Sunday, January 04, 2015

Silence is Golden: Tolstoy's War and Peace

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden.”
- Cold River in Action... 

We are in the habit of saying that it was not in our power to choose the parents who were allotted to us, that they were given to us by chance. But we can choose whose children we would like to be. There are households of the noblest intellects: choose the one into which you wish to be adopted, and you will inherit not only their name but their property too. Nor will this property need to be guarded meanly or grudgingly: the more it is shared out, the greater it will become. These will offer you a path to immortality and raise you to a point from which no one is cast down. This is the only way to prolong mortality — even to convert it to immortality.

“I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers… I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!”
Rather than an annual ritual of promises made to be broken, the best New Year’s resolutions — the ones that actually stick and transform our lives by rewiring our physical and psychological habit loops — are enduring existential aspirations of which we remind ourselves when early January makes its convenient invitation for self-transformation. Famous resolution lists — like those of Italo Calvino, Jonathan Swift, Susan Sontag, Marilyn Monroe, Woody Guthrie, and Ursula Nordstrom — certainly embody this spirit Nietzsche new year resolution

Philip Larkin averaged four poems a year. “Silence is preferable to publishing rubbish,” he said, “and far better for one’s reputation” Silence is Golden
 Step aside, love. Jealousy, an emotion so nuanced that we need other words to capture its twists, makes the world go round Emotions

Serious, intellectual writing is overwhelmingly male. Why? Ask the serious, intellectual gatekeepers of serious, intellectual magazines Gender Power

Silicon Valley is run by some of the most privileged people in the world. Yet they are convinced that they are among the least. Thus, nerd entitlement  Media Dragons 

We can learn a lot about the art of living from Tolstoy's War and Peace - a 10-hour dramatisation of which is airing on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday. It acutely observes vanity and folly, sexual jealousy and family relationships. But we can also learn from the life of the master novelist himself, writes 
Another Media Dragon of Tolstoy Stature 

“The people of the United States spend exactly as much money on booze alone as on the space program,” Isaac Asimov quipped in a witty and wise 1969 response to a reader who had berated him on the expense of space exploration. At no other time of the year are our cultural priorities more glaring than during our holiday merriment, which entails very little cosmos and very many Cosmos.  tolstoy

To stand face to face with insecurity is still not to understand it. To understand it, you must not face it but be it. It is like the Persian story of the sage who came to the door of Heaven and knocked. From within the voice of God asked, “Who is there” and the sage answered, “It is I.” “In this House,” replied the voice, “there is no room for thee and me.” So the sage went away, and spent many years pondering over this answer in deep meditation. Returning a second time, the voice asked the same question, and again the sage answered, “It is I.” The door remained closed. After some years he returned for the third time, and, at his knocking, the voice once more demanded, “Who is there?” And the sage cried, “It is thyself!” The door was opened.