Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brain Over Brawn

"Some years ago," writes John Wilson, "I described the novelist and poet Marly Youmans as "the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers." That's still true today (so I think), and if you haven't tried Youmans yet, her new novel, Glimmerglass, is a very good place to start."

Marly and I suggest you also czech out HOW Create the Perfect Whiskey Flavor with New Customization Tool Miracle of Water
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We don’t think enough about the economic functions of social welfare policy, or about the relationship between the safety net and labor markets, and this hinders our ability to make sense of why some people fight so hard against programs that aid poor and low-income people: We mistake them for anti-welfare ideologues, and dismiss them as cruel or ignorant, but there’s an economic logic to their activism, one that’s revealed if we look at the relationship between welfare and work from both the employee’s and the employer’s perspective. Why big business loves desperate workers

In your typical American coming-of-age movie, whether it’s high school or college, the ‘jocks’ tend to be routinely parodied as idiots that can barely put a sentence together. I don’t think it could be argued they don’t exist, but it’s a stereotype that has been badly overplayed. And when you look at professional athletes of today, it’s pretty clear that they’re as sharp upstairs as they are physically exceptional.
Former England cricketer Ed Smith sums it up in a nicely worded column in Intelligent Life. Highlighting German football as an example, he talks about how the administration has put a premium on intelligence. They built their World Cup winning game plan around a team of quick thinkers who could assess risk and show finely tuned judgement to match their silky skills. Thomas Müller doesn’t think of himself as having a position, he calls himself ‘an interpreter of space’.

In hundreds of speeches over the years, two themes have run front center: love and inspiration. Whether it is politics, business or culture, I believe that solving problems and creating better worlds boils down to unleashing the most positive of human emotions.
However negative the situation looks or the problem presents or the news is, the start of a solution happens when you create the conditions for love and inspiration.
One such condition is connecting people and ideas that are different in a democratic space, which brings understanding, revelation, and opens the door to new possibilities. An example comes from a TED talk by Zak Ebrahim: ‘I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace.’ TED has just published this story as a book; it is an intimate, behind-the-scenes life of an American boy raised by his terrorist father — the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Zak Ebrahim talks about how his eyes were opened, after growing up in a bigoted household and being raised to judge people based on arbitrary measurements.
In this story it is the positive intersections that led to a change of the direction in which he was being forced; the connecting of differences that led to perceptions that turned it around.
Three lines that are foundational for me in this talk are:
  1. When people take the time to interact with one another, it doesn’t take long to realize that, for the most part, we all want the same things out of life.
  2. Inspiration can often come from an unexpected place, so become exposed to people from many different walks of life, faiths and cultures.
  3. Everyone, regardless of their upbringing or circumstances, can learn to tap into their inherent empathy and embrace tolerance over hatred.

In her regular Thursday column, Bethany Jenkins gives us Martin Luther on the nonexistence of a sacred/secular divide . Here's part of it.
The pope or bishop anoints, shaves heads, ordains, consecrates, and prescribes garb different from that of the laity, but he can never make a man into a Christian or into a spiritual man by so doing. He might well make a man into a hypocrite or a humbug and blockhead, but never a Christian or a spiritual man. As far as that goes, we are all consecrated priests through baptism, as St. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a royal priesthood and a priestly realm.” The Apocalypse says, “Thou hast made us to be priests and kings by thy blood” (Rev. 5:9-10).