“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? There is no one but us. There is no one to send, nor a clean hand, nor a pure heart on the face of the earth, nor in the earth, but only us, a generation comforting ourselves with the notion that we have come at an awkward time, that our innocent fathers are all dead—as if innocence had ever been—and our children busy and troubled, and we ourselves unfit, not yet ready, having each of us chosen wrongly, made a false start, failed, yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures, and grown exhausted, unable to see the thread, weak, and involved. But there is no one but us. There never has been. There have been generations which remembered, and generations which forgot; there has never been a generation of whole men and women who lived well for even one day. Yet some have imagined well, with honesty and art, the detail of such a life, and have described it with such grace, that we mistake vision for history, dream for description, and fancy that life has devolved.”—Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm (via dailymarvelous)
The role of the PR industry in elections is explicitly to undermine the school-child version of democracy. What you learn in school is that democracies are based on informed voters making rational decisions. All you have to do is take a look at an electoral campaign run by the PR industry and see that the purpose is to create uninformed voters who will make irrational decisions. For the PR industry that’s a very easy transition from their primary function. Their primary function is commercial advertising. Commercial advertising is designed to undermine markets. If you took an economics course you learned that markets are based on informed consumers making rational choices. If you turn on the TV set, you see that ads are designed to create irrational, uninformed consumers making irrational choices. The whole purpose is to undermine markets in the technical sense.
Your adventures abroad have been so enjoyable to see and read! Just wanted to drop by and let you know! :)
It is kind of you to say so, thank you. I’m glad others are enjoying the pictures and reports from Korea, as I enjoy gathering the images and thoughts. I often feel as though I am posting too much, but I enjoy putting together the posts and using them as an opportunity to solidify my experience.
Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.
Americans die in smaller portions each year, but what kills us is changing.
Depending on their age cohort, Americans seem likely to die of complications from AIDS, Suicide, or Dementia.
The increased numbers of suicides nationally is a very disturbing trend. It would seem that despite the reputation for high violent crime rates compared to similarly economically developed countries the biggest violent threat to Americans is the wish to terminate their own lives.
The gains made in reducing heart disease and controlling cancer rates in the elderly is seemingly undone by higher incidence of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, in the ever aging population.
Entertaining data about the way various countries’ populations see particular issues (ie homosexuality, abortion, divorce, contraception) in terms of morality: acceptable, unacceptable, or not a moral issue.
Not surprisingly my views seem most in line with those of Western European countries.
“Invisibly visible, unlocatably everywhere: if the gay presence is threatened by absence, it is not only because of the secret (or not so secret) intentions of those who are fascinated by gays, or even as a result of the devastating work of AIDS, but also because gays have been de-gaying themselves in the very process of making themselves visible.”—Homos by Leo Bersani (via temporarilyeuropean)
Before I started teaching I had a very different conception of what my teaching style would be like. I thought it likely that I would be rather cold, academic, and strict. This not the case. In fact, I tend to find myself highly engaged and encouraging, and really desirous of my students’ success. A student from one of my classes last term told me when I asked about how she’s enjoying this term told me she missed my tenderness. Tonight another student said I was a very kind teacher. I have developed a reputation as meticulous and strict in my grading, but I’m also becoming known as the nice teacher. This genuinely surprises me.
I have been called the “mean uncle” by my nephew before, and often found myself correcting and yelling at the children related to me. Teaching is a different situation, or perhaps I have changed more than I thought, but I find myself wanting to be compassionate with the students. I make my study expectations clear, but I also want to emotionally engage with and care about my students. I often find other teachers mistake difficulty for challenge and can be thoughtless about what the students must experience outside of our institute. I want to challenge my students and make them overcome limitations, not just set up arbitrary obstructions to their achievement, especially since most struggle enough with the language.
“Is it political if I tell you that if we burn coal, you’re going to warm the atmosphere? Or is that a statement of fact that you’ve made political? It’s a scientific statement. The fact that there are elements of society that have made it political, that’s a whole other thing.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson (via socio-logic)
“…torture is not an isolated incident. Rather it is an institution, a practice, a collective endeavor that requires planning and organization. Defenders of torture often defend a widespread practice of purely vicious evil by reference to a single imaginary incident in which it would make sense to torture someone. Imagine, they say, that you knew for certain (as of course you would not) that many people were about to be killed unless a particular person revealed something. Imagine you were certain (as of course you would not be) that you had found that person. Imagine that contrary to accumulated wisdom you believed the best way to elicit the information was through torture, and that you were sure (as of course you would not be) that the information would be revealed, that it would be accurate (nobody EVER lies under torture), and that it would prevent the greater tragedy (and not just delay it or move it), with no horrible side-effects or lasting results. Then, in that impossible scenario, wouldn’t you agree to torture the person?”—Torture Is Mainstream Now (via kenyatta)
Every cat in the area has seemingly gone into heat over the last few days. There are quite a few stray cats around Seoul I’m realizing. I had seen them occasionally, but now I’m hearing them. They’re everywhere and they’re horny. Sometimes it sounds like a baby screaming in the distance, but no, that’s just the sound of a cat wanting action.
During my last class there was a good two minute period of constant hormonal cat wailing from several different cats. It’s just not a sound I’m used to hearing so consistently through my open windows.