American influence in the world is certainly considerable, but the United States does not control, directly or indirectly, the politics and economics of other societies, as empires have always done, save for a few special cases that turn out to be the exceptions that prove the rule.
But for me, being naked out of doors and in the water is one of the best ways I have ever found to restore my sense of blissful innocence. It takes me back to that place of my almost forgotten childhood, where I got to run around undressed without anyone telling me I had to cover up or be embarrassed.
Twenty-five years ago, while an undergraduate at Stanford, I got a job on campus as a lifeguard, deepening a love of swimming and water that has lasted throughout my life. I took the duties seriously and studied the swimmers with professional vigilance, relieved at the end of each day that no emergency rescue had been required. But the greatest challenge of the job was standing poolside in a bathing suit with my body on display.Work began in the locker room, where I changed into my Speedo and surveyed my reflection, assessing what would be on view for the next few hours. I was plagued by self-criticism. I imagined the swimmers judging my shape, until I made myself remember that I was there to guard their lives, not their fantasies. Later I performed my variation of the same ablutions everyone else did, showering and hair washing, the application of lotion and makeup -- preparations for re-entering the other world of walking upright on solid land.
One of the most satisfying experiences I know is fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I appreciate a sunset. When I look at a sunset...I don't find myself saying, 'Soften the orange a litle more on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color...' I don't try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds.http://www.listeningway.com/rogers2-eng.html
Nothing in the entire universe ever perishes, believe me, but things vary, and adopt a new form. The phrase being born is used for beginning to be something different from what one was before, while dying means ceasing to be the same. Though this thing may pass into that, and that into this, yet the sums of things remains unchanged.
Everything you've learned in school as obvious becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
The universe is one great kindergarten for man. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes--every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.