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How Should We Live: History’s Forgotten Wisdom on Love, Time, Family, Empathy, and Other Aspects of the Art of Living

How Should We Live: History’s Forgotten Wisdom on Love, Time, Family, Empathy, and Other Aspects of the Art of Living
by Maria Popova “How to pursue the art of living has become the great quandary of our age… The future of the art of living can be found by gazing into the past.” “He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth,” Goethe famously proclaimed. Thomas Hobbes extolled “the principal and proper work of history being to instruct, and enable men by the knowledge of actions past to bear themselves prudently in the present and providently in the future.” It is this notion of “applied history” that cultural historian and philosopher Roman Krznaric — who gave us How to Find Fulfilling Work, one of the best psychology and philosophy books of 2013 — places at the center of How Should We Live?: Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life (public library). He writes in the introduction: How to pursue the art of living has become the great quandary of our age.[…]I believe that the future of the art of living can be found by gazing into the past. The Histomap by John Sparks, 1931.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/12/02/how-should-we-live-roman-krznaric/

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The Science of Love: How Positivity Resonance Shapes the Way We Connect by Maria Popova The neurobiology of how the warmest emotion blurs the boundaries by you and not-you. We kick-started the year with some of history’s most beautiful definitions of love. But timeless as their words might be, the poets and the philosophers have a way of escaping into the comfortable detachment of the abstract and the metaphysical, leaving open the question of what love really is on an unglamorously physical, bodily, neurobiological level — and how that might shape our experience of those lofty abstractions. That’s precisely what psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, who has been studying positive emotions for decades, explores in the unfortunately titled but otherwise excellent Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become (UK; public library). Using both data from her own lab and ample citations of other studies, Fredrickson dissects the mechanisms of love to reveal both its mythologies and its practical mechanics.

Empathy: A Short Conceptual History and An Anthropological Question Savage Minds welcomes guest blogger LINDSAY A BELL In my first post, I proposed that anthropology might be particularly well suited to thinking through the concept of empathy. In North America, “empathy” has come to be a prominent term across the caring arts. In areas ranging from self-help to health care, empathy seems to be something that can and should be cultivated. In 2006, President Obama declared that an “empathy deficit” was more pressing than a federal budgetary deficit. The scale of this claim reflects an increasingly popular view of empathy as producer of solutions to large, complex issues.

Ways of Keeping a Prayer Journal Question “Can you suggest ways of keeping a prayer journal?” —Harry Answer Letters to a Young Artist: Anna Deavere Smith on Confidence and What Self-Esteem Really Means by Maria Popova “Real self-esteem is an integration of an inner value with things in the world around you.” “Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs,” Joan Didion wrote in her timeless meditation on self-respect. But how can character be cultivated in such a way as to foster that prized form of personal dignity, along with its sibling qualities of confidence and self-esteem? Art should take what is complex and render it simply.

Restructuring the economy with empathy as its center Democracy is lost unless we re-structure our economies, and re-structuring our economies requires a new operating system based on different values. That’s what empathy provides, not in its “thin” form as a vague appreciation of peoples’ feelings, but in its “thick” form that commits everyone to foster the wellbeing of others, and do no harm. Photo credit: Joseph Hanania for Aslan Media Realization of Prophetic Visions Realization of Prophetic Visions By Philip Mark Ames "I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in body I do not know, or outside of the body I do not know; God knows) was caught away to the third heaven. And I know this man (whether in body or apart from the body I do not know; God knows) that was snatched away into paradise, and he heard unspoken sayings which it is not lawful for man to speak." This statement of fact was made by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Christians in .

What Makes People Compelling by Maria Popova The art of mastering the vital osmosis of two conflicting qualities. What makes a winning personality? How can some people walk into a room and instantly entrance everyone into a state of amicable submission? Building Stories: Chris Ware Explores the Architecture of Being Human by Maria Popova What the inner life of a brownstone reveals about empathy, gender, and the human condition. Building Stories (public library) is a remarkable storytelling artifact by cartoonist Chris Ware, more than a decade in the making — a giant box containing fourteen individual print ephemera (books, booklets, comic strips, magazines, and even a gold-rimmed hardcover and a board game), each telling the interlocking tales of different residents of the same three-story Chicago brownstone, from the couple caught in a loveless relationship on the second floor, to the elderly spinster grappling with her own aging, to the bee trapped in the basement. Image via The Telegraph

The bitter tears of the American Christian supermajority The most persecuted minority in the United States is not Muslims, African-Americans or immigrants. It’s our Christian supermajority that’s truly oppressed. Verily, consider three anecdotes from the past few weeks. On March 2, three Baptist ministers in Akron, Ohio, arranged for the local police to mock-arrest them in their churches and haul them away in handcuffs for the simple act of preaching their faith. How to Apologize for Standing Someone Up: A Lesson from Lewis Carroll’s Hilarious Letter by Maria Popova “I am obliged to use an umbrella to keep the tears from running down on to the paper.” From Richard Feynman’s sketches to Marilyn Monroe’s poetry to Sylvia Plath’s drawings , we’ve learned that famous creators often harbor little-known talent in a different medium .

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