Saturday, March 21, 2015

T.S. Eliot on the life of a procrastinator




Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. 
  For I have known them all already, known them all; Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,   I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock




Brilliantly read by Anthony Hopkins.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

J.S. Mill on freedom

  1. The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual.
J.S. Mill On Liberty

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Robert Sternberg on what makes for a fulfilling intimate loving relationship



Love has three components:

(a) intimacy, which encompasses the feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness one experiences in loving relationships;
(b) passion, which encompasses the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation; and
(c) decision/commitment, which encompasses, in the short term, the decision that one loves another, and in the long term, the commitment to maintain that love

Robert Sternberg, The Triangular Theory of Love


I discuss how the Triangular Theory of Love can help you understand - and improve - relationships in  in Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology


Sunday, March 15, 2015

It was in the papers so it must be true - or "the dangers of autopilot"

"A few years ago, a delivery driver from Doncaster almost drove his car off a cliff. His BMW was left teetering on the edge of a 100ft precipice in Yorkshire after he had followed his satnav’s instructions, despite increasing indications that he had ceded a shade too much control to the gadget. “It just kept insisting the path was a road, even as it was getting narrower and steeper,” the chap explained, “so I just trusted it. I rely on my satnav. I couldn’t do without it for my job"

Marina Hyde writing in The Guardian  March 11th 2015

She mentions this in the context of over-reliance on technology and the England cricket team. I wonder if there are other lessons too such as
- the dangers of auto-pilot (as opposed to mindfulness)
- the pitfalls of obedience to authority
- the pros and cons of advances in technology in general

What do you think?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Woody Allen gives a philosophy lesson to Dianne Keaton in Love and Death

Friday, March 13, 2015

Charles Dickens on separating your personal and work lives




"[T]he office is one thing, and private life is another. When I go into the office, I leave the Castle behind me, and when I come into the Castle, I leave the office behind me. "
             Mr Wemmick in Great Expectations (ch 25, p. 142)

Food for thought - what do you think about being exactly the same person at home and work, as opposed to Mr Wemmick who almost has a split personality?



Mr. Wemmick and "The Aged P.", illustration by Sol Eytinge Jr.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Harry Chapin on what things you should and shouldn't change

Sometimes I get this crazy dreamAnd I just take off in my carBut you can travel on ten thousand milesAnd still stay where you are.

Harry Chapin W*O*L*D



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Woody Allen on one of life's little paradoxes

"There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know; and such small portions.’ Well, that's essentially how I feel about life."




 Woody Allen in Annie Hall

Monday, March 09, 2015

If by Rudyard Kipling
















IF you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!




Sunday, March 08, 2015

Robert Solomon's Positive Existentialist Vision from Waking Life


Robert Solomon: Existentialism from Bass Mechanism on Vimeo.
The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity is that I think it has something very important to offer us for the new century. I'm afraid we're losing the real virtues of living life passionately, sense of taking responsibility for who you are, the ability to make something of yourself and feeling good about life. Existentialism is often discussed as if it's a philosophy of despair. But I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre once interviewed said he never really felt a day of despair in his life. But one thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance of feeling on top of it. It's like your life is yours to create. I've read the postmodernists with some interest, even admiration. But when I read them, I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more that you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as fragmented or marginalized, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. And when Sartre talks about responsibility, he's not talking about something abstract. He's not talking about the kind of self or soul that theologians would argue about. It's something very concrete. It's you and me talking. Making decisions. Doing things and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are six billion people in the world and counting. Nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms. Makes a difference to other people and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off and see ourselves as the victim of various forces. It's always our decision who we are.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Horace on it being later than you think

"Carpe diem!"

Rejoice while you are alive;

enjoy the day;

live life to the fullest;

make the most of what you have.

It is later than you think."


and here's a Special (: version of these sentiments.



and Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society


Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Buddha on worry and rumination

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

The Buddha

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Stephen Covey on how to fall back in love

At one seminar where I was speaking on the concept of proactivity, a man came up and said, "Stephen, I like what you're saying.  But every situation is so different.  Look at my marriage.  I'm really worried.  My wife and I just don't have the same feelings for each other we used to have.  I guess I just don't love her anymore and she doesn't love me.  What can I do?" 

   "The feeling isn't there anymore?" I asked.  

  "That's right," he reaffirmed. 

"And we have three children we're really concerned about.  What do you suggest?" 

   "Love her," I replied.   

"I told you, the feeling just isn't there anymore." 

   "Love her."   

"You don't understand.  The feeling of love just isn't there." 

   "Then love her.  If the feeling isn't there, that's a good reason to love her."

    "But how do you love when you don't love?"   

"My friend, love is a verb.  Love -- the feeling -- is a fruit of love the verb.  So love her.  Sacrifice.  Listen to her.  Empathize.  Appreciate.  Affirm her.  Are you willing to do that?"

Stephen Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective Living 

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Douglas Adams' key points in the history of the Galaxy

The history of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of idealism, struggle, despair, passion, success, failure, and enormously long lunch breaks

Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Isaiah Berlin on self-direction

I wish my life and decisions to depend on myself, not on external forces of whatever kind, I wish to be an instrument of my own, not of other men’s, acts of will. I wish to be moved by reasons, by conscious purposes, which are my own, not by causes which affect me, as it were, from outside. I wish to be a doer … deciding, not being decided for, self-directed and not acted upon by external nature

Isaiah Berlin  Two Concepts of Liberty 

Nietzsche on what is most needed for an authentic life


One thing is needed.  To give style to one's character-a great and rare art ! It is achieved by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan 
Nietszche The Gay Science (or Joyful Wisdom)

Philosopher John Kekes on Wisdom

Wisdom is to arrange our lives so as to satisfy wants that accord with our ideals, while paying due regard to human and traditional limitations and possibilities in general, and to our own limitations and possibilities in particular.

John Kekes  The Examined  Life