brainpickings.org newsletter I like


 This is the weekly email digest of the daily online journal Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — Keith Haring on loving life in the face of death, Mary Oliver on what an owl taught her about happiness, the author of “The Little Prince” on love — you can catch up right here. And if you find any value and joy in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation – I spend innumerable hours and tremendous resources on it each week, as I have been for fourteen years, and every little bit of support helps enormously. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

“I Go Down to the Shore”: Natascha McElhone Reads Mary Oliver’s Spare, Splendid Antidote to Melancholy and Personal Misery

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“Let us… seek peace… near the inland murmur of streams, and the gracious waving of trees, the beauteous vesture of earth, and sublime pageantry of the skies,” Mary Shelley wrote two hundred years ago as she envisioned a world ravaged by a deadly pandemic and weighed what makes life worth living. “The setting sun will always set me to rights,” the melancholy John Keats wrote in the same era, a century and a half before Lorraine Hansberry considered the mightiest remedy for depression and observed that “hills, the trees, sunrise and sunset — the lake the moon and the stars / summer clouds — the poets have been right in these centuries.”

To divert the beam of your attention to nature, to take in the the staggering scale of spacetime under the starlit sky or the miniature cosmos of aliveness on the scale of moss or the blooming of a single potted flower, is to step beyond the smallness of your own experience, beyond its all-consuming sorrows and its all-important fixations, and into a calibrated perspective that arrives like a colossal exhale from the lung of life.Skybreath_by_MariaPopova.jpg?resize=680%2C800

“Skybreath” by Maria Popova. (Available as a print.)

That is what Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935–January 17, 2019) offers in her spare, splendid poem “I Go Down to the Shore,” found in her 2012 collection A Thousand Mornings (public library) and brought to life by actor extraordinaire, my dear friend, and voice of Figuring Natascha McElhone at the 2020 Universe in Verse, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day — a hallmark awakening of our ecological conscience, inspired by Rachel Carson’s work — as Earth was being stilled and disdayed by a deadly pandemic that suddenly made the interconnectedness of life and lives viscerally real. Against this backdrop, Oliver’s poem sings quiet, powerful consolation for the fear- and sorrow-contracted pinhole of our perspective.

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2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI GO DOWN TO THE SHORE
by Mary Oliver

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall —
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

Complement with Mary Oliver’s equally, differently perspectival poem “When I Am Among the Trees” and Natascha’s enchanting narration of Hermann Hesse’s 100-year-old love letter to trees, then revisit other highlights from The Universe in Verse: Patti Smith reading Emily Dickinson’s ode to how the world holds together, astronaut Leland Melvin reading Pablo Neruda’s love letter to the forest, a breathtaking animation of Marie Howe’s poem “Singularity,” and astronomer-poet Rebecca Elson’s staggering “Antidotes to Fear of Death.”

FORWARD TO A FRIEND/READ ONLINE/
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Cosmic Consciousness: Maurice Bucke’s Pioneering 19th-Century Theory of Transcendence and the Six Steps of Illumination

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“Our normal waking consciousness,” William James wrote in 1902, “is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different… No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.”

A year earlier, the Canadian psychiatrist and adventurer Maurice Bucke (March 18, 1837–February 19, 1902) published a stunning personal account and psychological study of a dazzling form of consciousness that lies just on the other side of that filmiest of screens, accessible to all. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind (public library) went on to influence generations of thinkers as diverse as Albert Einstein, Erich Fromm, Abraham Maslow, Alan Watts, and Steve Jobs.mauricebucke.jpg?resize=680%2C852

Maurice Bucke

By his own account, Bucke was “born of good middle class English stock,” but grew up almost entirely without education, working tirelessly on his parents’ farm in the backwoods of Canada — tending cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs, working in the hay field, driving oxen and horses, and running various errands from the earliest age. He learned to read when he was still a small child and soon began devouring novels and poetry. He remembers that, like Emily Dickinson, he “never, even as a child, accepted the doctrines of the Christian church” — a disposition utterly countercultural in that era of extreme religiosity.

Although his mother died when he was very young and his father shortly thereafter, Bucke recalls being often overcome by “a sort of ecstasy of curiosity and hope.” (What a lovely phrase.) At sixteen, he left the farm “to live or die as might happen,” trekking from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from Ohio to San Francisco, working on farms and railroads and steamboats, narrowly escaping death by illness, starvation, and battle on several occasions. In his twentieth year, he heard of the first major discovery of silver ore in America and joined a mining party, of which he was the only survivor, and barely: On his way to California, while crossing the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, he suffered frostbite so severe that one foot and a few toes on the remaining foot had to be amputated.

When he finally made it to the Pacific Coast, Bucke used a moderate inheritance from his mother to give himself a proper college education. He devoured ideas from books as wide-ranging as On the Origin of Species and Shelley’s poems. After graduating, he taught himself French so that he could read Auguste Comte and German so that he could read Goethe. At thirty, he discovered and became instantly besotted with Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which he felt contained vaster truth and richer meaning than any book he had previously encountered. It was Whitman who catalyzed Bucke’s transcendent experience.margaretcook_leavesofgrass19.jpg?zoom=2&resize=640%2C823

Art by Margaret C. Cook from a rare 1913 edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. (Available as a print.)

More than a century before Michael Pollan insisted in his masterly inquiry into the science of psychedelics that “the Beyond, whatever it consists of, might not be nearly as far away or inaccessible as we think,” Bucke suggests that it might be just a poem away. Writing in the third person, as was customary for “the writer” in the nineteenth century, he recounts his transformative illumination:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIt was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year. He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight, and he had a long drive in a hansom (it was in an English city). His mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment. All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame-colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next, he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic Splendor which has ever since lightened his life; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an aftertaste of heaven. Among other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain.

Although the illumination only lasted a moment, Burke felt that he learned more in those few seconds than in all his years of study, more even than what could ever possibly be taught by the standard modes of scholarship. (“The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there,” Patti Smith would write a century later.) In that instant, as “the secret of Whitman’s transcendent greatness was revealed,” he experienced something he could never forget, which he called “cosmic consciousness” — a term he borrowed from the English philosopher and poet Edward Carpenter, who was among the first Western thinkers to popularize the ancient teachings of the Eastern philosophical and spiritual traditions.margaretcook_leavesofgrass17.jpg

Art by Margaret C. Cook from a rare 1913 edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. (Available as a print.)

Bucke identifies three layers of consciousness, each built upon the lower: Simple Consciousness — a basic awareness, which most non-human animals also possess; Self-Consciousness, which render one aware not only of trees, rivers, and one’s own body, but also of oneself as “a distinct entity apart from all the rest of the universe,” capable of treating one’s own thoughts and feelings as objects of consciousness itself; and Cosmic Consciousness, which Bucke defines as an awareness of “the life and order of the universe.” In a passage of striking consonance with William James’s framework of transcendent experiences, he writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngAlong with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence — would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and to the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come, what may be called a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.

In language that closely parallels the way people describe the effects of psychedelics, Bucke limns the nature and sequence of this revelatory experience:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngLike a flash there is presented to [the person’s] consciousness a clear conception (a vision) in outline of the meaning and drift of the universe. He does not come to believe merely; but he sees and knows that the cosmos, which to the self conscious mind seems made up of dead matter, is in fact far otherwise — is in very truth a living presence. He sees that instead of men being, as it were, patches of life scattered through an infinite sea of non-living substance, they are in reality specks of relative death in an infinite ocean of life.

[…]

The person who passes through this experience will learn in the few minutes, or even moments, of its continuance more than in months or years of study, and he will learn much that no study ever taught or can teach. Especially does he obtain such a conception of THE WHOLE, or at least of an immense WHOLE, as dwarfs all conception, imagination or speculation, springing from and belonging to ordinary self consciousness, such a conception as makes the old attempts to mentally grasp the universe and its meaning petty and even ridiculous.

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One of Salvador Dalí’s rare illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy

A year before William James published his classic treatise on consciousness and the four features of transcendent experiences, Bucke — whom James references — outlines the characteristics of cosmic consciousness, at the heart of which he places the Eastern concept of “Brahmic Splendor,” also reflected in Dante’s transhumanized state in Paradisio.

  1. A sudden appearance, often accompanied by immersion in a cloud of haze or fire. “The instantaneousness of the illumination,” Bucke writes, “is one of its most striking features. It can be compared with nothing so well as with a dazzling flash of lightning in a dark night, bringing the landscape which had been hidden into clear view.” (A century later, physicist Freeman Dyson would describe one of his most significant scientific breakthroughs as “a flash of illumination.”)
  2. An ecstatic surge of emotion — “joy, assurance, triumph, ‘salvation’” — transcending “the pleasures and pains, loves and hates, joys and sorrows,peace and war, life and death, of self conscious man.”
  3. An intellectual illumination, arising from the emotional ecstasy, difficult to put into words. (William James also lists ineffability as the foremost feature of transcendent experiences.)
  4. Dissolution of the fear of death.
  5. Dissolution of the sense of sin or wrongness.
  6. A sense of immortality accompanying the moral elevation. “This is not an intellectual conviction, such as comes with the solution of a problem, nor is it an experience such as learning something unknown before,” Bucke writes. “It is far more simple and elementary.”

Of central importance in this experience of illumination, he argues, are the character — “intellectual, moral and physical” — and age of the person undergoing it. The illumination is truer and richer, Bucke suggest, when experienced at a later age:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngShould we hear of a case of cosmic consciousness occurring at twenty, for instance, we should at first doubt the truth of the account, and if forced to believe it we should expect the man (if he lived) to prove himself, in some way, a veritable spiritual giant.

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Art by William Blake for a rare 1808 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost

Drawing on the memoirs, biographies, and letters of historical figures, he goes on to compose a kind of ledger of such spiritual giants who have reported experiences indicative of cosmic consciousness, noting next to each person the age at which they underwent the illumination. Among them he lists:

  • Francis Bacon (30)
  • William Blake (31)
  • Blaise Pascal (31)
  • Honoré de Balzac (32)
  • Walt Whitman (34)
  • Gautama Buddha (35)
  • Edward Carpenter (37)
  • Baruch Spinoza (45)

Bucke sees the attainment of cosmic consciousness as a vital step in the spiritual and moral evolution of our species, but he takes care to emphasize that it “must not be looked upon as being in any sense supernatural or supranormal — as anything more or less than a natural growth.” With electric exuberance, he channels his optimism, both prescient and bittersweet in the hindsight of history:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe immediate future of our race… is indescribably hopeful. There are at the present moment impending over us three revolutions, the least of which would dwarf the ordinary historic upheaval called by that name into absolute insignificance. They are: (1) The material,economic and social revolution which will depend upon and result from the establishment of aerial navigation. (2) The economic and social revolution which will abolish individual ownership and rid the earth at once of two immense evils — riches and poverty. And (3) The psychical revolution of which there is here question.

Either of the first two would (and will) radically change the conditions of, and greatly uplift, human life; but the third will do more for humanity than both of the former, were their importance multiplied by hundreds or even thousands.

The three operating (as they will) together will literally create a new heaven and a new earth. Old things will be done away and all will become new.

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Art by William Blake for a rare 1808 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost

The net result, Bucke envisions, will be nothing less than a revolution of the human soul. While human beings will remain resolutely spiritual, this revolution would be predicated on the dissolution of organized religion:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngReligion will… not depend on tradition. It will not be believed and disbelieved. It will not be a part of life,belonging to certain hours, times, occasions. It will not be in sacred books nor in the mouths of priests. It will not dwell in churches and meetings and forms and days. Its life will not be in prayers,hymns nor discourses. It will not depend on special revelations, on the words of gods who came down to teach, nor on any bible or bibles. It will have no mission to save men from their sins or to secure them entrance to heaven. It will not teach a future immortality nor future glories, for immortality and all glory will exist in the here and now. The evidence of immortality will live in every heart as sight in every eye.

Complement Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness with Virginia Woolf’s ecstatic description of a psychedelic experience, physicist Alan Lightman’s poetic account of a secular transcendent experience, and neuroscientist Christof Koch on the central mystery of consciousness, then revisit Edward Carpenter, who inspired Bucke’s ideas, on love, pain, and growth.

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The Sun, the Shadow, and the Unselved Self: Helen Macdonald on Eclipses as an Antidote to Ideologies of Otherness and a Portal to Human Connection

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Just when you begin rueing that nothing original could possibly remain to be written about the cosmic spectacle of a total solar eclipse — after astronomer Maria Mitchell’s pioneering essay detailing the science and enchantment of the 1869 eclipse, after Virginia Woolf’s arresting 1927 account of total darkness in the celestial lighthouse, after Annie Dillard’s 1979 classic of totality — Helen Macdonald comes along to remind you that the intersection of nature’s sublimity and the singular splendor of each human consciousness is vast and inexhaustibly vibrant.

In the thirteenth of the forty-one altogether tremendous essays in her collection Vesper Flights (public library), simply titled “Eclipse,” Macdonald recounts with abashed amusement her youthful notion that the ideal mode for beholding totality must be romantic solitude — a notion absurd to anyone who has actually savored the amplified sublimity amid a choir of gasping human consciousnesses. (Nor is it even a properly romantic notion — even Byron, the (mostly self-appointed) monarch of the Romantics, envisioned in his staggering poem “Darkness” how when “the bright sun was extinguish’d,” humanity sought not isolation but community as “men were gather’d round their blazing homes / to look once more into each other’s face.”) Macdonald’s own first experience of a total solar eclipse in 1999 — the same eclipse, though partial, in which I too dissolved as a child in Bulgaria — was instead a revelation of just how much “a total eclipse wreaks havoc on your sense of self, on rational individuality”; how it effects, to borrow Iris Murdoch’s lovely phrase, “an occasion for unselfing.”eclipse.jpg?resize=680%2C552

Total eclipse of 1878, one of Étienne Léopold Trouvelot’s groundbreaking astronomical drawings. (Available as a print and as a face mask, with proceeds benefiting the endeavor to build New York City’s first public observatory.)

With her uncommon gift for dilating the pinhole of a specific and subjective experience into a wide lens on a universal human tendency, Macdonald writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIt’s reassuring to view the world on your own. You can gaze at a landscape and see it peopled by things — trees, clouds, hills and valleys — which have no voice except the ones you give them in your imagination; none can challenge who you are. So often we see solitary contemplation as simply the correct way to engage with nature.

But it is always a political act, bringing freedom from the pressures of other minds, other interpretations, other consciousnesses competing with your own. There’s another way of escaping social conflict, of course, and that is to make yourself part of a crowd that sees the world the same way that you do, values the same things as you.

With an eye to the “Great American Eclipse” of 2017 — a collective experience qualitatively different from the nationalism-tinted mass pilgrimages to see monuments of territorial pride like the Grand Canyon or spectacles of national triumph like the Apollo launches — Macdonald adds:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe millions of tourists who flocked to the total eclipse of 2017 didn’t see something time had fashioned from American rock and earth, nor something wrought of American ingenuity, but a passing shadow cast across the nation from celestial bodies above. Even so, it’s fitting that this total eclipse was dubbed The Great American Eclipse, for the event chimed with the country’s contemporary struggles between matters of reason and unreason, individuality and crowd consciousness, belonging and difference. Of all crowds the most troubling are those whose cohesion is built from fear of and outrage against otherness and difference; they’re entities defining themselves by virtue only of what they are against. The simple fact about an eclipse crowd is that it cannot work in this way, for confronting something like the absolute, all our differences are moot. When you stand and watch the death of the sun and see it reborn there can be no them, only us.

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“Tendering Totality” (2017) by Maria Popova. (Available as a print and as a face mask, with proceeds benefiting the endeavor to build New York City’s first public observatory.)

That selfsame recognition radiates from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot monologue — that iconic, almost unbearably tender meditation on how the cosmic perspective vanquishes our artificial lines of otherness, which inspired Maya Angelou’s stunning poem “A Brave and Startling Truth.” This is the recognition at which Macdonald arrived in an embodied way, far beyond the cerebral awareness, during her own first encounter with totality:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI was nervous of the people around me and still clinging to that sophomoric intuition that a revelation would only come if none of them were there. Depressingly, the sky was thick with clouds, and as the hours passed it became obvious that none of us would see anything other than darkness when totality came. But when the light dimmed, the atmosphere grew electric, and the crowd became a thing of overwhelming importance, a palpable presence in my mind. I felt a fleeting, urgent concern for the safety of everyone around me as the world rolled, and the moon too, and night slammed down on us. Though I could hardly see a hand held in front of my face, far out across the sea hung clouds tinted the eerie sunset shade of faded photographs of 1950s atomic tests, and beyond them clear blue day.

And then the revelation came. It wasn’t what I’d expected. It wasn’t focused up there in the sky, but down here with us all, as the crowds that lined the Atlantic shore raised cameras to commemorate totality, and as they flashed, a wave of particulate light crashed along the dark beach and flooded across to the other side of the bay, making the whole coast a glittering field of stars. Each fugitive point of light was a different person. I laughed out loud. I’d wanted a solitary revelation but had been given something else instead: an overwhelming sense of community, and of what it is made — a host of individual lights shining briefly against oncoming darkness.

A generation earlier, as Apollo 8 was launching into space to take the epoch-making Earthrise photograph that would soon awaken our species to its ecological responsibility, the Italian chemist and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi captured this singular gravitational pull of community around a shared cosmic enchantment as he contemplated how science and space exploration bind a fractured humanity back together by breaking our trance of separateness. This trance plays out in myriad ways and on myriad scales across our individual and collective existence. The habitual narrowing of perspective from which it arises is not a defect but a defining feature of our consciousness — the human animal’s central coping mechanism for parsing the incomprehensibly vast world beyond the boundaries of our individual experience. (We spend our lives trying to discern where we end and the rest of the world begins.). This narrowing extends most perhaps most perniciously to our perspective on and perception of time, which is our perception of change. Drawing on another eclipse she witnessed with friends on the Turkish coast, Macdonald writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIt takes a long while between first and second contact — that is, when the sun is completely covered by the moon; it’s a long, steady diminution in the amount of light reaching the world. For a long while my brain tricks me. It has a vested interest in reassurance: Nothing is wrong, it says. It tells me I must be wearing reactive sunglasses, which is why I’m seeing the world changing through tinted glass. Why everything, the luggage-strap leaves of dune grass under my toes, the broken walls, bay trees, the sea in front, the mountains behind, everything’s still darkly fine. Then I remember I’m not wearing sunglasses, which hits me with the bad-dream force of an arm brought down hard across a piano keyboard, the psychological equivalent of that discordant crash as I have a fraught little struggle with my brain. Then I shiver. Surely it was absurdly hot here an hour ago? There’s a horrible old chestnut about boiling a frog to death. Put a frog in a pan of cold water and put it on the stove, and apparently the blithe amphibian will fail to notice the incremental rise in temperature until it’s dead. There’s something of that story’s creeping dread in what is now going on. I feel a strong need to warn people, to somehow jump out of the pan. Everything is changing, but our brains aren’t equipped to notice things on this scale.

As I read Macdonald’s essay, I am struck by something else — something both entirely unrelated and entirely relevant. (That, of course, is what an excellent essay is supposed to do — explode your comprehension with a fractal burst of quickenings fanning out to myriad elsewheres.) We have been regarding the environmental collapse around us — a drama not cosmic but human-made, not sublime but catastrophic — with the same insentience to incremental change, lulled by the brain’s same incapacity for noticing large-scale events, by the same nothing is wrong self-protective delusion. We are the amphibian in the seething cauldron. But we are also larger and more luminous, better capable of transcending the limitations of our minds by the force of our spirit — that, at least, is my hope.CastingCrescents_MariaPopova.jpg?resize=680%2C680

“Casting Crescents” (2017) by Maria Popova. (Available as a print and as a face mask, with proceeds benefiting the endeavor to build New York City’s first public observatory.)

Awakened from the trance, Macdonald begins noticing the otherworldly strangeness that totality brings:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngOn the ground, right by our feet, even stranger things are happening. Where I expect to see sun-dappled shadow cast on the sand through branches — as confidently as I expect any other unacknowledged constant of the world — I am confounded: amid the shade are a perfect host of tiny crescents, hundreds of them, all moving against the sand as a wind that has come out of nowhere pushes at branches.

Out of that noticing — that sudden wakefulness to the absolute strangeness of it all, the soul’s sudden cry of Everything is wrong over the brain’s lulling deception — arises a profound, humbling awareness of one’s own existence as both inseparable from and inconsequential to a larger cosmic inter-belonging with all other existences:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe backs of the swallows tracing their sinuous hunting flights over the ruins are no longer iridescent blue in the sun, but a deep indigo. They’re calling in alarm. A sparrowhawk is flying over, slipping down the sky, losing height, stymied in its search for thermals to soar upon. They’re all disappearing in the rapidly cooling air. The hawk shrugs its way north-west, falling all the while. I check the sun, again, through my eclipse glasses. All that is left of it now is a bare, fingernail curve of light. The landscape is insistently alien: short, midday shadows in a saturated world. The land is orange. The sea is purple. Venus has appeared in the sky, quite high, up to the right. And then, with a chorus of cheers and whistles and applause, I stare at the sky as the sun slides away, and the day does too, and impossibly, impossibly, above us is a stretch of black, soft black sky and a hole in the middle of it. A round hole, darker than anything you’ve ever seen, fringed with an intensely soft ring of white fire. Applause crackles and ripples across the dunes. My throat is stopped. My eyes fill with tears. Goodbye, intellectual apprehension. Hello, something else entirely. Totality is so incomprehensible for your mental machinery that your physical response becomes hugely apparent. Your intellect cannot grasp any of this. Not the dark, nor the sunset clouds on every horizon, nor the stars, just that extraordinary wrongness, up there, that pulls the eyes towards it. The exhilaration is barely contained terror. I’m tiny and huge all at once, as lonely and singular as I’ve ever felt, and as merged and part of a crowd as it is possible to be. It is a shared, intensely private experience. But there are no human words fit to express all this. Opposites? Yes! Let’s conjure big binary oppositions and grand narratives, break everything and mend it at the same moment. Sun and moon. Darkness and light. Sea and land, breath and no breath, life, death. A total eclipse makes history laughable, makes you feel both precious and disposable, makes the inclinations of the world incomprehensible.

[…]

And then something else happens, a thing that still makes my heart rise in my chest and eyes blur, even in recollection. For it turns out there’s something even more affecting than watching the sun disappear into a hole. Watching the sun climb out of it. Here I am, sitting on the beach in the underworld, with all of the standing dead. It is cold, and a loose wind blows through the darkness. But then, from the lower edge of the blank, black disc of the dead sun, bursts a perfect point of brilliance. It leaps and burns. It’s unthinkably fierce, unbearably bright, something (I blush to say it, but here it comes) like a word. And thus begins the world again. Instantly. Joy, relief, gratitude; an avalanche of emotion. Is all made to rights, now? Is all remade? From a bay tree, struck into existence a moment ago, a spectacled bulbul calls a greeting to the new dawn.

Complement this slender fragment of the transcendent totality that is Vesper Flights with Coleridge on the dissolution of the self in a terrifying storm and Mabel Loomis Todd’s poetic 19th-century primer on the science of eclipses, with help from Emily Dickinson, then revisit Macdonald’s extraordinary memoir of what a hawk taught her about love, loss, control, and surrender.

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WORD OF THE DAY


WORD OF THE DAY
Trichromatic
tri-kro-MAD-ik
Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Greek, early 17th century
1

Having or using three colors.

2

Having normal color vision, which is sensitive to all three primary colors.

Examples of Trichromatic in a sentence

“Have you noticed that most flags are trichromatic?”

“My brother is colorblind, but I’m lucky to be trichromatic.”

wisdom quotes


True wisdom starts with asking the right questions.
A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. (Francis Bacon)
==========
Hope springs from the knowledge that there is light even in the darkest of shadows.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. (Desmond Tutu)

random acts of kindness


1. Help someone carrying a lot of stuff.2. Hug someone you love and tell them you love them.3. Out of the blue send flowers to your friend.4. Pick up litter off the street/parks.5. Send a thank you/congratulatory note to a coworker/classmate, appreciating their efforts and the difference they make.

Remember: You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond


Remember: You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond

The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. What we have influence over and what we do not. 

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…” — Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4–5

What better opportunity to practice this “chief task in life” than the one we’re currently facing? COVID-19 is here. If it isn’t where you live, there is a good chance it will be soon. No amount of yelling at the TV will make it go away. Cursing the origin of the virus, being racistperpetuating conspiracy theories, and hoarding toilet paper will not save you. It only distracts you from the many tasks at hand. Neither will sticking your head in the sand and pretending it’s “not that bad.” All those are wasting your time that could be spent saving your life and others.

What you can control, as always, is how you respond. What matters is not what other people are doing or have done, but what you do. That means: Keeping up to date with the latest advice from the World Health Organization (and then actually following it!). Wash your hands often, cover your nose when you sneeze, avoid large public gatherings, cancel unnecessary travel and work meetings. Don’t be stupid. Don’t think you’re the exception. Don’t do things that benefit you, at the expense of others. If you feel sick, stay at home. Stay at home even if you don’t feel sick. Do your part.

The goal now is to flatten the curve. To slow the spread of the virus until our hospitals can handle them. To prevent the unnecessary spreading of the virus. And to prevent unnecessary overloading of medical professionals, emergency services, airlines, and other critical infrastructure, so that the people who actually need it can access it. No one individual can accomplish this by themselves, but each of us, acting rightly, collectively, can make a big difference. As Zeno famously said, “Well-being is realized in small steps, but it is no small thing.” 

We realize this well-being and fight this virus by the choices we make right now. Some of those choices include:

  • Practice social distancing: as much as possible, stay away from people outside of your family. Avoid social events and public gatherings, work from home if possible. If you have employees, do what you can so they can do the same. And implement common-sense measures so that your employees and customers are safe: reduce face-to-face interactions as much as possible, grant generous sick leave, and limit the number of customers at a single time.
  • Cancel or postpone events if you have them. Make them remote-access, if possible. Do not prioritize your convenience or entertainment over the potential spread of the virus.
  • Practice safety measures: wash your hands as much as possible, especially before you eat. Don’t touch your face, and cough into a tissue or your elbow. Don’t shake hands with people, press buttons with knuckles or elbows, and avoid food that is uncooked.
  • Help others who are in more precarious situations. If you know your neighbor is elderly and planning to make a grocery run, see if you can help them get what they need without leaving their house. Think of the wonderful generosity of this Chinese company sending face masks to Italy (with a quote from Seneca on them no less!)
  • Hold off on visiting elderly friends or family members. Yes, you’re worried about them. Yes, you miss them. But you put them and their community at risk by stopping at their old folks home or visiting their house. Even if you feel healthy, even if the person you’re visiting seems to be in good health, the safest option is to wait to see them.
  • Don’t hoard: hoarding essential goods hurts other members of the community who lack resources to prepare. Slowly stock up with non-perishable foods and goods so that others can do the same. Long lines at stores only make things worse. 
  • Along those lines, don’t tie up medical resources that you don’t need. Save masks for doctors, nurses, first responders, and others who need them in the course of their jobs. And don’t forget that for now our testing supply is sorely limited; do your best not to tie up the critical resource of COVID-19 tests, and avoid being a hypochondriac.
  • Self-quarantine and self-isolate: if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, stay in your home for two weeks to keep others safe. 
  • Use your time wisely: don’t let the possible weeks or months of isolation be for nothing. You can’t control how long you’ll need to engage in social distancing, but you can control if you spend that time productively. The version of you who steps out of quarantine at some future date can be better than the version that entered it, if you try.
  • Batch your online orders if you’re stocking up to reduce the need for inefficient shipments and stress on already stressed supply chains. 
  • Educate: don’t spread misinformation about the virus. Instead, make sure others know how to best handle the spread of the virus. If you’re someone with a platform, your number one obligation right now is to not spread bullshit or breaking information. You’re not helping, you’re hurting. 
  • If you get sick, isolate yourself at home as long as symptoms remain moderate. If you have trouble breathing, are an older adult (70+), have pre-existing lung conditions or are immunocompromised, be ready to call your doctor or visit an ER.
  • Remember that panic doesn’t help. Rushing to sell your stocks; ignoring the needs of others; freaking out; being cross with or cruel to others. You know what this does? It takes a bad situation and makes it worse.
  • Cherish the people you love and the present moment, as scary as it is. It is all we have for certain.

We study Stoicism for moments like these. To remain calm in the face of chaos. To put aside irrational thoughts and develop a plan to keep us moving forward. To be able to spread the only positive form of contagion there is: calm. So we can acquire wisdom from tragedy and danger. This our chance to embody these teachings, to prove them, when it counts. When life and liberty are on the line. 

As Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations:

“It stares you in the face. No role is so well suited to philosophy as the one you happen to be in right now.”

So do your part. Put your study to practice and inspire those around you to do the same. We are all individually the answer, in the choices we make. What we need from you now is what we’ve always needed and talked about here: Courage. Self-discipline. Justice. Wisdom. 

Harvard Fellow: Next Pandemic Could Be Engineered by Terrorists


Elon Musk Shreds Bill Gates For Insulting Electric Semi Trucks


Thousands Infected by Bacteria After Leak at Chinese Pharmaceutical Factory


Failories newsletter. I like. for startpreneurs


👋 Hey Failories! It’s Nico over here.

2 weeks ago we started working on our first eBook. Today I have some exciting news 😉

Based on the feedback I asked you some weeks ago for our #1 digital product, we came up with two eBook ideas.

In order to find which one would perform the best, we created some quick copywriting and images and launched two pre-sales pages on Gumroad.

Then we split our newsletter into two and we sent each half a different eBook. Some of you received the eBook about failed startups; some others the one about product-market fit.

10 days later and we have a winner. The eBook titled “Product-Market Fit: Deep-dive into how 7 startups achieved it” has performed x2 better, which is why we’ve decided to put 100% of our efforts into it.

The price for that eBook started at $7 and has since been increased to $10. However, as you form part of Failory’s newsletter, I’ve created the discount code “failure” which will give you a 30% discount. Make sure to use it ASAP as I’ll be removing it soon!

The eBook will be an amazing reading, I promise you that. We’re defining the topics and case studies that it will include, so I’ll share final details next week, but I promise it will deliver a ton of value.

We’re also adding ideas suggested by customers. So if there’s anything (related) you would like to learn about in the eBook, I’m happy to add it!

This newsletter is sponsored by Formlets.
INTERVIEWTurning Pain into $5k/mo Revenues: Pathways’ success storyLondon-based Sandip Sekhon developed the pain-therapy app Pathways out of his own pain relief needs. After a life-changing meeting with a physiotherapist with knowledge of pain science, he got better and was 100% pain-free in just a couple of months. By then he realized the potential of pain therapy using evidence-based mind-body techniques, and thus Pathways was created.Read More +
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INTERVIEWHabitual’s Biggest Mistake: Underestimating the power of marketingHolger Sindbaek is the founder of Habitual, a habit-tracking app. With other successful apps under his belt like a Solitaire card game played by 3M people per month, it seems like he has the knack of making startups fly. So what went wrong with Habitual? Discover it in this interview.Read More +
Hope you enjoy this week’s stuff ❤️

One more time, here’s the link to the “Product-Market Fit” eBook. Make sure to use the discount code “failure” to get a 30% discount. We’re 26 copies aways from increasing the price by $3, so make sure to get it now.

I frequently openly share Failory’s numbers and metrics and thought some of you could find it interesting to see our Gumroad analytics:


If you have any feedback or ideas for the eBook, they would be highly appreciated.

– Nico

What comes first: ideas or words? The paradox of articulation | Aeon Essays


is an assistant professor of philosophy at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the author of Articulating a Thought (2019).

3,300 words

Edited by Sam DresserSYNDICATE THIS ESSAYTweet1,86410 Comments

Aeon for Friends

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I caught this insight on the way and quickly seized the rather poor words that were closest to hand to pin it down lest it fly away again. And now it has died of these arid words and shakes and flaps in them – and I hardly know anymore when I look at it how I could ever have felt so happy when I caught this bird.
– From Beyond Good and Evil (1886) by Friedrich Nietzsche

‘What is it about the proposal that strikes me as so disturbing?’ Reading through an article describing a local government measure, I feel opposition rising within me. Normally, forming an opinion about such things would take me some time. But not here. The proposal instantly strikes me as unjust. My reaction is not just intellectual; it is visceral. My emotions are engaged. My imagination is exercised. As I imagine the proposal playing out in practice, the distinctive brand of injustice seems to be jumping out of every word on the page.

I decide to sort out my problem with the proposal in writing, by replying to the colleague who forwarded me the article. ‘It’s unfair!’ Impatiently, I blurt out the kernel of what bothers me about it. But the statement is so general as to be almost empty. ‘Heavy-handed. Quietly authoritarian. Positively harmful.’ More words suggest themselves to me and, after a few false starts, I regain my confidence and press the formulation forward with each sentence. I edit some words, and the correction puts everything in order. Reading over what I wrote, I recognise that, even though there is room for elaboration, at this moment these words accurately capture my position. I have found the words to express my thought.

The gulf between our solitary thoughts and the words that would convey them to others constantly confronts us all. The thoughts we struggle to articulate might be as momentous as a transformative moral epiphany or as ordinary as an insight into a movie or the hurtful behaviour of a friend. They might seem hopeful or alarming, frivolous or serious, lead us to find value in certain things, or worry about others. They might be thoughts that we long had but never articulated or instantaneous insights in which something entirely new and unfamiliar suddenly comes to mind. In many cases, we articulate these thoughts in order to get clear on what they are; we wouldn’t bother making the effort if they were clear to us already

seth godin’s newsletter


“Is that the most important thing?”

If you want to have an argument, to raise tempers or to distract, the easiest thing to do is start bringing up things that are easy to argue about.

Not the things that are important.

Because the important things require nuance, patience and understanding. They require an understanding of goals, of the way the world works and our mutual respect.

If someone keeps coming back to an irrelevant, urgent or provocative point instead, they’re signaling that they’d rather not talk about the important thing.

Which is precisely what we need to talk about.

Want to think for yourself? Start with an agonising state of doubt, says Kierkegaard | Aeon Videos


Want to think for yourself? Start with an agonising state of doubt, says Kierkegaard
Influenced by Socrates’ sense of irony, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) came to believe that a state of doubt – disorienting and horrifying as it could sometimes be – was the cornerstone of a sound philosophical practice. This scepticism of objective truth and ardent belief in thinking for oneself is omnipresent in his pseudonymous works, in which his assumed names sometimes even spar with one another. While amusing, the peculiar literary device also undercuts any sense that the works were written by a voice of authority. In this video from the London Review of Books, the British philosopher and historian Jonathan Rée traces the theme of doubt in Kierkegaard’s life and work using his unfinished, posthumously published novel Johannes Climacus: Or a Life of Doubt as a starting point.

Want to think for yourself? Start with an agonising state of doubt, says Kierkegaard | Aeon Videos


Want to think for yourself? Start with an agonising state of doubt, says Kierkegaard

Influenced by Socrates’ sense of irony, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) came to believe that a state of doubt – disorienting and horrifying as it could sometimes be – was the cornerstone of a sound philosophical practice. This scepticism of objective truth and ardent belief in thinking for oneself is omnipresent in his pseudonymous works, in which his assumed names sometimes even spar with one another. While amusing, the peculiar literary device also undercuts any sense that the works were written by a voice of authority. In this video from the London Review of Books, the British philosopher and historian Jonathan Rée traces the theme of doubt in Kierkegaard’s life and work using his unfinished, posthumously published novel Johannes Climacus: Or a Life of Doubt as a starting point.

Young children use reason, not gut feelings, to decide moral issues | Psyche Ideas


 of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Edited by Sally Davies

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In the past two decades, social science has painted a pretty dour picture of the power of moral reasoning. To explain why people disagree so profoundly about ethical and political questions, pundits and scientists have claimed that humans systematically disregard evidence from experts, and that we rely on gut feelings instead of reason. If true, these conclusions have pretty serious and depressing consequences. Why should politicians rely on logic or scientific evidence, if humans rarely reason about moral and political issues? Against this backdrop, it was hardly surprising when a leading psychologist told a Washington Post columnist in 2011 that it ‘is important for the president not to be rational and fully honest’.

According to this pessimistic view, most of our moral judgments spring from automatic, unconscious and affective reactions. When we feel disgust toward someone, our disgust is what leads us to condemn their actions. Conversely, according to this theory, moral reasoning rarely shapes our moral judgments, but rather serves to justify our emotion-based judgments after the fact.

In one well-known study from 2005, researchers hypnotised participants to be disgusted by a seemingly innocuous act: a student trying to select popular topics for school debates. Participants were then asked how morally wrong the student’s actions were. Those hypnotised to be disgusted rated the action as morally worse than their peers. The researchers reported that disgusted participants were unable to provide compelling reasons for why the student’s action was wrong. Reflecting on their findings, the researchers concluded that the findings illustrated how ‘reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions’, as the philosopher David Hume wrote in A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). Indeed, if the mere feeling of disgust can lead to moral condemnation, reasoning would be relegated to a supporting role, at best.

But is this pessimistic perspective the right one? To sort out the place of reason in human morality, we need some clarity about just what we mean by moral reasoning. The philosopher Jonathan Adler, in the introductory chapter to his edited 1,000-page tome Reasoning (2012), defined the titular process as ‘a transition in thought, where some beliefs (or thoughts) provide the ground or reason for coming to another’. Moral reasoning is a specific type of reasoning, by which moral principles provide the grounds for moral judgments.

Consider the following illustration: I think that intentionally hurting others is generally wrong (a moral principle), and I believe that my friend has intentionally hurt someone (a belief). If this combination of principle and belief leads me to judge that my friend has done something wrong, I will have engaged in moral reasoning. Note that this definition doesn’t require that reasoning be conscious or slow. In fact, most researchers who study reasoning believe that it can be both slow and fast, conscious and unconscious.

Three-year-olds protested vigorously when a puppet tried to destroy a picture that another puppet had drawn

To ask whether people reason about moral issues, we need to answer two kinds of questions. Firstly, what kinds of moral principles and beliefs do people hold at the outset? And secondly, do people form moral judgments based on those prior principles and beliefs – that is, do humans form moral judgments that align with their moral principles and beliefs? It turns out that they do, from a surprisingly young age.

For decades, research on children – unlike research on adults – has overwhelmingly concluded that participants do reason about moral issues. (Strangely, psychological research often portrays children more favourably than it does adults.) In one classic study from the 1980s, researchers interviewed six- to 10-year-old children in the United States. They asked about several fictional moral violations: for instance, a child who pushed another child off the top of a slide. When asked why pushing was wrong, children typically explained that it could hurt the victim. Accordingly, most children said that pushing would still be wrong even if adults had given permission. That is, children embraced the principle that pushing was wrong because it caused harm and, consistent with this principle, judged that pushing was wrong, whether adults gave permission or not.

A different pattern of reasoning emerged when the researchers interviewed children about violations of social conventions, such as where a child ate dinner with her fingers. In the interviews, the children typically explained that this was wrong because it went against adult prohibitions or traditions. Accordingly, most children said that eating dinner with your fingers would be OK if adults gave permission. Here, children expressed the principle that eating with your fingers is wrong insofar as it violates social norms – and consistent with this principle, judged that eating with your fingers was OK when there were no social norms against it. For both moral and conventional violations, children reasoned by making judgments based on their general principles.

Since then, hundreds of studies have shown that children form judgments based on processes of moral reasoning. Children as young as three to four years reason that hitting or stealing is wrong because it violates fundamental moral principles. Children engage in moral reasoning not only about fictional stories but also about video recordings of real-life conflicts in preschools. And children’s judgments spur actions and emotional reactions when they perceive a moral violation. In one study, three-year-olds protested vigorously when a puppet tried to destroy a picture that another puppet had drawn. Most children protested against the moral violation, for instance by telling the destructive puppet to stop. In short, we know that, from preschool-age onwards, children form moral judgments based on moral principles that they can articulate. They engage in moral reasoning.

The capacity for moral reasoning, far from disappearing, continues to develop as children grow up. By adolescence, they can reason about highly complex moral issues, such as societal inequalities or life-and-death dilemmas. A few years ago, my colleagues and I interviewed adolescents and adults about a series of dilemmas known as ‘trolley problems’. In one trolley problem, you’re standing on a footbridge overarching a train track, next to a large stranger. A runaway train is hurtling down the track toward five railway workers, who will be killed unless you intervene. The only way to save the five workers is to push the stranger off the footbridge and onto the track, which would stop the train, save the workers, but kill the stranger. Is it okay to push the stranger onto the track?

Most participants judged that it would not be okay to push the stranger. The judgment that it was wrong to sacrifice one life to save five others had seemed irrational to many scientists: psychological and neuroscientific research on trolley problems was read as revealing that moral judgments were based on automatic, emotional reactions – consistent with the pessimistic view of moral reasoning. Yet few studies directly investigated whether people reasoned about the trolley problems.

No amount of disgust can make you judge that saving a drowning child is wrong

Our analyses of adolescents’ and adults’ responses offered extensive evidence of moral reasoning about trolley problems. A striking feature of participants’ reasoning was their ability to balance competing moral principles. Participants who judged that it would be wrong to sacrifice the stranger to save the five workers didn’t fail to count the number of lives involved. Rather, they decided to prioritise other moral principles at play. Many participants thought it was wrong to bring the innocent stranger onto the bridge and into a situation of mortal danger. One participant explained that it would be wrong to ‘kill that person who isn’t a railroad worker, who has nothing to do with railroads or trains’. A follow-up study showed that participants’ judgments were indeed guided by moral reasoning about innocence. When the stranger on the footbridge was not an innocent victim but a person who’d set off the runaway train in the first place, most people thought it would be OK to push him off to save the five workers. Our participants formed judgments based on their expressed moral principles.

Our capacity to reason about competing moral principles develops from childhood to adulthood. But the ability to form moral judgments based on the principles we claim to endorse is evident from preschool to adulthood. Sometimes we violate our expressed principles – recently, our lab has studied academic cheating, which most students do despite thinking that cheating is generally wrong. And sometimes we violate one moral principle in order to honour another. Still, principles about how we ought to treat others remain a powerful guide to our moral judgments, emotions and actions across the lifespan.

What about all the empirical evidence that people rely on gut feelings rather than reasoning? Recently, the case against moral reasoning has begun to unravel. It turns out that the effects of gut feelings on moral judgments range from small to nonexistent. Even if being disgusted makes you judge moral violations slightly more harshly, no amount of disgust can make you judge that saving a drowning child is wrong. Other critics argued that studies purporting to show that adults are unable to explain their moral judgments – so-called ‘moral dumbfounding’ – suffered from methodological limitations. When those limitations were removed, researchers found little or no evidence for moral dumbfounding. Lastly, although emotions are integral to our moral sense, emotions and thoughts are more intertwined than researchers once assumed.

The pessimistic views of moral reasoning sought to explain why people disagree about moral and political issues, such as immigration or abortion. It suggested that people disagree because they have automatic emotional reactions that are insensitive to reasons. However, moral disagreements and emotions can occur alongside reasoning. Even scientists, who dedicate their lives to reasoning about evidence, can passionately disagree.

Research on moral reasoning offers alternative explanations for such disputes. One major contributor is the divergent factual beliefs that underlie moral reasoning. Viewers of Fox News are exposed to dramatically different facts than are viewers of CNN. (Sadly, promoting false information can be lucrative, both financially and politically.) These beliefs have implications that inform our moral and political reasoning. If you genuinely believe that a wall on the border with Mexico will greatly benefit jobs and crime prevention in the US, you will likely judge the wall more favourably than if you believe that a wall would be not only inhumane but ineffective. A second contributor to disagreement is the way in which people weigh competing principles. In debates about abortion, both pro-choice and pro-life advocates recognise the worth of the unborn and the welfare of the mother. The disagreement isn’t about whether those two competing considerations are morally relevant, but about how to balance them against each other. Research on the development of moral reasoning can shed light on how people prioritise moral principles as they go from childhood to adulthood.

Recognising the place of moral reasons, not just emotions, offers a starting point for mutual understanding. Despite our inevitable disagreements, humans show a shared capacity for moral reasoning from a remarkably early age. Without this capacity, notions of human rights and social justice would be unimaginable. But with this capacity, what Martin Luther King called ‘the arc of the moral universe’ can, slowly, continue to zigzag toward justice.

wisdom quotes


Yesterday will forever be beyond our reach, but tomorrow will always be there for us to catch and grasp with both hands.
Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. (Lyndon B. Johnson)
==========
Pain will only harm you if you let it.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Random acts of kindness


1. Help someone carrying a lot of stuff.2. Hug someone you love and tell them you love them.3. Out of the blue send flowers to your friend.4. Pick up litter off the street/parks.5. Send a thank you/congratulatory note to a coworker/classmate, appreciating their efforts and the difference they make.

random paragraph of the day


The day had begun on a bright note. The sun finally peeked through the rain for the first time in a week, and the birds were sinf=ging in its warmth. There was no way to anticipate what was about to happen. It was a worst-case scenario and there was no way out of it.

word of the day


WORD OF THE DAY
SurreySUH-reePart of speech: nounOrigin: English, late 19th century
1A light four-wheeled carriage with two seats facing forward.
 
Examples of Surrey in a sentence “The old surrey is still out there behind the barn.” “I’m looking for a picture of a surrey with two black horses.”

seth godin’s newsletter


The absurdity of a Scrabble hierarchy

People who are very good at Scrabble are not more kind, better judges of character, more facile with soft skills, better long-term thinkers, more fun at parties or much of anything except good at Scrabble.

Of course we don’t decide on who should have positions of authority or who should be trusted based on their skill at Scrabble. It’s simply a game.

Perhaps the same could be true for beauty, celebrity or the acquisition of wealth.

Stores In Japan Are Stocking Shelves With Remote-Controlled Robots


300 Word Short Story [ A STORY ABOUT A FARMER AND HIS PRISONER SON] — Steemit


300 Word Short Story [ A STORY ABOUT A FARMER AND HIS PRISONER SON ) in #story-300words •

In a certain village lived a farmer and his only son. The SON was a thief who goes about stealing from people’s homes. He continued this wicked lifestyle till the day his cup got filled. He stole heavy some of money from the richest man in their village, that day he didn’t escape successfully as he used to. The farmer involved the police immediately he found out that his money was missing and the police started investigating, and finally they found out that the boy stole the money so they sent him to prison. After some months, it was time for farming and the farmer was already old and weak and can’t dig the ground anymore so the old farmer wrote this letter to his son in prison. “Son, this year I will not plant cassava and yam because I can’t dig the field, I know if you were here you would have helped me”. The son was really touched by his father’s letter so he thought a plan, and replied his father “Dad don’t even think of digging the field because that’s where I buried the money I stole”. The POLICEMEN on reading this letter went early in the morning and dug the whole field in search of the money but nothing was found. The next day the son wrote his father again “Dad you can now plant your cassava and yam this is the best I can do from here.” Dad replied “My son, you are too powerful indeed, even in prison you still command policemen to work for me. I was so surprised to see the IGP and his team holding hoes and shovels, digging my farm. I will write to you when I want to harvest.” MORAL LESSON: Nobody can imprison your mind.

300 Word Short Story [ A STORY ABOUT A FARMER AND HIS PRISONER SON] — Steemit

23. Indian Domestic T20 League – 19 September – 8 November


23. Indian Domestic T20 League – 19 September – 8 November

The professional 20Twenty cricket league established by the BCCI in 2007 in India will see its 13th edition this year.

Content marketing ideas:

  • Listicle idea: Everything you need to organize a T20 game night with your family
  • Infographic idea: Fantasy gaming apps to try out during the league
  • Video idea: Best Indian T20 league moments of the past decade
  • Podcast idea: Pre-Covid vs Post-Covid: What all will change for Indian T20 league in 2020?

Brand campaign that worked:

The ‘Crash the IPL’ campaign by Pepsi received audience engagement by asking them to make their own version of Pepsi for a chance to get featured in an ad for the brand.

this week


did you know…

… that today is First Chiropractic Adjustment Day? If you’ve ever had a chiropractic adjustment, you owe it to not only your chiropractor, but to Daniel David Palmer. He gave the first chiropractic adjustment to Harvey Lillard in Davenport, Iowa (now the home of Palmer Chiropractic College) on this day 1895.

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

— Douglas Adams

This week


Did you know…

… that today is Constitution Day? On this day in 1787, the Constitution of the United States of America was signed by delegates from twelve states at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trivia fans: The Constitution was “penned” by Jacob Shallus, a Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk, for $30 ($789 today). It has 4,400 words and is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.”

— Oscar Wilde

This week


Did you know…

… that today is American Legion Day? The American Legion was granted its federal charter by Congress on this day in 1919. It was established to support and assist veterans returning from World War I. Since then it has grown and supported all veterans and currently has nearly 2 million members and more than 12,000 posts in communities throughout America. Happy American Legion Day… and thank you!

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Challenge yourself every day to do better and be better. Remember, growth starts with a decision to move beyond your present circumstances.”

— Robert Tew

This week


Did you know…

… that today is Green Acres Day? On this day in 1965, Oliver Douglas and his socialite wife, Lisa, showed up at “Green Acres” on CBS-TV. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor headed a memorable cast in this, the first of six seasons on the network. Celebrate by watching an old-time classic with your loved ones!

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Live life as though nobody is watching and express yourself as though everyone is listening.”

— Nelson Mandela

No One Can Trigger You


No One Can Trigger You There are things that just set you off. There are things that happened to you that you prefer not to think about. There are the things you asked repeatedly for someone to stop. There are the things that decent people are not supposed to do and say. And yet they happen anyway. So you get upset. You get triggered.  Although not ideal, it is at least understandable. We should be patient with other people when they are triggered, we should be patient with ourselves when we are (as Marcus said, what matters when you fall or fail is to revert back to the training that you know and understand that you’re a human being).  The problem is this extra thing we’ve started doing these days: Blaming other people for triggering us. Expecting the world to label every potential frustrating thought or idea with a trigger warning. That’s not reasonable, right, or fair.  The Stoics knew that other people can’t trigger us. We can only allow ourselves to be triggered. As Epictetus said, we are complicit in the offenses we take. Our temper is ours to lose—no one can take it from us and certainly no one can make us lose it.  We have the power. We’ll have far more luck and happiness in this life if we spend our time strengthening it than we ever will trying to soften the world. One is a form of protection that’s up to us, the other is a fantasy and a projection.  Which will you choose?

No One Can Trigger You

nik’s book summaries


Heyo, Nik here with your free summary of the day.

If you enjoy these, check out our reading guide. It’ll help you learn and remember more from everything you read.

Happy reading!


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1-Sentence-Summary: Everybody Matters identifies the best way to become successful in business, help your team members trust you, and enable people to reach their full potential by showing the power of taking better care of your employees as if they were family.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Everybody Matters Summary

A few years ago I worked for a company that I thought cared about its employees. But over time, I kept hearing stories from coworkers and having my own experiences that taught me otherwise. 

They pretended to care about us, but they only cared about money. One of the executives even said that he was a greedy man in response to one of my coworker’s concerns in a meeting. It was a terrible culture, nobody knew where it was going, and the turnover rate was astronomical. 

I don’t have to deal with all of that anymore, thankfully. But I did learn a lot about how not to run a business from them. That’s why I was so excited when I read Bob Chapman’s Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family because it only reinforced these important lessons for me.

In it, you too will learn that the true secret to business success is putting your employees, and their trust and happiness, above your profits.

Here are 3 of the greatest tips for success I got out of this one:

  1. You have to truly care about your employee’s needs if you want your business to thrive.
  2. If you want your team members to be happy, loyal, and productive, trust them with the freedom to make their own decisions.
  3. Create a cultural vision to inspire your people with hope for where you’re heading in the future.

Grab a notepad and let’s find out why Everybody Matters in your company!If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Download PDF

Lesson 1: To thrive in business, focus on caring about your employees.

That old company I used to work for was profitable, at least most of the time. It did care about the vital factors of profits and expenditures. But it missed out on an opportunity to become so much more, if only it’s leaders would have actually cared about any of us.

The next question to ask yourself then is what does it take to create a caring environment at the office? 

First, you need to change your understanding of leadership. Go beyond the traditional and think of it more as a stewardship. You must do all you can to make sure that your employees know that you have a genuine concern for their well-being.

That doesn’t just mean asking about their productivity. When you do that, you’re just showing that your only concern is for the company and not for their lives. Instead, you need to talk with them, get to know them, and express how much they mean to you and to the company.

Your efforts to express gratitude for them will help them feel secure and fulfilled, but also make them healthier. In one poll, information from workers in America identified that people that said they loved their job spent 62% less on healthcare!

So make sure to ask at least whether or not they feel secure at work. And also check on how fulfilled they feel in their job. As you think about it yourself, it might open your eyes to just how much they rely on you for their own happiness.

Lesson 2: Let your people make their own decisions if you want them to be happy at work, loyal, and productive.

Another common occurrence at my old job was to hear about executive decisions that were made without any employee input. The mid-level managers weren’t even paid more for their leadership tasks! And the executives wouldn’t budge on this and many other choices they made.

I didn’t feel very free at work, and I knew that my employer didn’t trust me, which hurt. 

I understand now how hard it can be to let your employees make decisions on their own. But it doesn’t have to be so intimidating if you create an atmosphere of responsible freedom. This method involves deliberately crafting the workplace to help your people reach their full potential

One company, for example, uses what they refer to as the “just enough” strategy. In it, they clearly define what it means to win, and then let team members take the reigns to make decisions to get there.

If you run a business that focuses on customer’s experience, you might define winning as getting a high score on a customer satisfaction survey. Then, you’d give your employees free rein to do what they feel is best to make it happen. 

When they can use their strengths and ideas, people feel empowered and are more productive. And most of all, it helps them feel that you trust them.

Lesson 3: You need to get a clear vision of your culture and future if you want to inspire your team members.

If you’ve ever worked for a company that didn’t know where it wanted to go, you know how hard it can be to stay motivated. And if that company happens to be yours, then fix this by visioning. 

This involves thinking about where you want to go and the path that will take you there. To discover these things, ask yourself and your team the right questions. Start with thinking about where you’d like to be in a few years, then consider why you want to go there.

The question of why is a really important one to get just right. It will help you identify a purpose for your company, which will help you see how to better the lives of your employees. Another phrase for this is cultural visioning.

Design Group is one company that tried this out with great success. They first decided to put their existing employees first rather than trying to expand. Their focus turned toward improving the work environment.

After figuring this out, however, it was time to look to the future. Seeing that they were losing momentum, they adopted the vision of doubling in size within five years. Their efforts and focus on people paid off, and they accomplished this goal in just three years!

Everybody Matters Review

As one who has worked for a company with a highly dysfunctional management system, this book was a huge relief. Everybody Matters teaches the future of business and I think every leader in every company needs to read it. The advice it contains is as inspiring as it is practical and will transform the work life of everyone who reads it!

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Who would I recommend the Everybody Matters summary to?

The 48-year-old who owns a business and wants to know the best way to take care of their employees, the 32-year-old manager whose team members keep quitting and he isn’t sure why, and anyone that wants to improve their workplace culture.

The post Everybody Matters Summary appeared first on Four Minute Books.Keep learning,
-Nik

word of the day


WORD OF THE DAY
ChambraySHAM-breyPart of speech: nounOrigin: American English, early 19th century
1A linen-finished gingham cloth with a white weft and a colored warp, producing a mottled appearance.
 
Examples of Chambray in a sentence “He wore a blue chambray shirt with pearl snap buttons.” “Chambray will be making a comeback in stores this fall.”

seth godin’s newsletter


Getting the joke

“But why is this important?”

When we encounter a fashion, a film or some other cultural artifact that the critical establishment has celebrated, it’s easy to not understand it.

Taste, after all, is unevenly distributed.

But you don’t have to like something to understand why someone else thought it was important.

To move the culture forward, we need to have the empathy to imagine what others are seeing, liking and talking about.

Once you get the joke, you don’t have to laugh at it, but it definitely makes it easier for you to tell the next one.

Why the Nazi party loved decaf coffee



The Caffeine-Free ReichIn its early years, decaf found a particularly appreciative and supportive audience: the Third Reich. As the Nazi Party assumed power, its leaders recommended decaf as a way to avoid caffeine, a poison in their eyes. More than a health campaign, decaf was part of a state policy intended to preserve a healthy Aryan population.READ MORE
Africa’s Only CaviarOne of the rarest, most luxurious crops in Madagascar is isolated in one artificial lake deep in the country’s highlands. Located about 40 miles from the capital, Antananarivo, and home to a burgeoning community of farmed sturgeon, the picturesque Lake Mantasoa has become Africa’s first and only source of caviar.READ MORE
How Salt Helped Win the Civil WarLouisiana’s Avery Island isn’t an island at all. Surrounded by marsh, it’s a massive salt dome. That salt sat relatively undisturbed until the Civil War, when it suddenly became a precious commodity. Salt is easy to overlook today, but before refrigeration, it was essential for preserving food and curing leather. As soon as southerners built facilities to make salt, they became military targets.READ MORE
Luxury Nut ButterArgan trees grow exclusively in Southwestern Morocco, and argan oil is famed for its age-defying cosmetic properties. At $130 per liter, it’s one of the most expensive plant-based oils in the world. Less known, however, is amlou, Morocco’s delectably sweet and nutty concoction made using three local ingredients: argan oil, almonds, and honey.READ MORE
Chicago’s Atomic CakeIf you’re ever in a bakeshop on Chicago’s South Side, you’ll probably see a towering confection that stacks three cakes into one glorious treat. Its bakers whip up banana, yellow, and chocolate cakes—then layer fillings and fruit throughout. Since the 1950s, generations of South-siders have enjoyed Atomic Cake during milestones, particularly birthdays, but the iconic treat is rarely seen outside its place of origin.READ MORE
Mixing Soda & SpiritsThailand’s spirits have a taste for Red Fanta, but how did Fanta nam dang, “red water,” become the drink offering of choice? How did Thailand—a country physically smaller than the state of Texas—become Fanta’s fourth-biggest market, ahead of both the entire United States and China? And how did a strawberry version of the soda concocted by a Coke-deprived, World War II-era Germany find its way into the culture of a country halfway around the world?READ MORE
A Super-Fishy ATMIn January of 2019, a new ATM was unveiled in Singapore’s Wisteria shopping mall. Instead of cash, however, this machine dispenses 200-gram fillets of frozen salmon from the fjords of Norway. Today, dozens of salmon ATMs dot the island city-state, which boasts a vibrant vending-machine culture and an undeniable affection for Norwegian salmon.READ MORE
ATLAS OBSCURA COURSESFood, Foraging & MythologyOur first Gastro Obscura online course starts this October! Over four weeks, forager Lori McCarthy and herbalist Felicity Roberts will dig into the meaning of autumn festivals through the sacred foods that accompany them. We’ll cover ciders, cheese-making, pasta-making, canning, cooking over fire, foraging, charcuterie, and so much more, as well as each item’s history and surrounding folklore. Throughout, students will have ample opportunity to experiment, explore, and reflect during mini-assignments between sessions.LEARN MORE »

seven realities


THE SEVEN REALITIES

The only real Existence is that of the one and the only God, who is the Self in every one.The only real Love is the love for God.The only real Sacrifice is that which knows no reservations.The only real Renunciation is the giving up of all selfish thoughts and desires even in the midst of wordly duties.The only real Knowledge is the understanding that God is the inner dweller in all, irrespective of whether they are good or bad.The only real Control is the turning away of the senses from the objects of low desires.The only real Surrender is that in which the individual accepts the will of God with complete resignation.

——-AVATAR MEHER BABA

[GEMS FROM THE DISCOURSES OF MEHER BABA By Meher Baba. An Avatar Meher Baba Trust eBook June 2011. Copyright © 1945 by Circle Productions, Inc.

(a New York Corporation), Copyright © Adi K. Irani, 1967 Copyright © 2007, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagar, India.]

People Can’t Change, but You Can


Be the “red” that Agrippinus talked about

People Can’t Change, but You Can

लोग बदल नहीं सकते, लेकिन आप इतिहास का एक निर्विवाद तथ्य हो सकते हैं: लोग हमेशा से लोग रहे हैं। वे परिवर्तन नहीं करते। वे स्वार्थी, अज्ञानी, बेईमान और कमजोर बने रहते हैं। यह रोम में सही था और यह इन सभी हजारों वर्षों के बाद सच है। आप उनसे तब तक बात कर सकते हैं जब तक कि आप चेहरे के नीले नहीं होते, मार्कस ऑरेलियस ने देखा, आप उन्हें अपने तरीके की त्रुटियों को दिखाने की कोशिश कर सकते हैं, लेकिन यह कोई बात नहीं है। वे बस इसे करते रहेंगे तो उसका क्या मतलब हुआ? क्या हम हार मान लेते हैं? नहीं, हम सिर्फ अपना ध्यान बदलते हैं। लोग शायद बदल न सकें, लेकिन हम कर सकते हैं। आप सोशल मीडिया पर अपने माता-पिता या अपने बॉस या उन बुरे टिप्पणीकारों के माध्यम से प्राप्त करने में सक्षम नहीं हो सकते हैं, लेकिन आप निश्चित रूप से खुद के माध्यम से प्राप्त कर सकते हैं। हो सकता है कि आप अपने पड़ोसियों को कूड़ा उठाने, या लेटने या आसपास लेटने से रोकने में सक्षम न हों, लेकिन आप उन आदतों को खुद ही तोड़ सकते हैं। मानव जाति कालातीत, स्पष्ट रूप से अटूट, व्यर्थता से ग्रसित है। लेकिन आप इंसानियत नहीं हैं। आप भीड़ नहीं हैं, आप “लोग” नहीं हैं। आप आप हैं। आप एक व्यक्ति हैं जिस पर आपका पूरा नियंत्रण है। आप पैटर्न को तोड़ सकते हैं। आप कदम बढ़ा सकते हैं, काम पर लग सकते हैं, नई आदतें बना सकते हैं। तो इसे करो। आज। अभी। “लाल” हो कि एग्रीपिनस के बारे में बात की। वह जो बाहर खड़ा है। वह जो अलग हो। जो बदल सकता है।

Random Paragraph


Waiting and watching. It was all she had done for the past weeks. When you’re locked in a room with nothing but food and drink, that’s about all you can do anyway. She watched as birds flew past the window bolted shut. She couldn’t reach it if she wanted too, with that hole in the floor. She thought she could escape through it but three stories is a bit far down.

WORD OF THE DAY


WORD OF THE DAY
ApiaryAY-ee-er-eePart of speech: nounOrigin: Latin, 17th century
1A place where bees are kept.2A collection of beehives.
 
Examples of Apiary in a sentence “The apiary was less than a mile away from a rose garden, which gave the honey a floral aroma.” “It takes a full day to inspect and maintain my apiary.”

Random acts of kindness


1. Create a fun holiday to celebrate a special person or date, such as John Appreciation Day.2. Cut out extra coupons and share with people who have those items.3. Donate your old clothes to the Salvation Army4. Leave a few scratch off lottery tickets tucked in the aisles of the grocery store.5. On Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, go to your local memorial or event and pass out mini flags or flowers to veteran’s

A Stoic Response to Beauty


A Stoic Response to Beauty “To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower; hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” — William Blake, ‘Auguries of Innocence’ The Stoics aren’t exactly famous for their ideas about beauty, and it is easy to understand why. Being champions of reason (all hail), the Stoics would seem to have little interest in a discipline as subjective and emotionally charged as aesthetics. Contrary to popular belief, however, the Stoics did hold well-formed ideas about beauty, even going so far as to regard everything that is good as beautiful. While the bulk of Stoic material about beauty has been lost to the dustbin of history, much of it can be inferred through their writings about ethics. In several Stoic-inspired texts, aesthetic language is often deployed to make a point, particularly in the heat of a moral argument. To kalon, for example, frequently crops up in the writings of Aristotle and Cicero, a Greek term which roughly translates to beautiful, honorable and noble. Nevertheless, the most explicit Stoic definition of beauty comes from the fragmentary works of Chrysippus, the third school of the Stoa, who defined it as “a summetria of parts with each other and with a whole.” As Galen, a physician to Marcus Aurelius, records: “Chrysippus… holds beauty does not consist in the elements of the body (in themselves) but in the harmonious proportion of the parts. The proportion of one finger to another, of all fingers to the rest of the hand, of the rest of the hand to the wrist, and of these to the forearm, and of the forearm to the whole arm, and in short, everything to everything else.” (De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, V.448)

A Stoic Response to Beauty

10. International Equal Pay Day – 18 September


10. International Equal Pay Day – 18 September

Equal Pay Content Marketing Ideas

This day is observed to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. The theme for this year is ‘Building back a better future of work by ensuring pay equity’.

Content marketing opportunities:

  • Listicle idea: Careers where women earn more than men
  • Infographic idea: X countries that have passed legislation regarding equal pay
  • Video idea: How did the equal pay movement start?
  • Podcast idea: How can we reduce gender bias in workplaces?

Brand campaign that worked:

This video from Vox does a deep-dive into the real meaning behind the gender wage gap.

Toastmasters learning day


Thank you DTM PALLAVI SINGH and Toastmasters of Prudent Prodigy International ONLINE TMC for kindly inviting me as your General Evaluator this evening and giving me this Certificate of Appreciation. My sincere thanks to all Role takers, TMs, future TMs and Guests.

True Self-knowledge


To arrive at true self-knowledge is to arrive at God-realization. God-realization is a unique state of consciousness.It is different from all the other states of consciousness because all the other states of consciousness are experienced through the medium of the individual mind whereas the state of God-consciousness is in no way dependent upon the individual mind or any other medium.A medium is necessary for knowing something other than one’s own self: for knowing one’s own self no medium is necessary.

——-AVATAR MEHER BABA[GEMS FROM THE DISCOURSES OF MEHER BABA By Meher Baba. An Avatar Meher Baba Trust eBook June 2011. Copyright © 1945 by Circle Productions, Inc. (a New York Corporation), Copyright © Adi K. Irani, 1967 Copyright © 2007, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagar, India.]

Image may contain: 1 person

Learning Body language from Vanessa van edwards – her newsletter i subscribe


I found Vanessa Van Edwards on Udemy when I was learning and beginning my Toastmasters Pathways journey. In one of the exercises we have there, we have to research a topic and speak. I found Apart from Content, it was Vocal variety, Gestures and Body Language, Personality which had important place in a Public Speaker’s repertoire.

Her focus and Special Expertise lay in BODY LANGUAGE. You can see the newsletter below, go to her website and take her Udemy courses if you are so inclined.

Are you ready for some interesting science facts? Me too!
As you might know, once a month I gather all of my favorite studies and tips into one fascinating, interesting, unique little newsletter. My goal is to share facts with you that you can then share with others. So then they say,
That’s so interesting!
…I also like to make them a game for you. Here’s what I got for you today:
1. Republicans prefer politicians with…

  1. deep voice and a square jaw
  2. big eyes and a longer than average face
  3. above average height
  4. small ears and bushy eyebrows

Seriously, research looked at this. This study found Republicans prefer politicians with 1. deep voice and a square jaw! I am gearing up for a big US election season. In fact, please mark your calendars to watch the US Presidential debate with me on September, 29th! My Watch Guide will help you look for interesting cues. I also analyzed the last five Presidential Debates for your amusement!

Presidential Debate Analysis + Watch Guides

I also analyzed of Kamala Harris’ body language. It’s going to be an interesting election year…



2. In conversation we tend to…

  1. Overestimate how much people like us
  2. Underestimate how much people like us

Does she like me?! Is a refrain I constantly say in my head. Good news! This study finds we tend to 2. Underestimate how much people like us!
Remember: You are likable. You are worthy.
3. Research says you should trust your…

  1. dog
  2. horoscope
  3. aha moments
  4. nightmares

You have a problem. You have been trying to solve it for hours. You go to sleep. You wake up at 2:00 a.m. thinking….”aha! I know the answer.” Turns out that you should trust that 3. aha moment! If you have taken any of our courses you know I am obsessed with aha moments. So I’m thrilled this study found when a solution to a problem seems to have come out of thin air, it’s most likely right.

From the study:
“A series of experiments conducted by a team of researchers determined that a person’s sudden insights are often more accurate at solving problems than thinking them through analytically.”Bottom line: Trust yourself.
4. Some of Beethoven’s famous works may have been inspired by…

  1. His cat
  2. His daughter
  3. His view of the ocean
  4. His heartbeat

A cardiologist, medical historian, and a musicologist teamed up to analyze Beethoven’s famous works. They found some of his rhythms may in fact reflect the irregular rhythms of his own heart, caused by cardiac arrhythmia! 4. his heartbeat might be what inspired his work!

…you never know what can be your spark of inspiration! Be sure to check out our post:

40 Productive Things to Do When You’re Bored

5. True or False: How much you worry can change over time.
I have come out publicly as a neurotic. And it turns out science has found that the worrying part of our brain can change over time (true!). AND this is different for men and women.
“Women high in neuroticism tended to have thinner cortex in the anterior cingulate with increasing age, while men high in neuroticism tended to have thicker cortex in the anterior cingulate with increasing age, compared to those with lower levels of neuroticism.”
So… don’t get mad at your partner, friend, spouse for worrying too much–they can’t help it!
To your success,
Vanessa

nik’s free book summaries newsletter


Heyo, Nik here with your free summary of the day.

If you enjoy these, check out our reading guide. It’ll help you learn and remember more from everything you read.

Happy reading!


Want to get just one weekly summary roundup? Switch to weekly.


1-Sentence-Summary: Hold Me Tight gives you advice on how to build and sustain a deeper connection with your spouse or partner by identifying the importance that every kind of emotion has in creating a lasting relationship and how to handle each of them maturely.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Hold Me Tight Summary

If you had to rank the quality of your relationship with your significant other on a scale of 1 to 10, where would it be? We’d all hope for at least a 7 or an 8. But occasionally we get into relationships and situations within them that might make us think of a much lower number.

Establishing and maintaining a bond with your partner isn’t easy. You both have past traumas, endless challenges, and stresses that get in the way. 

Is there hope, even if your connection seems to be hanging by a thread?

According to clinical psychologist and researcher Dr. Sue Johnson, there is. She’s helped many couples reconnect with her wildly successful Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT). 

Now, she wants to teach you how it can help your relationship too.

That’s why she wrote Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of LoveIt will show you the exciting results of some couples who have been through EFT and give you tools to apply its principles to improve your own relationship.

3 of my favorite pieces of relationship advice from this book are:

  1. Blame is a common killer of healthy relationships, but you can beat it by becoming aware of the patterns you follow when feeling and expressing it.
  2. The “buttons” your partner pushes to get you angry come from past trauma, but emotional vulnerability will help you get through.
  3. Difficulties are inevitable and can make it hard to stay united with your spouse, but identifying the reasons a disconnect began will help.

Let’s get right to it and help you find out how to become closer to your partner!If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Download PDF

Lesson 1: Notice the patterns you follow when you begin blaming your significant other to have a healthier relationship.

Do you remember the ice bucket challenge? While dumping ice water on your head and donating to charity is a nice thing, cold water on a marriage isn’t so nice. 

But too often we fill buckets of blame and resentment toward our partners then dump them when the time seems right. Like water on the fire of a healthy relationship, this can put out the flame of love you once had for each other. 

It might even start with something as little as fighting about minor household chores. You know it’s a problem when the argument spirals out of control into a yelling match.

The author had one therapy session with Pam and Jim that shows how this happens in real life. When Pam tried to compliment Jim and offer more support, he scoffed and turned away. This upset Pam who began blaming Jim for their difficulties. 

Your relationship might experience similar occurrences when a tiny thing explodes, but you can learn to avoid them.

Start by looking back to what started the argument in the first place. Like Pam and Jim, you might notice the patterns you always follow in these situations. 

Once you know how these fights usually go it’s a lot easier to see how to change. After Pam and Jim could see where their fight started, they stopped blaming each other and made up.

Lesson 2: Emotional vulnerability is the only way to defeat the fights that start when your partner pushes your buttons.

Have you ever said something to your spouse and out of nowhere they fly into a fit of rage? We judge these experiences harshly from our perspective because it seems so insignificant. But to them, it’s not. 

That’s because each of us carries emotional baggage from past trauma. When others push the right buttons, it reminds us of the horrific experience and we go into fight or flight mode. 

This is exactly what’s happening to your significant other when they explode at the seemingly tiniest thing.

The author once saw this in herself when she noticed her husband getting tired while they were talking. 

After becoming furious at him, she realized that this little thing only reminded her of a past boyfriend that would fall asleep during important conversations.

Your secret weapon here, though, is understanding. It can come from both sides, too. From your side, you need to look for the experiences that get you frustrated in these moments. 

Once you can see them clearly, you can open up emotionally to your partner. This gives them an understanding they previously didn’t have, which makes it much easier for them to take care of you through it.

Lesson 3: Look for the reasons a disconnect began when life challenges make it hard to stay united with each other.

My wife and I have a rule that unless absolutely necessary, we don’t discuss important topics at night. That’s because they usually result in a bigger argument that we wake up the next day thinking was stupid.

Sometimes, however, life’s challenges get in the way and make it difficult to connect well with each other. When a burden of sickness, mental illness, or the death of a loved one weigh us down, they also hinder our relationship.

An example of this from the author’s EFT work was with Claire and Peter. Everything was going well until Claire got hepatitis. She started to get frustrated with Peter, blaming him for not taking care of her and focusing too much on his work. 

But when she asked for help, this only made Peter feel annoyed. But Claire wasn’t the only one with a burden, Peter had a big project going on at work.

The way out of these situations starts with recognizing the wedge between you and your partner and try to reconnect. To do that, look at when and how things started going bad. Ask yourselves, “what started this fight?”

For Claire and Peter, examining the origins of their frustrations with each other helped them see clearly enough to apologize, stop stonewalling and getting angry, and commit to breaking these bad habits.

Hold Me Tight Review

As a married man, I found Hold Me Tight to be super helpful. It made me realize the parts of my relationship with my wife that are emotionally healthy and how to improve the areas that aren’t doing as well. This will be a game-changer book for all couples if they will be open and honest with themselves about what they learn from it!

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Who would I recommend the Hold Me Tight summary to?

The 22-year-old who just broke up with her boyfriend of three years, the 46-year-old couple that isn’t great at communicating, and anyone who constantly fights with their partner and wants to have a deeper and more peaceful relationship.

The post Hold Me Tight Summary appeared first on Four Minute Books.Keep learning,
-Nik

PS: Want to get more out of everything you read? Check out our guide!

Many happy returns of the day Sh. Narendra modi ji.


Narendra Modi ji Happy Birthday to you. Have a great one! May this one also be filled with Health, Wealth, Peace, and Joy and you enjoy this and many many more in the years to come with the choicest family, friends, relatives and Enjoy the Fun moments and cherish them for years to come. May God Blessyou .Warm Regards Dhananjaya Parkhe

9. World Patient Safety Day – 17 September


9. World Patient Safety Day – 17 September

Patient Safety

This day is celebrated to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action to promote patient safety.

Content marketing opportunities:

  • Listicle idea: X Things you must take note of in your health insurance
  • Infographic idea: How do surgery checklists improve patient safety?
  • Video idea: How have governments focused on patient safety during COVID-19?
  • Podcast idea: Is it fair to get angry with doctors when a family member dies?

Random Paragraph


According to the caption on the bronze marker placed by the Multnomah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on May 12, 1939, “College Hall (is) the oldest building in continuous use for Educational purposes west of the Rocky Mountains. Here were educated men and women who have won recognition throughout the world in all the learned professions.”