Recently, I spoke with a younger client who retired from a major investment bank in her early thirties, net worth around $8M. We can estimate that she had to earn somewhere around twice that, or $14M-$16M, in order to keep $8M after taxes and live well along the way, an impressive accomplishment by such an early age. Since I knew she held a critical view of investment banking, I asked if her colleagues talked about or understood how much damage was created in the broader economy from their activities. Her answer was that no one talks about it in public but almost all understood and were unbelievably cynical, hoping to exit the system when they became rich enough.
Dorothy Day, of blessed memory, did not like to be called (as she often was, for good reason) a saint, because it usually meant that she was not being taken seriously. She heard it as an accusation — a device ostensibly distinguishing her from ordinary people so as to simultaneously discount her words and deeds while exempting others from moral responsibility to speak and act.
Shrink: How else would you describe yourself?
Me: *makes face* … Moral?
Shrink: What was that face about?
Me: I don’t wanna sound high and mighty.
Shrink: Being moral makes you sound high and mighty?
Me: Well I was gonna mention asceticism again, but I decided to tone it down.
So I know Thanksgiving and Hanukkah won’t fall on the same day again for 70,000 years. But could someone compute the odds of it also being my boyfriend’s birthday?
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time by Joseph Frank
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy
Invisible Man by Ralph Waldo Ellison
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin Yalom
Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism by Mark Hawthorne
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber
Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé
When Elephant’s Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me: Understanding The Borderline Personality by Jerold Kreisman
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Something by N. T. Wright
Something on Hermeneutics
Ok Dr. Phil’s wife, Robin, (yes groan, but listen up) has this new app out (iPhone and Android) that’s for people in abusive relationships. It’s called Aspire News and it’s disguised as a regular news app, but when you go to the “Help” section of the app, it leads you to domestic violence resources and also has a “Go Button” that when you press it, if you’re in a compromising situation, alerts local authorities as well as local shelters and starts recording everything that is going on.
Now, if you’re looking up resources on the app and your abuser is near, simply press the X button and it brings you to a random news page. Same goes for the actual foundation site.
ITS COMPLETELY FREE
SPREAD THIS, DONT JUST “LIKE IT”
Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid.
Junot Díaz, speaking at Yale (via malinche)
Those final four sentences are something else.
Generally the drunk people I deliver sandwiches to at 3AM are just funny. A guy who signed his name Sweeney Todd gave me $5, and I said “you’re the most generous serial killer ever!” And to my surprise those kinds of interactions vastly outnumber the shitty ones. But there was this one guy who grabbed my wrist and tried to pull me inside his house and was talking about eating sandwiches off of me, and if his friend hadn’t been like “hey, quit touchin’ the Jimmy John’s lady!” I probably would’ve lost it.
To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born. This alone is what it means to live as an artist, in understanding as in creating.
In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!