Sunday, May 31, 2020
19. Because a thing is difficult for you, do not therefore suppose it to be beyond mortal power. On the contrary, if anything is possible and proper for man to do, assume that it must fall within your capacity.
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Six
In life, there is no gift as overlooked or as inevitable as failure. I've had quite a few and have learned to relish them, because if you do the forensics you'll find clues about where to make adjustments and how to eventually accomplish your task. I'm not talking about a mental list either. After the second attempt, I wrote everything out long-hand, but didn't start with the obvious issue, my grip. Initially, I brainstormed everything that went well, because in every failure a lot of good things will have happened, and we must acknowledge them.
-David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind And Defy The Odds
While his mind was neither quick nor facile, young Lincoln possessed singular powers of reasoning and comprehension, unflagging curiosity, and a fierce, almost irresistible, compulsion to understand the meaning of what he heard, read, or was taught. "When I was a mere child," Lincoln later said, "I used to get irritated when anybody talked to me in a way I could not understand. I do not think I ever got angry an anything else in my life." When he "go on the hunt for an idea" he could not sleep until he "caught it," and even then was not able to rest until he had "bounded it north and bounded it south, and bounded it east and bounded it west."
-Doris Kearns Goodwin, Leadership: In Turbulent Times
Friday, May 29, 2020
Years after his initial work on the Dymaxion Vehicle, Fuller would theorize that the core of the problem obstructing progress on such a vehicle was a condition he had faced many times during his career and which he perceived as a continuing impediment to humanity's advancement. That single issue is the bureaucratic drive for power and control that pervades any organization, especially governments. Both the Dymaxion House and the Dymaxion Vehicle were conceived to function autonomously. Once built and installed, they would require no roads, airports, electrical power lines, plumbing and sewage connections, or any of the other links through which corporations and governments control individual human beings' lives.
Bucky eventually realized that if such autonomous innovations were publicly available, independent-thinking humans would quickly discover that the bureaucracies dominating their lives were no longer necessary or useful. . . .
Because of the formidable opposition he received from power structures, Fuller also realized that the officials who dominate other individuals through bureaucracies and who prosper from their power would resort to extremes in blocking any innovation which would provide individuals with more autonomy and freedom. Still, he envisioned a new era in which responsibility for maintaining basis human needs would shift from governments and other institutions to individuals themselves . . .
-Lloyd Steven Sieden, Buckminster Fuller's Univers: His Life and Work
photo (and more info) via
Thursday, May 28, 2020
...................................................well, you might consider doing so:
News is not truth. In the time of the tweet, news isn’t even first in delivering “news or information,” as journalism professor Jeff Jarvis recently noted. News bait for ads sold by a hard-nosed business: rather than inform citizens or protect the underdog, the , the , CNN, Fox News, , and are trying desperately to make money. That fact explains many of the strange distortions of news content.
-as cut-and pasted from here
The collapse of trust in our leading institutions has exiled the 21 century to the Siberia of . I want to be clear about what this means. Reality has not changed. It’s still unyielding. Facts today are partial and contradictory—but that’s always been the case. Post-truth, as I define it, signifies a moment of sharply divergent perspectives on every subject or event, without a trusted authority in the room to settle the matter. A telling symptom is that we no longer care to persuade. We aim to impose facts and annihilate a process closer to intellectual holy war than to critical thinking.
-Martin Gurri, as culled from here.
"No one knows enough to be a pessimist."
"Never listen to those who try to influence you with their pessimism."
"Aim high, refuse to choose small thinking and low expectations, and above all, do not be seduced by the absurd idea that there is danger in having too much hope."
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
To a great extent fatigue in such cases is due to worry, and worry could be prevented by a better philosophy of life and little more mental discipline. Most men and women are very deficient in control over their thoughts. I mean by this that they cannot cease to think about worrying topics at times when no action can be taken in regard to them. . . . It is amazing how much both happiness and efficiency can be increased by the cultivation of an orderly mind, which thinks about a matter adequately at the right time rather than inadequately at all times. When a difficult or worrying decision has to be reached, as soon as all the data are available, give the matter your best thought and make your decision; having made the decision, do not revise it unless some new fact comes to your knowledge. Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing so futile.
-Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
Anyone totally committed to a single purpose almost inevitably becomes the propagandist of his own effort. As a nation of specialists, we have become a nation obsessed with self-justification. When we don't have it, we make it. And we are by now familiar enough with the make-work of manufacturers who need products, scholars who need projects, politicians who need issues, generals who need armies. We speak the language of a people bent on justifying everything we do or want to do, whether it is justifiable or not.
This preoccupation, with its consequent language of self-praise, is epidemic. It is chronic at the highest levels of government. Much of the blame for the erosion of our idealism must be laid to the government, because the language of ideals has been so grossly misused by the propagandists. The liars of policy and public relations are addicted to the rhetoric of high principle. Our political ideals fill their mouths as unctuously, and will as little involvement of conscience or intelligence, as so many pieces of fat meat.
-Wendell Berry, excerpted from his 1969 collection of essays, The Long-Legged House
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Necessity is not the mother of invention. Ambition is.
-Matt Ridely, from this blog post on the serendipity of innovation
Choose any competitive situation that you're in right now. Who is you opponent? Is it your teacher or coach, your boss, an unruly client? No matter how they're treating you there is one way to not only earn their respect, but turn the tables. Excellence.
-David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me
The science of anything may be taught or acquired by study; the art of it comes by practice or inspiration. The art of seeing things is not something that may be conveyed in rules and precepts; it is a matter vital in the eye and ear, yea, in the mind and soul, of which these are the organs. I have as little hope of being able to tell the reader how to see things as I would have in trying to tell him how to fall in love or to enjoy his dinner. Either he does or he does not, and that is about all there is to it. Some people seem born with eyes in their heads, and other with buttons or painted marbles, and no amount of science can make the one equal to the other in the art of seeing things. The great mass of mankind are, in this respect, like the rank and file of any army; they fire vaguely in the direction of the enemy, and if they hit, it is more a matter of chance than of accurate aim. But here and there is the keen-eyed observer; he is the sharpshooter; his eye selects and discriminates; his purpose goes to the mark.
-John Burroughs, from his essay The Art of Seeing Things
I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
-Walt Whitman, as he starts Song of Myself, 32