Saturday, December 10, 2022
We need to accept that we do not know and cannot know what is going to happen, and make plans accordingly; to practice resilience and acquire and retain as many options as possible.
Knight's insight—that it is radical uncertainty which gives opportunity for entrepreneurship—is fundamental to an understanding of social, technological and economic progress. Through evolutionary processes—biological, institutional, political, market-driven—entrepreneurship drives us forward. Not just in business but in scholarship, practical knowledge, the arts, and many other areas of life.
We must labor to make certain that our memories of past experiences, whether good or bad, are accurate if they are to serve us and to make the future better than the past. We must reflect on our past, reliving the moments, pondering the lessons, and refining out current conduct based on the lessons of our personal history. If we have manipulated the truth of the past, if we have tended to blame others rather than ourselves, then we are seeking an escape from reality, and we will be destined to repeat past errors and relive present difficulties.
-Jim Rohn, as culled from The Five Major Pieces To The Life Puzzle
Friday, December 9, 2022
The archer who overshoots the target misses as much as the one who does not reach it. And my eyes trouble me as much when I raise them suddenly to a strong light as when I drop them into the shadow. Callicles, in Plato, says that the extremity of philosophy is harmful, and advises us not to plunge into it beyond the limits of profit; that taken with moderation, it is pleasant and advantageous, but that in the end it makes a man wild and vicious, disdainful of common religions and laws, and enemy of social intercourse, an enemy of human pleasures, incapable of any political administration and of helping either others or himself, fit to be slapped with impunity. He speaks truly, for in its excess it enslaves our natural freedom and, by importunate subtlety, leads us astray from the fine and level road that nature has traced for us.
-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 30
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
1) Imago Dei: Every person is inherently valuable independent of behavior and beliefs. Everyone matters. Treat people accordingly, without exception.
5) Messy: Life is messy. People are messy. Business is messy. Relationships are messy. I’m messy. Messiness should never be surprising. Give myself and others grace.
-The balance of Brent Beshore's list is here
.................................a very good question:
What use could they have for our modern gizmos, who already knew what they needed to know?
Ed. Note: Sort of surprising, but the definition of ischaemia can be found here
I'm an evangelist for Mozart, Caravaggio, and Stevenson. Missionary work takes perseverance and patience, key to conversion being experience, which leads to dialog, which leads to exploration, which leads to choice, which leads to understanding and growth. . . . Kids need to be told stories, not by appeasers, but by crusaders who care about their hearts and souls, by those willing to use courage and take the time to read to kids, sing to kids, dance to Mozart with kids; showing the not only The Way, but the purpose and the benefit of The Way.
-Rob Firchau, from this forever post
Service, ambition, duty, loyalty, the desire to be the best, the desire to say yes—not such bad character traits to have cherished. I always thought of them as strengths, but lately I wonder if somewhere along the line they became a cover for something more suspicious.
-Bono, as culled from this wondrous blog
In a competition between someone who knows the most and someone who is willing to learn the most, the edge usually goes to the curious and empathic professional, not the one who is simply protecting what’s already known.
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Old men especially are dangerous, whose memory of things remains, but who have lost the memory of their repetitions. I have seen some very amusing stories become very boring in the mouth of one nobleman, everyone present having been sated with them a hundred times.
-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 9
After she was elected the first female governor of Texas, in 1924, and got herself promptly embroiled in an argument about whether Spanish should be used in Lone Star schools, it is possible that Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson did not say "If the King's English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for the children of Texas." I still rather hope that she did. But then, verification of quotations and sources is a tricky and sensitive thing. Abraham Lincoln lay dying in a room full of educated and literate men, in the age of wireless telegraph, and not far from the offices of several newspapers, and we still do not know for sure, at the moment when his great pulse ceased to beat, whether his secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, said, "Now he belongs to the ages" or "Now he belongs to the angels."
-Christopher Hitchens, as he opens this essay
Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.
Monday, December 5, 2022
Lately when I retired to my home, determined so far as possible to bother about nothing except spending the little life I have left in rest and seclusion, it seemed to me I could do my mind no greater favor that to let it entertain itself in full idleness and stay and settle itself, which I hoped it might do more easily now, having become weightier and riper with time. But I find that, on the contrary, like a runaway horse, it gives itself a hundred times more trouble than it took from others, and gives birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monsters, one after another, without order or purpose, that in order to contemplate their ineptitude and strangeness at my pleasure, I have begun to put them in writing, hoping in time to make my mind ashamed of itself.
-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 8
Emotional and intellectual errors, as well as religious and political errors, are perpetrated by distortions of either content, context, or both. Sentimentality and emotionalism are presented as justifications to violate even the basic rules of logic. The damaging consequences of these lapses of integrity to society are enormous. They block and impede progress in major areas of life. Major social disasters go on for centuries before the fallacy of their basis is exposed. The serious seeker of spiritual truth cannot afford such deceptions. The way to Truth is via radical honesty.
Thinking like a lawyer also means that you can make arguments on any side of any question. Many of you resist that teaching, thinking that we are stripping you of your personal principles and convictions, transforming you into a hired gun. On the contrary, learning how to make arguments on different sides of a question is learning that there are arguments on both sides, and learning how to hear them. That is the core of the liberal value of tolerance, but also the precondition for order in a society that chooses to engage in conflict with words rather than guns. It is our best hope for rational deliberation, for solving problems together not based on eradicating conflict, but for channeling it productively and cooperating where possible.
A newlywed young man was sitting on the porch on a hot, humid day; sipping iced tea with his father. As he talked about adult life, marriage, responsibilities, and obligations, the father thoughtfully stirred the ice cubes in his glass and cast a clear, sober look on his son. "Never forget your friends," he advised, "they will become more important as you get older." "Regardless of how much you love your family and the children you happen to have; you will always need friends. Remember to go out with them occasionally, do activities with them, call them ...""What strange advice!" Thought the young man. "I just entered the married world; I am an adult and surely my wife and the family that we will start will be everything I need to make sense of my life." Yet he obeyed his father; Kept in touch with his friends and annually increased their number. Over the years, he became aware that his father knew what he was talking about. Inasmuch as time and nature carry out their designs and mysteries on a man, friends were the bulwarks of his life.
After 60 years of life, here is what he learned: Time passes. Life goes on. The distance separates. Children grow up. Children cease to be children and become independent. And to the parents, it breaks their hearts, but the children are separated of the parents. Jobs come and go. Illusions, desires, attraction, sex ... weaken. People do not do what they should do. The heart breaks. The parents die. Colleagues forget the favors. The races are over. But true friends are always there, no matter how long or how many miles away they are. A friend is never more distant than the reach of a need, intervening in your favor, waiting for you with open arms or blessing your life.
When we started this adventure called LIFE, we did not know of the incredible joys or sorrows that were ahead. We did not know how much we would need from each other. Love your parents, take care of your children, but keep a group of good friends. Dialogue with them but do not impose your criteria.
...........of investing in real estate, I never would have thought of this one:
On the other hand, there are benefits to owning real estate. The biggest one is that you’re not getting a price quote five days a week like you do in the stock market. That makes it way easier to think and act for the long-term.
On the other hand, I get about five spam calls, three unsolicited text messages, and one post card a day inquiring as to my willingness to sell real estate we do own. Ignoring that noise has become part of my job.
Nothing quite impacted Jackson like the American Revolution. It destroyed his patriot family, left him an orphan, and shifted his loyalties decisively and forever from clan to country. Just sixteen when the war concluded, Jackson saw service as a courier in the militia, attended to troops at the Battle of Hanging Rock fought in the chaotic South Carolina interior, and was later captured and help prisoner. He remains the only POW to become president. From these several and traumatic experiences he developed and abiding hate for Great Britain and, more generally, the hereditary underpinnings, casting peerage as the eternal enemy of the people, a resilient adversary that he recognized in the subsequent struggles including the Bank War, in which he denounced the offending national depository as a "dangerous aristocratic influence." For Jackson, that is to say, the Revolution never really ended. Long after independence, it continued to frame his way of reckoning with the world, offering a constant and convenient ideological rival to rail against.
-David S. Brown, The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson
Sunday, December 4, 2022
A great deal of the talk about laissez faire [in the nineteenth century] must be discounted, or at least put into its proper context. In many cases the argument concealed an admission that a problem was insoluble, or that it must be endured, because no one could think of any method of solving it. From this point of view, the policy of laissez faire was not the result of a new and optimistic belief in the progress of society through private enterprise. It was rather an acknowledgement that the fund of skill and experience at the service of society was limited, and that, in the management of their common affairs, men would not be able to find the elasticity and adaptiveness which individuals showed in devising schemes for their own self-interest.
I was working on an HBR piece with Citibank's legendary Walter Wriston in his New York office when he gave me a short course on content versus context.
"Every day I'm presented with three types of information," Wriston said. "Facts, wrong facts, and damned lies. My job is to know which is which."
The ordinary surroundings of life which are esteemed by men (as their actions testify) to be the highest good, may be classed under the three heads — Riches, Fame, and the Pleasures of Sense: with these three the mind is so absorbed that it has little power to reflect on any different good. . . . But love for an object eternal and infinite feeds the mind with joy alone, and a joy which is free from all sorrow. This is something greatly to be desired and to be sought with all our strength.
Spinoza challenged the older philosopher's segregation of mental substance from material substance, arguing instead that mind and matter were not two separable substances but simply two different attributes, or aspects, of one and the same substance, which he called Deus, sive Natura, "God, or Nature." This unitary substance would appear as matter, on the one hand, or as mind, on the other, depended upon the vantage we viewed it from. Just as, according to Spinoza, the vast and originating power that his contemporaries called "God" was nothing other than the creative dynamism and intelligence of Nature itself, so the human mind was simply the specific sensitivity and sentience of that part of nature we recognize as the human body. Every material body or thing, for Spinoza, had its mental aspect—all things were ensouled. The human body was the outward material aspect of the human mind, as the mind was nothing other than the internal, felt experience of the body. "The mind and the body are one and the same thing. . ."
It was such heretical assertions, articulated in numerous conversations with his contemporaries, that in his twenty-fourth year earned Spinoza the harshest possible reproach from the elders of the flourishing synagogue in Amsterdam: he was excommunicated, formally cursed, and banished from the Jewish community. Spinoza accepted this exile without the least objection, remarking only that it left him freer to pursue his researches without distraction.
-David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology