Saturday, March 4, 2017


petrified wood


The dream in which I am pregnant
comes at new moon and old moon,
no matter how many crescents
I’ve already leapt through.

I go to a doctor. He prescribes
tranquilizers. A neighbor warns,
It’s not like the old country.
Here you do everything yourself.

I nod: I will be my own midwife,
in the dark with a flashlight,
towels, a basin of water. But who
will bring me good bone soup,

the new mother’s first meal?
I know: I will cook it myself,
from a family cookbook
in a language only I understand.

But where will I get the bones?
I know: I will make my
own bones; my own
barley, carrots, beans.

Will kneel on the holy ground.

Will find the spade, the seed.

~ Oriana


The brilliant woman linguist in the movie Arrival is also a totally loving mother. The intensity of her intimate bond with her daughter almost hurts — flesh of my flesh, my one and only, a little me to have and to hold. She raises her daughter all by herself — without a moment’s ambivalence.

This reminded me that I had a poem somewhat in that vein. “Bone Soup” was inspired by an actual dream that presented a repressed self that couldn’t assert itself in reality. Call that self the “fearless, self-sufficient mother.” One self among many — we have several “minds” (sets of competing neural pathways) inside one brain.

In reality I was completely terrified after being told “Here you do everything by yourself.” This poem is almost insane in its denial of that terror of having no one to help during childbirth, no one who’d care if I lived or died going through it. But . . . poems happen as they happen, and this one trusts the natural process as if nothing could go wrong. Of course another self knows with the same certainty that everything will go wrong. Everything.

I’ve had many pregnancy dreams, but only one in which the doctor (male, of course) immediately prescribes a tranquilizer — and that’s my entire “prenatal care.” That’s how I still see the for-profit American medicine — the doctors couldn’t care less. With luck, your nurse might care, or the nurse’s aide. As you go down the hierarchy, the better the chance, it seems, of receiving empathy.

And, thinking back to my youth and the possibility of having a child, one part of me wanted help. Loving help, and a lot of help. From as many people as possible. Help at every stage, since I knew that I knew nothing. That more realistic part of me didn’t want to be giving birth all by myself, somewhere in a basement, in darkness. Or out in a field, in nothing-to-it nature. The realist wanted an oxygen tank within reach. She didn’t want to be in a hospital — all my selves know hospitals are hell — but close enough to a hospital in case a C-section should be necessary — with a competent midwife standing by, a true “wise woman.”

Yet in pregnancy and childbirth dreams — and I’ve had many, though perhaps that’s average as women go — it was never the Realist that I encountered, but an intuitive, somewhat mystical self. The theme of doing it all by myself was quite dominant. No drugs (that would be a sacrilege), and not even a midwife. I gave birth by myself, in secret.

In my dreams it was always an extremely private event — no way would I let a man (or anyone, really) touch the newborn. This is strange given that as a child I idolized my father. Nor would I ever argue against the importance of a father. But in my dreams, it was just me — without the slightest fear that anything could go wrong and I might need a medical intervention. That self-reliance never felt like narcissism, though — just like something miraculous I was doing, or allowing to happen.

In dreams I knew how to give birth, and not because I’ve read a book on the Lamaze method. The knowledge was non-verbal, physical, animal. Not a moment of self-doubt. Awake, I was paralyzed with doubt, and I mean paralyzed, and by doubt I mean “sheer terror”: would I be able to cope? Only with lots of help. And in life rather than dreams the realist self would no doubt take over — but that’s not the heroic, inspiring self. Perhaps it should be — there is something adolescent about wanting to be the lone hero, always the outsider.

(Of course I realize that pregnancy and childbirth are also hugely symbolic of creativity. But for the moment, it feels a lot more interesting to explore the topic at the literal, non-metaphorical level.)

I was extremely moved by the opening of Arrival. The mother, with whom I instantly identified, says to her newborn, “Come back to me,” and brings the child close to her body. It’s almost as if she were taking the infant back into her body. That was the level of intimacy and private communication I craved. Or that my intuitive self craved.

So I understand those women who want a child all to themselves as a supreme love experience. At the emotional level, I understand it completely. And I understand not wanting to be married because you fear that means being subjugated — whereas being a mother is powerful: you’re the boss. I can understand that a woman might not want to share the love bond, the physical and emotional intimacy; and I understand not wanting to share the power.

But it’s not right. The craving for an exclusive relationship must be set aside because ultimately it would be harmful both to the mother and especially to the child, who needs to interact with and get affection from many different people. That was the wealth of traditional cultures — the children did, indeed, have a village. Or, at the very least, an extended family.

And the mother needs to “have a life” aside from being a mother. A male acquaintance, father of two, once said to me, “You’d never be where you are intellectually if you’d had a child.” The realist in me felt he was probably right. Everything has a price, everything is a mix of good and bad. I’ve sacrificed one kind of fulfillment in order to enjoy another kind; children of the flesh would not be born so I could give birth to many children of the mind. But then comes the night, and dreams . . .

Yet speaking of those kinds of fulfillment that would have to be sacrificed in order to experience motherhood, I can’t deny that I also had a dream in which I dropped my infant from the end of the pier, then rushed to the airport and from there flew to Poland — a symbol of returning to my real self. Ironically, Poland is also where I would have been much more likely to experience actual motherhood — with a lot of people helping me, because that’s the “old country” where no one, absolutely no one, would tell a woman that she has to do everything by herself.

Instead, someone just might cook bone soup for me.

(By the way, the real Poland, today’s Poland with its fascist, hyper-Catholic, anti-Semitic government, is certainly not a symbol of my real self. In dreams, it’s a fragmentary, mostly imaginary country of memory. A forest in autumn, in fog . . . )


“Why does Portuguese sound so different from the other Romance languages?”

~ This was the question from the recent movie Arrival, where the great actor Amy Adams plays a powerful linguist. In the beginning of the movie she tells her class,

"Today we're talking about Portuguese and why it sounds so different from the other Romance languages. The story of Portuguese begins in the Kingdom of Galicia in the Middle Ages, when a language was seen as an expression of art."

Then the story moved on. And there is no mention of Portuguese again. But I was quite intrigued by this question. Does Portuguese really SOUND different? In the novella on which this movie is based, Portuguese is only mentioned as the language she used when she did field work in Amazon. ~


Oriana: I too was disappointed that the linguistic lecture in Arrival broke off at this point, leaving us without an answer. I decided to google the question. This brief answer seems best:

“It's not 100% exactly like other romance languages, but it's not like it has a completely different phonology. It has its quirks, every language does.

Also, if we are talking about a romance language that sounds really different, that would be french for me.”


Yes! It would be French. And Romanian, perhaps closest to Latin in grammar.

By the way, written Portuguese looks a lot like Spanish, and is quite beautiful too (when I read it without any concern about pronunciation, i.e. I pretend it’s Spanish):

Língua portuguesa

Última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela,
És, a um tempo, esplendor e sepultura:
Ouro nativo, que na ganga impura
A bruta mina entre os cascalhos vela...
Amo-te assim, desconhecida e obscura.
Tuba de alto clangor, lira singela,
Que tens o trom e o silvo da procela,
E o arrolo da saudade e da ternura!
Amo o teu viço agreste e o teu aroma
De virgens selvas e de oceano largo!
Amo-te, ó rude e doloroso idioma,
em que da voz materna ouvi: "meu filho!",

E em que Camões chorou, no exílio amargo,
O gênio sem ventura e o amor sem brilho!

~ Olavo Bilac

There is the European Portuguese, and the Brazilian Portuguese. The Brazilian Portuguese is the Portuguese of the 18th century — just as English in the American South is supposed to be the way British English sounded in the 18th century. When I first met Polish older immigrants in the US, those who grew up in Poland before WWII, they sounded subtly different from people their age who remained in Poland. They spoke an older kind of Polish, preserving old expressions, ignorant of the new.

Why is Portuguese mentioned in Arrival? I think because it’s vaguely exotic and just mysterious enough — and this introduces the theme of the mystery of language, any language, as well as the artistic aspect of any language, including “Heptapod B.” 

The Tower of Belem, Lisbon


~ “I find a great deal of affinity between surrealism and mysticism. Mysticism is a form of surrealism, as a method and vision against official religion. I see mysticism as a school of thought, as a school of writing that is beyond religion. 

If there is a spiritual side to it, this does not interest me. What interests me is the mystical method, and this method is the same as the surrealist method in terms of ecstasy, dictation, or automatic writing, in terms of how to write, how to look at the world, in terms of a range of aspects including identity, the notion of reality, etc.” ~ Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Esber, born in Syria in 1930, regarded as the most influential living Arab poet)

Oriana: Yet another way of saying that you learn to trust the unconscious — but said a little differently, bringing together surrealism and mysticism, speaking of mysticism as a METHOD.

Of course that’s only one side of the story. Later critical judgment has to come in, and it’s not unusual to toss out most of what so happily, effortlessly arrived.

Here is Nietzsche discussing the critical aspect of art:

Artists have a vested interest in our believing in the flash of revelation, the so-called inspiration… shining down from heavens as a ray of grace. In reality, the imagination of the good artist or thinker produces continuously good, mediocre or bad things, but his judgment, trained and sharpened to a fine point, rejects, selects, connects… All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering. ~ Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

The last sentence is worth repeating:

“All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.”

For all my awe of the cognitive-creative unconscious, I’ll readily admit that most that “wells up” from it is mediocre and forgettable. Once we have sufficiently developed as artists and thinkers, we know how to reject the mediocre, the trite — and to notice the gleam of the unexpected. And even then — except for the rare, glorious “hot inspiration” — there is much transforming to do.

When I do the blog, it seems that rejecting is 90% of the work. Sifting and rejecting, rejecting, rejecting . . . not because it’s bad, but because it lacks that certain electricity I’m looking for.


54 years after: Edvard Munch’s model Birgit Prestøe in front of the picture he painted of her in 1931. (Aftenposten, August 24th, 1985)


Re: the bizarre explosion of personality tests. As an antidote, it might be interesting to imagine the inscription on one's tomb (I know, fewer and fewer of those — but suppose . . . ) It’s not going to say “Introvert.” It’s not going to say “He expressed his Inner Child” or  “Unresolved mother issues.” If we are terrifically lucky, it may say “Poet.” Or “Dreamer.” Maybe “Traveler.” That would mean someone loved us enough to pay to have this extra word inscribed in addition to the usual name and dates. That would indeed be great luck. The word itself would mean nothing.

~ “The narrative grammar of the Testimonium Flavianum sets it sharply apart from Josephus’s other stories of the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. The most likely explanation is that the entire passage is interpolated, presumably by Christians embarrassed at Josephus’s manifest ignorance of the life and death of Jesus. The Jewish Antiquities would in this respect be consistent with the other chronicler of this age, Josephus’s contemporary and rival historian, Justus of Tiberias, who wrote a history of this period that conflicted with Josephus and claimed Josephus’s version to be self-serving. Justus’s work has not survived, but we know from other sources that he wrote in great detail about the exact period of Tiberius’s reign that coincided with Jesus’s ministry – and that he did not mention Jesus. We know this because Photius, the ninth century patriarch of Constantinople, who read Justus’ works, found it remarkable that he did not mention Jesus, and commented on it.

Outside the Gospels, there is no independent contemporary (i.e., first century CE) account of these events. The silence of other commentators, and the absence of any mention of the Testimonium by Christian writers for two full centuries after Josephus, even when engaged in fierce polemic about Jesus, are strong indications that the passage was not present in Josephus’s own extraordinarily detailed account of this period.” ~

Just as the ending of Mark is very obviously a clumsy forgery. The Epistle to the Hebrews, the one that says Jesus was a blood sacrifice for our sins, is a forgery also. (“Without blood there is no forgiveness”— what a throwback to human sacrifice, after centuries of apparently strictly animal sacrifice!). There may still be some historicity to Jesus (I am agnostic on this question), but there is no reliable evidence of his existence, and the layers of myth are very 
thick. At this point there seems to be a scholarly consensus that we can never unpeel those layers and recover a “historical Jesus.” 

To me the most convincing attempt at constructing a historical Jesus is that of Bart Ehrman, who sees him as one of the many apocalyptic preachers who roamed ancient Israel in the first century. It’s a plausible Jesus, but also the least inspiring one, especially in the light of the his failed prophecy of the imminent Second Coming.
Jesus as Seraph, by Giotto: St. Francis receiving the stigmata, c. 1300

 ~ “It has long been presumed that America is more Christian than Europe. But it’s a myth. Of course, way more people go to church in America. And you can’t become president without holding up your floppy Bible and attending prayer breakfasts. But what the Donald Trump phenomenon reveals is what several intelligent Christian observers have been saying for some time: that a great many Americans don’t really believe in God. They just believe in America — which they often take to be the same thing.

God was hacked by the American dream some time ago. “The evangelical church in America has, to a large extent, been co-opted by an American, religious version of the kingdom of the world. We have come to trust the power of the sword more than the power of the cross,” writes Gregory Boyd in The Myth of a Christian Nation.

Trump doesn’t even begin to model Christ in his life. On the poor, on appealing to fear, on telling the truth, on sexual ethics, on (not) loving his enemies, on making greed his God, Trump models the anti-Christ.

America itself has long been its own civil religion. When the Pilgrim Fathers got in their little boats and sailed to the new world, they took with them a narrative that had begun to build in England, that the protestant English were actually the chosen people. America, then, was to be the new Israel. The pilgrims had landed safe on Cannan’s side, the promised land. The original 13 colonies in North America “were nothing other than a regeneration of the twelve tribes of Israel” as one American newspaper put it in 1864.

In other words, America became its own church and eventually its own god. Which is why the only real atheism in America is to call into question the American dream – a dream often indistinguishable from capitalism and the celebration of winners. This is the god Trump worships. He is its great high priest. And this is why evangelicals vote for him. But the God of Jesus Christ it is not. The death of God comes in many diverse and peculiar forms. In America, it is the flag and not the cross that takes pride of place in the sanctuary.” ~

In Poland during the time I was growing up there was already considerable fusion between Catholicism and nationalism, but I was still able to separate out Jesus as a distinctly non-Polish, supra-national figure — and one with a radical message, though I was confused between the humanitarian and the punitive aspects (threat of Last Judgment, hell for most of humanity). Yahweh was totally alien, strictly a Jewish god. But it was indeed in the US where I saw the flag prominently displayed in churches, the fusion with nationalism complete.

That Trump models the anti-Christ is not a new statement at this point. The entire Republican Party models the anti-Christ. But it still gives me a pause.

By the way, the Mayflower Pilgrims had little use for Jesus. They preferred the Old Testament, claiming they were the new Chosen People coming to conquer the New Canaan. So it goes.


~ “He wished to reign by himself. His jealousy on this point unceasingly became his weakness. He reigned, indeed, in little things, the greater he could never reach . . . He liked nobody to be in any way superior to him. Thus he chose his ministers, not for their knowledge, but for their ignorance, not for their capacity, but for their want of it. … Naturally fond of trifles, he unceasingly occupied himself with the most petty details of his troops, his household, his mansions; would even instruct his cooks… This vanity, this unmeasured and unreasonable love of admiration, was his ruin . . . Praises, or to say truth, flattery, pleased him to such an extent, that the coarsest was well received, the vilest even better relished. It was the sole means by which you could approach him.

Suppleness, meanness, an admiring, dependent, cringing manner — above all, an air of nothingness — were the sole means of pleasing him . . . His intellect was beneath mediocrity . . . His early education was so neglected [that he] remained so ignorant that the most familiar historical and other facts were utterly unknown to him . . . He had an excellent memory — in this way, that if he saw a man who 20 years before, perhaps, had in some manner offended him, he did not forget the man, though he might forget the [details of the] 


Poor Melania-Antoinette! (to shift to another Louis)


~ “George Orwell wrote in The English People (published in 1947), that the average Englishman learned something that the Germans and Japanese found out, and that Russia and the United States will too — no country will ever control the world. Instead of trying to get our way and be Number One, we and the rest of the world would be far better off fitting in to it instead of trying to dominate it.” ~ Bob Kester

But the American fundamentalists have been somewhat distracted from the goal of world domination by the existence of dinosaur fossils. They’ve actually become dinosaur-friendly. 



The Russian revolution is about the overthrow of state power. The February revolution was a semi-spontaneous, semi-organized uprising that collapsed the 300-year Romanov dynasty—and its governing institutions—in a matter of days.

Putin already had his brush with spontaneous protests in 2011-12, when he returned for his third term as president. He has forcefully (and selectively) punished the participants while introducing laws that sharply limit the ability to demonstrate and dissent.

Putin clearly does not want to celebrate a mass protest that proved fatal for the ruling elite.

The February Revolution further witnessed the recognition by the Provisional Government of certain fundamental civil rights, including freedom of speech and assembly; the right to unionize; the abolition of all restrictions based on class, religion and nationality; and universal suffrage.    

In the rush to reform, however, the Provisional Government abolished the police, which not only meant that it was unable to protect the above rights, it also lacked the ability to defend basic law and order.

The Provisional Government was no exemplar of political competence or cohesiveness. Nevertheless, its liberal intentions were clear and only serve to highlight how Putin has deviated from the liberal promise that surrounded the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Provisional Government also presided over the breakdown of the Russian army in 1917, a fatal failing from Putin’s perspective. Indeed, if Putin is likely to honor any aspect of the Russian revolution, it is the Russian soldier who fought bravely to the end while being betrayed by his political leaders.

The October Revolution swept aside the Provisional Government in the name of dictatorship of the proletariat and a future socialist utopia that never materialized. Putin has never been overly ideological, and he apparently has no great nostalgia for Marxism-Leninism.

Yet Lenin and the Bolsheviks committed two cardinal sins that, from Putin’s standpoint, can never be forgiven. First, in March 1918, Lenin agreed to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that ended Russia’s involvement in World War I and led to the surrender of Russian territory to Germany.

Nothing is more sacred than the unity of the Russian state; it dominates the preamble to the 1993 Russian constitution, and Putin has invested his career in promoting political strategies (sovereign democracy, the power vertical) that ensure the integrity of the Russian state.    

Thus, the 1917 revolution represents the ultimate catastrophe for Putin, since it directly led to the relinquishing of lands that had formed an integral part of the Russian empire.

Lenin’s mistake could be overlooked, since he gathered up most of the lost territory during the Russian civil war. Yet Lenin (with a direct assist from Stalin) only compounded his error by building the Soviet Union on the nationality principle.

The 1922 Union Treaty, which created the Soviet Union, was signed by four national republics: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the then-called Transcaucasian Federative Republic.

While retaining strict central control, the Soviet Union proceeded to establish internal regional boundaries, promote ethnic leaders and endow its national republics with their own cultural institutions. It even recognized the right of secession from the Soviet Union, a purely theoretical right until it wasn’t.

Putin has no respect for the sovereign nations that the Soviet Union inadvertently created. The map of Novorossiya has been put away for the time being, but its message was clear; there was no Ukraine in tsarist Russia. It was only created in the aftermath of the Russian revolution and the attempt by Lenin and the Bolsheviks to assign national borders where none previously had existed.

The 1917 revolution culminated some 74 years later in the creation of 15 countries, an outcome that Putin has called the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.

Lenin’s sin, one should hasten to add, was also Yeltsin’s sin, namely the surrender of territory and recognition of regional autonomy. This may explain Putin’s reluctance to partake in the major reminiscences last year marking the 25th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s collapse.    

In contrast, the 75th anniversary in 2016 of the start of World War II provided Putin with a grand platform to honor the patriotic sacrifices of ordinary Russian citizens.

The centennial of the Russian revolution provides no similar heroic moment to rally the people around. It may have set the trajectory of the 20th century, but it still divides more than it unites.

Putin has stated that he wants an honest evaluation of the Russian revolution. The lessons, however, may not be what he wants to hear or commemorate.


It makes sense that the last thing Putin wants to celebrate is the power of mass protests to bring down the government. But the tremendous Russian nostalgia for the Soviet Union? It will be interesting to see what will happen on November 7, the date of the “October Revolution” by the reformed calendar (a strange omen right there).

A discussion and evaluation of the Bolshevik Revolution would certainly be a positive development — but again, that’s playing with fire, since the question of dictatorship raises its worker’s cap-clad head. For those few Americans familiar with Russian history, Lenin’s worker’s cap may bear an uncanny resemblance to Trump’s working-class baseball cap.

Interestingly, the nationalist-globalist divide asserts itself in this article. In Putin’s eyes, Lenin’s sin was the acknowledgment of the various nationalities within the the Greater Russia. True, the substitution of pan-Russian nationalism isn’t globalism in its pure form. It’s essentially imperialism. But the erasure of independent small countries like Lithuania and their total russification is obviously Putin’s dream. He’s not one to embrace cultural diversity. The march toward making Russia great again requires the right dictator — and surprisingly, in Putin’s eyes, Lenin wasn’t quite it.

It's perfectly obvious by now that Putin does not idolize Lenin. He idolizes a monster second only to Hitler: Stalin.


The average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the best marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore.

Consider, for example, that while the divorce rate has settled since the early 1980s at around 45 percent, even those marriages that have remained intact have generally become less satisfying. At the same time, consider the findings of a recent analysis, led by the University of Missouri researcher Christine M. Proulx, of 14 longitudinal studies between 1979 and 2002 that concerned marital quality and personal well-being. In addition to showing that marital quality uniformly predicts better personal well-being (unsurprisingly, happier marriages make happier people), the analysis revealed that this effect has become much stronger over time. The gap between the benefits of good and mediocre marriages has increased.

To understand marriage today, it is important to see how we got to where we are. Throughout America’s history, its populace has experienced three distinct models of marriage, as scholars like the sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin and the historian Stephanie Coontz have chronicled. In the era of the institutional marriage, from the nation’s founding until around 1850, the prevalence of individual farming households meant that the main requirements Americans had for their marriage revolved around things like food production, shelter and protection from violence. To be sure, Americans were pleased if they experienced an emotional connection with their spouse, but such affinities were perquisites of a well-functioning marriage rather than its central purpose.

In the era of the companionate marriage, from roughly 1850 until 1965, American marriage increasingly centered around intimate needs such as to love, to be loved and to experience a fulfilling sex life. This era overlapped with the shift from rural to urban life. Men increasingly engaged in wage labor outside of the home, which amplified the extent to which the two sexes occupied distinct social spheres. As the nation became wealthier and its social institutions became stronger, Americans had the luxury of looking to marriage primarily for love and companionship.

Since around 1965, we have been living in the era of the self-expressive marriage. Americans now look to marriage increasingly for self-discovery, self-esteem and personal growth. Fueled by the countercultural currents of the 1960s, they have come to view marriage less as an essential institution and more as an elective means of achieving personal fulfillment. “You make me want to be a better man,” from the 1997 movie “As Good as It Gets,” could serve as this era’s marriage ideal. In the words of the sociologist Robert N. Bellah, love has become, in good part, “the mutual exploration of infinitely rich, complex and exciting selves.”

This historical ascent is, on its own, neither good nor bad. But it has major implications for marital well-being: Though satisfying higher-level needs yields greater happiness, serenity and depth of inner life, people must invest substantially more time and energy in the quality of their relationship when seeking to meet those higher-level needs through their marriage. To be sure, it was no small feat, circa 1800, to produce enough food or keep a house warm, but the effort required to do so did not require deep insight into, and prolonged involvement with, each other’s core essence.

HERE lie both the great successes and great disappointments of modern marriage. Those individuals who can invest enough time and energy in their partnership are seeing unprecedented benefits. But on average Americans are investing less in their marr
iages — to the detriment of those relationships.

While divorce increased at similar rates for the wealthy and the poor in the 1960s and ’70s, those rates diverged sharply starting around 1980. among Americans who married between 1975 and 1979, the 10-year divorce rate was 28 percent among people without a high school education and 18 percent among people with at least a college degree: a 10 percentage point difference. But among Americans who married between 1990 and 1994, the parallel divorce rates were 46 percent and 16 percent: an astonishing 30 percentage point difference.

The problem is not that poor people fail to appreciate the importance of marriage, nor is it that poor and wealthy Americans differ in which factors they believe are important in a good marriage. The problem is that the same trends that have exacerbated inequality since 1980 — unemployment, juggling multiple jobs and so on — have also made it increasingly difficult for less wealthy Americans to invest the time and other resources needed to sustain a strong marital bond.


The prevalence of lasting marriage among the educated, while single motherhood is widespread among the poorly educated — here is yet another worrisome social disparity. The only thing I’d add is that the well-educated marry at an older age, so they are more likely to be mature and to have learned from experience with previous short-term partners, and to be self-selected for the kind of self-discipline required for educational success.

And then yes, it takes a bit of income to go out together, to travel together, go hiking, birding or ballooning. Note, however, that it's educational level, and not income level, that predicts marriage stability.

“Whatever you imagine your life is going to be like, know your life is not going to be anything like it.” ~ Greta Gerwig 

Oriana: Why do these pearls of wisdom keep coming to me long past the point when I could have used them? I'm posthumous: past any desire to imagine what my life will be like, say, a decade from now. Perhaps not as bad as it could be. Not quite the death row feeling, I dare hope. Some happy surprises are still ahead, no doubt — but there’s no point trying to guess what they might be.

ending on beauty

I hear a dove from other floods ~ Giuseppe Ungaretti

Not only floods but you
also hear news from
riptides, undertows, and
drenching torrents
over lands without

Ararats whose
lofty peaks did not rise
in Noah’s time. You hear
speechless, unsaved beasts
howling still alive. Other
animals in the blood insisting
now now, write so we can survive.

~ Diana Der-Hovanessian

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