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Einstein on Kindness, Our Shared Existence, and Life’s Highest Ideals

Einstein on Kindness, Our Shared Existence, and Life’s Highest Ideals
by Maria Popova “Without the sense of fellowship with men of like mind… life would have seemed to me empty.” In times of turmoil, I often turn to one of my existential pillars of comfort: Albert Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions — the definitive collection of the great thinker’s essays on everything from science and religion to government to human nature, gathered under the supervision of Einstein himself. It’s been a challenging week, one that’s reminded me with merciless acuity the value of kindness and compassion, so I’ve once again turned to Einstein’s timeless “ideas and opinions” on this spectrum of subjects. On the ties of sympathy: How strange is the lot of us mortals! On public opinion, or what Paul Graham might call prestige: One becomes sharply aware, but without regret, of the limits of mutual understanding and consonance with other people. On our interconnectedness, interdependency, and shared existence: On good and evil, creative bravery, and human value: On life’s highest ideals: Related:  ConnectionPhilosophy

Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity by Maria Popova Why creativity is like LEGO, or what Richard Dawkins has to do with Susan Sontag and Gandhi. In May, I had the pleasure of speaking at the wonderful Creative Mornings free lecture series masterminded by my studiomate Tina of Swiss Miss fame. I spoke about Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, something at the heart of Brain Pickings and of increasing importance as we face our present information reality. These are pages from the most famous florilegium, completed by Thomas of Ireland in the 14th century. In talking about these medieval manuscripts, Adam Gopnik writes in The New Yorker: Our minds were altered less by books than by index slips.” Which is interesting, recognizing not only the absolute vale of content but also its relational value, the value not just of information itself but also of information architecture, not just of content but also of content curation. You may have heard this anecdote. Kind of LEGOs. And I like this last part. Do stuff.

3 Bad Habits That Can Derail Any Relationship As a marriage therapist, one of the questions I get asked most by family and friends is What should I do so we don’t end up in couples therapy? As a wife, I get it: you want to know what goes wrong in other relationships so you can avoid it in yours. Unfortunately, there’s no magic checklist that will guarantee marital bliss. But I’ve seen enough couples in my professional life that I can offer an insider’s look at the three bad habits that I see often in the unhappy couples who find themselves on my couch. 1. Culturally we've embraced this idea that happy couples don’t fight. No two human beings alive will agree on everything and always meet each other’s needs and expectations; and that’s part of the excitement of being together. Too often couples think that conflict is a sign that the relationship is falling apart. 2. If you disagree on a major issue, it's so much easier to turn to a friend or family member who shares your position rather than facing the conflict with your partner. 3.

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation by Maria Popova “Time perception matters because it is the experience of time that roots us in our mental reality.” Given my soft spot for famous diaries, it should come as no surprise that I keep one myself. Perhaps the greatest gift of the practice has been the daily habit of reading what I had written on that day a year earlier; not only is it a remarkable tool of introspection and self-awareness, but it also illustrates that our memory “is never a precise duplicate of the original [but] a continuing act of creation” and how flawed our perception of time is — almost everything that occurred a year ago appears as having taken place either significantly further in the past (“a different lifetime,” I’d often marvel at this time-illusion) or significantly more recently (“this feels like just last month!”). Discus chronologicus, a depiction of time by German engraver Christoph Weigel, published in the early 1720s; from Cartographies of Time. So what makes us date events more accurately?

The Classics Network -- online resources for literature, philosophy, and the humanities McSweeney’s: Lucky Peach Austin Kleon on Cultivating Creativity in the Digital Age by Maria Popova The genealogy of ideas, why everything is a remix, or what T.S. Eliot can teach us about creativity. UPDATE: Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist synthesizes his ideas on creativity and is absolutely fantastic. Austin Kleon is positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet. In this excellent talk from The Economist‘s Human Potential Summit, titled Steal Like an Artist, Kleon makes an articulate and compelling case for combinatorial creativity and the role of remix in the idea economy. Kleon, who has clearly seen Kirby Ferguson’s excellent Everything is a Remix, echoes the central premise of my own recent talk on networked knowledge and combinatorial creativity: Nothing is completely original. Amen. And even more in the vein of the Brain Pickings ethos, reminiscent of this favorite quote by iconic designer Paula Scher: We can pick our teachers and we can pick our friends and we can pick the books we read and the music we listen to and the movies we see, etcetera.

Buddhadharma In Everyday Life. ~ via Linda Lewis Lojong 12, “Drive All Blames into One” Perhaps the most challenging and provocative of Atisha’s slogans is Drive All Blames into One. Why in the world would anyone want to do such a thing? Who wants to invite blame? Sometimes it is difficult enough to take the blame for something we actually did, like reaching for honey in the grocery store and accidentally knocking a glass jar of peanut butter off the shelf and onto the floor. When we see our own or others’ defense mechanism shun blame, we also see self-cherishing and ego-fixation. Obviously, it’s good to be responsible for our own mishaps. As a Bodhisattva in progress, why in the world would we want to lay emotional or aggressive blame on anyone else? Interestingly, this simplifies the situation. I remember many years ago, one of my best bosses called me into his office. “Linda, you’ve been doing a good job, working independently, and I am to blame for not giving you enough guidance.” Elephriends - Mindful Affiliates Recent Trackbacks

David Ogilvy’s Timeless Principles of Creative Management by Maria Popova “If you ever find a man who is better than you are — hire him. If necessary, pay him more than you pay yourself.” Advertising legend David Ogilvy endures not only as the original Mad Man, but also as one of modern history’s most celebrated creative leaders in the communication arts. From The Unpublished David Ogilvy (public library) — the same compendium of his lectures, memos, and lists that also gave us Ogilvy’s 10 no-bullshit tips on writing, his endearing memo of praise to a veteran copywriter, and his list of the 10 qualities of creative leaders — comes a chapter titled “Principles of Management,” based on a 1968 paper Ogilvy wrote as a guide for Ogilvy & Mather managers worldwide. In a section on morale, he admonishes that some companies “have been destroyed by internal politics” and offers seven ways to curtail them: * Though Ogilvy was writing decades before email, the same applies with equal urgency to today’s electronic warfare. Kill grimness with laughter.

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