There is a legendary story that when Alexander the Great was dying on his death bed he stated that his empire would go "to the strongest". It may be better to say it goes to those who can adapt to change.
Interesting discussion between Andrew Sullivan and Ezra Klein on identity politics, existential questions, religion and culture.
Andrew shares a statement he heard from a buddhist teacher:
Anything can happen at anytime.
You are not exempt.
Steve Hilton on breaking down the barriers to entry. The need for decentralization and tearing down the bureaucratic gatekeepers of the economic and political elite.
This is the new politics - Crowdpac
“She’s the greatest actress and director in the world,” director Keren Yedaya said. “Totally. It was a great privilege to have known her and to be her friend, to be with her. What anguish, what a waste. How many projects were still there, how much love she still had to give.”
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
“I think, therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches. I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that's alive. My self does not differ substantially from yours in terms of its thought. Many people, few ideas: we all think more or less the same, and we exchange, borrow, steal thoughts from one another. However, when someone steps on my foot, only I feel the pain. The basis of the self is not thought but suffering, which is the most fundamental of all feelings. While it suffers, not even a cat can doubt its unique and uninterchangeable self. In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self. Suffering is the university of egocentrism.” ― Milan Kundera, Immortality
"There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy." - Friedrich Nietzsche
“Voila mes philosophes.” (Here are my philosophers) The French materialist La Mettrie used to say this of his senses…He claimed to have reached this insight during a fever, when he realized that his intellect was entirely subject to his body.
"Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not."
Montaigne wrote,“the fact is that I was not there at all.” He further went on to say “If you don’t know how to die, don’t worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately."
Montaigne continued, “It seemed to me that my life was hanging only by the tip of my lips; I closed my eyes in order, it seemed to me, to help push it out, and took pleasure in growing languid and letting myself go. It was an idea that was only floating on the surface of my soul, as delicate and feeble as all the rest, but in truth not only free from distress but mingled with that sweet feeling that people have who let themselves slide into sleep.”
I hope to remind those who view my artwork that we too are animals, embedded in this fragile world even as we poison it. My work alludes to the boundaries that separate humans from animals both physically and metaphysically, and the way in which these boundaries are warped by science, mythology, and religion alike.
Like the gods of so many myths Humanity has warped the world into our own image, and it is this often frightening image I hope to reflect in my work. In my work I attempt to capture the often volatile human-animal relationship as well as a reflection of my own sorrow over the loss of wild species and wild places.
I am faced with the fact that we live in a planet in decline, where nearly every natural ecosystem in the world is withering to dust. Human kind has created a planet of refugees; animals forced to flee ever farther from the insatiable encroachment of urban development, victims of a war for space which they cannot hope to win.
Philosopher Stephen Law:
A while ago I watched a wildlife documentary about Komodo dragons poisoning, tracking for a week or so, and then, finally, when their victim became too weak to defend itself, disembowelling and eating alive, a water buffalo.
The cameraman said this had been his first ever wildlife assignment, and it would probably also be his last, because he couldn’t cope with the depth of suffering he had been forced to witness. That was just one poor creature.
Each day, millions of animals are similarly forced to tear each other limb from limb to survive. And this has been going on for hundreds of millions of years.
This is, in many ways, a beautiful world. But it’s also a staggeringly cruel and horrific world for very many of its inhabitants.
Unspeakable horror on an almost unimaginably vast scale is built into the very fabric of the world...
"Animals will be seen on the earth who will always be fighting against each other with the greatest loss and frequent deaths on each side. And there will be no end to their malignity...Nothing will remain on earth, or under the earth or in the waters which will not be persecuted, disturbed and spoiled...O Earth! why dost thou not open and engulf them in the fissures of thy vast abyss and caverns, and no longer display in the sight of heaven such a cruel and horrible monster."
Leonardo da Vinci
If one cannot focus one cannot learn. Poverty, tragedy and disease can be fatal to being able to increase knowledge and progress in learning. Without the support and resources the fragile reed that is human will sink beneath the waters. Some people in privileged positions forget this most obvious truth, it is not that they are so naturally talented but they have had support and resources that they did not even notice or realize and therefore think that others are inferior. It is not surprising that the human ego would turn away from this. As Stephen Jay Gould wrote, "I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."
The findings, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, indicate that an urgent need — making rent, getting money for food — tugs at the attention so much that it can reduce the brainpower of anyone who experiences it, regardless of innate intelligence or personality.
There's a widespread tendency to assume that poor people don't have money because they are lazy, unmotivated or just not that sharp, said study coauthor Sendhil Mullainathan, a behavioral economist at Harvard University. "That's a broad narrative that's pretty common," Mullainathan said. "Our intuition was quite different: It's not that poor people are any different than rich people, but that being poor in itself has an effect...
Almost like a computer that has some other process running the background, poverty creates this nagging background process and that could itself have an effect on actual cognitive capacity," Mullainathan said.
Negative Stress Impedes Learning, Memory and Performance
A child in a constant state of unmanaged stress is primarily focused on survival. "Continual emotional distress can create deficits in a child's intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn" (Goleman, p.27).
The Powerful Impact of Stress, John Hopkins School of Education
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter"