Saturday, June 25, 2022
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
If we want to understand before we are understood, we must deploy what John Steinbeck referred to as "a good ear." A good ear is one that hears below the surface. Every text has a subtext, and it is usually the subliminal messages that have the most power and truth. It is a rule of human nature that we often say what we do not mean. We use words that are not true to how we feel. We distort and hide and obfuscate, usually because we fear presenting the real us and being rejected for it. Given this, if we want to be deep listeners we must listen between the lines to the silences, the emotions, the doubts, the deep-seated beliefs that influence a person's life, choices and self-image. We listen for the untold story.
-Adam S. McHugh, The Listening Life
Powerful and ingenious minds, taking as postulates that the powers expressly granted to the government of the Union are to be contracted by construction into the narrowest possible compass and that the original powers of the States are retained if any possible construction will retain them may, by a course of well digested but refined and metaphysical reasoning founded on these premises, explain away the Constitution of our country and leave it a magnificent structure indeed to look at, but totally unfit for use. They may so entangle and perplex the understanding as to obscure principles which were before thought quite plain, and induce doubts where, if the mind were to pursue its own course, none would be perceived. In such a case, it is peculiarly necessary to recur to safe and fundamental principles to sustain those principles, and when sustained, to make them the tests of the arguments to be examined.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
.............that the psychological component to the economy was both underrated and undervalued. One lesson taken away from Reagan and Trump is that optimism matters. Faithful readers may remember that, while mostly fearless, we fear deflation more than inflation.
There is a lot we still don’t understand about inflation, especially since there is such a huge psychological component to prices and spending by consumers.
..............with Robert Louis Stevenson:
Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords; and the little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.
I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.
A good conscience is eight parts of courage.
To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive
Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits
Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.
Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
There are minds that, having risen beyond primitive, unthinking orthodoxies, often merely turn to a rejection of the traditional. Whoever has made this apparent advance is convinced that he or she has reached a superior condition. Minds that have improved their knowledge and remained open to more have indeed progressed. But we often find those who have achieved a critical attitude to the traditional have also adopted a largely, or wholly, uncritical attitude to untried, or even failed, alternatives whose attraction so verbal rather than real.
"Special interests" are often, and sometimes rightly, indicted for various social and other offenses. But, of course, special interests are not necessarily economic. What may reasonably be called interest groups could equally be emotional or mental factions, that is, insistent minorities in society. Often, what is more, they themselves feel pressure from their own extremer wings—that is to say, a minority within a minority. Greed is only one of the deadly sins.
Friday, June 17, 2022
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
I am radically opposed to technology (it goes without saying), but also against politics and social reform. These oppressive disciplines have been invented by do-gooders, seeking the perfection of the world. They are, characteristically, in league with devils.
-David Warren, from "The beauty of a world in confusion"