Thursday, June 20, 2013
Purple State Of Mind News
Tracking Purple State of Mind across America…
In the midst of the struggle to survive the devastation of the earthquake, does anyone in Haiti have time to worry about the artifacts of Haitian culture buried in the disaster? Madison Smartt Bell writes that it should be the world’s concern. Haitian culture and history is fabulously rich and indispensable to the future of the people, he says, and it’s in danger of vanishing in the catastrophe.
“The Saint Martial compound was hit hard by the earthquake, though not completely destroyed. One of the school buildings fell to the ground. The church has been severely damaged. The building housing the library was structurally compromised, though it didn’t collapse; in the weeks following the earthquake the current librarian, Patrick Tardieu, managed to get the collection boxed and removed.
So now the collection is in the same situation it was during the Duvalier days, when the dictatorship might well have destroyed it–because of its inspiration to freedom. Books don’t do well in boxes in Haiti, whose climate is extremely hard on paper. I once received by mail an old book I had searched for long time. Though carefully sealed in a plastic wrapper, the paper was shot through with worm holes. When I took the plastic off, I found that the pages were uncut. No one had read this book, so far, but the worms.
The Bibliothèque Haïtienne, like the other collections which are also in danger, won’t directly feed or clothe or shelter Haitian people. But it contains a spark of the spirit they need to keep going. More than an archive of their past, it holds the promise of their future.
The John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, has established a fund, “Saving Haiti’s Libraries,” for the benefit of this and other jeopardized collections. To make a donation, visit http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/John_Carter_Brown_Library/haiti/index.html.”
Lisa Miller’s Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination With the Afterlife offers a serious examination and exploration of the religious concept of heaven. What is heaven and how has humankind attempted to define it? How is heaven particularly – though not exclusively – in Christian theology compatible with the belief in the Resurrection? In this excerpt Miller writes that “while 80 percent of Americans say they believe in heaven, few of us have the slightest clue about what we mean.” And in this additional excerpt, Miller asks the provocative question: Can science explain the concept of heaven?
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