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Brainfood

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Ideas

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I have this habit of reading something that inspires me or something that I think would interest or help someone I know, and then moving on quickly to the next thing of the day and not sharing this something. So I am going to see if pausing for a moment to capture thoughts will help me remember and share.

Here are a few things that made me think or feel in the last couple days:

Brainpickings featured a great piece about Tchaikovsky’s experience with depression. This is on my mind because my uncle just checked in to treatment for depression two days ago, he struggles with it greatly, as do other members of my family. Papova writes:

Tchaikovsky notes his cyclical lapses into depression, undergirded by a dogged dedication to looking for beauty and meaning amid the spiritual wreckage. This intimate tango of sadness and radiance is ultimately what gives his music its timeless edge in penetrating the soul.

This excerpt from one of Tchaikovsky’s letters, where he uses his ability to relate, his experience, to console his nephew, made my heart happy:

How can you doubt for a moment the love and esteem of those who surround you? How could it be possible not to love you? No, there is no one in the world more dearly loved than you are. As for me, it would be absurd to speak of my love for you. If I care for anyone, it is for you, for your family, for my brothers and our old Dad. I love you all, not because you are my relations, but because you are the best people in the world.

Frank Bruni sums up exactly how I feel – although he says it much better than I could – about our national reaction to the Paris tragedy and ISIS in this piece in the The New York Times Sunday Review.

We lose the war against ISIS by being simplistic. We lose it by letting emotion overtake reason.

And we lose it by turning so far inward, so fully against one another and so far away from our ideals that what we’re protecting is no longer what we think it is. We lose the war against ISIS by losing ourselves.

And a particularly timely commentary by Arthur Brooks about gratitude, and the merits of faking it even when you don’t feel particularly thankful.

It’s best to be emotionally authentic, right? Wrong. Building the best life does not require fealty to feelings in the name of authenticity, but rather rebelling against negative impulses and acting right even when we don’t feel like it. In a nutshell, acting grateful can actually make you grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

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