Saturday, April 4, 2020
Thursday, April 2, 2020
"The Congress is ordinarily courteous and patient about listening to testimony, but gives not evidence of being willing to delegate any of its authority."
-Warren Weaver, Science and Imagination: Selected Papers, circa 1959
"We've upped our standards. Up yours."
"To get to the meat of the matter, I will come right to the point, and take note of the fact that the heart of the issue in the final analysis escapes me."
-One of Pat Paulsen's campaign slogans, followed by one on his stock answers to most questions.
True leisure, however, is neither a luxury nor a vice. It is as vital to our brains as Vitamin C is to our bodies. There's not a person on earth who on their deathbed thinks, "Had I only put a few more hours at the office or sat in front of the tube some more." Sure, swimming in a sea of spare time will not be easy. A twenty-first century education should prepare people not only for joining the workforce, but also (and more importantly) for life. "Since men will not be tired in their spare time," the philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in 1932, "they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid."
We can handle the good life, if only we take the time.
-Rutger Bregman, Utopia For Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World
Monday, March 30, 2020
Sunday, March 29, 2020
My soul preached to me and said, "Do not be delighted because of praise, and do not be distressed because of blame."
Ere my soul counselled me, I doubted the worth of my work.
Now I realize the trees blossom in Spring and bear fruit in Summer without asking praise; and they drop their leaves in Autumn and become naked in Winter without fearing blame.
-Kahlil Gibran, Thoughts And Meditations
There are some things only intellectuals are crazy enough to believe.
One is almost driven to the cynical conclusion that men are only decent when they are powerless.
Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea.
The thing that strikes me more and more—and it strikes a lot of other people, too—is the extraordinary viciousness and dishonesty of political controversy in our time. I don't mean merely that controversies are acrimonious. They ought to be that when they are on serious subjects. I mean that almost nobody seems to feel that an opponent deserves a fair hearing or that the objective truth matters as long as you can score a neat debating point. (December, 1944)
The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils.
Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. This is an illusion, and one should recognise it as such,. . .
Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.
The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.
The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: . . .
Fate seemed to be playing a series of extraordinarily unamusing jokes.
It is almost impossible to think without talking. ... Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.
-attributed to George Orwell, much more fun here
The universe is a form of divine law,
your reasonable father.
When you feel ungrateful to him,
the shapes of the world seem mean and ugly.
Make peace with that father, the elegant patterning,
and every experience will fill with immediacy.
Because I love this, I am never bored.
Beauty constantly wells up, a noise of springwater
in my ear and in my inner being.
enlargeable photo and description here
Science tries to answer the question: ‘How?’ How do cells act in the body? How do you design an airplane that will fly faster than sound? How is a molecule of insulin constructed? Religion, by contrast, tries to answer the question: ‘Why?’ Why was man created? Why ought I to tell the truth? Why must there be sorrow or pain or death? Science attempts to analyze how things and people and animals behave; it has no concern whether this behavior is good or bad, is purposeful or not. But religion is precisely the quest for such answers: whether an act is right or wrong, good or bad, and why.
"We keep, in science, getting a more and more sophisticated view of our essential ignorance."
Warren Weaver is not a household name, but he may be the most influential scientist you've never heard of, actively shaping three of the most important scientific revolutions of the past century—life sciences, information technology, and agriculture. In 1932 Weaver joined the Rockefeller Foundation to lead the division charged with supporting scientific research. Funding was scarce during the Great Depression, and the Rockefeller Foundation, with an endowment nearly twice the size of Harvard's at the time, was one of the most important patrons of scientific research in the world. Over his three decades at the Rockefeller Foundation, Weaver acted as a banker, talent scout, and kingmaker to support the nascent field of molecular biology, a term he himself coined. Weaver had an uncanny knack for picking future all-stars. Eighteen scientists won Nobel Prizes for research related to molecular biology in the middle of the century, and Weaver had funded all but three of them.
-Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Simple Rules: How To Thrive In A Complex World
We need to be aware that we have unwittingly become "injustice collectors." The media reports are full of this form of chronic resentment. We see "injustice collecting" in international relations where making the other nation "wrong" is actually a primary objective. We are unconsciously programmed to believe that "injustice collecting" is "normal." In contrast to this habitual pattern, which is destructive and weakening, the letting go technique frees us from keeping close account of the "wrongs" made against us. Our time and attention are freed up to see the beauty and opportunity around us.
Anger is binding, not freeing. It connects us to another person and holds them in our life pattern. We are stuck in the negative pattern until we let go of the energy of anger and its little payoffs of righteous indignation, feeling wronged, and the desire for revenge. It may not be exactly the same person who constantly recurs in our life. If not that person, then others will appear who have the same quality that triggers our anger and resentment. This will keep recurring until we finally handle our inner angriness. Then, suddenly, people with that quality disappear from our life. Therefore, anger may force someone to be physically distant from us, but psychically it binds them to us more closely, until we fully relinquish the anger and resentment.
Relinquishing anger brings us many benefits. We are free to experience emotional comfort and ease, gratitude for the daily opportunities to grow and heal, mutual caring with another without subtle "strings attached," improvement in health, and more life energy. These breakthroughs allow us to move up to a more effective and effortless state of inner freedom.
-David R. Hawkins, Letting Go: The Pathway Of Surrender