“Intellectual passion dries out sensuality,” wrote Leonardo da Vinci. Someone took him literally — and carved this likeness of the Last Supper into the wall of a Polish salt mine.
A Zen koan:
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.
“We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”
The appropriate word here is “Bleeaagh.” In 897, Pope Stephen VI dug up the decomposing body of his predecessor and put it on trial for violating church law. Formosus, who had been dead for nine months, was found guilty and buried again. Rome turned against Stephen, who was eventually strangled in prison. It’s known as the cadaver synod or, in Latin, the “synodus horrenda.”
- Ingmar Bergman
- Ambrose Bierce
- George Carlin
- Denis Diderot
- Sigmund Freud
- David Hume
- John Stuart Mill
- Bertrand Russell
- Jean-Paul Sartre
- Percy Shelley
- B.F. Skinner
“One of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed in it,” wrote Mark Twain. “They have also believed the world was flat.”
A classification of demons, from occultist Francis Barrett’s 1801 book The Magus:
- Mammon: prince of seducers
- Asmodai: prince of vile revenges
- Satan: prince of witches and warlocks
- Pithius: prince of liars and liar spirits
- Belial: prince of fraud and injustice
- Merihem: prince of pestilences and spirits that cause pestilences
- Abaddon: prince of war
- Astaroth: prince of inquisitors and accusers
More than 70,000 Australians declared themselves members of the Jedi in the 2001 census, thanks to a fad fueled by e-mail. So did 53,000 New Zealanders and 20,000 Canadians. In England and Wales, 390,000 people gave their religion as Jedi, making it the country’s fourth largest reported religion, behind Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
Ironically, the stunt led many otherwise apathetic people to take the census, so it may actually have improved its quality.
“If Christ were here now, there is one thing he would not be — a Christian.” — Mark Twain
In 1211, Emperor Frederick II of Germany raised dozens of children in silence, trying to discover the natural “language of God.” He never got an answer: The children never spoke, and all of them ultimately died in childhood.
A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”
On this date in A.D. 600, Pope Gregory the Great decreed that saying “God bless you” is the correct response to a sneeze.
How does that work, exactly? When you become pope, do they give you a special hotline phone? If so, I think there are more important questions he could have asked.
You can spare others the whole “gesundheit” question by tickling the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue — it stops the sneeze impulse.