The universe has many secrets. It may hide additional dimensions of space other than the familier three we recognize. There might even be another universe adjacent to ours, invisible and unattainable . . . for now.
In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world's philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesn't kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives.
The first is a challenge to the brain, and I'm taking it slowly. The second is, I suspect, more a challenge to the will. I'm liking them both very much, lots of mind churning going on. I'm also thinking about:
In this companion Web site to the NOVA program Ape Genius, learn about the differences between human and ape minds, read an interview with MIT cognitive scientist Rebecca Saxe on the neural and psychological basis of social thought, explore an interactive primate family tree, view a slide show about an extraordinary linguistic bonobo named Kanzi, and watch two short video outtakes from the NOVA film.
I'm especially thinking about the chimp who could not delay gratification when presented with the choice of two M&M's now, or five M&M's later -- until she learned her numbers, and was offered a choice of 2 or 5. The symbol gave her, apparently, the emotional distance required to make the more sensible (gratifying) choice.
I'm thinking about that a lot. Symbols are, after all, the poet's tools.
For some reason, trying to sleep in the
early morning, I think of this adolescent wail. And I think, all around
this world -- probably across the galaxy -- people are born into
poverty and abuse, slavery and illness, hardship and brokenness -- and
none of us asked for this. Of course, some philosophies and religions
suggest that we did, but set that aside for the moment.
worked with sex offenders, their victims and their wives, the wives
(especially wives of men who abused their own children) would often
claim the blame for the abuse. There are, of course, some wives,
mothers, girlfriends, who do know -- even condone -- their husband's
crimes. But usually, not. Yes, it is possible to not know; or to
suspect, but deny.
After awhile, I began to see these
assertions of guilt as a rather sophisticated avoidance of
responsibility. As long as a mother blames herself for her husband's
behavior, she is distracted from her own. She did not abuse the child.
But perhaps she did ignore the complaints of her children; refuse to
hear. Perhaps she feared change; feared how things would be if the
denial stopped. Feared what she would lose.
She can't change
his behavior; she can only change her own -- and that means, often
(usually) great upheaval for the protection of her children.
Why am I thinking of this now, and why am I posting it here, on a blog about illness?*
King asked for the definition of rich in this country. Curious?
you make one million dollars a year, without working -- you can
consider yourself rich. Any less? No cigar. Make that much, but have to
work for it? You don't qualify.
So my feeling that I'm rich is
just that: a feeling. I am apparently trying to create my own reality,
out of almost nothing. At least by these standards.
people in my situation, suddenly and completely unable to work, would
be homeless, and hungry. But I own my house -- at least so far, though
it's been a close thing more than once. Some people would call this an
apartment, but I own it -- so it's a house. My house.
It's a house full of beautiful stuff. Well, OK, full of stuff that I think is beautiful, or useful, or amusing.
have the collector gene. Even as a child, I collected things. When I
had a job that involved a lot of travel, within a day or two the hotel
bureau would have an accumulation of local objects: a shell, a feather,
a stone; perhaps a piece of jewelry or other small artifact. A lifetime
of collections came together in this house when I moved here thirteen
So I live here in this wonderful place, remodeled
to suit me. Each day I am surrounded by things that I like -- some of
them made by people I love. I share my house with dogs, and cats, and
parakeets, and even, now and then, with friends. I am not hungry. I
have this sweet little laptop (thanks to you.) I have been woven into the World Wide Web. I have a tiny, but beautiful, garden oasis.
The official poverty rate in the U.S. has increased for four consecutive years, from a 26-year low of 11.3% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2004.
This means that 37.0 million people were below the official poverty
thresholds in 2004. This is 5.4 million more than in 2000. The poverty
rate for children under 18 years old increased from 16.2% to 17.8% over
I live above these numbers. Only slightly, but above.
1: having abundant possessions and especially material wealth 2 a: having high value or quality b: well supplied or endowed <a city rich in traditions> 3: magnificently impressive : SUMPTUOUS 4 a: vivid and deep in color <a rich red> b: full and mellow in tone and quality <a rich voice> c: having a strong fragrance <rich perfumes> 5: highly productive or remunerative <a rich mine> 6 a: having abundant plant nutrients <rich soil> b: highly seasoned, fatty, oily, or sweet <rich foods> c: high in the combustible component <a rich fuel mixture> d: high in some component <cholesterol-rich foods> 7 a: ENTERTAINING; also: LAUGHABLEb: MEANINGFUL, SIGNIFICANT <rich allusions> c: LUSH <rich meadows> 8: pure or nearly pure <rich lime>
I would say that, by many of these definitions, I am rich, indeed.