and change in the way we pursue the development and the future we long for–for all of humanity,”

Legarda concluded.

English: Climate zones of the world

Climate zones of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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2015 Summit of Consciences for the Climate

Only one day for a conference of an important matter. the world has to consider it is very important to think about our environment and global warming.

His Holiness Batolomew I ecumenical patriarch ...

His Holiness Batolomew I ecumenical patriarch of Costantinople Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Religious leaders from all the world’s main faiths came together with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson and Rabbi David Rosen, international director of Inter Religious Affairs “of the American Jewish Committee to participate in the “Summit of Consciences for the Climate” organised by President François Hollande, which took place today in Paris in a run-up to the COP 21 UN conference on climate change, which will be held in Paris next December.

“The meaning of this meeting is to assemble all of the consciences,”

explained Hollande.

“The word ‘conscience’ impacts every one of us. It’s up to every individual to see what he or she can do to save the planet. There are philosophies, there are convictions, there are global diversities that should at a certain point unite, and unite to make decisions.”

At a meeting of mayors in the Vatican, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said there was a clear need to respect the planet, but also human life – which is an area where mayors are very much involved.

All are aiming to strike a deal to limit global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. Researchers warn a rise of 4 degrees could lead to substantial species extinction, global food insecurity and fundamental changes to human life.

It is only a mobilization of conscience on a global scale that will enable humanity to meet this great challenge confronting us: how to limit global warming by taking real action, including reducing our consumption of fossil fuels.

Time is short. This is not only a political economic or ecological issue. It is the future of humanity that is at stake.

Each of us is called to respond now to the questions: is it important to me that the adventure of mankind on Earth can continue? Am I ready to change my lifestyle today so that the children of our children come into this world in tolerable conditions? And why, ultimately, do I care enough to do so?

In the preamble to the COP 21 Climate Conference, in Paris, the Summit of Conscience launched the “Why do I care?” campaign, an invitation to everyone – leaders, personalities and citizens of all countries of the world and of all faiths – to respond to this question, based on their own conscience and their own story.

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Summit of Conscience

Why do I care: Participants

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Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

In the previous articles we have spoken about the world clinching to material wealth like velcrostrips hoping to have all luck in the world.

The materialistic desires have conquered the world. Those who know were they come from and Who they should honour do know they should not give their love to material things.

15 Do not love either the world or the things in the world.+ If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him;+ 16 because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh+ and the desire of the eyes+ and the showy display of one’s means of life*—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. (1 John 2:15, 16)

In the articles we also could see how many love to be moulded by this system of things. (Romans 12:2) The worldly desires have run high in our society, but at other times people also fell for those distractions and attractions.

It Conquered the World

It Conquered the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The love of money or the desire to amass riches and possess material things can corrupt the heart, leading a Christian to do things that go against God’s will. A few have become dishonest at work, have cheated others, or have even stolen money or objects that do not belong to them.

Lots of people do have many things of which they want to boast of is this. Lots of people also do think man is full of wisdom and that they have ‘most’ wisdom’. They do not want to look into their conscience which might bear witness. They are full of fleshly wisdom.

Material pursuits may bring on anxiety. For example, some complicate their lives by living beyond their means. Others have been enticed by get-rich-quick schemes and risky financial investments. For others, secular education as a means to attain financial success becomes a snare. The Bible warns: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.”

However, those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation+ and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires,+ which plunge men into destruction and ruin.+ 10 For the love+ of money is a root+ of all sorts of injurious things,*+ and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.+ (1 Timothy 6:9, 10).

Essential to not being drawn into a materialistic way of life is cultivating the ability to distinguish between right and wrong when making decisions. This ability is developed by regularly partaking of ‘solid spiritual food belonging to mature people’ and by ‘having our perceptive powers trained through use.’ (Hebrews 5:13, 14) Making sure “of the more important things” when setting priorities will also safeguard us from making wrong choices.

And this is what I continue praying, that YOUR love may abound+ yet more and more with accurate knowledge*+ and full discernment;*+ 10 that YOU may make sure of the more important things,+ so that YOU may be flawless+ and not be stumbling+ others up to the day of Christ, 11 and may be filled with righteous fruit,+ which is through Jesus Christ, to God’s glory and praise.+ (Philippians 1:9,10,11).

A materialistic life-style can blind us, leaving little or no time for spiritual pursuits.
How can we examine ourselves and avoid being ensnared by such a life-style?
We need to consider prayerfully how and to what extent we can simplify our life. King Solomon of ancient Israel said:

“Sweet is the sleep of the one serving, regardless of whether it is little or much that he eats; but the plenty belonging to the rich one is not permitting him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12)

Does taking care of unnecessary material possessions consume a lot of our time and energy? The more we own, the more we have to maintain, insure, and protect.
Could it be to our advantage to simplify our life by freeing ourselves of certain belongings?

Lennon (right) performing "All You Need I...

Lennon (right) performing “All You Need Is Love” with The Beatles in 1967 to 400 million viewers of “Our World”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We think life can much be easier when not loving the material things and not focusing on the world and its worldly life.

On the other hand, by cultivating a healthy fear of displeasing Jehovah, loving justice, and being determined to hold a good conscience, we show that we love “purity of heart.” That love moves us to continue to “conduct ourselves honestly in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18)

18 Carry on prayer+ for us, for we trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.+ 19 But I exhort YOU more especially to do this, that I may be restored to YOU the sooner.+ (Hebrews 13:18

When we act uprightly, honesty can result in a fine witness.

Emilio, an Italian Witness who works as a driver for a public transport company, found a wallet containing 470 euros ($680, U.S.). To the surprise of his colleagues, he handed the wallet to his supervisor, who later gave the wallet to the person who had lost it. Some of Emilio’s colleagues were so impressed by his conduct that they became interested in the Bible and started to study. As a result, seven people from two families have accepted the truth. Yes, behaving honestly from a pure heart really can move others to praise God.Titus 2:10.

Materialism may not seem to be an issue of loyalty, but it is. Do we trust in Jehovah’s promise to provide what we really need?

33 “Keep on, then, seeking* first the kingdom and his righteousness,+ and all these [other] things will be added to YOU.+ 34 So, never be anxious about the next day,+ for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.  (Matthew 6:33-34)

Let [YOUR] manner of life be free of the love of money,+ while YOU are content+ with the present things.+ For he has said: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”+ (Hebrews 13:5)

Rather than striving to obtain at any cost some of the “better” things in life that are presently beyond our reach, can we do without them? (Read Philippians 4:11-13.) Are we tempted to forgo theocratic privileges in order to get what we want now? Does loyal service to Jehovah have first place in our life? Our answers will largely depend on whether we are wholehearted in our service to God or not.

“It is a means of great gain,”

wrote the apostle Paul,

“this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency. For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”—1 Timothy 6:6-8.

In a revelation to the apostle John toward the close of the first century, the glorified Jesus Christ delivered a message to the congregation located in Laodicea, Asia Minor. It was a warning message against materialism. Though materially rich, Laodicean Christians were bankrupt spiritually. Instead of continuing to walk by faith, they allowed material possessions to blind their spiritual vision. (Revelation 3:14-18) Materialism has a similar effect today. It weakens our faith and causes us to stop ‘running with endurance the race’ for life. (Hebrews 12:1) If we are not careful, the “pleasures of this life” can smother spiritual activities to the point that they are “completely choked.”

14 As for that which fell among the thorns, these are the ones that have heard, but, by being carried away by anxieties and riches and pleasures+ of this life, they are completely choked and bring nothing to perfection.+ (Luke 8:14).

Time ran out for the world of Noah’s day, and it will run out for the present system of things. The apostle Peter assures us:

“Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.”

Neither the symbolic heavens — wicked governments — nor the symbolic earth — mankind alienated from God — will survive the heat of God’s burning anger. Indicating how we can prove ourselves ready for that day, Peter exclaims:

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!”—2 Peter 3:10-12.

A key to spiritual protection is contentment rather than the use of this world to the full and the enrichment of ourselves materially. (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Timothy 6:6-8) We as such do not have to look so much at the world of mankind or the kingdom of mankind but at the world of the Kingdom of God. When we walk by faith and not by sight, we find joy in the present spiritual paradise. As we partake of nourishing spiritual food, are we not moved to “cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart”? (Isaiah 65:13, 14) Moreover, we take delight in our association with those who manifest the fruitage of God’s spirit.

22 On the other hand, the fruitage+ of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness,+ faith, 23 mildness, self-control.+ Against such things there is no law.+ 24 Moreover, those who belong to Christ Jesus impaled* the flesh together with its passions and desires.+ (Galatians 5:22, 23)

How vital that we find satisfaction and refreshment in what Jehovah provides in a spiritual way!

Some questions we do well to ask ourselves are:

‘What place do material things occupy in my life? Am I using the material possessions I have to live a life of pleasure or to promote true worship? What brings me the greatest satisfaction? Is it Bible study and fellowship at Christian meetings, or is it weekends away from Christian responsibilities? Do I reserve many weekends for recreation instead of using such time for the field ministry and other activities in connection with pure worship?’

Our regularly attending Christian meetings and sharing in preaching the good news are included among the necessary acts and deeds of godly devotion. May we perform them with heartfelt devotion to God while we wait patiently for Jehovah’s great day. Let us “do [our] utmost to be found finally by [God] spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Peter 3:14.

Walking by faith means that we keep busy in the Kingdom work, with full trust in Jehovah’s promises.

58 Consequently, my beloved brothers, become steadfast,+ unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord,+ knowing that YOUR labor is not in vain*+ in connection with [the] Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58).

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Preceding articles:

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

For The Love of Stuff

Learning that stuff is just stuff

Watch out

Thought of the day: We want more, i want more, but why is that?

Mini-MAX-malism: A Bigger Approach to Less is More

Less… is still enough

Less for more

The Art of Doing Less – Your Time is Finite

Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft

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Additional reading:

  1. What is life?
  2. Greed more common than generosity
  3. Some one or something to fear #2 Attitude and Reactions
  4. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  5. Some one or something to fear #4 Families and Competition
  6. Struggles of life
  7. It continues to be a never ending, exhausting battle for survival.
  8. Searching for fulfillment and meaning through own efforts, facing unsatisfaction and depression
  9. Daily portion of heavenly food
  10. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late!
  11. How should we react against the world
  12. A call easy to understand
  13. Followers with deepening
  14. Come ye yourselves apart … and rest awhile (Mark 6:31)
  15. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  16. Looking forward to God’s faithfulness
  17. Count your blessings
  18. God should be your hope
  19. Always set a place in your life for the unexpected guest
  20. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  21. Be a ready giver
  22. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  23. Bearing fruit
  24. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  25. What’s church for, anyway?
  26. Making church
  27. Meeting – Vergadering
  28. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  29. Gathering or meeting of believers
  30. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood
  31. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  32. Breathing and growing with no heir
  33. Breathing to teach
  34. Reasons to come together
  35. God won’t ask
  36. Communion and day of worship
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  38. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment

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Further reading:

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs, Welfare matters

Looking at Autumn

In Belgium the chrysanthemums are again taking over the markets as if they want to be a floor carpet covering the whole city. They are eagerly waiting for a buyer to be taken to the place which is mostly empty for the rest of the year, but now so many people are running in each-others way. People can’t go deep enough in the pocket, to make sure they shall not have to feel guilty having forgotten the deceased, and the stallholders make good use of that guilty conscience.

English: Autumn Colours

Autumn Colours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eagle and child inkling shows with her photograph on Second City that those coloured flowers also may be used in an other way than only decorating the tombstones. The Creator has not given the flowers for the dead, because they are nothing with it, but for the living. And even when nature seems to die, it does not die. this month may be the beginning of ‘killing sounds’, with hurling storms, falling trees, water coming too high, endangering many (like in the other ‘in-between season’ Spring). In many countries this is the marvellous time for photographers wanting to capture the miracles of nature and its wonderful colours.

Our European mountains can enchant many.

There is something in the mountains which holds people there

knows also Sharon Wray who grew up in rural England and developed a love of the outdoors early on. She now lives in the Alps full time, and teaches in a primary school in Geneva. She is not in a bad place to ponder and contemplate the world around her, observing what makes people think and how people choose to live their lives. In those mountains you might say people can feel closer to the Creator and you have to do a big effort not to be taken or to be ‘handcuffed’ by the magic of the Creation.

In Friday thought #10 Beautiful Autumn she not only knows to get us with her words but also with her photographic eye.

P1050231

An amateur snap which proofs with, no photoshop, no colour enhancement, just the pure beauty of nature at its best, that each human eye which wants to open their eyes can capture the beauty of this world. – Photo by Sharon Wray from her article: Friday thought #10 Beautiful Autumn

After the Summer peak season her world perhaps gets a new fresh breath and the pages perhaps look turned over to a new chapter where the quietness has returned. Most people are now back at work and can not go into the mountains any more until their Winter holiday. The tourist places can throw away the commercialism with the skimmer. It can leave the locals again with their little secrets in their own personal paradise, deserted and beautiful.

But those who are not able to travel can also find stunning colours in the trees, the leaves and the heather, when they open their eyes and go outdoors in their own surroundings, taking fresh air.

Those who are clustered to their wheelchair, having such a physical condition that they can not go outdoors, could still find ways to enjoy the changing light and the changing colours out of the window.

Plonking yourself in front of Netflix or the x-factor becomes a typical thing to do when it’s raining outside, but it really doesn’t bring much positivity into our lives.

When our body does not want to do what we would love it to do, it does not mean we have to grunt in this season. Nobody has something to an old grumpy bear. With more people staying indoors, because they find it to wet outdoors, it is a good occasion to be more social active.

loves the interaction you can have by following television shows, such as following comments on Twitter whilst watching and discussing with friends. She writes:

Reading doesn’t have to be an antisocial activity either. With so many websites and apps available now to discuss books and reading, it is a more social way to spend those long cold nights that you may have realised. Joining a book club does not mean leaving the house; you can join a global book club by using an app such as Goodreads that allows you to discuss and review books from the comfort of your own home.{14 Creative Things To Do Indoors This Autumn}

We can not postpone it. In the northern hemisphere we see Summer heading off over the horizon, occasionally sneaking back to give us that last afternoon or two of warm sunshine.

In the meantime the cold sneaks in abruptly, whilst we were busy waving to summer, and we are left feeling rather miserable. Last night we lit the fire for the first time since last winter. That’s it now. No going back. {The First Days Of Autumn}

Why should we consider this the time

to say goodbye to the colours of summer and fall in love with wintery tones all over again. {The First Days Of Autumn}

Is this world not already too grey? Grey is everywhere right now. We would advice you to break the greyness by daring to go for more colour. Why not bright red? but some may consider that perhaps too stereotypical, red hues/berries/conkers/acorn associations.

Let us look forward to luscious blooms that come in a range of striking hues (that will never wilt or die). Perhaps you can look at Cosying up for Autumn to get some ideas. For some a Little Trip to the Dark Side may give some inspiration, though for us it is a little bit to dark. Why not brighten it up more?

For those who live in the city their thoughts could go with try to see the fun of the rain falling on the coble stones. when our heads go backwards in the morning, why not say loud “Good morning” and see the clouds between the houses or between the few trees fighting for their life in the city, while the fumes of the cars stay low by the ground.

As summer gives way to fall, and fall gives way to winter, we like so many others and Harvest & Home are moving the outside plants into the greenhouse before the first freeze.

The air is crisp and there’s no way to escape the cool wind blowing on my face. The plants have lost their vibrancy with spiders starting to take up residence between the leaves. The statues tell of a time long forgotten, as they too give way to the natural elements. {Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Camera Lens}

Let us not forget:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. {Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Camera Lens}

and take the plants which would not be able to survive the winter-cold in a warmer place. And let us see the creativity and lust for work of the spider, having magical cobwebs by the little drops of mist clinging on it. Let us see the beauty and a story to be told in those cobwebs and statues that have clearly seen better days.

English: Autumn colours at Levens Park

Autumn colours at Levens Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Additional literature:

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  5. All Saints’ Day
  6. All Soul’s Day
  7. Being fit to take care of a garden
  8. When the wind blows hard on a tree
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. Dead and after

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Further reading

  1. Autumn: third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May
  2. Autumn Harvest for Wildlife and Humans
  3. Autumn Splendour
  4. Autumn Glory; Far from Being Drab and Dull, Autumn Should Be a Season of…
  5. Get Some Autumn Colour; as Summer Flowers Fade, Hannah Stephenson Suggests…
  6. Let Those Autumn Colours Set Your Garden Ablaze with Reds and Gold
  7. Let Autumn Colours Set Your Garden Ablaze
  8. Brighten Up the Autumn
  9. Flowers, the typically showy reproductive organs of angiosperms (flowering plants)
  10. Flowers of the quarter-million species of angiosperms
  11. Flowers for All Occasions
  12. Flowers, like seeds, leaves, and stems, have contributed to human cookery
  13. Conscience and Moral Development
  14. When Conscience Meddles with Ethics
  15. Flowers for Our Dead
  16. Dried Flowers an Easy Way to Capture Nature’s Beauty
  17. Photos from the Pumpkin Patch

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  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (givemeliberty01.com)
    In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of Saint Nicholas, there lies a small market town which is generally known by the name of Saint Nicholas
  • The Many Priceless Gifts With Gardening, and a First Frost (growingwithplants.com)
    Last night we ‘almost’ had our first killing frost. We gardeners know the routine – rushing home barely enough time to haul in everything that is frost tender, throwing sheets over dahlias (for some vain reason – as if we need any more!), or packing in begonias, citrus and succulents on the porches so dense that one can’t even get to the dog food or to the recycling bins.
  • The dark, ripe smell of a summer’s end (newstatesman.com)
    Autumn came early this year, the pavements of our corner on Schwarzbacher Straße and Storkwinkel littered with dry leaves and falls of horse chestnut, Virginia creeper and barberry lighting the fence lines with cool flames of crimson and mottled gold. This is the season when the Berlin suburbs come into their own, the usual tidiness softened by drift and straggle, the manicured lawns vanishing under the damp browns and russets of sumac and Turkey oak. I have never understood why so many gardeners favour straight lines and narrow, regulated borders; perhaps they think wildness could work only in a larger space. Whatever the reason, this predilection for a strict and entirely human order makes their gardens almost impossible to enjoy in summer. That is the season for moving around the city by S-Bahn, gazing out into the accidental green spaces where the plant life is free to run riot between stations.
  • The 10 Creepiest Urban Graveyards in the Country (hotpads.com)
    Some of a city’s most interesting sites are often its graveyards. This Halloween, let the ghosts guide you through forgotten or quirky corners of local urban history. Many offer special tours around this time of year, but they’re worth exploring anytime. Here are a few standouts nationwide.
  • More going to Europe’s festive markets (southwalesargus.co.uk)
    The history of Christmas markets dates back to the late middle ages and originates from the German speaking part of Europe.The Bautzen market, in Saxony, is thought to be one of the oldest recorded, dating back to 1384.The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, remains popular to this day, still attracting in the region of two million visitors a year and featuring more than 60 stalls.

    In many German towns the Christian festival of Advent often coincides with the opening of the Christmas market or ‘Weihnachtsmarkt’.

  • Nature, Pixelated – Issue 17: Big Bangs (m.nautil.us)
    It is winter in upstate New York, on a morning so cold the ground squeaks loudly underfoot as sharp-finned ice crystals rub together. The trees look like gloved hands, fingers frozen open. Something lurches from side to side up the trunk of an old sycamore—a nut-hatch climbing in zigzags, on the prowl for hibernating insects. A crow veers overhead, then lands. As snow flurries begin, it leaps into the air, wings aslant, catching the flakes to drink. Or maybe just for fun, since crows can be mighty playful.

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