From DAVID H. FREEDMAN‘s “The War on Stupid People”
“The 2010s, in contrast, are a terrible time to not be brainy. Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement.”
“Yes, some careers do require smarts. But even as high intelligence is increasingly treated as a job prerequisite, evidence suggests that it is not the unalloyed advantage it’s assumed to be. The late Harvard Business School professor Chris Argyris argued that smart people can make the worst employees, in part because they’re not used to dealing with failure or criticism.”
“The most popular comedy on television is The Big Bang Theory, which follows a small gang of young scientists. Scorpion, which features a team of geniuses-turned-antiterrorists, is one of CBS’s top-rated shows. The genius detective Sherlock Holmes has two TV series and a blockbuster movie franchise featuring one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. “Every society through history has picked some trait that magnifies success for some,” says Robert Sternberg, a professor of human development at Cornell University and an expert on assessing students’ traits. “We’ve picked academic skills.”
“We must stop glorifying intelligence and treating our society as a playground for the smart minority. We should instead begin shaping our economy, our schools, even our culture with an eye to the abilities and needs of the majority, and to the full range of human capacity.”
“Smart people should feel entitled to make the most of their gift. But they should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth.”
From ALEX VADUKUL‘s “The Trials of a Boxing Romantic”
“When you get into the ring, you think everyone’s there for a different reason than you, but that’s not true,” he said. “It’s all the same reason: to reclaim respect.” In his case, classmates violently ambushed him on an empty field when he was 11. He retreated into reading Dostoyevsky and punching heavy bags.
A documentary he made about his adventures left him $50,000 in debt (he has struggled to get the film released), and though “The Domino Diaries” received good reviews, it sold poorly. But Mr. Butler didn’t linger on the financial outcome of his travels. “J. D. Salinger said, ‘Write the book you want to read,’ and I got to do that,” he said. “Writing about Cuba was an honor.”
“I’m having to struggle and grind like the fighters I write about,” he concluded. “That makes it easy for me to sympathize with them.” ~Brin-Jonathan Butler
2:05 AM. Friday dawn. I slumped on the concrete, facing the trees that look back at me. Taunting. I didn’t drink anything weird, okay? But I could hear the silent message from the trees. “Isn’t this what you want — for things to be as they are,” the trees said, un-moving. I look back at them, speechless.
~image by Phoebe Strafford
Quotes — short, long, however you like it.
You’ll find it there.
(*I hope I don’t sound too sales-y… haha)
Fave so far? — This one by Naomi Shihab Nye in The Art Of Disappearing
“When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up. “
These days, I wear shackles. Invisible chains holding me tight next to Routine. There is not much space, not much air, just enough oxygen to suck it in. ALL IN.
I work at night which means I’m supposed to sleep during the day. But as a caregiver there can’t be an “I.” Instead, there are Hands — crushing the tablet so it can be mixed with his adult milk (because the tablet tastes horrible, it makes him vomit). The Hands do it at eleven so he can drink both milk and medicine by the time the clock strikes at eleven thirty. Sometimes, the Hands go about adjusting the direction to where the electric fan blows; other times, it will go pick a fresh clean diaper and remove the one soaked in urine and feces. When the Hands are still, the Feet do its bidding. Going to pharmacies to buy more medicine, diapers, and toiletries. It’s an alternate pattern of Hands and Feet — working busy at night, tending to our patient at day. Fatigued, but I’d rather be that the Hands and Feet work frenzy… than be still and hear nothing but the worrisome lub-dub of the Heart
as each day unfolds for it to hurt
and hurt and
~image by Larm Rmah
One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die
He saw a good way to look at his situation and committed to faking that perspective, hoping that his genuine self might eventually catch up. Miller refused, for example, to let himself believe that his life was extra difficult now, only uniquely difficult, as all lives are. He resolved to think of his suffering as simply a “variation on a theme we all deal with — to be human is really hard,” he says.
“Parts of me died early on,” he said in a recent talk. “And that’s something, one way or another, we can all say. I got to redesign my life around this fact, and I tell you it has been a liberation to realize you can always find a shock of beauty or meaning in what life you have left.”
He heard there was a blizzard outside but couldn’t see it himself. Then a nurse smuggled him a snowball and allowed him to hold it. This was against hospital regulations, and this was Miller’s point: There are parts of ourselves that the conventional health care system isn’t equipped to heal or nourish, adding to our suffering. He described holding that snowball as “a stolen moment,” and said, “But I cannot tell you the rapture I felt holding that in my hand, and the coldness dripping onto my burning skin, the miracle of it all, the fascination as I watched it melt and turn into water. In that moment, just being any part of this planet, in this universe, mattered more to me than whether I lived or died.”
~image by Jon Butterworth