Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jonah Lehrer

For too long, we've disparaged our inarticulate instincts/hunches/emotions/intuitions as irrational and irresponsible, a vestigial legacy of our animal past. Thanks to this new research, however, it's becoming increasingly clear that our emotions have a logic all their own, that our instincts are often rooted in the processing powers of the unconscious brain.
--Wired, in an article about making hard decisions

Roger Ebert

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alice G. Walton

Meditation is an interesting method for increasing one’s sense of happiness because not only has it stood the test of time, but it’s also been tested quite extensively in the lab. Part of the effect of mindfulness meditation is to quiet the mind by acknowledging non-judgmentally and then relinquishing (rather than obsessing about) unhappy or stress-inducing thoughts....

These findings may suggest that for people who practice meditation or prayer, the focus becomes less on the self as a distinct entity from the external world, and more on connection between the two. This reflects the idea discussed earlier where shifting attention from inside to outside is at least part of what quells unhappiness.

--"Eat, Smoke, Meditate," on (9/21/2011)


I feel like I'm on this solitary lifelong path. No matter who weaves in and out of your life, regardless of the quality of those deep friendships and familyships, I'm the only common denominator at this point who's been with me the whole time. And there's this sense of trying to make sense of that ultimate solitude. It's not a negative or even a positive. It's just a fact.

--New York Times (9/18/2011) on the release of her new album, Metals.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roger Ebert

I have many places where I sit and think, "I have been here before, I am here now, and I will be here again." Sometimes, lost in reverie, I remember myself approaching across the same green, or down the same footpath.... These secret visits are a way for me to measure the wheel of the years and my passage through life. Sometimes on this voyage through life we need to sit on the deck and regard the waves.
--in Life Itself: A Memoir 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thomas Jefferson

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Judith Collas

Her life was okay. Sometimes she wished she were sleeping with the right man instead of with her dog, but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stephanie Kallos

Less is less. Heartbreak is heartbreak. You think I'm sitting here gloating. Telling myself that my suffering beats yours? Hurt is hurt. You don't measure these things.

Broken for You, p.271

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tony Hoagland

The Word
Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between "green thread"
and "broccoli," you find
that you have penciled "sunlight."

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.
from Sweet Ruin (1992)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Leo Tolstoy

During my stay in Paris [in 1857], the sight of an execution revealed to me the instability of my superstitious belief in progress. When I saw the head part from the body and how they thumped separately into the box, I understood, not with my mind but with my whole being, that no theory of the reasonableness of our present progress could justify this deed; and that though everybody from the creation of the world had held it to be necessary, on whatever theory, I knew it to be unnecessary and bad; and therefore the arbiter of what is good and evil is not what people say and do, nor is it progress, but it is my heart and I.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jane Addams

Action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics. We continually forget that the sphere of morals is the sphere of action, that speculation in regard to morality is but observation and must remain in the sphere of intellectual comment, that a situation does not really become moral until we are confronted with the question of what shall be done in a concrete case, and are obliged to act upon our theory.
--in Democracy and Social Ethics (1902)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Qianlong Emperor

--exhibit at Milwaukee Art Museum

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eleanor Hibbert

Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.