"The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes."
Pema Chodron (via heyfranhey)
"A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul."
Goethe (via arzitekt)
Collective punishment, in which the entire population of the enemy country is targeted, so that an old man in a wheelchair and a kid reading a book in bed are in as much danger as a tank, is a vile impulse, and though it is now regarded as a violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions, it has continued to be practiced long after Dresden and Hiroshima.
Taking into account unintended consequences is not regarded as a necessary component of strategic thinking in Washington. No wonder our grand project to remake the world in our own image, shape the future, and determine the outcome of history has proved to be as much of a flop as the world revolution the old commies were preaching.
“Collateral damage” is what somebody’s grandparents with their heads blown off are called today.
Of course, this is not generally how we talk about things. We practice what Ted Snider in a recent blog post called “a doctrine of historical creationism,” an interpretation of current events that is manipulated by selecting a convenient starting point for them—one that leaves out prior events and the larger setting in which they are unfolding.
There’s an authoritarian strain to this need to restrict historical precedent and turn serious issues into comic book narratives. We encounter it both in political commentary on Russia, Ukraine, Gaza, and Iran and in the way domestic issues are discussed. For people with long memories, this is not just infuriating but also terrifying."
From 'Portable Hell' by Charles Simic for the New York Review of Books blog.
Bacchante with a Panther by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1860).
Amazing. Wear sunscreen everyone!
To tell the reporter that I’d never been ever clinically depressed might discredit the veracity of the emotional experience of the main character, but to tell her yes would be to feed into the idea that novelists are just a blink and a name away from their narrators. This is especially true of those who dare to write in first-person voice, and extra extra true, it seems to me, if you’re a woman — as if all we can birth is more of ourselves.
When the reporter’s piece came out, I was described as “no stranger to despondency.” In addition, nearly a quarter of her profile was spent unpacking an article I wrote five years ago about being an egg donor. That experience had nothing to do with the novel or my present. But in the reporter’s eyes, I was a downer egg donor who had written a book. Another reminder that everyone sees the story they want to see.
What I should tell anyone who might ask again is that no fiction writer can honestly tell you what parts of her characters are mutations or facsimiles or pure inventions of the self. There’s no master Venn diagram, no clean delineation between invention and reality. Everyone writes fiction."
A fantastic meditation on fiction and the self by Catherine Lacy. Read in full here.
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth"
Albert Einstein (via mango2kw)
This is an important message on how privilege really works.
"There is a stigma in this country around women with jobs. So I want to start an organization that provides girls in the Congo with examples of women around the world who have balanced family and career. Most men in this country think it’s only about money. They think: ‘If I make enough money for us to live, then my wife should take care of the children.’ The common belief is that a woman who works is hurting her children. People don’t realize that children also gain from the knowledge and experiences of their mother."
(Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo)
"I want to discover the cure for Ebola."
(Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo)