Monday, August 19, 2019
“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
Everything goes, everything comes back; eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, everything blossoms again; eternally runs the year of being. Everything breaks, everything is joined anew; eternally the same House of Being is built. Everything parts, everything greets every other thing again; eternally the ring of being remains faithful to itself. In every Now, being begins; round every Here rolls the sphere There. The center is everywhere. Bent is the path of eternity.
-Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Sunday, August 18, 2019
. . .in Egyptian monasticism, enormous stress is laid on the virtue of humility. As Evagrius says, 'asceticism with humility is valuable, but asceticism without humility is extremely dangerous'. And another Father said, 'It is better to fail with humility that to succeed with pride.'
Above all else the Egyptian monks emphasised self-knowledge. The one practice which they harp on over and over again is 'paying attention to yourself', and going with this, they highlight the virtue of 'discernment', but which they mean an ability to diagnose exactly what is going on at any given moment.
This explains why sometimes the Desert Fathers seem to be rather casual about morality. Their concern is not that people should behave correctly according to the rules, but rather that people should be able to see their situation clearly for what it is. and so become free of the distorting perspective which underlies all our sins.
Thus we hear of a fornicating monk, who kept a woman in his cell so indiscreetly that word got around about it. The neighboring monks resolved to drive the monk away, and abba Ammonas, who happened to be visiting there was asked to go with them. The offending monk heard them coming and hid his woman in a large jar. Ammonas saw her at once, but 'hid the affair for the sake of God'. He sat down on the jar, and then told the other monks to search the cell. They, of course, found nothing and went away again abashed and apologetic. Ammonas then took the culprit's hand and simply said to him, 'Brother, pay attention to yourself,' and went out.
-Simon Tugwell, Ways of Imperfection: An Exploration of Christian Spirituality
Lemmings are not suicidal! Filmmakers in Disney's 1958 nature film, "White Wilderness" pushed dozens of lemmings off a cliff while cameras rolled, for dramatic effect—thereby staging a lemming death plunge. This deliberate fraud started the myth.
Finding it difficult to fathom that Disney would ever release a film that wasn't the gospel truth, the Oracle Google was consulted. Google clearly backs up the Farmer's Almanac on outing this fraudulent film. Amazing. How come I never knew this?
Saturday, August 17, 2019
...........................................paying down the mortgage. While it is an interesting discussion, our tendency has always been to invest in more real estate and take out another mortgage. Different strokes.........
Why do we demonize those with whom we disagree? The basic reason is that it helps to protect us from having to question or doubt our own beliefs.
-Arnold S. Kling, as taken from this "How We Polarize Ourselves" essay
Myles Udland put it perfectly when he said, “The more accurate formulation of ‘No one knows anything’ is ‘Everyone knows everything.'”Everybody knows everything is the new nobody knows nothing.
Friday, August 16, 2019
The very long U.S. election season is here. What to keep on mind? Two things strike me as fundamental.
1. Knowledge is complex and dispersed. This means that innovation (and progress) depend on trial-and-error innovation in a competitive environment – one not encumbered by the heavy hand of you-know-who. This is especially important in a season when the candidates have policies, plans and programs for everything.
2. In fact, there will always be a political class (includes their many private sector cronies) working hard on cronyist plans and policies.
Millions of voters have sat through some version of an economic principles class. How many of them have encountered these two fundamental principles? Too few, I worry.
These two fundamental observations are facts of life and in conflict. That’s what makes it interesting. The economist Peter Boettke has elaborated and even imagined a derby involving “Three S’s”. Smithian gains from trade, Schumpeterian competition, and, third S for stupid.
All three are always in play. And it’s election season.
-Peter Gordon, as cut-and-pasted from his blog
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Jerry Seinfeld on Father's Day and parenting:
I don’t need any special days. I mean they’re all special. We spend a lot of time together and I enjoy every second of it. Again, I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about “quality time” – I always find that a little sad when they say, “We have quality time.” I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.
"It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it.
"Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks."