Tuesday, February 26, 2013
"I always say the revolution you think you're fighting for is not the revolution you're going to win. At the same time, if you fight with passion and urgency, you will enact revolutions somewhere." - Angela Davis in Vocabulary of Change video
"With the assault on immigrant rights, with the continued heterosexism, with issues of environmental justice, I think the challenge of the 21st century is to try to figure out how all of these things connect." - Angela Davis in Vocabulary of Change video
"I think the statistics you shared with us indicate how important it is for us today to try to bring the issues together. We can't simply think about one issue separately. Unemployment - unemployment in black communities and Native American communities - we have to recognize the connection with the wars that are going on." - Angela Davis in Vocabulary of Change video
"Our redemption comes from the struggle itself... It is in the effort, the striving for equality and freedom that we become human." - Tim Wise in Vocabulary of Change video
"As isolated individuals we will always be powerless... But as communities we can achieve anything." - Angela Davis in Vocabulary of Change video
"As much as I always warn against unproductive nostalgia, I do think it is important to have historical memory." - Angela Davis in Vocabulary of Change video
Monday, February 11, 2013
"We tend to assume that having high self-esteem is a good thing, but some psychologists have long suspected that there might be something wrong with the whole notion - because it rests on the assumption of a unitary, easily identifiable self. Setting out to give your 'self' one universal positive rating may in fact be deeply perilous. The problem lies in the fact that you're getting into the self-rating game at all; implicitly, you're assuming that you are a single self that can be given a universal grade. When you rate your self highly, you actually create the possibility of rating your self poorly; you are reinforcing the notion that your self is something that can be 'good' or 'bad' in the first place. And this will always be a preposterous overgeneralisation. You have strengths and weaknesses; you behave in good ways and bad ways. Smothering all these nuances with a blanket notion of self-esteem is a recipe for misery. Inculcate high self-esteem in your children, claims Paul Hauck, a psychologist opposed to the concept of self-esteem, and you will be 'teaching them arrogance, conceit and superiority' - or alternatively, when their high self-esteem falters, 'guilt, depress, and feelings of inferiority and insecurity' instead. Better to drop the generalisations. Rate your individual acts as good or bad, if you like. Seek to perform as many good ones, and as few bad ones, as possible. But leave your self out of it." - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"The optimism-focused, goal-fixated positive-thinking approach to happiness is exactly the kind of thing the ego loves. Positive thinking is all about identifying with your thoughts, rather than disidentifying from them. And the 'cult of optimism' is all about looking forward to a happy or successful future, thereby reinforcing the message that happiness belongs to some other time than now. Schemes and plans for making things better fuel our dissatisfaction with the only place where happiness can ever be found - the present." - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"Perhaps there is no deeper, truer meaning to the notion of who we are. Once again, though, this isn't a question that we need to answer conclusively. Merely asking it is what matters. It is enough, for now, to enquire within: don't you feel a certain tranquility when you seek to become the witness to your thoughts, rather than identifying with them completely?" - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"...what motivates our investment in goals and planning for the future, much of the time, isn't any sober recognition of the virtues of preparation and looking ahead. Rather, it's something much more emotional: how deeply uncomfortable we are made by feelings of uncertainty. Faced with the anxiety of not knowing what the future holds, we invest ever more fiercely in our preferred visions of that future - not because it will help us achieve it, but because it helps rid us of feelings of uncertainty in the present." - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"The Everest climbers, Kayes suspected, had been lured into destruction by their passion for goals. His hypothesis was that the more they fixated on the endpoint - a successful summiting of the mountain - the more that goal became not just an external target but a part of their own identities, of their senses of themselves as accomplished guides or high-achieving amateurs. If his hunch about the climbers was right, it would have become progressively more difficult for them to sacrifice their goal, despite accumulating evidence that it was becoming a suicidal one. Indeed, that accumulating evidence, Kayes was convinced, would have hardened the climbers' determination not to turn back. The climb would have become a struggle not merely to reach the summit, but to preserve their sense of identity. In theology, the term theodicy refers to the effort to maintain belief in a benevolent god, despite the prevalence of evil in the world; the phrase is occasionally used to describe the effort to maintain any belief in the face of contradictory evidence. Borrowing that language, Chris Kayes terms the syndrome he had identified goalodicy." - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work." - Chuck Close, as quoted by Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"It is illuminating to note, here, how the daily rituals and working routines of prolific authors and artists - people who really do get a lot done - very rarely include techniques for 'getting motivated' or 'feeling inspired'. Quite the opposite: they tend to emphasise the mechanics of the working process, focusing not on generating the right mood... Such rituals provide a structure to work in, whether or not the feeling of motivation or inspiration happens to be present. They let people work alongside negative or positive emotions, instead of getting distracted by the effort of cultivating only positive ones." - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"
"Taking a non-attached stance towards procrastination, by contrast, starts from a different question: Who says you need to wait until you 'feel like' doing something in order to start doing it? The problem, from this perspective, isn't that you don't feel motivated; it's that you imagine you need to feel motivated. If you can regard your thoughts and emotions about whatever you're procrastinating on as passing weather, you'll realise that your reluctance about working isn't something that needs to be eradicated or transformed into positivity. You can coexist with it. You can note the procrastinatory feelings and act anyway." - Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"