WHAT is Jay's Mission? Jay धनंजय has a simple mission. He wants to help successful executives and Startups achieve positive, sustainable change and behavior- for them, their people, and their teams.
HOW does Jay do that?
He helps you make life a little better, still better.
What is Jay's Experience? Jay has over 44 years of experience. In helping C-Level and Senior Executives and Starup Entrepreneurs overcome limiting thoughts and behaviors and help them achieve the greater success/
… that today is Don’t Worry, Be Happy Day? In 1988, Bobby McFerrin’s hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” became the first a cappella song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now get out there and be happy!
… that today is Don’t Worry, Be Happy Day? In 1988, Bobby McFerrin’s hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” became the first a cappella song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now get out there and be happy!
“To come to me” means experiencing me as I am. No more bondage of births and deaths. But it does not mean the state of a Perfect Master, of Perfection. That is only to be attained in the gross body. So if you are not blessed with this state of perfection, at least you can have liberation.
Baba declared, “ If you just take My Name at the moment of dropping your body, you will come to me.Yes anyone. It is not easy to do this. So do not wait for the last moment.
Remember Me constantly and wholeheartedly all the time and you will not fail to remember Me in your last moment and you will surely come to Me.”
“When lust goes love appears; and out the love comes longing. In love there can never be satisfaction, for longing increases till it becomes an agony which ceases only in Union. Nothing but union with the Beloved can satisfy the lover.
The Way of Love is a continual sacrifice; and what gets sacrificed are the lover’s thoughts of “I”, until at last comes the time when the lover says, “O Beloved! will I ever become one with you and so lose myself forever? But let this be only if it is your Will.” This is the stage of love enlightened by obedience.
Now the lover continuously witnesses the glory of the Beloved’s Will; and in the witnessing does not even think of union. He willingly surrenders his entire being to the Beloved, and has no thought of self left. This is the stage when love is illumined by surrender.
Out of millions, only one loves God; and out of millions of lovers, only one succeeds in obeying, and finally, in surrendering his whole being to God the Beloved.”
… that today is Rocky Marciano Day? On this day in 1952, Rocky Marciano knocked out world heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott in the 13th round and went on to be the only heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire without a defeat or draw as a professional boxer.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.”
This is the brainpickings.org weekly digest by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — Walt Whitman on creativity, Toni Morrison on the deepest meaning of love, Martin Buber on what a tree can teach us about seeing each other fully — you can catch up right here. And if you’re enjoying this newsletter, please consider supporting my labor of love with a donation – each month, I spend hundreds of hours and tremendous resources on it, and every little bit of support helps enormously. If you already donate: THANK YOU.
A decade later, and a decade before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck turned this abiding tug of war between good and evil into a literary inquiry in East of Eden (public library) — the 1952 novel that gave us his beautiful wisdom on creativity and the meaning of life, eventually adapted into the 1955 film of the same title starring James Dean.
Steinbeck opens the thirty-fourth chapter with a meditation on the most elemental question through which we experience and measure our lives:
A child may ask, “What is the world’s story about?” And a grown man or woman may wonder, “What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we’re at it, what’s the story about?”
I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught — in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too — in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill?
At the most fundamental level, the triumph of good over evil presupposes an openhearted curiosity about what is other than ourselves and a certain willingness for understanding — the moral choice of fathoming and honoring the reality, experience, and needs of persons and entities existing beyond our own consciousness. Steinbeck, too, saw the centrality of empathic understanding in the choice of goodness. Perhaps unsurprisingly — since he used his private journal as a creative sandbox for his novels— this sentiment originated in a diary entry.
In every bit of honest writing in the world… there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.
Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that’s it… Don’t waste time on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; its like saying you extend life of a car by driving faster. Want to live longer?
Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: Oh no. Wine made from fruit. Fruit very good. Brandy distilled wine, that means they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Grain good too.
Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of one, sorry.
My philosophy: No pain…good!
Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil.
How getting more vegetable be bad?
Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable!
It best feel-good food around!
Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for figure,
explain whale to me.
Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is also a shape!
Well… I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.
Finally the Japanese Doctor summed up: Look mister, Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Beer in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride my life was”!!!!!😂
My friend who loves an undisciplined life and enjoys his drinks is in love with this Japanese Doctor it seems.
Its a WhatsApp forward. No offence is meant to any of my japanese Doctor friends.
Buckle your seatbelts, a recession may be coming.
Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio in his upcoming book about financial crises says seven indicators can signal depression or recession.
1. Prices are high relative to traditional measures
2. Prices are discounting future rapid price appreciation from these high levels
3. There is a broad bullish sentiment
4. Purchases are being financed with high leverage
5. Buyers have made exceptionally extended forward investments, such as of inventories, to speculate or to protect against price appreciation
6. New buyers have entered the market
7. Stimulative monetary policy threatens to inflate the bubble even more.
Right now, he says those indicators are flickering, not flashing, so we should be safe … but things can change quickly.
“I’m significantly concerned for the next economic downturn for two reasons,” Dalio said. “The first is that we have right now a higher level of populism and a worse wealth gap so that when we have a downturn, the rich and the poor, the left and the right, will be more at each other’s throats.” Second, he said, monetary policy will be less effective because there’s not much room to cut interest rates, and because quantitative easing — the Federal Reserve’s purchase of long-term bonds to lower interest rates — “has much less marginal effectiveness.”
Dalio says it’s not what happens when the next downturn hits, it’s how it’s handled. He suggests giving the president, with input from other agencies, should be given blanket authority to repeal regulations.
Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.
After a relatively dull crop of headlines last week, this week’s news exploded into turbo overdrive. Not one but two massive political storms battered DC, while an actual storm battered the Carolinas. Elsewhere, a new summit in North Korea made headlines again, while accusations rocked the British Labour Party. Also, a three-way international incident blew up between Israel, Russia, and Syria. Strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride.
It took a long time, but he finally cracked. Last Friday, Paul Manafort accepted a plea deal with Robert Mueller’s team over outstanding charges of conspiracy and witness tampering. (He’d already been convicted of eight counts of fraud in August.) He will now be helping Mueller in his Russia inquiry.
The Manafort plea deal is explosive but also slightly odd. All of Manafort’s charges stem from crimes unrelated to his time on the Trump campaign, involving his pre-2014 lobbying work in Ukraine. However, Mueller appears to believe that Manafort knows something of interest to his main investigation.
President Trump appears wholly unconcerned about this development, quite possibly because he has nothing to hide. But, as Judge Andrew Napolitano has pointed out, Manafort’s plea deal involved admitting to a breathtaking number of crimes, including some which implicated Russian oligarchs, Ukraine’s former government, and one unnamed Obama official.
In other words, if Manafort has nothing of value, he’s now put himself on the line for several lifetimes in prison. There’s clearly a big fish in Mueller’s sights. Time will tell if it really is the president or not.
9Israel Was Blamed For Syria Shooting Down A Russian Plane
Although the war isn’t quite the psychopathic slaughter it once was, Syriastill remains a tinderbox where the slightest mistake could spiral into a larger conflict. A mistake, for instance, like the Assad regime shooting down a Russian plane, killing 14 servicemen.
Well, that’s exactly what happened on Monday night. But the real kicker wasn’t that Assad’s defenses had accidentally taken out a friendly plane. It’s that Russia placed the blame firmly on Israel.
Israel currently runs clandestine bombing missions into Syria to hit Iranian targets. (Iran is allied with Assad.) In this case, Russia claimed that two Israeli F-16s deliberately used their planes as cover during a bombing run, giving Moscow only one minute’s notice of the strike. The Syrian regime’s defenses got confused and destroyed the Russian aircraft by mistake.
Putin and Netanyahu are currently attempting to cool down their governments’ tempers over this, but the Russian defense ministry has publicly blamed Israel for the 14 Russian deaths.
Last Friday, Hurricane Florence finally made landfall in North Carolina. There had been a lot of confusion about the storm, with some saying that it would wreak havoc and others saying it was “just” a Category 1. In hindsight, we can see that Florence wasn’t at the level of Hurricane Katrina. But it was still destructive. At the time of this writing on Thursday, 37 people are now confirmed dead.
The damage was enormous. Moody’s calculated some $17 billion in costs arising from the hurricane, while other sources put the true figure at over $22 billion. The storm also wiped out the economy of entire farming communities. In North Carolina alone, over one million chickens and thousands of pigs drowned in the floodwaters.
With many areas still flooded and thousands of people still evacuated, the nightmare isn’t over yet. FEMA now has a long way to go in ensuring affected communities can recover.
7An Internet Lynch Mob Crippled Free Speech (Again)
Jian Ghomeshi is a name familiar to Canadians. In 2014, the former CBC host was accused of many sexual crimes against women, including hitting, biting, and choking partners. In early 2016, he was acquitted on all charges and settled a related case out of court.
This week, he finally resurfaced in the public eye, publishing an essay about his experiences in The New York Review of Books (NYRB). The purpose of this entry isn’t to argue whether NYRB made the correct call by publishing the essay while #MeToo is still running. It’s to highlight the danger of what happened next. When the Internet backlash hit, NYRB fired its editor Ian Buruma.
The allegations against Ghomeshi were serious, although it must be stressed that he was acquitted. However, firing an editor for doing his job and commissioning a controversial article takes us into a whole new ball game.
Buruma was a great writer and a thought-provoking editor. To see him taken down by an Internet lynch mob not because he was an abuser but because he commissioned an article by a man who was accused of being an abuser is like watching a gang of thugs repeatedly kick the First Amendment in the groin.
Maybe it’s an age thing, but this columnist can still remember when controversial articles were essential to debate. Vanity Fair’s 2001 article by Gore Vidal seeking to understand Timothy McVeigh—a man who really was guilty of killing 168 people—caused a firestorm, but it was vital reading.
O.J. Simpson’s account of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown’s murder originally got its publisher fired, but that was more to do with Simpson making money off the case. Once it was republished with all proceeds going to the families, it became a best seller.
Viewpoints, even horrific ones, need to be heard, even if only so we can understand awful actions. That we’re now more comfortable with destroying the careers of those who exercise their First Amendment rights than we are with reading an article we might disagree with—even be disgusted by—speaks volumes about the bleak place to which public discourse is heading.
6A Former Leader Of The British Labour Party Was Accused Of Being A Soviet Spy
Michael Foot is the former British Labour Party leader who is chiefly famous for two things: wearing a donkey jacket to a memorial service and being absolutely crushed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1983 election. He’s also long been rumored to have had connections to the KGB. This week, The Times of London may have found definitive proof.
We say “may have” because it’s a little unclear. The Times reports that Foot absolutely was one of the USSR’s “useful idiots.” Meanwhile, the BBC reports merely that MI6 had good reason to believe he was, which isn’t exactly the same thing.
Still, the story was deeply controversial in Britain, where elements of the left regard Foot as a national hero. The Times claimed that MI6 informant Oleg Gordievsky had uncovered a 300-page KGB file on the politician in 1981, which gave him the nickname Agent Boot and listed him as someone who had taken cash from the Soviets.
Foot’s family countered by saying he’d successfully sued The Times for calling him a KGB agent back in the 1990s, and they were merely rehashing old news.
5Texas Caught An Alleged Serial Killer In The US Border Patrol
If the allegations are true, then Juan David Ortiz was one nasty piece of work. A veteran member of the US Border Patrol, he was detained in Texas on Saturday for allegedly murdering four women and trying to murder another. His arrest likely ends a two-week killing spree that had gripped Webb County.
Ortiz is alleged to have abducted prostitutes and murdered them before dumping their bodies along Interstate 35. His intended fifth victim managed to escape and alert the police, who then tracked Ortiz to a parking lot and arrested him without incident.
If Ortiz is indeed guilty, then it’s lucky his victim was able to escape and alert authorities when she did. The quick pace of the killings suggests that there would have been many, many more deaths had he not been caught.
Is it just us, or have political attacks become cruder in the last few years? There was the biography that claimed David Cameron put a private part of himself inside a dead pig for a bet, the recent accusation that a Virginia Congressional candidate wrote Bigfoot erotica, and the whole Marco Rubio–Donald Trump fight over who had the bigger “hands” in the 2016 primaries.
Well, add another to that illustrious list. On Tuesday, The Guardian managed to get hold of an advance copy of Stormy Daniels’s new book. While the paper commendably focused its reporting on the more serious stuff, that’s not what Twitter took away. Nope, they took away Daniels claiming that a certain intimate part of President Trump looked like a “mushroom.”
That’s right. Daniels was trying to body shame the president.
Some people may think the book as a whole is noteworthy in that it adds a lot of detail to the allegation that Daniels and Trump may have had an affair. Others believe that the entire controversy is irrelevant. Either way, the media storm around it is equally noteworthy for showing just how low the debate has fallen. We now judge the president by what’s in his pants rather than his policies. Wow.
3North And South Korea Held Another Historic Summit
Let’s take a breather, and check where we were with North Korea this time last year. In our final roundup from September 2017, we reported that the DPRK was preparing to shoot down any US aircraft that came within 80 kilometers (50 mi) of its borders. Only a couple of weeks before, we were reporting that South Korea was setting up a suicide squad to take out Kim Jong Un. In other words, tense times.
And now look at the Korean peninsula. On Tuesday, President Moon of South Korea took a three-day tour of the DPRK which culminated in him and Kim climbing the sacred Mount Paekdu and jointly raising their hands. Before that, Moon took in Pyongyang and made an unprecedented speech at the mass games. Not long after, Kim claimed that he would be willing to let UN inspectors watch the dismantling of DPRK nuclear sites. By the end, they were practically BFFs.
It’s worth remembering how we got here. Both President Moon’s dogged commitment to peace and President Trump’s mercurial style have helped to bring the DPRK in from the cold. There’s still a long way to go, but what a difference a year makes.
2An Australian Paralympian Was Accused Of Faking Her Symptoms
Amanda Reid (formerly Amanda Fowler) was one of Australia’s brightest Paralympian talents. She took home a silver for cycling in Rio in 2016 and had previously competed as a swimmer in London in 2012.
She’d also competed in multiple categories—from visually impaired to intellectually disabled to physically disabled due to cerebral palsy. And that’s where the problems came in.
It’s quite unusual for a Paralympian to compete in the physically disabled category while having previously only qualified for intellectually impaired (barring some horrific accident). On Monday, the BBC aired a report accusing Reid of exaggerating or faking her disabilities.
Where the blame lies is unclear. Some have accused her coach of effectively gaslighting her into thinking she was more disabled than she was to cash in on her performance. Other interviewees said that Reid had been witnessed doing physical activities that no one with cerebral palsy could ever hope to do. If the allegations are true, it will be a very depressing day for athletics indeed.
1A Sex Assault Allegation Threw The Supreme Court Nomination Process Into Chaos
We’re going to tread very carefully here as this is probably the most charged political story of the year. On Sunday, an initially anonymous woman claimed that conservative Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party when he was 17 and she was 15. The allegations were brutal and became more explosive when the accuser outed herself as Professor Christine Ford of Palo Alto University. Kavanaugh has denied the charges.
The accusations derailed the nomination process, which had been set to sail through on Thursday. In the aftermath, 65 women who were in high school with Kavanaugh penned an open letter testifying to the judge’s good character. While many were Republicans, a significant number were Democrats. Meanwhile, a number of Ford’s online defenders were forced to walk back their stories.
That this is a difficult case goes without saying. We’ve reached a point in the US where women who accuse men of sexual assault expect and deserve to be taken seriously. After Ford’s identity was revealed, the Senate Judiciary Committee offered her a chance to tell her story on Monday in either a closed- or open-door session. They even offered to have Senate staffers fly to California or anywhere else in the US to hear Ford’s account privately if that would make her more comfortable.
As of yesterday evening (Eastern time), it was reported that Ford’s attorney had responded that Ford would not be available to testify on Monday. However, she is open to testifying later in the week if both sides can agree on certain conditions. As of this writing, those conditions include that only Senators will question her (no lawyers), that Kavanaugh cannot be in the room when Ford testifies, and that Kavanaugh must testify first at the hearing.
It seems unlikely that the Judiciary Committee will grant Ford’s demand that Kavanaugh testify first. In the US, the alleged victim tells his or her story first and then the defendant gets to respond to those accusations. It’s rather difficult to answer charges if you don’t know exactly what they are. In a court case, an alleged victim of sexual assault would have the right to testify but not to demand conditions under which a case would go forward. So this is unusual in many respects.
According to reports so far, Ford is having difficulty remembering details such as when the alleged assault occurred (including the exact year), who owned the house at which the alleged assault took place, where the house was located, who took her to the high school party or what she did afterward, and who else besides Kavanaugh and one of his friends was at the party. Kavanaugh’s friend was alleged to be in the room at the time of the assault, but he has denied that it occurred.
Some people are arguing that Ford’s allegations can never be proven or disproven due to the lack of detail and the long lapse in time. They also question if she is misremembering who committed the alleged assault. Others are saying that she should automatically be believed and that the reports so far are credible. That’s why it’s so important to hear Ford’s testimony before people automatically dismiss her allegations or accept them as true.
Even if the Senate vote on Kavanaugh goes ahead, he may not get through. All it would take would be for Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) to break ranks—as they often do—and Kavanaugh would be sunk.
However, many people are assuming that all US women will automatically condemn Kavanaugh if Ford doesn’t testify. They forget that women have husbands, fathers, sons, nephews, and male friends who could face similar circumstances someday. Rather than a rush to judgment either way, both sides need to be taken seriously and treated fairly.
The next few days will be crucial. Without taking sides, it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out and if a path through the process can now be found which won’t alienate a large part of the population.
Rebel Wisdom’s first overseas adventure – David and Alexander outline RW’s plans for future interviews and documentaries – and take the opportunity to explore the new psychedelic renaissance, just half a mile from the centrepoint of the 60s counterculture, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury. Psychedelics are having a mainstream breakthrough, what next? Can they still break people out of ideological possession and perform the deconditioning role they played in the 1960s? What are the benefits and dangers?
… that today is Elephant Appreciation Day? It’s true that an elephant never forgets. It’s because of the size of their hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are stored, is so large. With such big brains, that means that elephants are highly intelligent and highly social. Spend today learning more about elephants – the more you know about them, the more you will come to appreciate these fascinating creatures.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“I have a memory like an elephant. In fact, elephants often consult me.”
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The new A380-capable runway at Velana Airport in Maldives was accidentally inaugurated last week when an Air India A320 mistakenly landed on the unopened runway. This week, an Etihad A380 became the first aircraft to land on the opened runway and the first A380 to visit Maldives.
Cathay Pacific’s 777 B-HNO was in Xiamen for maintenance and application of the airline’s new livery. The paint shop, well, we’ll let you see for yourself. B-HNO is soon headed back into the paint shop for a bit of corrective action.
The first Boeing 777 ever built was sent to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona this week. WA-001 was used as a test aircraft before being acquired by Cathay Pacific in 2000 where it operated 20,519 flights before retirement.
In our latest update for iOS (7.10), we’ve added Siri Shortcuts compatibility. If you see the ’Add to Siri’ on a page, you can tap that to create a shortcut. Siri Shortcuts works with features like AR View, nearby flights, and airport pages.
… that today is National Imperfection Day? Just about anything worth doing is worth getting done as best as you can, even if it isn’t perfect! The official name for the fear of imperfection is atelophobia.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It’ll either scare away every fake person in your life or it will inspire them to finally let go of that mirage called ‘perfection,’ which will open the doors to the most important relationships you’ll ever be a part of.”
“Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorise. Like depression, a state with which it often intersects, it can run deep in the fabric of a person.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
“You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love,”artist Louise Bourgeois wrote in her diary at the end of a long and illustrious life as she contemplated how solitude enriches creative work. It’s a lovely sentiment, but as empowering as it may be to those willing to embrace solitude, it can be tremendously lonesome-making to those for whom loneliness has contracted the space of trust and love into a suffocating penitentiary. For if in solitude, as Wendell Berry memorably wrote, “one’s inner voices become audible [and] one responds more clearly to other lives,” in loneliness one’s inner scream becomes deafening, deadening, severing any thread of connection to other lives.
How to break free of that prison and reinhabit the space of trust and love is what Olivia Laing explores in The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (public library) — an extraordinary more-than-memoir; a sort of memoir-plus-plus, partway between Helen MacDonald’s H Is for Hawk and the diary of Virginia Woolf; a lyrical account of wading through a period of self-expatriation, both physical and psychological, in which Laing paints an intimate portrait of loneliness as “a populated place: a city in itself.”
After the sudden collapse of a romance marked by extreme elation, Laing left her native England and took her shattered heart to New York, “that teeming island of gneiss and concrete and glass.” The daily, bone-deep loneliness she experienced there was both paralyzing in its all-consuming potency and, paradoxically, a strange invitation to aliveness. Indeed, her choice to leave home and wander a foreign city is itself a rich metaphor for the paradoxical nature of loneliness, animated by equal parts restlessness and stupor, capable of turning one into a voluntary vagabond and a catatonic recluse all at once, yet somehow a vitalizing laboratory for self-discovery. The pit of loneliness, she found, could “drive one to consider some of the larger questions of what it is to be alive.”
There were things that burned away at me, not only as a private individual, but also as a citizen of our century, our pixelated age. What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people, particularly if we don’t find speaking easy? Is sex a cure for loneliness, and if it is, what happens if our body or sexuality is considered deviant or damaged, if we are ill or unblessed with beauty? And is technology helping with these things? Does it draw us closer together, or trap us behind screens?
Bedeviled by this acute emotional anguish, Laing seeks consolation in the great patron saints of loneliness in twentieth-century creative culture. From this eclectic tribe of the lonesome — including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Hujar, Billie Holiday, and Nan Goldin — Laing chooses four artists as her companions charting the terra incognita of loneliness: Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Henry Darger, and David Wojnarowicz, who had all “grappled in their lives as well as work with loneliness and its attendant issues.”
She considers, for instance, Warhol — an artist whom Laing had always dismissed until she was submerged in loneliness herself. (“I’d seen the screen-printed cows and Chairman Maos a thousand times, and I thought they were vacuous and empty, disregarding them as we often do with things we’ve looked at but failed properly to see.”)She writes:
Warhol’s art patrols the space between people, conducting a grand philosophical investigation into closeness and distance, intimacy and estrangement. Like many lonely people, he was an inveterate hoarder, making and surrounding himself with objects, barriers against the demands of human intimacy. Terrified of physical contact, he rarely left the house without an armoury of cameras and tape recorders, using them to broker and buffer interactions: behaviour that has light to shed on how we deploy technology in our own century of so-called connectivity.
Woven into the fabric of Laing’s personal experience are inquiries into the nature, context, and background of these four artists’ lives and their works most preoccupied with loneliness. But just as it would be unfair to call Laing’s masterpiece only a “memoir,” it would be unfair to call these threads “art history,” for they are rather the opposite, a kind of “art present” — elegant and erudite meditations on how art is present with us, how it invites us to be present with ourselves and bears witness to that presence, alleviating our loneliness in the process.
Laing examines the particular, pervasive form of loneliness in the eye of a city aswirl with humanity:
Imagine standing by a window at night, on the sixth or seventeenth or forty-third floor of a building. The city reveals itself as a set of cells, a hundred thousand windows, some darkened and some flooded with green or white or golden light. Inside, strangers swim to and fro, attending to the business of their private hours. You can see them, but you can’t reach them, and so this commonplace urban phenomenon, available in any city of the world on any night, conveys to even the most social a tremor of loneliness, its uneasy combination of separation and exposure.
You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people. One might think this state was antithetical to urban living, to the massed presence of other human beings, and yet mere physical proximity is not enough to dispel a sense of internal isolation. It’s possible – easy, even – to feel desolate and unfrequented in oneself while living cheek by jowl with others. Cities can be lonely places, and in admitting this we see that loneliness doesn’t necessarily require physical solitude, but rather an absence or paucity of connection, closeness, kinship: an inability, for one reason or another, to find as much intimacy as is desired. Unhappy, as the dictionary has it, as a result of being without the companionship of others. Hardly any wonder, then, that it can reach its apotheosis in a crowd.
As scientists are continuing to unpeel the physiological effects of loneliness, it is no surprise that this psychological state comes with an almost bodily dimension, which Laing captures vividly:
What does it feel like to be lonely? It feels like being hungry: like being hungry when everyone around you is readying for a feast. It feels shameful and alarming, and over time these feelings radiate outwards, making the lonely person increasingly isolated, increasingly estranged. It hurts, in the way that feelings do, and it also has physical consequences that take place invisibly, inside the closed compartments of the body. It advances, is what I’m trying to say, cold as ice and clear as glass, enclosing and engulfing.
There is, of course, a universe of difference between solitude and loneliness — two radically different interior orientations toward the same exterior circumstance of lacking companionship. We speak of “fertile solitude” as a developmental achievement essential for our creative capacity, but loneliness is barren and destructive; it cottons in apathy the will to create. More than that, it seems to signal an existential failing — a social stigma the nuances of which Laing addresses beautifully:
Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorise. Like depression, a state with which it often intersects, it can run deep in the fabric of a person, as much a part of one’s being as laughing easily or having red hair. Then again, it can be transient, lapping in and out in reaction to external circumstance, like the loneliness that follows on the heels of a bereavement, break-up or change in social circles.
Like depression, like melancholy or restlessness, it is subject too to pathologisation, to being considered a disease. It has been said emphatically that loneliness serves no purpose… Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think any experience so much a part of our common shared lives can be entirely devoid of meaning, without a richness and a value of some kind.
Loneliness might be taking you towards an otherwise unreachable experience of reality.
Adrift and alone in the city that promises its inhabitants “the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation,” Laing cycles through a zoetrope of temporary homes — sublets, friends’ apartments, and various borrowed quarters, only amplifying the sense of otherness and alienation as she is forced to make “a life among someone else’s things, in a home that someone else has created and long since.”
But therein lies an inescapable metaphor for life itself — we are, after all, subletting our very existence from a city and a society and a world that have been there for much longer than we have, already arranged in a way that might not be to our taste, that might not be how the building would be laid out and its interior designed were we to do it from scratch ourselves. And yet we are left to make ourselves at home in the way things are, imperfect and sometimes downright ugly. The measure of a life has to do with this subletting ability — with how well we are able to settle into this borrowed, imperfect abode and how much beauty we can bring into existence with however little control over its design we may have.
This, perhaps, is why Laing found her only, if temporary, respite from loneliness in an activity propelled by the very act of leaving this borrowed home: walking. In a passage that calls to mind Robert Walser’s exquisite serenade to the soul-nourishment of the walk, she writes:
In certain circumstances, being outside, not fitting in, can be a source of satisfaction, even pleasure. There are kinds of solitude that provide a respite from loneliness, a holiday if not a cure. Sometimes as I walked, roaming under the stanchions of the Williamsburg Bridge or following the East River all the way to the silvery hulk of the U.N., I could forget my sorry self, becoming instead as porous and borderless as the mist, pleasurably adrift on the currents of the city.
But whatever semblance of a more solid inner center these peripatetic escapes into solitude offered, it was a brittle solidity:
I didn’t get this feeling when I was in my apartment; only when I was outside, either entirely alone or submerged in a crowd. In these situations I felt liberated from the persistent weight of loneliness, the sensation of wrongness, the agitation around stigma and judgement and visibility. But it didn’t take much to shatter the illusion of self-forgetfulness, to bring me back not only to myself but to the familiar, excruciating sense of lack.
It was in the lacuna between self-forgetfulness and self-discovery that Laing found herself drawn to the artists who became her companions in a journey both toward and away from loneliness. There is Edward Hopper with his iconic Nighthawks aglow in eerie jade, of which Laing writes:
There is no colour in existence that so powerfully communicates urban alienation, the atomisation of human beings inside the edifices they create, as this noxious pallid green, which only came into being with the advent of electricity, and which is inextricably associated with the nocturnal city, the city of glass towers, of empty illuminated offices and neon signs.
The diner was a place of refuge, absolutely, but there was no visible entrance, no way to get in or out. There was a cartoonish, ochre-coloured door at the back of the painting, leading perhaps into a grimy kitchen. But from the street, the room was sealed: an urban aquarium, a glass cell.
Green on green, glass on glass, a mood that expanded the longer I lingered, breeding disquiet.
Hopper himself had a conflicted relationship with the common interpretation that loneliness was a central theme of his work. Although he often denied that it was a deliberate creative choice, he once conceded in an interview: “I probably am a lonely one.”Laing, whose attention and sensitivity to even the subtlest texture of experience are what make the book so wonderful, considers how Hopper’s choice of language captures the essence of loneliness:
It’s an unusual formulation, a lonely one; not at all the same thing as admitting one is lonely. Instead, it suggests with that a, that unassuming indefinite article, a fact that loneliness by its nature resists. Though it feels entirely isolating, a private burden no one else could possibly experience or share, it is in reality a communal state, inhabited by many people. In fact, current studies suggest that more than a quarter of American adults suffers from loneliness, independent of race, education and ethnicity, while 45 per cent of British adults report feeling lonely either often or sometimes. Marriage and high income serve as mild deterrents, but the truth is that few of us are absolutely immune to feeling a greater longing for connection than we find ourselves able to satisfy. The lonely ones, a hundred million strong. Hardly any wonder Hopper’s paintings remain so popular, and so endlessly reproduced.
Reading his halting confession, one begins to see why his work is not just compelling but also consoling, especially when viewed en masse. It’s true that he painted, not once but many times, the loneliness of a large city, where the possibilities of connection are repeatedly defeated by the dehumanising apparatus of urban life. But didn’t he also paint loneliness as a large city, revealing it as a shared, democratic place, inhabited, whether willingly or not, by many souls?
What Hopper captures is beautiful as well as frightening. They aren’t sentimental, his pictures, but there is an extraordinary attentiveness to them… As if loneliness was something worth looking at. More than that, as if looking itself was an antidote, a way to defeat loneliness’s strange, estranging spell.
For the artists accompanying Laing on her journey — including Henry Darger, the brilliant and mentally ill Chicago janitor whose posthumously discovered paintings made him one of the most celebrated outsider artists of the twentieth century, and the creative polymath David Wojnarowicz, still in his thirties when AIDS took his life — loneliness was often twined with another profound affliction of the psyche: loss. In a passage evocative of Paul Goodman’s taxonomy of the nine types of silence, Laing offers a taxonomy of lonelinesses through the lens of loss:
Loss is a cousin of loneliness. They intersect and overlap, and so it’s not surprising that a work of mourning might invoke a feeling of aloneness, of separation. Mortality is lonely. Physical existence is lonely by its nature, stuck in a body that’s moving inexorably towards decay, shrinking, wastage and fracture. Then there’s the loneliness of bereavement, the loneliness of lost or damaged love, of missing one or many specific people, the loneliness of mourning.
But this lonesomeness of mortality finds its antidote in the abiding consolations of immortal works of art. “Art holds out the promise of inner wholeness,” philosopher Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong wrote in their inquiry into the seven psychological functions of art, and if loneliness is, as Laing puts it, “a longing for integration, for a sense of feeling whole,” what better answer to that longing than art? After all, in the immortal words of James Baldwin, “only an artist can tell, and only artists have told since we have heard of man, what it is like for anyone who gets to this planet to survive it.”
Looking back on her experience, Laing writes:
There are so many things that art can’t do. It can’t bring the dead back to life, it can’t mend arguments between friends, or cure AIDS, or halt the pace of climate change. All the same, it does have some extraordinary functions, some odd negotiating ability between people, including people who never meet and yet who infiltrate and enrich each other’s lives. It does have a capacity to create intimacy; it does have a way of healing wounds, and better yet of making it apparent that not all wounds need healing and not all scars are ugly.
If I sound adamant it is because I am speaking from personal experience. When I came to New York I was in pieces, and though it sounds perverse, the way I recovered a sense of wholeness was not by meeting someone or by falling in love, but rather by handling the things that other people had made, slowly absorbing by way of this contact the fact that loneliness, longing, does not mean one has failed, but simply that one is alive.
There is a gentrification that is happening to cities, and there is a gentrification that is happening to the emotions too, with a similarly homogenising, whitening, deadening effect. Amidst the glossiness of late capitalism, we are fed the notion that all difficult feelings — depression, anxiety, loneliness, rage — are simply a consequence of unsettled chemistry, a problem to be fixed, rather than a response to structural injustice or, on the other hand, to the native texture of embodiment, of doing time, as David Wojnarowicz memorably put it, in a rented body, with all the attendant grief and frustration that entails.
I don’t believe the cure for loneliness is meeting someone, not necessarily. I think it’s about two things: learning how to befriend yourself and understanding that many of the things that seem to afflict us as individuals are in fact a result of larger forces of stigma and exclusion, which can and should be resisted.
Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last.
ShareChat raises $100M from Shunwei Capital and others
Regional language social platform ShareChat raised Rs 720 crore ($100 million) in a funding round led by existing investor Shunwei Capital. Morningside Ventures and Jesmond Holdings also participated in the round, documents filed with the Registrar of Companies showed. ShareChat’s daily active users have risen from 5 million in April to over 8 million now and the startup is now looking to foray deeper in markets like the Northeast, and start working on monetising its service next year.
Flipkart employees all set to bag $800 M windfall from Walmart deal
Flipkart, in a letter to its employees, has said it will be able to liquidate part of their employee stock option plans (ESOPs) in the company at $126-$128 per share. This comes weeks after US retail major Walmart completed its investment in the company. The ESOPs buying programme will translate to a total amount of $800 million. The $16 billion Walmart-Flipkart deal was finalised in August after India’s anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved it.
Satya MicroCapital raises Rs 40 crore through NCDs
Micro-finance startup Satya MicroCapital has raised Rs 40 crore in debt funding by issuing Non-Convertible Debentures to a private debt fund and a Microfinance Enhancement Facility. Satya MicroCapital will use the funds to lend to Indian micro, small, and medium enterprises run by women. The company aims to add a social touch to lending by integrating modern technology into the micro-finance industry.
Chinese music-streaming giant Tencent Music Entertainment Group is looking to launch its initial public offering in the US, through which it plans to raise $2 billion, according to a Reuters report. The IPO size is nearly half from the $3 billion-$4 billion that the company was believed to be earlier eyeing at a valuation of $25 billion, the news report said.
Ready. Steady. Fame! If you have an innovative product or solution, share your journey by registering for the Facebook India Startup Day Awards, where it will recognise outstanding startup stories and award them.
5 companies in India are driving ‘connected car’ technology into the future
Auto companies are spending big bucks on connected cars and the technology is no longer a fancy fantasy with extensive research and testing underway to make connected cars safe and secure from a physical and digital perspective. Global corporate entities are investing heavily in autonomous technology, and a part of this research is happening right here, in India. Sources say at least 25,000 engineers are working on this technology on aspects like telecom infrastructure, lossless data transfers and security.
Eyes, eyes baby: sustainability meets style in Sasha’s wooden sunglasses
Aviators, round frames, wayfarers, square styles, mirrored lenses… options for sunnies are many, but what if this style statement could be non-plastic, skin-friendly, water-resistant, unbreakable, and most importantly – eco-friendly? Meet Sasha, which offers on-trend sunglasses made from wood sourced through environmentally sustainable means.
THROUGHOUT INDIA, one finds many sadhus or sanyasis who renounce the world and wander on pilgrimage, begging for alms. In reference to sanyas(renunciation of the ephemeral world), the next morning September 21st, Meher Baba remarked:
He who is a coward materially turns into a hero on the spiritual path. Perhaps you think that compared to materialism, renunciation is easy, but it is most difficult. He who wants to die should decide on renunciation.
External renunciation has no meaning. It must be internal. If there is no longing to renounce the self, there can be no love for God.
Afterward, the men mandali reminisced about travelling in Gujarat, their journeys on foot and other tours. Some suggested another foot journey to let the new ones among the mandali have the experience. Baba mentioned that he would undertake another journey on the condition that no one carry any money and each maintain himself by begging. With all in agreement, it was decided to go on tour for seven days and arrangements immediately started. The men were eager to begin, but Baba suddenly changed his mind and decided that instead of seven days, they would go out for only one day and return in the evening.
The gong was struck at exactly ten o’clock that morning, September 21st, (1926) and Baba chose twenty of the men mandali and started on foot toward the village of Walki, a distance of six miles. Each one carried a sack for begging. The men were in a good mood and enjoyed the walk. Striding along, Sarosh played a harmonica and others sang. The men on each side of Baba would lift him up while walking. As it was cloudy, the heat was not overbearing. On the way, Baba halted three or four times, asking the men whether they should all proceed or return to Meherabad. A majority wished to go further and so they continued. On the outskirts of Walki, they stopped under a tree. Sailor and another man were sent to search for a cool place, a garden or an orchard in which to camp, and Shahane was sent to order tea from a roadside stall.
Near the village, a poor woman recognized Baba and came forward for darshan. Baba asked her to bring food if it was possible. The mandali remembered what Baba had said, “Eat only what is had by begging,” so several men went off to the village to beg. The villagers were suspicious and frightened at finding such unlikely looking beggars. Only the women and children were at home as their husbands were out working in the fields. Some gave them food, others told them to leave the village and some were abusive. One old woman scolded Pendu and Sayyed Saheb, who were hefty in physique, “Earn your livelihood by hard work instead of begging from poor villagers.”
The ones who managed to beg food brought it to Baba, who poured everything together and distributed the “stew” among the mandali, saving the leftovers. Within a short time, the villagers came to know who the beggars really were and many came for Meher Baba’s darshan. Those who had refused to offer food to the Master’s disciples expressed regret at their misfortune for missing the opportunity when God in human form was at their very doorstep.
Some said he was a thief who stole their hearts,
But here he was begging for a little love.
The villagers of Walki persisted in bringing food to Baba. One man invited Baba to his home, and seeing his sincere love, Baba accepted. Tea was served, and after taking it, all returned to Meherabad by three-thirty. The remainder of the food was brought back with them and Baba distributed it to the mandali who had stayed at Meherabad.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 3, pp. 846 – 847.
… that today is Everything I Have I Owe to Spaghetti Day? Celebrate the birthday of movie star Sophia Loren by eating a plate of spaghetti. Loren was born as Sofia Villani Scicolone on September 20, 1934, at Rome, Italy.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.”
It is to be noted that Walmart is obligated to purchase 6,242,271 shares from Flipkart’s ESOP pool of 11,947,026 shares. The current employees will be allowed to liquidate their employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) at $126-128 a unit, depending on the charges applicable.
Bengaluru-based Indian regional language social platform ShareChat has raised close to $100 Mn (INR 720 Cr) in a funding round that will boost its valuation to $460 Mn (INR 3,332 Cr). This is a 7x increase to its last valuation when the company raised $18.2 Mn in Series B funding.
Togedr has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a group of US & UK-based startups. The investment was led by UK-based investor Anil Patel whose expertise lies in cloud architecture and scale, said Togedr CEO and founder Ashish Yadav, in a recent interaction with Inc42.
The government has decided to drop the first draft of ecommerce policy and set up a committee of secretaries to decide on a new set of recommendations. CAIT said that the policy is already delayed for more than three years and if dropped, it will be a blow to the fair trade practices in ecommerce
Bengaluru-based milk and grocery delivery startup DailyNinja has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Mumbai-based venture capital firm Matrix Partners India. Existing investors including Bengaluru-based Sequoia India and Saama Capital also participated in this funding round.
A state-owned public sector undertaking, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) plans to set up 50 new EV charging stations across the state within six months. Here’s a curated rundown of other important and related developments in the India and global EV Ecosystem this week.
Since its inception in 2015, Tesseract has launched three hardware and two software products in the MR, AR, and VR sectors — Methane, Holoboard, and Quark. The founder claims to have seven patents: one US, three international (130 countries), and three India patents. The startup has already introduced Holoboard and Quark in India, and hopes to enter Western markets soon.
MCA has enforced the provisions of Section 37 of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017 which amended the provisions of Section 135 (i.e. Corporate Social Responsibility) of the Companies Act, 2013 effective from 19th September, 2018.
Major highlights of the changes are:
(a) Eligibility criteria for the purpose of constituting the CSR Committee and incurring expenditure towards CSR is to be calculated based on immediately preceding financial year. Previously this eligibility was decided based on preceding three financial years.
(b) Further where a company is not required to appoint an independent director, it shall have in its CSR Committee two or more directors.
(c) It also empowers the Central Government to prescribe sums which shall not be included for calculating ‘net profit’ of a company under section 135
Patanjali has not earned a spot. Indigo, yes, but not Jet Airways. Ola made it but not Uber. BSNL troops in at 65, ahead of Lakme (66) and Gillette (67), and Bharat Petroleum squeaks into the last spot. Air India features at 58 in BrandZ’s list of the 75 most valuable Indian brands in 2018. Flipkart makes an entry at #11 on the list but with a paltry brand value of US $4 billion, considerably less than the $20 billion that Walmart assessed it at.
Given its hallowed credentials, there must be an explanation for this list, but it highlights the difficulty of precisely measuring a brand in financial terms. It’s complicated. It’s also very volatile – last year’s hot brand can sink because it did something wrong (say spiraling NPAs) or consumer preferences changed (10 years ago organic wasn’t on my menu). Switching costs are at an all-time low, particularly where the customer touchpoint is digital. Walmart paid…
What Does the Future of Content Marketing Look Like to You?
Marketing Maverick: Joshua Nathan, Head of Marketing at iSwitch Energy #APACLeaders
Even with the advent of AI, Machine Learning, and everything shifting to digital, Content Marketing is one of the age-old marketing tactics that has survived the turbulence. Content Marketing is a strategy that has been around long before the different facets of digital innovation disrupted businesses. Even with the advent of AI, Machine Learning, and everything shifting to digital, Content Marketing is one of the age-old marketing tactics that has survived the turbulence.
In what ways do you think AI, data and machine learning are transforming the way we are approaching marketing today?
AI and machine learning will definitely be a boon to the way we approach marketing. From helping us to understanding our customer needs faster to optimisation of ad copies and design layouts, the routine and mundane aspects of marketing will get easier over time…
In what seems like a major boost to global ecommerce giant Amazon’s plans of dominating the retail market in India, reports have surfaced that Aditya Birla Group’s retail chain More has been acquired by Amazon and private equity fund Samara Capital.
Bengaluru-based O2O grocery company Avenue11 has raised $3.59 Mn (INR 26 Cr) from Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of the Times Group. The company will use the funding for geographical expansion of the business and to increase its brand presence.
OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal, in his efforts towards taking the cab aggregator ‘glocal’, has taken another major step — after China, Malaysia, and Nepal, Agarwal has now expanded Ola’s presence to the United Kingdom. OYO has already started its operations in four properties in London that offer more than 80 rooms.
The incubator is an initiative of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s SardarPatelInstitute of Technology and is affiliated with the Department of Science and Technology of the Indian government, which formally recognised it in 2015. SP-TBI so far has a tribe of more than 50 founders and over 30 startups, which have, in turn, created over 250 jobs and 40 technologies.
Through this survey, we aim to reach as many startup founders as possible to understand what it’s like to run a technology company in India in 2018. Your responses are invaluable and they will equip us with a deeper understanding of the state of the Indian Startup Ecosystem. Click here to take this short survey!
Investment firm SparkLabs has run accelerator programs across APAC, now it has announced its first that’ll be based on U.S. soil and it’s a cybersecurity and blockchain program that’ll be located in Washington, D.C. from next year.
Amazon plans to open as many as 3,000 of its cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores by the year 2021, according to a report from Bloomberg today. That would be Amazon’s most aggressive move in the brick-and-mortar space since its purchase of Whole Foods in 2016.
Ian Osborne, a British consultant and investor who is working with a group of investors that wants to buy the business magazine. Osborne generates interesting Google results: If you try a search, you’ll find articles listing his participation in an investment vehicle run by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya.
“This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
“There is no love of life without despair of life,”wrote Albert Camus — a man who in the midst of World War II, perhaps the darkest period in human history, saw grounds for luminous hope and issued a remarkable clarion call for humanity to rise to its highest potential on those grounds. It was his way of honoring the same duality that artist Maira Kalman would capture nearly a century later in her marvelous meditation on the pursuit of happiness, where she observed: “We hope. We despair. We hope. We despair. That is what governs us. We have a bipolar system.”
In my own reflections on hope, cynicism, and the stories we tell ourselves, I’ve considered the necessity of these two poles working in concert. Indeed, the stories we tell ourselves about these poles matter. The stories we tell ourselves about our public past shape how we interpret and respond to and show up for the present. The stories we tell ourselves about our private pasts shape how we come to see our personhood and who we ultimately become. The thin line between agency and victimhood is drawn in how we tell those stories.
The language in which we tell ourselves these stories matters tremendously, too, and no writer has weighed the complexities of sustaining hope in our times of readily available despair more thoughtfully and beautifully, nor with greater nuance, than Rebecca Solnit does in Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (public library).
Expanding upon her previous writings on hope, Solnit writes in the foreword to the 2016 edition of this foundational text of modern civic engagement:
Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.
Solnit — one of the most singular, civically significant, and poetically potent voices of our time, emanating echoes of Virginia Woolf’s luminous prose and Adrienne Rich’s unflinching political conviction — originally wrote these essays in 2003, six weeks after the start of Iraq war, in an effort to speak “directly to the inner life of the politics of the moment, to the emotions and preconceptions that underlie our political positions and engagements.” Although the specific conditions of the day may have shifted, their undergirding causes and far-reaching consequences have only gained in relevance and urgency in the dozen years since. This slim book of tremendous potency is therefore, today more than ever, an indispensable ally to every thinking, feeling, civically conscious human being.
Solnit looks back on this seemingly distant past as she peers forward into the near future:
The moment passed long ago, but despair, defeatism, cynicism, and the amnesia and assumptions from which they often arise have not dispersed, even as the most wildly, unimaginably magnificent things came to pass. There is a lot of evidence for the defense… Progressive, populist, and grassroots constituencies have had many victories. Popular power has continued to be a profound force for change. And the changes we’ve undergone, both wonderful and terrible, are astonishing.
This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.
With an eye to such disheartening developments as climate change, growing income inequality, and the rise of Silicon Valley as a dehumanizing global superpower of automation, Solnit invites us to be equally present for the counterpoint:
Hope doesn’t mean denying these realities. It means facing them and addressing them by remembering what else the twenty-first century has brought, including the movements, heroes, and shifts in consciousness that address these things now.
Enumerating Edward Snowden, marriage equality, and Black Lives Matter among those, she adds:
This has been a truly remarkable decade for movement-building, social change, and deep, profound shifts in ideas, perspective, and frameworks for broad parts of the population (and, of course, backlashes against all those things).
With great care, Solnit — whose mind remains the sharpest instrument of nuance I’ve encountered — maps the uneven terrain of our grounds for hope:
It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings.
Solnit’s conception of hope reminds me of the great existential psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom’s conception of meaning: “The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure,”he wrote, “must be conducted obliquely.” That is, it must take place in the thrilling and terrifying terra incognita that lies between where we are and where we wish to go, ultimately shaping where we do go. Solnit herself has written memorably about how we find ourselves by getting lost, and finding hope seems to necessitate a similar surrender to uncertainty. She captures this idea beautifully:
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Amid a 24-hour news cycle that nurses us on the illusion of immediacy, this recognition of incremental progress and the long gestational period of consequences — something at the heart of every major scientific revolution that has changed our world — is perhaps our most essential yet most endangered wellspring of hope. Solnit reminds us, for instance, that women’s struggle for the right to vote took seven decades:
For a time people liked to announce that feminism had failed, as though the project of overturning millennia of social arrangements should achieve its final victories in a few decades, or as though it had stopped. Feminism is just starting, and its manifestations matter in rural Himalayan villages, not just first-world cities.
She considers one particularly prominent example of this cumulative cataclysm — the Arab Spring, “an extraordinary example of how unpredictable change is and how potent popular power can be,” the full meaning of and conclusions from which we are yet to draw. Although our cultural lore traces the spark of the Arab Spring to the moment Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in an act of protest, Solnit traces the unnoticed accretion of tinder across space and time:
You can tell the genesis story of the Arab Spring other ways. The quiet organizing going on in the shadows beforehand matters. So does the comic book about Martin Luther King and civil disobedience that was translated into Arabic and widely distributed in Egypt shortly before the Arab Spring. You can tell of King’s civil disobedience tactics being inspired by Gandhi’s tactics, and Gandhi’s inspired by Tolstoy and the radical acts of noncooperation and sabotage of British women suffragists. So the threads of ideas weave around the world and through the decades and centuries.
After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many do so from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but less visible long-term organizing and groundwork — or underground work — often laid the foundation. Changes in ideas and values also result from work done by writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participants in social media. It seems insignificant or peripheral until very different outcomes emerge from transformed assumptions about who and what matters, who should be heard and believed, who has rights.
Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.
Change is rarely straightforward… Sometimes it’s as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution. Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds.
And yet Solnit’s most salient point deals with what comes after the revolutionary change — with the notion of victory not as a destination but as a starting point for recommitment and continual nourishment of our fledgling ideals:
A victory doesn’t mean that everything is now going to be nice forever and we can therefore all go lounge around until the end of time. Some activists are afraid that if we acknowledge victory, people will give up the struggle. I’ve long been more afraid that people will give up and go home or never get started in the first place if they think no victory is possible or fail to recognize the victories already achieved. Marriage equality is not the end of homophobia, but it’s something to celebrate. A victory is a milestone on the road, evidence that sometimes we win, and encouragement to keep going, not to stop.
Solnit examines this notion more closely in one of the original essays from the book, titled “Changing the Imagination of Change” — a meditation of even more acute timeliness today, more than a decade later, in which she writes:
Americans are good at responding to crisis and then going home to let another crisis brew both because we imagine that the finality of death can be achieved in life — it’s called happily ever after in personal life, saved in politics — and because we tend to think political engagement is something for emergencies rather than, as people in many other countries (and Americans at other times) have imagined it, as a part and even a pleasure of everyday life. The problem seldom goes home.
Going home seems to be a way to abandon victories when they’re still delicate, still in need of protection and encouragement. Human babies are helpless at birth, and so perhaps are victories before they’ve been consolidated into the culture’s sense of how things should be. I wonder sometimes what would happen if victory was imagined not just as the elimination of evil but the establishment of good — if, after American slavery had been abolished, Reconstruction’s promises of economic justice had been enforced by the abolitionists, or, similarly, if the end of apartheid had been seen as meaning instituting economic justice as well (or, as some South Africans put it, ending economic apartheid).
It’s always too soon to go home. Most of the great victories continue to unfold, unfinished in the sense that they are not yet fully realized, but also in the sense that they continue to spread influence. A phenomenon like the civil rights movement creates a vocabulary and a toolbox for social change used around the globe, so that its effects far outstrip its goals and specific achievements — and failures.
Invoking James Baldwin’s famous proclamation that “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” Solnit writes:
It’s important to emphasize that hope is only a beginning; it’s not a substitute for action, only a basis for it.
What often obscures our view of hope, she argues, is a kind of collective amnesia that lets us forget just how far we’ve come as we grow despondent over how far we have yet to go. She writes:
Amnesia leads to despair in many ways. The status quo would like you to believe it is immutable, inevitable, and invulnerable, and lack of memory of a dynamically changing world reinforces this view. In other words, when you don’t know how much things have changed, you don’t see that they are changing or that they can change.
This lack of a long view is perpetuated by the media, whose raw material — the very notion of “news” — divorces us from the continuity of life and keeps us fixated on the current moment in artificial isolate. Meanwhile, Solnit argues in a poignant parallel, such amnesia poisons and paralyzes our collective conscience by the same mechanism that depression poisons and paralyzes the private psyche — we come to believe that the acute pain of the present is all that will ever be and cease to believe that things will look up. She writes:
There’s a public equivalent to private depression, a sense that the nation or the society rather than the individual is stuck. Things don’t always change for the better, but they change, and we can play a role in that change if we act. Which is where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history.
You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future. We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant for our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.
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For example, The way we in self-speak can help us Self-Develop into a Speaker or a Failure
Self-Speech plays a huge role in our self-image.
Self-image plays a huge role in our self-confidence.
Self-confidence plays a huge role in our ability to succeed in the various endeavours we decide to pursue in our life.
The way we self-speak can help Self-Development into a Speaker or a Failure!While some may say that this is BS ! How can Self-Development happen with Self-Speak or Self-Speech?
There is a real story about an all-star baseball player, who once decided to visit a prison to inspire inmates to self-develop themselves. He shared a story of his father who always encouraged him as a little boy. His dad always encouraged him by saying, “son, if you keep on hitting the ball like that, you’ll end up in the Biggest League one day.” Sure enough, he ended up as an all-star in the Biggest Baseball League.
A prisoner stood up and said, “hey, my dad told me said somewhat similar when I was a kid. Every time I did something my dad disliked, he looked at me and said, ‘son, if you keep on mis-behaving like this, you’ll end up in prison one day. Sure enough, I ended up in prison.”
90% of male prisoners were maltreated as dirt by own parents as little kids. They were spoken to like they were prisoners WAY before they ended up in prisons. Now, don’t come to conclusion that our parents determine the future for us in advance. We have ability to respond to our circumstances, and we choose. it would help immensely and much easier if we had solid foundation.
The take-away from the story is simple: the way we SPEAK to ourselves plays a massive role in the way we PERCEIVE us. The way we perceive ourselves plays a massive role in how CONFIDENT we are. Our self-confidence determines whether we decide to take on challenges and pursue success in the face of adversity, or whether we decide to live below our highest potential. Do not allow our self to do this.
Encourage ourselves. Love ourselves.
We cannot expect things to change in our life unless we change.
For things to change. we must change.
Our self-speak plays a huge role in our self-image.
Our self-image plays a huge role in our self-confidence.
Our self-confidence plays a huge role in our ability to succeed in the various endeavours you decide to pursue in our life.