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My hope is that you use these emails to practice reflection.

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish. My mission is creating better conversations to spread understanding and compassion. Drop by https://constantine.name for my podcasts, writing and more.

~ Craig Constantine

Get to work

Stop searching for magic tricks. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. The fool will find this idea depressing. The wise person will find this liberating. So it goes.

~ Hugh Macleod from, https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2020/02/29/the-trick-is-there-is-no-trick/

 
 — original post, tagged Hugh MacLeod, Motivation, Quotes



The Internet

Ultimately, the goal is not to stop using the internet, or even minimize its use, but to put it back into a box in the basement where it belongs. The first step is to discover what I’m up against. If I find a way to make the internet small again, I’ll write a book about it so others can do it too.

~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2022/02/how-to-make-the-internet-small-again/

I’ve been beating this drum for years, (eg, here’s a search for “use you”.) I don’t want to put the Internet literally into a box and then stuff it in the basement. (Even setting aside that I don’t have a basement.) The Internet is nothing more than a tool. The Internet, but also TV, food, politics, religion, music, your car(s?), books, or even hoarding [sometimes misspelled “collecting”] things… one can have a dysfunctional relationship with anything. (Truth in blogging: My addiction is TV and snacking.)

Don’t think my little paragraphs here are meant to diminish what Cain wrote. Go read that, it’s better than what I’ve written here. Rather, my point is simply that we each need to figure out—for each of those things I listed above, and every other thing—are we using it, or are we letting it use us.

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 — original post, tagged David Cain, Self-improvement, Society



Our relationship with death

We now live in a world where [our relationship with detah] is the complete opposite. We have to repress the very thought of it. We can’t see it anywhere. It’s put into hopitals where it’s sanitized, where it happens behind closed doors. Nobody ever talks about it. Nobody tells you this is probably the most important life skill that you could have—to know how to deal with that fear of mortality. Nobody teaches that. Your parents don’t talk about it. Your girlfriend or boyfriend—they don’t talk about it. Nobody. It’s a dirty little secret. But it’s the only reality we have. We’re all going to die.

~ Robert Greene

 
 — original post, tagged Memento Mori, Quotes, Robert Greene



Radically brilliant

Maria Montessori’s ideas about education stem from the principles of choice, individual dignity, spontaneous order, experimental discovery, and freedom of movement. They stand in radical contrast to traditional schooling, too often based on authority, central planning, rigid instruction, and force. She once described children in such schools as “butterflies stuck with pins, fixed in their places.”

~ David Kirby from, https://reason.com/2022/01/30/maria-montessoris-libertarian-view-of-children/

This is a great introduction to Montessori, both the person and her ideas about education. Back in the Precambrian Era, my school district did a few decidedly Montessorian things. Did those make a difference for me? …were they the most important things in my primary education? Great questions for which I’ve no answer. I will say that my greatest memories—the ones that are about education, not the ones which simply happened in and around my schooling as great as those are—from primary education are from those decidedly unusual-for-that-time methods. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

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 — original post, tagged David Kirby, Education, Maria Montessori



Human existence

Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.

~ Bertrand Russel

 
 — original post, tagged Bertrand Russell, Meaning of life, Quotes



The price of the ticket

What a journey this life is! Dependent, entirely, on things unseen. If your lover lives in Hong Kong and cannot get to Chicago, it will be necessary for you to go to Hong Kong. Perhaps you will spend your life there, and never see Chicago again. And you will, I assure you, as long as space and time divide you from anyone you love, discover a great deal about shipping routes, airlines, earth quake, famine, disease, and war. And you will always know what time it is in Hong Kong, for you love someone who lives there. And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time and, furthermore, to win.

~ James Baldwin from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/01/31/james-baldwin-nothing-personal-love/

I’m not sure how many things I’ve linked to over on Popova’s Marginalian project. By now you should be directly following it and reading everything she’s publishing. I’m frozen by indecision; there are so countless many superlative books, and here’s another one. Drat!

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 — original post, tagged Books, James Baldwin, Maria Popova



Priorities

Lack of time is lack of priorities. If I’m “busy,” it is because I’ve made choices that put me in that position, so I’ve forbidden myself to reply to, “how are you?” with “busy.” I have no right to complain. Instead, if I’m too busy, it’s a cue to reexamine my systems and rules.

~ Tim Ferriss

 
 — original post, tagged Getting less done, Quotes, Systems, Tim Ferriss



Reasons and persons

You’ve probably heard this scenario before. It originally comes from Derek Parfit’s 1984 book Reasons and Persons, where he actually answers the question. (Though you may not like the answer.) To answer it, he has to go though a set of even weirder scenarios. Here’s most of them, edited aggressively.

~ “Dynomight” from, https://dynomight.net/no-self/

This article turns a number of complicated thought experiments into a disorienting dash through a hall of mirrors. I’ve not read Parfit’s book, but I’ve encountered these sorts of thought experiments before. On one hand I’m drawn to thinking about them because I feel I should be able to have some foundational, (although not necessarily simple,) principles that I can use to answer them. Which is a working definition of, “I want to be rational.” Until I start really digging into the experiments and things get really complicated. Why, it’s as if being a limited-in-resources mind forced to interact with in an intractably complex world, may not be something with a clear, correct, let alone singular, solution.

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 — original post, tagged Derek Parfit, Dynomight, Reason and Rationality, Thought and Philosophy



Utterance is magic

This is why utterance is magic. Words do have power. Names have power. Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.

~ Ursula K. Le Guin

 
 — original post, tagged Conversation, Language, Quotes, Ursula K Le Guin



Always a good reminder

We often turn it into something bad: I suck for not being disciplined, I suck for not being able to focus, I’m not strong enough, etc etc. But it’s just a part of being human — we all have fear, uncertainty, doubt, resistance built into our survival instincts.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/resistless/

My “I suck” dialog has different vocabulary, and I have a penchant for petulance. Nonetheless, it’s always a good reminder to be aware of it. I can sabotage myself, without fail, by setting expectations—any expectations—for anything I’m working on. The only way I can stay balanced on the narrow, mountaintop spine of rock that is sanity is to pay attention to the next steps. There’s not really much option about where the path along the ridge leads. In recent months I’ve been tinkering on a new project creating something I’ve been curious to try for a long time. It’s interesting, but not particularly difficult work. It’s definitely creative, and I’ve repeatedly found interesting little twists in the path. Am I going somewhere in particular with the project? …not really. I have ideas of what might be farther along the path, but that’s more an interesting additional possibility, rather than the reason for doing the work.

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 — original post, tagged Leo Babauta, Self-acceptance



Fair winds

Somehow these less-than-ideal conditions raised his game, spurred him on to greatness. There’s a definite lesson here. Fair winds do not a great captain make. We dream of finding our own greatness one day, but we want it to happen when the sun is shining.

~ Hugh Macleod from, https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2020/05/11/fair-winds-do-not-a-great-capitan-make/

 
 — original post, tagged Hugh MacLeod, Quotes, Self-improvement



Pet peeve #7

Web pages which neglect to include two of the most important pieces of information: Who and When. Yes, all web pages. Thou shalt always list the author. (“Anonymous” is a legitimate answer to, “who?’) Thou shalt always list at least a general composition/publication date. Online, it is already difficult to place things into context. Having a Who and When gives that many more clues to place things into context.

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 — original post, tagged Internet Tech, Snark



Three dots

Let me be clear that no part of me idealizes the bygone agony of waiting three weeks for a letter from your lover to cross the Atlantic—a letter that might never arrive from a lover who might be dead by the time it does arrive. But let me also be clear that, in another century or two, if humanity is wise enough to survive and reconsider its compulsions, posterity will look back on us gobsmacked that we put ourselves through the agony of the three pulsating dots.

~ Maria Popova

 
 — original post, tagged Internet Tech, Maria Popova, Quotes, Society



Take a seat

A simple way to start moving your body more is to swap your sedentary seat for “active sitting.” How much of your body’s work are you giving to the chair? If the back of the chair disappeared, what would happen? Would you collapse backwards? If yes, then the chair-back is doing the work of your core musculature. And obviously, if the bottom of a chair dropped out we’d fall straight down because the chair is also doing the work of the legs.

~ Katy Bowman from, https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/53-ways-to-take-a-seat/

This is a terrific example of Bowman’s way of looking into human movement. A huge amount of what I do involves computers. Even though have all the various physical types of computer, sedentary is still sedentary. Short of abandoning my entire lifestyle, the best I can do is to change things frequently through my day and this delightful little article has “a few” variations.

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 — original post, tagged Katy Bowman, Movement, Sitting




 
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My collection of ~1,000 quotes, (and growing,) figures prominently in these weekly emails. You can also get a daily, random quote by email from my Little Box of Quotes.






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