Monthly Archives: November 2013
John N. Gray
“Pretending to present daringly counterintuitive views to his readers, he actually strengthens the hold on them of a view of things that they have long taken for granted. This is, perhaps, the essence of the genre that Gladwell has pioneered: while reinforcing beliefs that everyone avows, he evokes in the reader a satisfying sensation of intellectual non-conformity.”
Fascinatingly critical account of Gladwell’s writings…and the manner in which Gladwell uses academic science for support….
The link that I am posting here is to an excerpt from a new book by Lynne Segal, a professor of psychology and gender studies at Birkbeck College. She is not only a scholarly writer, but also a delightful one in the way that she describes her views on ageing, feminism, and includes philosophical, literary, and psychological references – demonstrating the depth of her psychoanalytic knowledge. It took me no time at all to order a copy of her book….I will follow this link with another from The Guardian, in which her book and one by Penelope Lively are reviewed.
Writing against the cultural aversion to aging and the aged, the feminist scholar explores our impulse to stop time in an excerpt from her forthcoming book.
“It is when we are young that we are most obviously busy with the project of trying to construct a self we hope the world will appreciate, monitoring and rearranging the impressions we make upon others. Yet as we age, most of us are still trying to hold on to some sense of who and what we are, however hard this may become for those who start to feel increasingly invisible.”
And from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/08/penelope-lively-lynne-segal-ageing-review
“From the vantage point of old age it’s sometimes possible to catch hold with fresh understanding on to what we’ve been and what it’s meant, before it passes out of living memory.”
Illustration by Alyson Shotz
“Character is at least as important as intellect.”
“The problem, I think, is not only the schools but also the students themselves. Here’s why: learning is hard. True, learning is fun, exhilarating and gratifying — but it is also often daunting, exhausting and sometimes discouraging. . . . To help chronically low-performing but intelligent students, educators and parents must first recognize that character is at least as important as intellect.”
To my mind, ‘purpose’ also describes the necessary attribute or quality….as this research looks at motivation, volition, grit, and self control.
See entire essay:
“Life for both sexes-and I looked at them, shouldering their way along the pavement – is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion as we are, it calls for confidence in oneself. Without self-confidence we are as babes in the cradle. And how can we generate this imponderable quality, which is yet so invaluable, most quickly? By thinking that other people are inferior to oneself. By feeling that one has some innate superiority – it may be wealth, or rank, a straight nose, or the portrait of a grandfather by Romney – for there is no end to the pathetic devices of the human imagination – over other people.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own