Recently, Anderson changed the way she assigns undergraduate essays: instead of requiring students to argue a position and fend off objections, doubling down on their original beliefs, she asks them to discuss their position with someone who disagrees, and to explain how and why, if at all, the discussion changed their views.
The author and minister Will Bowen has a simple system that helps people quit complaining. He provides each member of his congregation with a purple bracelet, and each time they complain, they switch the bracelet from one wrist to the other. This method is simple and straightforward and makes it easy to hold yourself accountable.
anthony de mello:
Anytime you’re practicing renunciation, you’re deluded. How about that! You’re deluded. What are you renouncing? Anytime you renounce something, you are tied forever to the thing you renounce. There’s a guru in India who says, “Every time a prostitute comes to me, she’s talking about nothing but God. She says I’m sick of this life that I’m living. I want God. But every time a priest comes to me he’s talking about nothing but sex.” Very well, when you renounce something, you’re stuck to it forever. When you fight something, you’re tied to it forever. As long as you’re fighting it, you are giving it power. You give it as much power as you are using to fight it.
When we see a person walking down the street talking to himself, we generally assume that he is mentally ill. But we all talk to ourselves continuously — we just have the good sense to keep our mouths shut.
People who say all religions say the same thing don’t know much about them. These are culturally, extraordinarily distinct and specific.
The reason the young care so much about prestige is that the people they want to impress are not very discerning.
In the opening pages of one of his books, The Painted Word, Wolfe describes his sudden, astonishing epiphany about the radical movement of contemporary art — in particular, about the rise of abstract paintings that you look at and think, “Well, I could’ve made that.”
Wolfe’s epiphany was sparked by a New York Times critique of realism art. In short, the critic-in-chief wrote that, without a theory to go with it, it’s hard to appreciate a painting.
Wolfe vividly recalls reading this and being rattled, having a serious “aha moment.” For the first time, he finally understood contemporary art.
“All these years I, like so many others, had stood in front of a thousand, two thousand, God-knows-how-many thousand [paintings] . . . All these years, in short, I had assumed that in art, if nowhere else, seeing is believing. Well — how very shortsighted! Now, at last, on April 28, 1974, I could see. I had gotten it backward all along. “Not “seeing is believing,” you ninny, but “believing is seeing,” for Modern Art has become completely literary: the paintings and other works exist only to illustrate the text.”