26 February 2013

Matthew Taylor: 21st century enlightenment

Science has helped us to realize that we are bad at guessing what will make us happy in the future, bad at knowing what made us happy in the past and, in general, bad at guessing how the world works. Taylor argues that modern enlightenment needs to focus more on fostering emphatic capacity and less on pursuing progress for the sake of progress.

RSA Animate - 21st century enlightenment
Matthew Taylor - 21st century enlightenment (RSA)

25 February 2013

The Night is Sad

Note: I wrote this some time ago (as in several years ago). I am not sure where it came from though I am thinking that I woke up in the night and forgot that I should have been sleeping and instead started writing.

The sadness of the night seeps in through the open window. Like the gentle breeze it rustles my hair and fills my nostrils with its sweet ways. If not for this, the quietly crying night, I would myself be asleep. But when the night is sad, how can I sleep?

I feel that I must listen to its sad song and cry with it. Somehow we, crying together, can be healed of her pain and heartache. Why is she sad? Scorned by some ancient lover past, betrayed by a dear friend or perhaps the death of a precious star that she spent so much time and effort to keep alive. In the end, it doesn't matter why. What matters is that I am here to hear her weeping sobs and console her with what little I have to offer, just like she has been there for me so many times before.

Tears all gone, we stop and wait. Tick, tick, tick. The seconds pass as we contemplate the future.

Futures all considered, we drift to sleep. Drip, drip, drip. The thoughts pass between us until hope and life are restored.

Me and the night, together once again.

20 February 2013

11 February 2013

Take Stock

There are times in life when you are prompted to take stock of where you are and what you are doing. You may even take a moment to reconcile the two to each other.

And when the prompting comes, it is most important that you act on it. Such promptings do not come often enough or reliably enough to be ignored.

When you choose to reconcile the facets that make you, it will be a long and difficult process to faithfully compare your dreams to reality, your expectations to performances.

And you will want to reconcile the two. The real power of these introspective moments comes when you discover what more you can do.

Take time to craft a plan while your vision is clear and your thoughts are focus. More importantly, take time to write the plan down so that you can read it later.

And when you write it down, make it clear as possible. Many a brilliant word has been lost because they were not recorded clearly enough.

When taking in the moment, try to make it a rich, endearing experiences that can soak and penetrate your being so that they can be treasured and reflected upon in the future.

And when you reflect upon these moments, and you should reflect upon them often, you can be reminded about your life plan. The one you made when comparing.

Follow the plan that you craft until life breaks too far away from it. You will find solace and comfort in knowing what has been done and what yet remains.

And life will break away from the plan. Sometimes it will happen right away and sometimes it will take a long time. Either way, revel in chaos of it all.

As the chaos threatens to consume, remember to step back and breathe… deep… long… breaths… until you can collect your wits again. Wit may save your life.

And even if wit will not save you, it will at least make life, or death, more bearable. Maybe making death bearable is all that can be done. Maybe that will be enough.

In the deepest depths though, you will realize that you are not dying, you are just not living. We were meant to live and life hurts when it is not being used.

And so, you begin to live. You climb mountains, ride rhinos, chatter bears and take every challenge that is thrown at you and you feel fantastic.

Feeling fantastic puts you on top of the world. You find that for once in your life, you, and you alone, are in command of it all.

And then you relax on a much needed vacation. Instead of adventuring throughout the world, you keep it low-key for a while.

While on your vacation you start remembering back when you used to work. It seems like so long ago even though it has only been a few days.

And then suddenly, almost inextricably, your chest is swelling with a great desire to do something. Anything. Relaxing is killing you!

In a burst of vigor you surge forward. A glance at your plan, written in clarity, reminds you of all the things that you should be doing.

And you get back to work, trying to make up for time lost while relaxing. Vacation was fun, but there is still so much to do.

Like a bear waking from a long hibernation you burst onto the scene. Nothing works faster than you, harder than you, smarter than you.

And you do all the work because no one else is competent to do it. No one else can come close to matching you. They are losers.

Then you realize that you are the loser because you are the one so caught up things in things that do not matter that you have forgotten to live once again.

And you start to scorn yourself for being so dumb. How could you have got so caught in such a silly game with yourself?

There comes a prompting, a small wriggling in your toes that makes you think that you should take stock of where you are and what you are doing.

07 February 2013

Jeffrey Alexander and Gordon Lynch: The Power of the Sacred

An interesting discussion about “sacred” things (not in the traditional religious sense, but in a morally impacting sense) and how these “timeless realities” govern society in general.

05 February 2013