the whole world burns

Archive for category 'life'

Michael Pollan's Favourite Food Rules

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Pithy food advice. My favourite, that I have now been quoting for years: "If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple then you are not hungry."

Milton Glaser - Ten Things I Have Learned [PDF]

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On avoiding toxic people:

Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energized or less energized. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished.

Rilke on Marriage

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The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

David Foster Wallace - Kenyon College Commencement

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If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won't consider possibilities that aren't annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.

Jerry Seinfeld's productivity secret

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He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."

"Don't break the chain." He said again for emphasis.

A Conversation with Larry Wall

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I think that the biggest mistake people make is latching onto the first idea that comes to them and trying to do that. It really comes to a thing that my folks taught me about money. Don't buy something unless you've wanted it three times. Similarly, don't throw in a feature when you first think of it. Think if there's a way to generalize it, think if it should be generalized. Sometimes you can generalize things too much. I think like the things in Scheme were generalized too much. There is a level of abstraction beyond which people don't want to go. Take a good look at what you want to do, and try to come up with the long-term lazy way, not the short-term lazy way.

Anne Enright - "Diary"

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No one talks about how much fun it is to be a fundamentalist. The word has changed, of course: for any rational person, 'fundamentalist' now means 'manifestation of raw evil', but being a charismatic Christian was a hoot. It was like being at a wild party with no drink, no sex, no hangover, no regrets. I believe! I believe! I am in a suburban sitting-room, and I believe! It was a constant state of expectation and yearning; a suspension so high and long, it was almost like release. Speaking in tongues -- I could do it now, if I dared -- was pure flow; you had to wince at the sweetness of it. Miracles were two a penny. Everything made sense. People prayed for their lost glasses and found their dentures instead and we all laughed at God's little joke. You can’t live up there for ever, of course, and the downs, like a junkie’s, were terrible and complicated...

The Design Disease: "People with the disease will always choose books by their covers."

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There are many such conditions. I threw up a little in my mouth when I first saw the band name "5ive", for example, and again this weekend at a clothes shop called "Temt". Text messages provoke uncontrollable weeping.

Walter Pater, in the the conclusion of "The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry"

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The service of philosophy, of speculative culture, towards the human spirit, is to rouse, to startle it to a life of constant and eager observation. Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive to us, -- for that moment only. Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to seen in them by the finest senses? How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy?

To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.

Could Be Anyone

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Everyone should read this. (And the followup, which brings joy back in to the picture.)

OurBedrooms

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"this is a community for showing off your bedroom"

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.

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