Friday, October 24, 2014

Demading Love

Though I want and need love, I won’t demand it. -Les Carter

Our Willingness to Risk

People with a phobia about being struck by lightning place such a heavy weight on the consequences of that outcome that they tremble even though they know that the odds on being hit are tiny.

Gut rules the measurement. Ask passengers in an airplane during turbulent flying conditions whether each of them has an equal degree of anxiety. Most people know full well that flying in an airplane is far safer than driving in an automobile, but some passengers will keep the flight attendants busy while others will snooze happily regardless of the weather.

And that's a good thing. If everyone valued every risk in precisely the same way, many risky opportunities would be passed up. Venturesome people place high utility on the small probably of huge gains and low utility on the larger probability of loss. Others place little utility on the probably of gain because of their paramount goal is to preserver their capital. Where one sees sunshine, the other sees a thunderstorm. Without the venturesome, the world would turn a lot more slowly. Think of what life would be like if everyone were phobic about lightning, flying in airplanes, or investing in star-up companies. We are indeed fortunate that human beings differ in their appetite for risk.

Peter Bernstein
Against the Gods

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Real Love

When a man is faithful to one woman, he looks on other women in quite another way, a way unknown to the world of Eros; other women turn into persons instead of being reflections or means. This ‘spiritual exercise’ develops new powers of judgment, self-possession, and respect.* The opposite in this of an erotic man, a steadfast man no longer strives to see a woman as merely an attractive or desirable body... he feels, as soon as tempted, he has been desiring only an illusory or fleeting aspect of what is actually a complete life. Thus temptation recedes disconnected instead of making itself into an obsession; and fidelity is made secure by the clear-sightedness it induces.

(*‘Respect’, as I use the word here, means that we recognize in a being the fullness of a person. A person, according to Kant’s famous definition, is what cannot be used by man as an instrument or thing.)

Denis de Rougemont
Love in the Western World

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thinking and Acting

Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought. – Henri Bergson

We are Loved!

We’ve heard a thousand times that God loves us. But one day the meaning hit us. WE ARE LOVED. Really loved! Not just for what we can do, or what we have, tor what we have to offer. Not out of pity or obligation.

People love like that. They love what they think we are. We all know that about each other. We play games to keep it that way.

We try to always show the side of ourselves that we think people love us for. And we have learned form harsh experience that if we don’t, we lose! (People can change their minds about loving us.)

Sometimes we play our games very well. Sometimes we fool everyone except ourselves, and deep inside we say, “You love me… But if you really knew, you wouldn’t.”

I think some of us have a hard time even liking ourselves. We think we don’t have enough to offer, and that makes it hard to love anyome else! Giving is then conditional, tentative. There is a wall of protection… that tough shell of “I’m not going to let you hurt me.”

We all know folks who aren’t very easy to work with because they don’t feel loved. They’re defensive and wary, often depressed and pessimistic.

But if we could all really see that God – the perfect, great omnipotent creator and orginal cause of the whole universe – really, loves us.. that “the One who knows us best, loves us most,” it would change our lives! God, whom we have wronged the most, loves us - and has found a way to come to where we are… and forgive us! No person, no power, no circumstance, no situation,, no station in life, nobody’s opinion – nothing- can ever make us fell unloved again. We are of value. WE have been redeemed. We are totally, unreservedly, forever LOVED!

We can dare to love back! We can risk hurt or rejection. We can try again, and even if we fail, we can win. We are loved by the only person whose opinion ultimately matters. We can LOVE. We can love even those who haven’t “earned” it. Even those who reject it. Even those who don’t need it. (Who’s that?!) We are loved!

Bill Gaither

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Digital Dating and Divorce

You are three times more likely to divorce if you met online instead of face-to-face, according to researchers at Michigan State University. They also say online daters are nearly 30 percent more likely to break up in the first year. It might have to do with how each person first approaches the relationship. Nearly everyone who uses dating apps and websites immediately begins by looking for false information in their prospective partner’s profile. The researchers believe suspicion damages the relationship at an early stage. You'll find more details in the online journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why things go wrong

Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be. – Charles T. Jones

Black Swains

We have a natural tendency to look for instances that confirm our story and our vision of the world.

Seeing white swans does not confirm the nonexistence of black swans. There is an exception, however: I know what statement is wrong, but not necessarily what statement is correct. If I see a black swan I can certify that all swans are not white! If I see someone kill, then I can be practically certain that he is a criminal. If I don’t see him kill, I cannot be certain that he is innocent. The same applies to cancer detection: the finding of a single malignant tumor proves that you have cancer, but the absence of such a finding cannot allow you to say with certainty that you are cancer-free.

We can get closer to the truth by negative instances, not by verification.

Nissim Taleb
The Black Swain

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Beginning

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. – Louis L’Amour

Expecting More

The best teachers we encountered expect “more” from their students. Yet the nature of that “more” must be distinguished from expectations that may be “high” but meaningless, from the goals that are simply tied to the course rather than to the kind of thinking and acting expected of critical thinkers. That “more” is, in the hands of teachers who captivate and motivate students and help them reach unusually high levels of accomplishment, grounded in the highest intellectual artistic, or moral standards, and in the personal goals of the students.

We found that the best teachers usually have a strong faith in the ability of students to learn and in the power of a healthy challenge, but they also have an appreciation that excessive anxiety and tension can hinder thinking. Thus, while they help students to feel relaxed and to believe in their capacity to learn, they also foster a kind of disquietude, the feeling that stems from intellectual enthusiasm, curiosity, challenge, and suspense, and from the wonderful promises that they make about what students can achieve.

Ken Baine
What the Best College Teachers Do

Thursday, October 16, 2014

To make good decisions in a complex world

Psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer argues that much of our behaviour is based on deceptively sophisticated rules-of-thumb, or “heuristics”. A robot programmed to chase and catch a ball would need to compute a series of complex differential equations to track the ball’s trajectory. But baseball players do so by instinctively following simple rules: run in the right general direction, and adjust your speed to keep a constant angle between eye and ball.

To make good decisions in a complex world, Gigerenzer says, you have to be skilled at ignoring information. He found that a portfolio of stocks picked by people he interviewed in the street did better than those chosen by experts. The pedestrians were using the “recognition heuristic”: they picked companies they’d heard of, which was a better guide to future success than any analysis of price-earning ratios.

Ian Leslie writing in The Economist

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When life buries you

There were two groups... those who didn't die and those who came back to life.
Ester Perel

Doubting the Outcome

Do you face the possibility of an adverse event? Don’t worry. Who knows, it may turn out to be good for you. Doubting the consequences of an outcome will allow you to remain imperturbable.

Nassim Taleb
The Black Swain

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

a Tale of Two Artists

The first of two artists said, "I have traveled the world over and I have seen a lot. But I have not found one person worth painting. I have found flaws in everyone and just can't bring myself to paint them."

The second artist disagreed, "I may not be a great artist; I have never been to Paris - or even New York. But among my unimportant friends living in my small rural town, I have not found anyone too insignificant to paint. There is always a better side. I may not be a great artist, but I enjoy my art."

Which is one is the true artist? The one who finds nothing worth painting? Or the one who brings a certain something to his craft enabling him to see a world of beauty others are blind to? In the same way, some people find no one worthy of their love, while others find everyone worthy.

Should I search for attractive people to paint, to love? Or should I look for the attractiveness of the soul within?

Monday, October 13, 2014


There are two brands of discontent: the brand that merely fosters greed and snarling and back-biting, and the brand that inspires greater and greater effort to reach the desired goal. What is your brand? - BC Forbes