Saturday, July 6, 2019
........................teaching tool? Unlike most of my faithful readers, I did not know the meaning of "panopticon." I'm sorry I looked it up. Sometimes you are just better off not knowing.
You like to imagine yourself in control of your fate, consciously planning the course of your life as best you can. But you are largely unaware of how deeply your emotions dominate you. They make you veer toward ideas that sooth your ego. They make you look for evidence that confirms what you already want to believe. They make you see what you want to see, depending on your mood, and this disconnect from reality is the source of the bad decisions and negative patterns that haunt your life. Rationality is the ability to counteract these emotional effects, to think instead of react, to open your mind to what is really happening, as opposed to what you are feeling. It does not come naturally; it is a power we must cultivate, but in doing so we realize our greatest potential.
-Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature
It was not inevitable that Francis Marion would become a patriot. He was conciliatory, not radical, by nature; he did not hate the English, who had provided asylum to his ancestors, granted land to his grandfather, and fought alongside him against the Cherokees; and he had long attended the Anglican Church. Unlike the Scotch-Irish of the Williamsburg district in the Pee Dee region, the Huguenots of the Santee did not universally align themselves with the Whigs; members of the prominent French families who were neighbors or relatives of the Marions sided with and even fought for the Tories during the Revolution. And although the Marions, and their Huguenot neighbors, were generally well-to-do, slaveholding plantation owners, they were not part of the Charleston aristocracy from which the most rabid revolutionary faction of South Carolina emerged.
Why, then, did Francis Marion so passionately take up the cause of independence? The simplest and best explanation is that he was influenced by his extended family. . . .
In short the Marions were true believers, and it was natural that Francis Marion became one himself. Logically, as propertied slaveholders, they would have preferred maintaining the conservative status quo. And as growers of rice and indigo, they profited greatly by trade with Britain; it was not in their economic interest to sever that tie. But as self-made men in a new land, they placed a higher value on self-rule. They may have discarded their old French customs, but the Huguenots' historical antipathy toward unchecked monarchy lingered in their bosoms.
-John Oller, The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved The American Revolution
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
-Leo Buscaglia, as quoted in this Tiny Buddha blog post
There is nothing in the cosmos that gives us more pleasure than a cartoon that hits a philosophical idea right on the head. And this is one of them. In this cartoon, the prolific comedy writer and cartoonist Paul Noth pictures a God who not only embraces twentieth-century existentialism's absurdist point of view, he hopes to wring a few laughs out of it.
-Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein, I Think, Therefore I Draw: Understanding Philosophy Through Cartoons
"If ancient philosophers were veritable warriors of the mind, their modern counterparts had become more like librarians of the mind, more interested in collating and organizing ideas than putting philosophy to work on a daily basis as a psychological practice."
-Donald Robertson, How To Think Like A Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius
Friday, July 5, 2019
We’re not perfect, and neither were the Hobbits. Deep friendships take time, energy, and forgiveness. So, take these lessons to heart as you walk the path in front of you. Whether you are eating second breakfast or sharing a pint of ale, it is important to remember, “.”
-John Lucke, as he concludes this post
“It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
.....................................................he left out two of the most important factors: private property rights and the rule of law, but other than that . . .
“America is the greatest engine of innovation that has ever existed, and it can't be duplicated anytime soon, because it is the product of a multitude of factors: extreme freedom of thought, an emphasis on independent thinking, a steady immigration of new minds, a risk-taking culture with no stigma attached to trying and failing, a noncorrupt bureaucracy, and financial markets and a venture capital system that are unrivaled at taking new ideas and turning them into global products.”
-Thomas L. Friedman
“The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It's proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or "accessing" what we now call "information" - which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.”
The very concept of progress—of the continual betterment of the human condition through the application of science and the spread of freedom—was a product of the European Enlightenment, as Kishore Mahbubani reminds us. These thinkers were among the first to advance the idea that humanity’s problems are soluble, and that we are not condemned to misery and misfortune. The spectacular progress that ensued, first for the West and then increasingly also for the rest, was a matter not of historical necessity, but of diligent human effort and struggle. Pessimism is not just factually wrong, it is also harmful because it undermines our confidence in our ability to bring about further progress. The best argument that progress is possible is that it has been achieved in the past.
-Maarten Boudry, as culled from this essay
Thursday, July 4, 2019
He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.
We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies."
There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.
"Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism."
Another silence ensued.
"They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said.”
-Don DeLillo, White Noise
...............The end of Mad Magazine? When we were youngsters, my sister's usual Christmas present for me an annual subscription to Mad Magazine. She is the greatest. There is a stack of those old comics (circa 1962-69) around here somewhere. One of these days I might look.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Monday, July 1, 2019
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.
The good-to great companies paid scant attention to managing change, motivating people, or creating alignment. Under the right conditions, the problems of commitment, alignment, motivation, and change largely melt away.
. . . the good-to-great transformation never happened in one fell swoop. There was no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle movement. Rather, the process resembled relentlessly pushing a giant heavy flywheel in on direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.
-Jim Collins, Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap . . . and Others Don't