Thursday, January 20, 2022

 


mucky.....................................

  It turns out my really big problem was thinking I might one day get rid of all my problems, when the truth is that there's no escaping the mucky, malodorous compost-heap of this reality. Which is OK, actually. Compost is the stuff that helps things grow. 

-Oliver Burkeman, from this brief essay at The Imperfectionist

Checking in...........................

.......................with Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche:

 In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.

The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.

Nothing on earth consumes a man more quickly than the passion of resentment.

Love is blind. Friendship closes its eyes.

Without forgetting it is quite impossible to live at all.

To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.

Love, too, has to be learned.

Fifty years ago.............................


Jimmy Cliff...................................The Harder They Come

I'm thinking the first.....................

 .............will be much easier than the second and third:

We need to eliminate the Federal Reserve, and cause Congress and the Executive Branch to take responsibility for their failed policies.

-David Merkel, from this post

steadfast.......................


Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.

-Mary Oliver,  The Gift

One year ago today.......................

 .........from President Biden's inaugural address:

We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury, no progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. . . .

We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we're willing to stand in the other person's shoes, as my mom would say. Just for a moment, stand in their shoes. . . .

And together we will write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity not division, of light not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us. And the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history, we met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrive.

Moral algebra......................

 London Sept. 19. 1772

Dear Sir,

In the Affair of so much Importance to you, wherein you ask my Advice, I cannot for want of sufficient Premises, advise you what to determine, but if you please I will tell you how.

 When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time; but sometimes one Set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of Sight. Hence the various Purposes or Inclinations that alternately prevail, and the Uncertainty that perplexes us. 

To get over this, my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con. Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different Heads short Hints of the different Motives that at different Times occur to me for or against the Measure. When I have thus got them all together in one View, I endeavour to estimate their respective Weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a Reason pro equal to some two Reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the Ballance lies; and if after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination accordingly. 

And tho’ the Weight of Reasons cannot be taken with the Precision of Algebraic Quantities, yet when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less likely to make a rash Step; and in fact I have found great Advantage from this kind of Equation, in what may be called Moral or Prudential Algebra. Wishing sincerely that you may determine for the best, I am ever, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately.  

                                                                                          Franklin


This letter was written by Ben Franklin to Joseph Priestley.   It was found here.



Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A solution............................

 .....for our squirrel problem?  Temporarily anyway:




Checking in..................................


......................with John Dewey:

Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situations of experience its own full and unique meaning.

Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked.

A problem well put is half solved.

The democratic faith in human equality is belief that every human being, independent of the quantity or range of his personal endowment, has the right to equal opportunity with every other person for development of whatever gifts he has.

We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.

Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not preparation for life but is life itself.

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.

The only freedom that is of enduring importance is the freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and of judgment, exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worthwhile. The commonest mistake made about freedom is, I think, to identify it with freedom of movement, or, with the external or physical side of activity.

To me, faith means not worrying.

Ah, science............................

............................Trouble brewing for nascent field of "behavioral economics"?

When the two biggest scientists in your field are accused of "systemic misrepresentation", you know you've got a serious problem. . . .

Which leads me to the final point I'd like to make: rules and generalizations are overrated.

The reason that fields like behavioral economics are so seductive is because they promise people easy, cookie-cutter solutions to complicated problems. . . .

 This is because almost every lab-based study omits one key variable, which I'll call "situational fit". In a sense that's the point of the scientific process: to control for every variable except for the one you're interested in—to find effects that generalize across contexts. However, humans are not billiard balls or hydrogen atoms. We're remarkably complex and will react to the same stimuli in quite different ways depending on the circumstances. This is one of the fundamental flaws of lab based behavioral science research. It puts humans in bizarre contexts and assumes that their behavior in an unnatural setting will generalize to complex, natural settings. This happens to (almost) never be the case. Just because people are affected one way in a lab at UC Berkeley doesn't mean they'll be impacted the same way when sitting at home on the couch or while chatting with friends at the bar.

via

Fifty years ago.............................

Jimmy Cliff..................You Can Get It If You Really Want

The hard part is keeping them there...........

 In a big country, there are always going to be crazy people at the margins.

-Jonathan Chait, lifted from here

spiritual immune systems...............

 Fortunately, some are born with spiritual immune systems that sooner or later give rejection to the illusory worldview grafted upon them from birth through social conditioning. They begin sensing that something is amiss, and start looking for answers. Inner knowledge and anomalous outer experiences show them a side of reality others are oblivious to, and so begins their journey of awakening. Each step of the journey is made by following the heart instead of following the crowd and by choosing knowledge over the veils of ignorance.

-Henri Bergson

No trophy...................

 There’s no trophy for holding the longest grudge but the way some people act you’d think there was. And that’s sad because forgiveness is pretty amazing.

-Eric Barker, from this post

Kindness......................




      Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.

-Henry James

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

no duty to be fast..............

 The aim of human polity is human happiness...There is no obligation on us to be richer, or busier, or more efficient, or more productive, or more progressive, or in any way worldlier or wealthier, if it does not make us happier. Mankind has as much right to scrap its machinery and live on the land, if he really likes it better, as any man has to sell his old bicycle and go for a walk, if he likes that better. It is obvious that the walk will be slower; but he has no duty to be fast.

-Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Outline of Sanity

consider...........................

 Whenever you are invited to a meeting, consider whether it is an opportunity or a trap.

-Michael Wade, #348 from here

Checking in ........................

 .......................with Carlos Castaneda:

      For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it

Fifty years ago......................


The Hollies..............Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress

 

Seven Accelerants of Growth........................

 .......................from Tanmay Vora:

5.  Step back to grow. Growth often involves taking a step back. In our careers, sometimes the best way to move forward is to step back or sideways from our current path. When you step back, you can slingshot forward.

Old friends..................

      Renias stops and turns to me, "Come, buti, it's your turn now," he says.

     He brings me to the front of the line and offers me the trail.  My job now will be to follow, and as we are close, Renias and Alex will look over the top of me into the brush ahead so that we don't come upon the lions without seeing them.  At the head of the trail, I feel the natural pressure of being thrown the ball in front of people I admire.

     Suddenly, I feel an old friend who has walked with me for years arise.  Each of us has these friends, mine is called self-doubt.  I have learned rather than to resist him, to invite him in, welcoming him as a teacher of humility.  Together we continue.  The first track, and then the next first track.

-Boyd Varty, The Lion Tracker's Guide To Life


Don't remember reading this...............


 

Curate..........................

 1. Curate your information diet to be rich and diverse. Follow people who think differently than you. Read old books. Remember that what you put into your mind today is the raw material you have to work with tomorrow.

-Shane Parrish, more lessons here

Monday, January 17, 2022

Making the music....................Part One


Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys...........God Only Knows

Making the music.....................Part Two


Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys...........God Only Knows

 

Danger.........................

I know that one of the great dangers of my life would be to live without danger.  In our encounters with the edges, we come to know ourselves more deeply.  Neurosis is a substitute for real suffering.  Fearfulness is the most common state in a life that asks for no real courage.

-Boyd Varty,  The Lion Tracker's Guide To Life 

Choices..............................

 


















via

Sounds like pessimism talking................

 Optimism is a helluva drug. People believe things that aren’t true, are only loosely true, true but improbable, or true but lacking important context. To do otherwise hurts too much. They tell themselves stories, find statistics, and surround themselves with incentives to make their beliefs seem as real as possible.

They’ve done it forever. They’ll do it forever.

-culled from here

Fifty years ago.................................

Emerson, Lake & Palmer..................From The Beginning

inseparable...........................

Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don't look back at it too long.  Mistakes are life's way of teaching you.  Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals.  No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth.  Shake off your blunders.  How will you know your limits without an occasional failure?  Never quit.  Your turn will come. 

-Og Mandino

penetrate.........................

 We must practice living deeply, loving, and acting with charity if we wish to truly honor Jesus.  The way is Jesus Himself and not just some idea of him.  A true teaching is not static.  It is not mere words but the reality of life.  Many who have neither the way nor the life try to impose on others what they believe to be the way.  But those are only words that have no connection with real life or a real way.  When we understand and practice deeply the life and teachings of Buddha or the life and teachings of Jesus, we penetrate the door and enter the abode of the living Buddha and the living Christ, and life eternal presents itself to us.

-Thich Nhat Hahn, Living Buddha, Living Christ

King...........................

 You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

-Martin Luther King, Jr., as excerpted from his 1963 Letter From Birmingham Jail

Ohio tuna...............................

 .......................................Really.  Protein-rich too.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Fifty years ago......................

From the musical Godspell.....................Day by Day

Extremely short stories.........................

 The night before the D-Day Invasion, Franklin Roosevelt asked his wife Eleanor how she felt about not knowing what would happen next.

“To be nearly sixty years old and still rebel at uncertainty is ridiculous isn’t it?” she said.

-Morgan Housel, this being one of the 18 vignettes in this post

I'm fixing dinner tonight...........................

 
















via

One of the most interesting...................

 ...........paragraphs I've read this month:

     Impressment arose in part because the age of exploration created a demand for labor at sea that could not be met through normal financial incentives.  But it also arose because of changes on land.  The shift from late feudalism to early agrarian capitalism, the great disruption that would fuel the growth of the metropolitan centers in the coming centuries, had disgorged a whole class of society—small, commons-based cottage laborers—and turned them into itinerant free agents.  By the late 1500s, the explosion of vagabonds made them public enemy number one, triggering one of the first true moral panics of the post-Gutenberg era.  Everywhere there were wanderers, whole families lost in the changing economic landscape.  Serfs once grounded in a coherent, if oppressive, feudal system found themselves flotsam on the twisting stream of early capitalism.  To everyone sitting on the banks above that stream, the change must have seemed something like the modern fantasies of zombie invasions:  you wake up one day and realize that the streets are filled with people who not only lack homes, but also suffer from some other, more existential form of homelessness—not even knowing what kind of home they should be seeking.

-Steven Johnson, Enemy of All Mankind:  A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt

Opening paragraphs.........................

      The sudden rearmament that followed Napoleon's escape from Elba had done little to thin the ranks of unemployed sea-officers by the early spring of 1815.  A man-of-war stripped, dismantled and laid up cannot be manned, equipped and made ready for sea in a matter of weeks; and the best vantage-points in Gibraltar were now crowded with gentlemen on half-pay who with others had gathered to watch the long-expected arrival of Commodore Aubrey's squadron from Madeira, a squadron that would do something to refurnish the great bare stretch of water inside the mole - an extraordinary nakedness emphasized by the presence of a few hulks, the Royal Sovereign wearing the flag of the Commander-in-Chief, and a couple of lonely seventy-fours: no stream of liberty-boats plying to and fro, almost no appearance of true wartime life.

-Patrick O'Brian,  The Hundred Days

really meant it........................

 Down by the lake rosy reflections of celestial vapor appeared, and I said "God, I love you" and looked up to the sky and really meant it.  "I have fallen in love with you God.  Take care of us all, one way or another."

-Jack Kerouac,  The Dharma Bums

Correction..............................

       He was emerged from his struggles with a large sympathy for the machinery of the universe.  With his new eyes, he could see that the secret and open blows which were being dealt about the world with such heavenly lavishness were in truth blessings.  It was a deity laying about him with the bludgeon of correction.

-Stephen Crane,  The Red Badge of Courage