Saturday, June 01, 2019

Before The Kremlin Could Stop It, Rap Spread All Over Russia

I thought about calling my mother, but she was in heaven. I called her anyway. “Mom, how are you doing?” I said. “I’m bored. Don’t come here. There’s nothing to do,” she said. “Aren’t there angels?” I said. “Yes, but they’re boring,” she said. “But I was going to come see you,” I said. “Go to hell, it’s more exciting,” she said. I had fallen asleep with my teacup in my hand. When I awoke I realized I thought it was a phone. My mother would never be so sarcastic about heaven.

Winter tales: Australian writers reflect on the cold months

From woolly socks, chicken soup and cranky wombats to bonfires, purple shadows and frozen windscreens .

'Would I let my family go through this?': Why psychiatrist left public system

When Mark Cross was asked to give a speech about why he left the public mental health system, he said "Thank you", hung up, and "promptly went into anxiety mode".

Before The Kremlin Could Stop It, Rap Spread All Over Russia

It was the Web, and especially V Kontakte (Russia’s Facebook), that made it possible, and, as always in such cases, the old fogeys in charge didn’t catch on until it was too late to stop or co-opt it. So now the Kremlin is nervous. – The New York Times

In the Soviet Union, I once spoke with a monk and asked him how, as a composer, one can improve oneself. He answered me by saying that he knew of no solution. I told him that I also wrote prayers, and set prayers and the text of psalms to music, and that perhaps this would be of help to me as a composer. To this he said, 'No, you are wrong. All the prayers have already been written. You don't need to write any more. Everything has been prepared. Now you have to prepare yourself'. I believe that there's a truth in that.

Arvo Pärt, from various interviews

It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them. Death, for example, is nothing frightening, otherwise it would have frightened Socrates. But the judgement that death is frightening - now, that is something to be afraid of. So when we are frustrated, angry or unhappy, never hold anyone except ourselves - that is, our judgements - accountable. An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.

Keep the prospect of death, exile and all such apparent tragedies before you every day - especially death - and you will never have an abject thought, or desire anything to excess.

[...] Try to influence your friends to speak appropriately by your example. If you find yourself in unfamiliar company, however, keep quiet. Keep laughter to a minimum; do not laugh too often or too loud[...] Avoid fraternising with non-philosophers. If you must, though, be bareful not to sink to their level; beacuse, you know, if a companion is dirty, his friends cannot help but get a little dirty too, no matter how clean they started out.

Never identify yourself as a philosopher or speak much to non-philosophers about your principles; act in line with those principles. At a dinner party, for instance, don't tell people the right way to eat, just eat the right way. Remember how Socrates so effaced himself that people used to approach him seeking an introduction to philosophers, and he would graciously escort them; that's how careless he was of the slight.

[...] Sheep don't bring their owners grass to prove them how much they've eaten, they digest it inwardly and outwardly bring forth milk and wool. So don't make a show of your philosophical learning to the unitiated, show them by your actions what you have absorbed. [...]
When faced with anything painful or pleasurable, anything bringing glory or disrepute, realize that the crisis is now, that the Olympics have started, and waiting is no longer an option; that the chance for progress, to keep or lose, turns on the events of a single day.
Lead me, Zeus, lead me Destiny, / To the goal I was long ago assigned . And I will follow without hesitation. Even should I resist, / In a spirit of perversity, I will have to follow nonetheless. / Whoever yields to necessity graciously, we account wise in God's ways.

~ Epictetus, Enchiridon