Saturday, December 13, 2014
--from The Wisdom Paradox
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Then he proceeded to explain the lifestyle that had gotten him there, which included eating mince-pie after midnight; smoking at all times when he was awake (including in bed); avoiding exercise at all costs; and living what he called "a severely moral life."
He ended his speech: "I am 70; 70, and would nestle in the chimney corner, and smoke my pipe, and read my book, and take my rest, wishing you well in all affection, and that when you in your turn shall arrive at pier No. 70 you may step aboard your waiting ship with a reconciled spirit, and lay your course toward the sinking sun with a contented heart."
Sunday, November 23, 2014
--from Left Neglected
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Right in the center of that abyss, in that silence, you'll find your liberation even if you've lost the love of your life. We do that not to get away from what's hurting us, we do that --we embrace all that, all those emotions-- to connect to the flow of life. Connecting to the flow of life is what will ultimately make us happy. Happiness, for the people I came across in my journey, was about the way they traveled; it wasn't some end destination; it wasn't some place they reached when they "got over grief"; it was about how they continued to be open to their experience. If we close our experience, we're more likely actually to feel or become depressed. How many of you associate grief and loss with gloominess and depression? The thing is, grief is not depression.
Loss through bereavement can become an adventure to be had, rather than a problem to be solved.
--Geoff Warburton, The Adventure of Grief
I will never say anything like that. I would never say, “This is what makes something great.” Because greatness is relative, and it’s subjective and it has to do with one’s own standard of greatness. And when you tell someone, especially in a pedagogical situation, that this is what makes something great, they don’t have a chance to really explore that for themselves. They just feel like, ‘oh, I guess that’s what I’m supposed to write down and that’s what I’m supposed to know for the exam’ and stuff like that. It’s not real.
From Ingenious: Vijay Iyer: On the science and talent of music.by Kevin Berger, Nautilus, Oct 30, 2014
Vijay Iyer is a 2013 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, a musician is versed in seeing the world through the lens of science. Iyer’s Yale undergraduate degree in math and physics paved the way to his Ph.D. in technology and the arts at the University of California, Berkeley. The jazz pianist has recorded over 15 albums and in 2012 was voted Jazz Artist of the Year in the DownBeat International Critics Poll.
This simple process, which my colleagues and I call “mental contrasting,” has produced powerful results in laboratory experiments. When participants have performed mental contrasting with reasonable, potentially attainable wishes, they have come away more energized and achieved better results compared with participants who either positively fantasized or dwelt on the obstacles.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Even when we reassure the parents of wrongdoers that they are not to blame, we do expect them—require them—to feel guilt, to need such reassurance.
from Parenthood, the Great Moral Gamble: The decision to have a child is more ethically uncertain than you might realize in Nautilus by CLAIRE CREFFIELD June 13, 2013
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The last hundred years have seen incessant turbulence, change, and danger. Around the world, people are living with a deep anxiety about the future. In such situations it is only natural to ask now and then, "Why was I born into times like these?" The answer I would give is that we have been born to be of help to others. Desperate times are a sign of a more desperate need. To make our full contribution, we need to train the mind to be at peace and then radiate that peace to those around us.
--from Blue Mountain Journal, Summer 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
You could rely on the summer,
That each morning would deliver
The same mourning dove singing
From his station on the phone pole,
The same smell of bacon frying
Somewhere in the neighborhood,
The same sun burning off
The coastal fog by noon,
When you could reward yourself
For a good morning's work
With lunch at the same little seaside cafe
With its shaded deck and iced tea,
The day's routine finally down
Like an old song with minor variations,
There comes that morning when the light
Tilts ever so slightly on its track,
A cool gust out of nowhere
Whirlwinds a litter of dead grass
Across the sidewalk, the swimsuits
Are piled on the sale table,
And the back of your hand,
Which you thought you knew,
Has begun to look like an old leaf.
Or the back of someone else's hand.
"August" by George Bilgere, from The Good Kiss. © Akron, 2002.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
~ Goodnight June (p 97)
(especially humorous having just read Harold and the Purple Crayon to my nephew.)
Monday, August 18, 2014
Friday, August 1, 2014
"Mitchell's list of firsts is impressive: She'd made the first American comet sighting; in 1848, she was the first woman appointed to the American Association for the Advancement of Science; in 1853, she became the first woman to earn an advanced degree; and in 1865, she became the first woman appointed to the faculty of the newly founded Vassar Female College as their astronomy professor and the head of their observatory, making her the first female astronomy professor in American history.Mitchell also became a devoted anti-slavery activist and suffragette, with friends such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and helped found the American Association for the Advancement of Women."
Monday, July 28, 2014
Monday, July 7, 2014
Remarkably, [West Point] cadets with [both] strong internal and strong instrumental motives for attending West Point performed worse on every measure than did those with strong internal motives but weak instrumental ones. They were less likely to graduate, less outstanding as military officers and less committed to staying in the military.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Netzer’s piece [from an earlier issue] is nicely based on the premise that we are crooked timber. We are, to varying degrees, foolish, weak, and often just plain inexplicable — and always will be. As Kant put it: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.”
People with a crooked timber mentality tend to see life as full of ironies. Intellectual life is ironic because really smart people often do the dumbest things precisely because they are carried away by their own brilliance...Marriage is ironic because you are trying to build a pure relationship out of people who are ramshackle and messy. There’s an awesome incongruity between the purity you glimpse in the love and the fact that he leaves used tissues around the house and it drives you crazy.
People with a crooked timber mentality try to find comedy in the mixture of high and low. There’s something fervent in Netzer’s belief in marital loyalty: “You and your spouse are a team of two. It is you against the world. No one else is allowed on the team, and no one else will ever understand the team’s rules.”
People with a crooked timber mentality are anti-perfectionist. When two people are working together there are bound to be different views, and sometimes you can’t find a solution so you have to settle for an arrangement. You have to design structures that have a lot of give, for when people screw up. You have to satisfice, which is Herbert Simon’s term for any option that is not optimal but happens to work well enough.
Great and small enterprises often have two births: first in purity, then in maturity. The idealism of the Declaration of Independence gave way to the cold-eyed balances of the Constitution. Love starts in passion and ends in car pools.
The beauty of the first birth comes from the lofty hopes, but the beauty of the second birth comes when people begin to love frailty. (Have you noticed that people from ugly places love their cities more tenaciously than people from beautiful cities?)
The mature people one meets often have this crooked timber view, having learned from experience the intransigence of imperfection and how to make a friend of every stupid stumble. As Thornton Wilder once put it, “In love’s service only wounded soldiers can serve.”
--"Rhapsody in Realism," New York Times, June 24, 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014
- Because it activates the same pleasure sensors in the brain that are triggered when we eat chocolate.
- Because it seems to stimulate the release of endorphins, which reduces the perception of pain.
- Because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and so enhances our ability to remember.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Corinna's Going A-Maying
Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air :
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept and bow'd toward the east
Above an hour since : yet you not dress'd ;
Nay ! not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said
And sung their thankful hymns, 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.
Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair :
Fear not ; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you :
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept ;
Come and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night :
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying :
Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come ; and, coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park
Made green and trimm'd with trees : see how
Devotion gives each house a bough
Or branch : each porch, each door ere this
An ark, a tabernacle is,
Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove ;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street
And open fields and we not see't ?
Come, we'll abroad ; and let's obey
The proclamation made for May :
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying ;
But, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
There's not a budding boy or girl this day
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
Some have despatch'd their cakes and cream
Before that we have left to dream :
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth :
Many a green-gown has been given ;
Many a kiss, both odd and even :
Many a glance too has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament ;
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks pick'd, yet we're not a-Maying.
Come, let us go while we are in our prime ;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun ;
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne'er be found again,
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
A good day is when nobody shows up and you don't have to go anywhere.
(Burt Schavitz is a co-founder of Burt's Bees.)
. . . .
James Wood writes [in a recent essay in The London Review of Books, called “On Not Going Home,”]: “Freud has a wonderful word, ‘afterwardness,’ which I need to borrow, even at the cost of kidnapping it from its very different context. To think about home and the departure from home, about not going home and no longer feeling able to go home, is to be filled with a remarkable sense of ‘afterwardness’: It is too late to do anything about it now, and too late to know what should have been done. And that may be all right.”
Yes, being not quite home, acceptance, which may be bountiful, is what is left to us.
~Roger Cohen, The New York Times, April 3, 2014 "In Search of Home"
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
She'd never been able to figure out what they stood for--the tarantulas, the hands. Oddly for a writer, Amy was bored by symbols. They ruled the night, and they sprouted in her fiction, but she figured they were no business, really, of hers. They were the product and property of her subconscious, which she pictured as a little man in a projection booth whose matinees she preferred not to attend.
Monday, January 20, 2014
"For the Love of Money," New York Times, 1/18/2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.