Balance

Most religions teach that we have a choice between being selfish (bad) and being selfless (good). Surprisingly, Buddhism doesn’t do that.

Lion’s Roar Staff | Lion’s Roar


That, by the way, is why liberal students (and liberals in general) are so bad at defending their own positions. They never have to, so they never learn to. That is also why it tends to be so easy for conservatives to goad them into incoherent anger. Nothing makes you more enraged than an argument you cannot answer. But the reason to listen to people who disagree with you is not so you can learn to refute them. The reason is that you may be wrong. In fact, you are wrong: about some things and probably about a lot of things. There is zero percent chance that any one of us is 100 percent correct. That, in turn, is why freedom of expression includes the right to hear as well as speak, and why disinviting campus speakers abridges the speech rights of students as well as of the speakers themselves.

William Deresiewicz | The American Scholar


It seems to me that there are several types of loneliness. Of course, not everyone experiences loneliness in the situations described — for instance, not everyone wants a romantic partner. But for some people, the lack of certain kinds of relationships brings loneliness.

Gretchen Rubin


In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

Elizabeth Kolbert | The New Yorker


Just as in nature there is design without a designer, so in many natural phenomena we can observe what Dennett calls “competence without comprehension”. Evolution does not understand nightingales, but it builds them; your immune system does not understand disease. Termites do not build their mounds according to blueprints, and yet the results are remarkably complex: reminiscent in one case, as Dennett notes, of Gaudí’s church the Sagrada Família. In general, evolution and its living products are saturated with competence without comprehension, with “unintelligent design”.

Steven Poole | NewStateman


We don’t always realize how much staying open is a conscious effort.

Matt Killingsworth | Intent Blog


An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.

Laurence J. Peter


Although there may be no benefit to becoming upset by every outside event in the world, there are definitely rewards for not behaving that way.

Heather Harper | Wisdom Pills


When something is memorable, it tends to be the thing you think of first, and then it has an outsize influence on your understanding of the world. After the movie Jaws came out, a generation of people was afraid to swim in the sea—not because shark attacks were more likely but because all those movie viewers could more readily imagine them.

Emily Dreifuss | Wired


In flow systems, balance is not simply a nice way to be, but a set of complementary factors – such as big and little; efficiency and resilience; flexibility and constraint – whose optimal balance is critical to maintaining circulation across scales. For example, the familiar branching structure seen in lungs, trees, circulatory systems, river deltas, and banking systems (Fig. 1) connects a geometrically constant ratio of a few large, a few more medium-sized, and a great many small entities. This arrangement, which mathematicians call a fractal, is extremely common because it’s particular balance of small, medium, and large helps optimize circulation across different levels of the whole. Just as too many large animals and too few small ones creates an unstable ecosystem, so financial systems with too many big banks and too few small ones tend towards poor circulation, poor health, and high instability.

Sally Goerner | Evonomics

Tensions

In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.

Andrew Napolitano | Reason.com


There has been rising concern about Facebook’s power over many facets of our lives for years now and the concern is especially strong when it comes to news and media consumption where Facebook is becoming an ever more important channel. Because Facebook’s algorithms determine which things users could be shown they actually see, Facebook bears a primary responsibility for making decisions about the media world its users live in.

Jan Dawson | TechPinions.com


Every day we witness women silently drowning in their “To Do Lists”. Beyond this it appears we’ve become a society which is living under a mindset or more bluntly put, the misconception, that constantly “Doing” is the way to justify our existence: to prove to the world and ourselves that our lives are valuable, that we matter and have relevance. Or should we be asking our self, is it an easy way to avoid the things we don’t want to face and deal with.

Diane Danvers-Simmons | Intent Blog


Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.

Niels Bohr | The Quotations Page


There’s a center of quietness within which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart.

Joseph Campbell | The Change Blog


So, when The Economist says: “Unlike other aspects of American hegemony, the dollar has grown more important as the world has globalised, not less”, it is pointing to a truly deep tension. As American hegemony disintegrates, the dollar, ultimately founded on the US state, is taking on an ever more central role in the global economy.Adam Tooze | AdamTooze.com


Let go of all your assumptions

And the world will make perfect sense

Chuang-tzu | MindfulBalance.com


In the hospital, I found my speech and actions could become refuges for my family and caregivers providing a space where they could feel calm, positive and helpful. I try to be honest and let people help me when they can. I try to use humor to take the edge off my complaints. Simple courtesies of thanks and asking nurses and aides how their days are going have gone a long way to making sure my care team knows that they can breathe easy around me.

As it became clear that my cure will depend on a stem cell or bone marrow donor, organizing marrow donor drives proved to be a refuge for my friends from the powerlessness of being able to “do nothing” — a space where they feel empowered to provide meaningful assistance toward finding my cure. It’s amazing to see the faces of friends and family light up when they see they have the means to actually help save my life. Complete strangers have shared with me how meaningful it is to learn they can do something so simple to help save someone’s life.

Arun Likhati | Lion’s Roar


If you sit right now for 5-10 minutes and just pay attention to your breath, you’ll likely notice the fundamental anxiety … it results in wanting to stop paying attention to the breath, wanting the meditation to be over, wanting to get on with the tasks of life, wanting distraction, thinking that the exercise is stupid, wanting to think about problems you have.

Leo Batauta | Zen Habits


We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read.

Mark Twain | The Quotations Page

Adding-up

My teachers had been advocating right speech for years, but I just couldn’t get into it. You know, you might try to be a better person, but until you actually understand how you’re hurting people, it’s very hard to practice the precepts. I still remember the incident that finally made me consider right speech in a new light.

Darlene Cohen | Lion’s Roar


Why do we cheat? And why do happy people cheat? And when we say “infidelity,” what exactly do we mean? Is it a hookup, a love story, paid sex, a chat room, a massage with a happy ending? Why do we think that men cheat out of boredom and fear of intimacy, but women cheat out of loneliness and hunger for intimacy? And is an affair always the end of a relationship?

Esther Perel | Ted


Pride is a silent and sneaky relationship killer. It takes a lot of courage and grace to put your ego aside and choose compassion and understanding over the need to be right. Fighting fair and resolving conflict in a peaceful manner is imperative.

Maddison Sonner | Wisdom Pills


The modern world can’t be explained by routine brick piling, such as the Indian Ocean trade, English banking, canals, the British savings rate, the Atlantic slave trade, the enclosure movement, the exploitation of workers in satanic mills, or the original accumulation of capital in European cities.

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey | reason.com


I just think letting go of all thought, for some more truthful way of living is missing the point. We are meant to be individuals who identify with their thoughts for a reason, it’s just if your attached to them and have negative and harmful thoughts you may harm yourself and others. It’s a process of change but not into a blank state, hence why the chinese incorporated emotions and experience back into meditation more. A stone buddha already exists as a stone, why should people want to be stones?

Dreago12e | reddit.ccom


The less there was of me, the happier I got.

Leonard Cohen | Lion’s Roar


People who write the algorithms, Barocas adds, “want to humanize things, and to interpret things in ways that are in line with how we think and reason. But we need to be prepared to accept that computers, even though they’re performing tasks that we perform, are performing them in ways that are very different.

David Benberry | Nautilus.us


Have Mindfulness Bells. You could have a chime regularly sound off on your phone or computer (numerous apps do this) to remind you to pause and be mindful of what’s going on right now. I’ve also found it useful to see other things as mindfulness bells: seeing my child’s face, a traffic light, hearing an alert from an appliance or the computer. Each of these can be a reminder to be present when I notice them.

Leo Babauta | Zenhabits.net


You are your placebo


You are your IP address


Not unhappy

The problem with depression—the thing that makes it so hard to describe, and gives its sufferers a bad conscience—is its resemblance to unhappiness. Unhappiness is part of every life, and most people learn how to cope with it: by changing the conditions that cause it, or by distracting themselves, or by actively repressing it. A person who can’t deal with being unhappy is seen as a moral failure—childish, selfish, “difficult.” It is all too easy to apply the same judgment to a depressed person, as if depression just meant luxuriating in unhappiness. David Foster Wallace wrote a brilliant story, “The Depressed Person,” in which a woman worries that by describing her suffering she will only disgust her friends and even her therapist—a worry which itself feeds into her suffering.

But depression is actually the opposite of unhappiness, because it is precisely not “a part of life.” When you are unhappy, life is pressing you, hurting you, and you are forced to respond to it. An unhappy life is a problem, and to be absorbed in a problem is to be absorbed in existence. When you are depressed, on the other hand, there is no problem, because there is nothing to be solved. Existence itself seems to retreat, to leave you stranded, without purchase on things, people, yourself. In her new memoir…

Adam Kirsh | Daphne Merkin Pens a Depression Classic – Tablet Magazine