Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Swimming against the current

“Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.”

Photo taken circa Jan 2015 by my nephew, Marcel IMRICH, in the High Tatra region

“Showing that they don’t care about me, or caring that I should know they don’t care about me, still denotes dependence.”

Mystery solved: Darwin's 'severed finger' that baffled police revealed as sea squirt Only in the NT

After days of speculation, marine biologist concludes that item found on a beach was not the remains of a murder victim

There is a form of envy of which I frequently have seen examples, in which an individual tries to obtain something by bullying. If, for instance, I enter a place where many are gathered, it often happens that one or another right away takes up arms against me by beginning to laugh; presumably he feels that he is being a tool of public opinion. But lo and behold, if I then make a casual remark to him, that same person becomes infinitely pliable and obliging. Essentially it shows that he regards me as something great, maybe even greater than I am: but if he can’t be admitted as a participant in my greatness, at least he will laugh at me. But as soon as he becomes a participant, as it were, he brags about my greatness.
That is what comes of living in a petty community.
Kierkegaard on Life 

Good people are not those who lack flaws, the brave are not those who feel no fear, and the generous are not those who never feel selfish. Extraordinary people are not extraordinary because they are invulnerable to unconscious biases. They are extraordinary because they choose to do something about it. 

You must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow… Just as travelers are beguiled by conversation or reading or some profound meditation, and find they have arrived at their destination before they knew they were approaching it; so it is with this unceasing and extremely fast-moving journey of life, which waking or sleeping we make at the same pace — the preoccupied become aware of it only when it is over

Against the current 

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief. How to melt “the frozen sea within us

You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply — though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire… How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!

Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it  

Too much discussion about the public sector remains based on ideology, partisan cant and misperception.
Those words were written by Terry Moran last year, a former secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the most senior official in the Australian Public Service between 2008 and 2011.
He wrote them a couple of weeks after the Abbott government handed down its first budget.
You can find them in the foreward to a report from the Centre for Policy Development that looked at the false economies resulting from short-term thinking on Australia's public services (the report's called False Economies: Unpacking public service efficiency).
Late last year, a former assistant commissioner of the Australian Tax Office, John Passant, warned in a letter to The Australian Financial Review that repeated efficiency dividends had seriously hurt the ATO's ability to collect tax.
Taxing Times 

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