Saturday, August 12, 2017
"... perhaps the great disaster of human history is one that happened to or within religion: that is, the conceptual division between the holy and the world, the excerpting of the Creator from the creation."
“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ....get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”
Friday, August 11, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017
"One of the men I wrote about in my reporter days was Walt Disney - Uncle Walt, he liked to be called. Now there was a man fizzing with intelligence. Someone once asked him his 'secret' and he said this: 'Do something so well that people will pay to see you do it again.'
"You can see how that credo fits his movies and amusement parks. But how did Uncle Walt do it? How do you amaze and delight people so much that they come back again and again?
"Those questions were on my mind when I took my kid to see the Disney movie Snow White, decades ago. There's a scene in that movie where Snow is standing beside a well. And she tells a flock of doves that it's a wishing well. She demonstrates, saying something like, 'I wish my prince would come.' Then we see her from the bottom of the well, right through the water. We watch her face, shimmering in the surface of the water as drops of water fall into the well and create ripples moving out. Now imagine drawing a shimmering face reflected in water that's rippling out in circles. Imagine how hard that would be, especially since this was long before computer animation.
"Why would Walt Disney have his artists devote all those hours of labor on that one little segment? If Disney had had a guy with an MBA on his staff, the guy would have said, 'Are you crazy? Cut that water nonsense. It doesn't add anything to the plot.'"
... "But Uncle Walt was not an MBA; he was an artist. And the water scene stayed in the movie. Why? Because it hadn't been done. Because it was hard. Uncle Walt was showing off.
"And at that moment, sitting in the theater with my daughter, I realized what genius was all about. That scene in Snow White whispers the secret of achievement...." And he dropped his voice so low that I had to bend in to hear him: "It's better than it has to be."
-Dale Dauten, The Max Strategy: How A Businessman Got Stuck At An Airport And Learned To Make His Career Take Off
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Every prominent instance of journalism that proceeds with less than normal rigor when the subject touches on social justice feeds a growing national impulse to dismiss everything published about these subjects—even important, rigorous, accurate articles. Large swathes of the public now believe the mainstream media is more concerned with stigmatizing wrong-think and being politically correct than being accurate. The political fallout from this shift has been ruinous to lots of social-justice causes—causes that would thrive in an environment in which the public accepted the facts.
-Conor Friedersdorf, as taken from here
The propensity to barter and exchange is an innate human characteristic. An inclination to divine the future is another deeply ingrained trait. Together they comprise the act of financial speculation. "All life is speculation," declared the celebrated nineteenth-century American trader James R. Keene, "the spirit of speculation is born with men." For the earliest know historical cases of speculation we must turn to ancient Rome during the Republic of the second century B.C. By this date, the Roman financial system had developed many of the characteristics of modern capitalism: markets flourished because Roman law allowed the free transfer of property, money was lent out at interest, money changers dealt in foreign currencies, and payments across the Roman territories could be make by bankers'draft. Capital concentrated in Rome, as it later did in Amsterdam, London, and New York. The idea of credit had also developed, along with a primitive form of insurance for ships and other forms of property. The people of Rome exhibited a passion for the accumulation of wealth, matched by an extravagance in its display and consumption. Gaming was common.
-Edward Chancellor, Devil Take The Hindmost: A History Of Financial Speculation
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
The study of the psychology of speculators is as valuable as it ever was. I think the clearest summing up of the whole thing was expressed by Thomas F. Woodlock when he declared: "The principles of successful stock speculation are based on the supposition that people will continue in the future to make the mistakes that they have made in the past."
As in the pseudoscience of bloodletting, just so in the pseudoscience of city rebuilding and planning, years of learning and a plethora of subtle and complicated dogma have arisen on a foundation of nonsense.
It may be that we have become so feckless as a people that we no longer care how things work, but only what kind of quick, easy outer impression they give
As in all Utopias, the right to have plans of any significance belonged only to the planners in charge.
There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and be served.
-Jane Jacobs, as culled from her introduction to her 1961 book, The Death and Life Of Great American Cities
I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced that they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.
-attributed to Ellen Goodman
The twelfth day of July 1817 saw the arrival of the first of those sultry, sweaty summer days that Concord's farmers knew as dog days. Their almanacs marked these as beginning July 3 and ending August 11 - the forty-day period preceding the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius - but they knew that the first furnace blase of austral air could come a week or more on either side of the third. this was good grass-growing weather; red-top, herd's-grass, sheep's fescue, and Canadian bluegrass and the ripening rye and wheat presented a checkerboard of greens, purples, reds, and golds. Walking the fields were haymakers in white shirts and straw hats, occasionally setting aside their scythes and calling out to one another.
-Kevin Dann, Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau
There is a wistful myth that if only we had enough money to spend- the figure is usually put at a hundred billion dollars - we could wipe out all our slums in ten years, reverse decay in the great, dull, gray belts that were yesterday's and day-before-yesterday's suburbs, anchor the wandering middle class and its wandering tax money, and perhaps even solve the traffic problem.
But look what we have built with the first several billions: Low-income projects that become worse centers of delinquency, vandalism, and general social helplessness than the slums they were supposed to replace. Middle-income housing projects which are truly marvels of dullness and regimentation, sealed against any buoyancy or vitality of city life. Luxury housing projects that mitigate their inanity, or try to, with a vapid vulgarity. Cultural centers that are unable to support a good book store. Civic centers that are avoided by everyone but bums, who have fewer choices of loitering place than others. Commercial centers that are lackluster imitations of standardized suburban chain-store shopping. Promenades that go from no place to nowhere and have no promenaders. Expressways that eviscerate great cities. This is not the rebuilding of cities. This is the sacking of cities.
-Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life Of Great American Cities (1961)
Monday, August 7, 2017
Every day, either you live by priorities or you live by pressures. There is no other option. Either you decide what is important in your life, or you let other people decide what is important in your life.
A good Parson once said, that where Mystery begins, Religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human Laws, that where Mystery begins, Justice ends? It is hard to say, whether the Doctors of Law or Divinity have made the greater Advances in the lucrative Business of Mystery. The Lawyers, as well as the Theologians, have erected another Reason besides Natural Reason; and the Result has been, another Justice besides Natural Justice. They have so bewildered the World and themselves in unmeaning Forms and Ceremonies, and so perplexed the plainest Matters with metaphysical Jargon, that it carries the highest Danger to a Man out of that Profession, to make the least Step without their Advice and Assistance.
Edmund Burke, 1756, as excerpted from here
.................................Be interesting to see how this turns out. I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that a good salesperson is a value-added proposition.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
-Edmund Burke, 1791 Letter to a Member of the National Assembly
For the most part, God lets the Evolution Factory handle reality. The Evolution Factory is one of his better projects. Brilliant really.
After all, if You were God and were going to create and run an entire universe, You wouldn’t really want to be running around it all the time doing hands-on alterations on everything from quarks to galaxies. Micromanagement is boring and doing a bunch of handwork on the entire universe for all eternity can get old really quick. It’s much better just to create a process that will essentially hunt and peck along for order across billions of years and, sooner or later, come up with a life form that can both apprehend You and make a hot-fudge sundae at the same time.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer.............................From The Beginning
There might have been things I missed
But don't be unkind
It don't mean I'm blind
Perhaps there's a thing or two
I think of lying in bed
I shouldn't have said
But there it is
You see it's all clear
You were meant to be here
From the beginning
Maybe I might have changed
And not been so cruel
Not been such a fool
Whatever was done is done
I just can't recall
It doesn't matter at all
You see it's all clear
You were meant to be here
From the beginning
Happiness lies not it the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt, culled from his first inaugural address, March 4, 1933
Humor is a means of detachment or recontextualizing the events of life. It is a way of being lighthearted and "wearing the world like a loose garment." It leads to compassion for the totality of human life and reveals the option that one can play at life without getting involved in it as though it were an exhausting life-and-death struggle.
-David R. Hawkins
"Most folks figure a true friend is someone who accepts them as they are. But that is dangerous garbage to believe." He gave a dismissive wave of his hand. "The kid who works the drive-through at your local fast-food restaurant accepts you for who your are - because he doesn't care anything about you. But a true friend holds you to a higher standard. A true friend brings out the best in you." Jones cocked his head and leaned across the table as if he were about to tell them a secret. "A best friend," he said softly, "will always tell you the truth ... and a wise best friend will include a healthy dose of perspective."
-Andy Andrews, The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective