Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.
-Friedrich Hayek, as culled from here
“The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at best know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
This sort of thing may be all right for the Greeks, but the kind of talk to which we would be better to turn our ears is this: 'No man's good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt. Pleasure is a poor and petty thing. No value should be set on it: it's something we share with dumb animals - the minutest, most insignificant creatures scutter after it. Glory's an empty, changeable thing, as fickle as the weather. Poverty's no evil to anyone unless he kicks against it. Death is not an evil. What is it then? The one law mankind has that is free of all discrimination. Superstition is an idiotic heresy; it fears those it should love; it dishonours those it worships. For what difference does it make whether you deny the gods or bring them into disrepute? These are things which should be learnt and not just learnt but learnt by heart. Philosophy has no business to supply vice with excuses; a sick man who is encouraged to live in a reckless manner by his doctor has not a hope of getting well.
-Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, Letter CXXIII
37. To see the things of the present moment is to see all that is now, all that has been since time began, and all that shall be unto the world's end; for all things are of one kind and one form.
38. Think often of the bond that unites all things in the universe, and their dependence upon one another. All are, as it were, interwoven, and in consequence linked in mutual affection; because their orderly succession is brought about by the operation of the currents of tension, and the unity of all substance.
39. Adapt yourself to the environment in which your lot has been cast, and show true love to the fellow-mortals with whom destiny has surrounded you.
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VI
Monday, May 16, 2016
......................all of us Americans are immigrants (or, our forebears were). This very cool map gives you a real sense of both from whence all those who arrived by choice came, as well as, starting in 1820, the timing and volume of said arrivals. Must be something here that attracts people.
...............that might allow me to vote for the Donald:
...mainstream law professors would develop a sudden, strange new respect for constitutional law concepts such as separation of powers and federalism, which tend to serve as checks on the power and ambition of the President and his backers.
-as borrowed from here
More important than mainstream law professors, wouldn't having a president with no actual party support encourage Congress to act as a one-third full participant in national government, just like the Founders envisioned? Or, am I just grasping for straws?
"Are you born again?" he asked, as we taxied down the runway. He was rather prim and tense, maybe a little like David Eisenhower with a spastic colon. I did not know how to answer for a moment.
"Yes," I said, "I am."
My friends like to tell each other that I am not really a born again Christian. They think of me more along the lines of that old Jonathan Miller routine, where he said, "I'm not really a Jew - I'm Jew-ish." They think I am Christian-ish. But I'm not. I'm just a bad Christian. A bad born-again Christian. And certainly, like the apostle Peter, I am capable of denying it, of presenting myself as a sort of leftist liberation-theology enthusiast and maybe sort of a vaguely Jesusy bon vivant. But it's not true. And I believe that when you get on a plane, if you start lying you are totally doomed.
So I told the truth: that I am a believer, a convert. I'm probably about three months away from slapping an aluminum Jesus-fish on the back of my car, although I first want to see if the application or stickum in any way interferes with my lease agreement. And believe me, all this boggles my mind. But it's true. I could go to a gathering of foot-wash Baptists and, except for my dreadlocks, fit right in. I would wash their feet; I would let them wash mine.
-Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
11. When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and no not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VI
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
Sunday, May 15, 2016
“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.”
info on photo here
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Men pay too little attention to this priceless gift - The Human Imagination - and a gift is practically nonexistent unless there is a conscious possession of it and a readiness to use it. All men possess that power to create reality, but this power sleeps as though dead, when not consciously exercised. Men live in the very heart of creation - The Human Imagination - yet are no wiser for what takes place therein. The future will not be fundamentally different from the imaginal activities of man; therefore, the individual who can summon at will whatever imaginal activity he pleases and to whom the visions of his imagination are as real as the forms of nature, is master of his fate.
-Neville Goddard, as excerpted from The Neville Reader
................................................or, beware of the experts:
The economic engineers will say, as they have concerning the Fed's performance during and after the 2008 crisis, that without the Fed our economic performance would have been much worse. But this is an untestable assertion. Moreover, it is sobering to observe that the U.S. economy has suffered from recessions with at least as much frequency and severity since the Fed was created in 1914 as it did before.
Those same engineers believe that health-care policy also ought to be managed by experts. Former senator Tom Daschle explicitly called for the equivalent of a Federal Reserve to take charge of our health-care system. The Affordable Care Act called for the creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board, composed of 15 experts who would set payment policies for Medicare. Some economists of the engineering persuasion, such as leading health-policy expert David Cutler, believe that, when independent experts are given such authority, they can create incentives that will lead to better health care at lower cost.
To an ecologist, the idea that a centralized bureaucracy could successfully manage the performance of skilled health-care professionals seems implausible. The doctor who is with the patient is in the best position to judge the most appropriate treatment. Moreover, much of medical knowledge comes from doctors experimenting with slightly different protocols and reporting the results to one another. Replacing this evolutionary process with a set of fixed national standards would thwart medical progress. Substituting top-down control for the cultural intelligence of the medical profession would likely be a step backwards.
Evolution, not intelligent design, is how societies advance.
-Arnold Kling, as excerpted from this "Cultural Intelligence" essay
Do Italians cheat on their taxes more than Swedes?
The answer might surprise you, but as always the real education is found in the comments section.
.......that this is the opening paragraph from a post about optimism.
Entire societies and nations have been wiped out in the past. Sometimes this has been in spite of the best efforts of leading citizens to avoid it, and sometimes it has been because of their efforts. In human terms, this is as bad as it gets on Earth. In virtually all of these cases, the optimal strategy was to run, and hope that wherever you ended up would be kind to foreigners.
-David Merkel, as culled from here