SCHLAMPEREI FOR SIGMUND FREUD
I see you, aging, raging Herr Professor,
fist beating on the slippery headpiece of the sofa,
as you rail at the American woman poet:
Trouble is, I am an old man —
you don’t think it worth your while
to love me.
Admit it: it was Torschlusspanik,
the terror of the closing door,
life teasing, “Come on, Handsome,
time is running out.” Not for your
“immortality project,” safe in history’s coffin.
For the last chance to be the Beloved.
But love is shameless in its Schlamperei —
from Schlampe, slut,
slouching by the lamp-post:
“Darling, let’s pretend we don’t know
for one real kiss you’d give all” —
the soul on her knees in that dingy light.
And you for forty-two years at Berggasse 19,
in the labyrinth of the steep apartment,
the entrance next to the butcher shop,
the butcher’s name also Sigmund —
your rich neurotics forced to pass
bloody slabs and halved carcasses.
Above, the room where you practice
vivisection of dreams —
except for the dream where you sit
in a barber chair, staring at the sign,
You are requested to close your eyes.
But because you said,
The voice of the intellect
is a soft one, but it does not rest
until it’s been heard, I forgive you.
And because you knew,
deeper than lust, everyone wants to die.
What did you care for the Schlamperei
of those “instincts” you tried to track —
The word rhymes with eye.
~ Oriana © 2016
At the time I wrote the poem, my favorite stanza was about the voice of the intellect:
But because you said
The voice of the intellect
is a soft one, but it does not rest
until it’s been heard, I forgive you.
And because you knew,
deeper than lust, everyone wants to die.
The last two lines refer to Freud’s theory of Eros and Thanatos: we have a drive to live, but we also have a hidden desire to die. Back when I wrote the poem, I knew that desire to die. Again and again I see the power of the stage of life we’re in.
That’s still an important stanza, and Freud has indeed been called a rationalist in spite of his study of “instincts” and “drives.” The quotation is accurate. I don’t deny the power of rational thought — ultimately it was the shift to rational thinking that put an end to my chronic depression.
But at my current stage of life, I am much more struck by the line “the last chance to be the Beloved.” The scene of Freud’s helpless rage at the poet h.d. (Hilda Doolittle) was described by h.d. both in her letters and (if I remember correctly) in h.d.’s marvelous Tribute to Freud, where she also describes how Freud showed her his favorite objet d’art, a statuette of Athena — “except she has lost her spear.”
This poem originally had a different first stanza:
Not the young Herr Doktor, traveling first class
while Frau Doktor and the children jolt
along in third, crowded on hard benches —
your nerves too delicate
for the smell of the proletariat.
In the rough draft there was even something this: “and always a old woman wrapped in a black scarf,/ holding a live chicken in her lap, / its feet tied with a paper string.” I realized that this was just too much detail and distracting imagery.
Nevertheless, the fact that young Freud, before he became financially successful, would insist on traveling first class while his wife, Martha, and his children had to travel third class, does say something about Freud’s character and his attitudes toward women. It was of course Martha who had to go the train station in advance and make the travel arrangements.
Let’s also remember that Freud wrote to Martha: “If one of us dies, I shall move to Paris.” A little joke, sure — but you wonder how she felt after reading it.
The two were not close, to put it mildly. An affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, was indeed quite likely — we have the testimony of Jung, who said that Minna confessed her affair to him; we also have the testimony of Sandor Ferenczi, Freud’s disciple and friend, and the scholarly work of Peter Swales. Freud’s remark,’’I wish I might for once experience love that cost me nothing,” might indeed refer to the expense of an abortion (as Peter Swales suggests). If so, the price was really for Freud’s bizarre belief that birth control was harmful to a man’s health.
And there was a tell-tale surge in Freud’s creativity coinciding with the time of the affair, as Swales points out. Creative people know that phenomenon very well — both men and women. It’s astonishing — and humbling — to realize that just how dependent on hormones and other neurochemicals creativity is, how tremendously affected by falling in love, and, in women, also pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. (“You can’t separate the soul from hormones,” was my motto when I began to explore endocrinology.)
To me, however, it’s Anna Freud’s closeness to her father that seems the most telling sign of the absence of love in Freud’s marriage. Anna seems a classic case of a “spousified” daughter, the true supportive partner, soulmate, and intellectual companion (as Minna had been before).
Now, Freud knew a number of brilliant, exceptional women. Lou Andreas-Salomé, for one, was eager to be his lover and muse — and no doubt there were other hopeful admirers. An intellectual man is powerfully attractive to intelligent women and can easily play the role of “homme fatal.”
Fernand Leger: Three Women, 1921
But Freud was getting old. He wasn’t going to “risk his authority” by proving impotent. The deep affection of a devoted daughter would do. Yet he still expected h.d. to fall in love with him — madly. How dare this American poet not fall in love with him, she who was his “last dance” — the last chance in his life to be the beloved, to feel reborn and creative again as he felt when he and Minna became lovers?
Freud may have felt especially entitled because his mother worshipped him. He wrote, “For a man to have been his mother’s favorite son is a life-long feeling of triumph.”
But then we all feel entitled. To be the beloved feels like an inalienable right, as valid as the pursuit of happiness. To give up on it is to sink into depression. Other symptoms may mask the immense sadness at the core, the conclusion that life is not worth living, but the bitterness remains.
Yet here it’s important to remember that Freud also said, when asked what’s the most important in life: “Love and work.” Satisfying work can be a saving factor. And work is easier by far — just go the extra mile. We are not so sure how to attract love. Some give up on it quite early in life. Don’t.
Don’t expect too much from love; don’t expect love to be the savior. Meaningful work is also part of the equation. But don’t settle for never having experienced what it’s like to be the beloved.
As Ray Carver put it:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
~ “Late Fragment”
Carver wrote this poem knowing he was dying of lung cancer — an especially nasty way to die because in the end you end up suffocating, your lungs too destroyed to function. Every cell ends up in “oxygen hunger,” resulting in pain. But even while facing that kind of death, Carver comes across as someone who feels grateful, “even so.” He did get what he wanted from life. He does not hesitate to use the word many poets would never consider, finding it “old-fashioned” and “sentimental.” It’s the beautiful word “beloved.”
I think two gifts combined to make Carver feel himself “beloved on the earth.” The first one was the love of Tess Gallagher, a wonderful poet and human being, an equal and a perfect companion. Then there was “success”: lots of recognition of his work, his fame as a master of short story (though his poems are excellent as well). And I just remembered the third gift: being able to devote himself to writing.
He was loved by an equal, and he did what he loved doing. That might be sufficient paradise.
You may say, “Good for him. But I don’t have a chance for the kind of partner I’d like to have.” Here I’d like quote the pragmatic wisdom of Kurt Vonnegut: “You love whoever there is to be loved.” However, there is also the pursuit of happiness in some other — or additional — ways.
For someone who loves gardening, a shaded patio for growing tropical plants might provide that venue. For someone who loves animals . . . For someone who loves weaving and working with textiles . . . but I don’t have to go on. The point is to have love in your life. As you devote yourself to it, you will feel beloved as well.
I continue to be under the spell of Jack Gilbert’s poem, “We Have Already Lived in the Real Paradise.” That title is engraved in my psyche. The real paradise is not waiting for us after we die. It’s right here. There is no “better place.” Such deluded talk prevents us from fully seeing the paradise around us, which is part given and part created. I’d go so far as to say that to create a personal paradise is the task each person can undertake. And if not here, where? And if not now, when?
Start small: one beautiful object for the house, one art book that you’ve always wanted to have but for some reason kept denying yourself, one gorgeous plant or maybe that special breed of dog you’ve dreamed of since childhood — and you are no longer poor and/or harassed by life. And the beauty will grow. Soon you may even start calling yourself “beloved on the earth.”
Degas: Prima Ballerina, 1876 ~ I love the ecstatic feeling
THE NURTURE GAP
~ “The most important divide in America today is class, not race, and the place where it matters most is in the home.
Among the educated elite the traditional family is thriving: fewer than 10% of births to female college graduates are outside marriage—a figure that is barely higher than it was in 1970. In 2007 among women with just a high-school education, by contrast, 65% of births were non-marital. Race makes a difference: only 2% of births to white college graduates are out-of-wedlock, compared with 80% among African-Americans with no more than a high-school education, but neither of these figures has changed much since the 1970s. However, the non-marital birth proportion among high-school-educated whites has quadrupled, to 50%, and the same figure for college-educated blacks has fallen by a third, to 25%. Thus the class divide is growing even as the racial gap is shrinking.
Upbringing affects opportunity. Upper-middle-class homes are not only richer (with two professional incomes) and more stable; they are also more nurturing. In the 1970s there were practically no class differences in the amount of time that parents spent talking, reading and playing with toddlers. Now the children of college-educated parents receive 50% more of what Mr Putnam calls “Goodnight Moon” time (after a popular book for infants).
Educated parents engage in a non-stop Socratic dialogue with their children, helping them to make up their own minds about right and wrong, true and false, wise and foolish. This is exhausting, so it helps to have a reliable spouse with whom to share the burden, not to mention cleaners, nannies and cash for trips to the theater.
Working-class parents, who have less spare capacity, are more likely to demand that their kids simply obey them. In the short run this saves time; in the long run it prevents the kids from learning to organize their own lives or think for themselves. Poor parenting is thus a barrier to social mobility, and is becoming more so as the world grows more complex and the rewards for superior cognitive skills increase.
Mr Putnam’s research team interviewed dozens of families to illustrate his thesis. Some of their stories are heart-rending. Stephanie, a mother whose husband left her, is asked if her own parents were warm. She is “astonished at our naïveté”. “No, we don’t do all that kissing and hugging,” she says. “You can’t be mushy in Detroit...You gotta be hard, really hard, because if you soft, people will bully you.” Just as her parents “beat the hell” out of her, so she “whups” her own children. She does her best, but her ambitions for them go little further than not skipping school, not becoming alcoholic and not ending up on the streets.
At every stage, educated families help their kids in ways that less educated ones do not or cannot. Whereas working-class families have friends who tend to know each other (because they live in the same neighborhood), professional families have much wider circles. If a problem needs solving or a door needs opening, there is often a friend of a friend (a lawyer, a psychiatrist, an executive) who knows how to do it or whom to ask.
Stunningly, Mr Putnam finds that family background is a better predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from university than 8th-grade test scores. Kids in the richest quarter with low test scores are as likely to make it through college as kids in the poorest quarter with high scores.
Mr Putnam sees “no clear path to reviving marriage” among the poor. Instead, he suggests a grab-bag of policies to help poor kids reach their potential, such as raising subsidies for poor families, teaching them better parenting skills, improving nursery care and making after-school baseball clubs free. He urges all 50 states to experiment to find out what works. A problem this complex has no simple solution.” ~
Picasso: Portrait of the artist’s mother, 1896
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS BIASED AGAINST CITIES, TOWARD RURAL AREAS
Thanks to the two extra votes delivered to each state for its two senators, the Electoral College gives less populated states a higher weight, per capita, than it gives more populated states in the decision of who should be the next president.
This was always a betrayal of one-person-one-vote equality, in that a voter in rural Wyoming has more than three times the power of a voter in New Jersey, the country’s most densely populated state. But those imbalances have become far more glaring, thanks to a filter bubble more pronounced than anything on Facebook: the “big sort” that has concentrated Democrats in cities and inner-ring suburbs, and Republicans in exurbs and rural counties.
The right way to think about the political conflict in this country is not red state versus blue state, but red country versus blue city. And yet we are voting in a system explicitly designed to tip the scales toward the countryside.
The major cities are now overwhelmingly the engines of economic growth and wealth creation — and also tax revenue. For complicated reasons — some of which have to do with rural poverty, some of which have to do with the basic physics of supporting infrastructure in low-density regions — a disproportionate amount of per capita federal spending and benefits now flow down to the low-density states. According to a study by the Tax Foundation conducted several years ago, for every dollar New Jersey pays in federal taxes, it receives 61 cents in benefits and other federal spending. For the same dollar of taxes Wyoming spends, it gets $1.11 back.
The urban states are subsidizing the rural states, and yet somehow in return, the rural states get more power at the voting booth.
The states that rank at the top of this list are the ones that are paying the highest proportion of the country’s bills while ranking lowest in terms of voting power in the Electoral College. The first 12 on the list have all voted for the Democratic candidate in at least two of the last three elections, and all but two of them went for Mrs. Clinton in 2016: New Jersey, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, California, Washington and Oregon.
The gap between the two extremes is remarkable. South Dakota, one of the most empowered states in the country, received almost twice the return on taxes as California, the country’s most populated state, while also commanding nearly twice as much power per capita in the Electoral College. If anyone should be declaring themselves the heirs to the Boston patriots who rebelled against the unjust taxation of King George, it’s the big city blue state citizens who are funding a system that by law undercounts their votes.
To date, wealthy states like California, New York and New Jersey have not expressed much outrage at this situation, in part because they have experienced less economic anxiety than some of the struggling red states and in part because the injustice has not been as visible during the Obama years, thanks to his Electoral College victories. But as our cities get wealthier and more diverse and begin to realize how the system is genuinely “rigged” against them, tectonic forces may well be unleashed.
If a Trump administration that urban states voted overwhelmingly against starts curtailing voting rights and rolling back drug-law reform, reneging on the Paris climate accord, deporting immigrants and appointing justices that favor overturning Roe v. Wade, states like California and Massachusetts are sure to start asking hard questions about why they are subsidizing a government that doesn’t give them an equal vote.
How ironic that Ted Cruz attacked Trump for his “New York values”! But then the entire 2016 campaign is so rich in ironies, one hardly knows where to start.
Red Cliffs seen from Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch
THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS AND COMPASSION: LOWER EXPECTATIONS
“Happiness depends not on how well things are going but on whether things are going better or worse than expected.” ~ Robb Rutledge, neuroscientist.
~ “A new MRI study and University College of London indicates that the secret to happiness is low expectations.
Like happiness, compassion is always in part a function of lowered expectations. We are happier to accept other people’s difficult behaviors when we expect less from them.
It’s all about managing the “aspirational gap,” the gap between what is and what could be, what you have and what you expect. It’s all about expectation management.”
The joke goes that a child was so optimistic that, to test the extent of his optimism, his parents gave him a pile of horse manure. The kid's eyes open wide with delight. He dives into the pile and starts digging.
“What are you doing?” his parents ask.
The kid replies, “With this much manure, I'm betting there’s a pony in here!”
Imagine his disappointment when there wasn’t.
Maybe the true optimist would say “Horse manure! That’s so much better than what I expected! I thought you were going to give me anthrax for my birthday!”
Even manure is a happy gift when your expectations are low enough.
I recently lowered my expectations for what I get from a friend who used to annoy me. Immediately, my annoyance vanished and I felt greater compassion for him.
I'm convinced that like happiness, compassion is always a function of lowered expectations or standards. We’re happier to accept other people’s difficult behaviors when we expect less from them.
So there you have it. If happiness and compassion are your sole goals, lower your expectations.
Through the floor. Expect no good things to come to you, from you, from circumstances or from others and you’ll be eternally delighted, grateful for any good things that happen.” ~
Then the author, Jeremy Sherman, goes on to question if contentment and compassion should always be our primary goals. I think “it depends” — the stage of life makes a lot of difference.
If you want to “think big,” be prepared to suffer big. That may not be so tragic when you are young and have a lot of future stretching before you — you can try again, or explore a different career. But past a certain point, just enjoying life starts becoming a priority. Or even “less stress.” I am astonished as I write this — I grew up in the ethos of achievement, and my contempt for mere happiness could not be more complete. How we change.
The country that year after year scores first in happiness is Denmark. Good social safety net may have something to do with it. Nevertheless, researchers have concluded that Denmark’s secret is low expectations:
~ “on surveys, Danes continually report lower expectations for the year to come, compared with most other nations. And "year after year, they are pleasantly surprised to find that not everything is getting more rotten in the state of Denmark," the paper concludes.”
The author says something with which I strongly identify: “I once expected to make it big, and when I didn’t, I eventually got over that expectation, and have been much happier ever since. Every little success these days is a surprise and delight.”
This is “companion wisdom” to the “burden of choice.” Choice is stressful, but sometimes you can simply walk away from it. Or you can make your choice quickly, slam the door, and never look back, wondering “what if.” You just keep on moving forward. If I’ve learned it, with my genius for regret, anyone can. It’s child’s play compared to managing expectations.
High expectations most often lead to disappointment and bitterness. Ambition kills joy (I can attest to it). Less choice, lower expectations — it may sound dismal, but, contrary to the self-help mantras that used to circulate not all that long ago, studies bear out the “cynical”(??) idea that we’re much better off with minimal choice or none, and low expectations. Why? Precisely because “happiness depends not on how well things are going but on whether things are going better or worse than expected.”
Nevertheless, do the best work you can. Work really is its own reward. Certain sayings become clichés because they are absolutely true. A lot of people found out the hard way that NOT trying to turn doing what they love into a business is best. So many self-help ideas are simply horrible. Most “recipes for success” are actually recipes for disaster.
Having low expectations of external reward should not keep anyone from producing quality. By all means, let’s concentrate on the work, not the outcome. A pleasant surprise may or may not follow, but if it does, we’ll prove once more that it’s the change for the better that makes us happy, rather than a steady level of “good.”
Expecting dedicated work from yourself is one thing; expecting it from someone else is generally a mistake. I learned this piece of Buddhist-like wisdom about ten years ago: you suffer because you WANT something from someone. Then you give the person the power to disappoint you, to make you feel betrayed and dis-valued. The person in question may or may not be consciously trying to hurt you and/or manipulate you. It helps to see that the problem is actually yourself: your expectations. You want something from them. The more intensely you want it, the greater the potential pain.
Try saying: “There is nothing I want from [X].” It may work instantly, or it may take a few repetitions before the desire is completely extinguished. Once the desire is gone, the pain is over. It’s magical. (And as a side bonus, once you drop desire and expectations from someone, they may actually start trying to please you as you look at them indulgently, with a little Mona Lisa smile.)
That’s the pain of unrequited love. That’s also the mother crazily determined that little Jimmy become a doctor — we realize the potential heartbreak. Fortunately popular psychology abounds with warnings to parents not to invest in specific expectations — and parents seem to have learned. I remember this little scene in an inexpensive Mexican restaurant. Next to us sat a couple with a cheerful little girl of seven or eight. The waitress was good-natured and chatted with the girl. After the waitress walked away, the girl exclaimed, “When I grow up, I want to be a waitress!” Her mother calmly replied, “Sweetheart, we will love you and support you no matter what you become when you grow up.”
Now that can be dismissed with a chuckle. But actual early adulthood is quite often the time of the shattering of dreams. When New Age was more popular, we spoke of the dreaded “Saturn return” that starts almost as soon as you leave college. But another memory is more powerful: according to Matthew and Mark, the last words of Jesus were “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Our first impression is that something tremendous was supposed to happen — and it didn’t happen.
Theologians can dance around anything — they are the real dancers on the head of a pin — but there is no canceling the primal emotional impact. So while the theologians argue that what Jesus MEANT was to praise god while dying under torture (considering the ending of Psalm 22), and no, he didn’t really expect angels to take him off the cross and carry him up into the clouds, and how he VOLUNTEERED to be the substitutionary sin sacrifice, and on and on, spinning, rationalizing — the fact remains that once we know about those words, we can never forget them. Most likely there won’t be a last-minute miracle. The worst CAN happen.
WHAT REMAINS WHEN EXPECTATIONS ARE SHATTERED
Of course it need not be a person that we want something from. It can be life, fate, the circumstances. Our whole upbringing makes us expect certain things, taking it for granted that this is “how it ought to be” — that’s what we were born for.
Such expectations are mostly unconscious (though we can learn to influence them to some degree — reminding ourselves about the “best laid plans of mice and men,” for instance — this is a realm where ancient platitudes do work). And the dropping and/or shattering of those deep expectations may be much harder to deal with than, say, ceasing to expect certain people to show up on time — or even to be loved back every time you fall in love.
Yet we do have real wealth, the kind that doesn’t show on bank statements. A rich inner life is invaluable, as are all the people and things we love. And it’s not only that we can read great literature and listen to great music; we can feel happy just watching a sparrow hop around in the grass. Little beauties nourish us.
And the great beauties too — the Pacific Ocean! How does one even begin to count the Pacific Ocean among mere “blessings”? It’s cold and vicious and magnificent.
THE BEST ANSWERS MAY LIE IN PLATITUDES
It can be hard to lower one’s expectations, especially with inane self-help mottoes out there: expect the best and the best will happen! Visualize a million dollars in your bank account — dare to be a millionaire!
Not that we need to linger imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s enough to briefly reflect on “what if” in order to figure out how we’d cope, remembering that “there is always a solution” or “things will work out somehow.” Platitudes can be life-savers, like a cow keeping you from freezing. “I’ve done my best, given the circumstances” is a nice warm cow. “That too shall pass” never fails to provide nourishing milk.
(a shameless digression: it makes sense that the rich would be more prone to anger, because their expectations are higher — their wealth is supposed to insulate them from anything going wrong.)
~ “And this holy man of great directness and simplicity, big white teeth shining, laughs out loud in an infectious way at Jung-bu’s question. Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity and bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide tot he sky and the snowy mountains, the high sun and the dancing sheep, and cries, “Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!” ~ Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard
Peter Matthiessen with a snow leopard cub
ONE REASON WE GROW “MELLOW” AS WE GROW OLD
Granted, not everyone does, but the “mellowness” of the “autumn years” is proverbial. It’s usually ascribed to the wisdom of experience. A less flattering view is biological: it’s serotonin dominance, while dopamine, the “get up and just do it” neurotransmitter, wanes. Serotonin is the “I don’t care; it doesn’t matter” neurochemical. Missed your flight? Broke an heirloom? LOL. If you’re serotonin-dominant, it just doesn’t matter. This certainly looks like wisdom!
From a stand-up achiever we modulate to a sit-down sage. A little manic during our go-go-go years? Relaxing finally feels natural, and not a torture. Energy is an eternal delight? Some yearn for laid-back serenity instead.
Serotonin has been called the Zen neurotransmitter. Dopamine modulates sex and aggression, not that evident in older age, as well as memory and thinking, long-term planning and impulse control. No other species has such high concentration of dopamine in the brain as humans do, nor such a lateralized brain (there’s more dopamine in the left hemisphere).
Higher dopamine means less obesity and lower risk of cancer. Drugs that block dopamine increase the risk of obesity and cancer. Part of the reason for both “mellowness” and increased obesity and disease risk in older age is dopamine deficiency.
Testosterone raises dopamine levels, as does a high-protein diet. Meat and fish provide tyrosine, a precursor for the production of dopamine. Coffee stimulates the release of dopamine; marijuana lowers dopamine. T3, the main thyroid hormone, also increases dopamine. Too much or not enough dopamine, and you have no end of problems. There is a sweet spot, but . . . As we age, the brain just doesn’t produce dopamine as it used to. That’s true of all neurotransmitters, but dopamine declines more steeply.
Yes, of course it’s all more complicated than just the levels of neurochemicals. But just as sex hormones humble us into recognizing how much our “spiritual” attraction is really hormonal, so I think we should be more humble in our adoration of the “wisdom of age” and recognize the biological substrate of this peaceful “mellowness.” I have nothing against mellowness, but oh, there is nothing I wouldn’t give to regain the brain function (including prolific creativity) I had in my twenties and thirties. And part of it was dopamine.
Parkinson’s patients given dopaminergic drugs can experience bursts of creativity. They may start painting, sculpting, writing — even if they’ve never tried creative projects before. But no one will prescribe such drugs to people who simply want to increase their creativity. L-Dopa in particular has dangerous side effects, even to the point of destroying neural tissue. Low-dose Deprenyl seems safe enough, but just try to find a doctor who feels confident enough to prescribe it.
Wild Green Oats Extract (sic), sold as “Dopa-Mind,” is supposed to increase dopamine, but I have my doubts as to its effectiveness compared with coffee — especially now that we know coffee is is mostly beneficial.
Frida Kahlo: Doña Rosita Morillo
CHURCHILL: THE BYSS AND THE ABYSS
~ “I had a feeling once about Mathematics, that I saw it all—Depth beyond depth was revealed to me—the Byss and the Abyss. I saw, as one might see the transit of Venus—or even the Lord Mayor's Show, a quantity passing through infinity and changing its sign from plus to minus. I saw exactly how it happened and why the tergiversation was inevitable: and how the one step involved all the others. It was like politics. But it was after dinner and I let it go.” ~ Winston Churchill
ending on beauty
Do not wait for me Penelope
I am not the Navigator
I am the great pink boar
wallowing at Circe’s trough
O Penelope these are my last
~ Sutton Breiding
Great photos as usual.
The article about Freud was as enlightening as the article about Castro. Surprising biographical details.
Really good article about the nurture gap. It covered a lot but it didn’t mention the importance of the father as role model, teacher and leader.
I love “THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS AND COMPASSION: LOWER EXPECTATIONS.” That sums it up right there. I’m going to use that as much as possible.
I’ve always found biographies fascinating. You discover so much that could be classified as pathology and/or terrible behavior.
The article on nurture made me remember with sadness the whole numerous extended family I profited from having as a child. It’s not just the parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins — so sad to be losing that developmental benefit . . . Not true for everyone, but something that couples considering immigration should ponder if they are leaving the whole family behind.
Since I didn’t expect an increase in audience for the blog, my happiness when it happened was through the roof! But I'm careful not to start expecting this to continue, or it will be a downer. It’s very tricky to be “detached from the outcome,” but it’s the best policy. Campbell said that “following your bliss” means doing what you are best at doing. Every other reward is secondary.