On understanding

“This isn’t what I want, but I’ll take the high road. Maybe it’s because I look at everything as a lesson. Or that I don’t want to walk around angry. Or maybe.. it’s because I finally understand. There are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept; things we don’t want to know, but have to learn, and people we can’t live without, but have to let go.”

Unknown on Kindness

“I don’t know how to fix the system, but I am pretty sure that one of the ingredients is kindness. I think of kindness not only as the moral virtue of volunteering at a soup kitchen or even of living your life to help as many other people as possible, but also as an epistemic virtue. Epistemic kindness is kind of like humility. Kindness to ideas you disagree with. Kindness to positions you want to dismiss as crazy with insults and mockery. Kindness that breaks you out of your own arrogance, and makes you realize the truth is more important than your own glorification, especially when there’s a lot at stake.”

Oliver Burkeman on embarrassment

“The scholar Dacher Keltner makes a powerful case that embarrassment is evolution’s answer to the ‘comittment problem’: it’s in everyone’s interests to collaborate for long-term gain, but how do you weed out the conmen who want to take advantage? Perhaps because they’re unembarassable. Embarrassment — signalled by facial microexpressions that can’t be faked and that are remarkably consistent across cultures — ‘reveals how much the individual cares about the rules that bind us together.’ In the moment, you realize you’ve come to the restaurant without your wallet, your eyes shoot down, your head titles, a smile flickers. These are the ‘the most potent nonverbal cues we have to an individual’s commitment to the moral order.”

Ella Wilcox on cities

“I own the charms of lovely Nature; still, In human nature more delight I find. Though sweet the murmuring voices of the rill, I much prefer the voices of my kind. I like the roar of cities. In the mart, Where busy toilers strive for place and gain, I seem to read humanity’s great heart, And share its hopes, its pleasures, and its pain. The rush of hurrying trains that cannot wait, The tread of myriad feet, all say to me: “You are the architect of your own fate; Toil on, hope on, and dare to do and be.” I like the jangled music of the loud Bold bells; the whistle’s sudden shrill reply; And there is inspiration in a crowd– A magnetism flashed from eye to eye. My sorrows all seem lightened and my joys Augmented when the comrade world walks near; Close to mankind my soul best keeps its poise. Give me the great town’s bustle, strife, and noise, And let who will, hold Nature’s calm more dear.”