Monday, May 18, 2020
In the summer of 1969, when I was eleven, I bought a stereo system at the local hi-fi shop. It cost all of the hundred dollars I had earned weeding neighbors' gardens that spring at seventy-five cents an hour. I spent long afternoons in my room, listening to records: Cream, the Rolling Stones, Chicago, Simon and Garfunkel, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, George Shearing, and the saxophonist Boots Randolph. I didn't listed particularly loud, at least not compared to my college days when I actually set my loudspeakers on fire by cranking up the volume too high, but the noise evidently was too much for my parents. My mother was a novelist; she wrote every day in the den just down the hall and played the piano for an hour every night before dinner. My father was a businessman; he worked eighty-hour weeks, forty of those hours in his office at home on evenings and weekends. Being the businessman that he was, my father made me a proposition: He would buy me a pair of headphones if I would promise to use them when he was home. Those headphones forever changed the way I listened to music.
-Daniel J. Levitin, This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of A Human Obsession
A black tenant farmer he was, then, in 1967, when I first met him, and a black tenant farmer he still is today. But time takes its toll, he reminded me recently, as we reminisced together. I had returned to Alabama in the summer, a whirl of a trip, all too characteristic of my ilk—the busy, self-importance of the Yankee bourgeoisie. He had no claim to being in a rush; his time was mine, all of it I wanted, and then some. As for my various obligations, he sure hoped they didn't "overwhelm" me. I thanked him for his concern, and hastened (in a hurry with words, also!) to let him know I was "alright." I was referring to my body—letting him know that I wasn't suffering any ill effects, as a consequence of my various speedy trips. But he had other thoughts in mind, and he was willing to offer them without hesitation: "You can get going so fast, you lose your way. Jesus told us: He said, He's the way, but we figure we're the way, and that's being lost!"
-Robert Coles, from his 1988 Harvard Diary: Reflections on the Sacred and the Secular
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Dogma demands authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural kindness in favour of systematic hatred. Since argument is not recognized as a means of arriving at truth, adherents of rival dogmas have no method except war by means of which to reach a decision.
-Bertrand Russell, Philosophy And Politics, from his speech delivered in 1946
You affirm, "I am rich," and your mind contradicts, "You're not." The conflict that develops confuses the Universal Law, which is about to deliver your heart's desire. This clash of opposing energies has been the challenge of the would-be initiate since the beginning of time. It is the hunt for the Grail, or the slaying of the dragon. It states that no one enters the kingdom of heaven within until he has tamed the dragon of negativity that he inherited from the collective unconscious.
-Stuart Wilde, Miracles
But I learned a lesson that is more valuable than any piece of paper bearing a university seal, and it has served me on the long road back to myself: How did we get here? is not as important as Where do we go from here?
-as culled from this non-Commencement Address
"If finality makes something holy then every moment is holy, because every moment could be the last. That’s a thought we spend too cheaply. Live each day as if it’s your last, we think, and then we don’t. Everything is holy. It’s only when we die that the holiness is called up. But it was always holy, all along."
-Samantha Harvey, as cut-and-pasted from here
1. Learn to remember names. Inefficiency at this point may indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing.
2. Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you. Be an old-shoe, old-hat kind of individual.
3. Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you.
4. Don't be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all.
5. Cultivate the quality of being interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you.
6. Study to get the "scratchy" elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious.
7. Sincerely attempt to heal, on an honest Christian basis, every misunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances.
8. Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely.
9. Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone's achievement, or express sympathy in sorrow or disappointment.
10. Give spiritual strength to people, and they will give genuine affection to you.
-Lyndon Baines Johnson, as quoted by David J. Schwartz, in The Magic Of Thinking BIG
Human character evermore publishes itself. The most fugitive deed and word, the mere air of doing a thing, the intimated purpose, expresses character. If you act, you show character; if you sit still, if you sleep, you show it. You think, because you have spoken nothing when others spoke, and have given no opinion on the times, on the church, on slavery, on marriage, on socialism, on secret societies, on the college, on parties and persons, that your verdict is still expected with curiosity as a reserved wisdom. Far otherwise; your silence answers very loud. You have no oracle to utter, and you fellow-men have learned that you cannot help them; for oracles speak. Doth not wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice?
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his 1841 essay Spiritual Laws