The best of their thoughts

I was aware that the reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts.

~ René Descartes

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It’s been a while

But it’s also just fun. For me, at least. I enjoy seeing how humans from thousands of years ago tried to get their bearings in the world compared to humans living today. When you read, study, and talk about philosophy, you’re taking part in a conversation that’s been going on for millennia. And conversation is fun. I love a good conversation.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/living/reading/the-great-conversation-philosophy-textbook/

It’s been a minute since I’ve purchased a textbook. It’s nice to see that they’re no longer stupidly over-priced— oh wait, no sorry. They’re insanely priced. Fortunately, I was able to bop on over to abebooks.com and find a copy for about $5 depending on what condition you want; There’s like a hundred copies of that book available.

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I have a problem

If you find yourself wanting to speed up the reading process on a particular book, you may want to ask yourself, “Is this book any good?”

~ Ryan Holiday from, https://ryanholiday.net/13-reading-strategies/

Long-time readers will be well aware of my self-diagnosed problem with books. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about reading about books, but this list by Holiday made me think about a few things in a new light. Yes, of course; It’s a post by Holiday so it’s going to have some ancient Stoic philosophers in it. Schopenhauer had a sublime lament about time for reading. Holiday’s strategies won’t help you there. There’ll preserve some of your reading time for, well, more reading. But I still think the hardest part about reading is making it a priority. (Recall: “I don’t have time to…” is bullshit.)

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The chasm between

Too often there is a chasm between our ideas and knowledge on the one hand and our actual experience on the other. We absorb trivia and information that take up mental space but get us nowhere. We read books that divert us but have little relevance to our daily lives. We have lofty ideas that we do not put into practice. We also have many rich experiences that we do not analyze enough, that do not inspire us with ideas, whose lessons we ignore. Strategy requires a constant contact between the two realms.

~ Robert Greene

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Au delà du saut

Nous abordons toutes les dimensions de la pratique depuis l’histoire jusqu’au flow, en passant par les entrainements physiques, la technique, le mental, les valeurs … Tout ce qui vous permettra de mieux comprendre et ressentir le mouvement pour pouvoir aller plus loin.

~ Stany Boulifard Mallet from, https://fr.ulule.com/l-art-du-deplacement-au-dela-du-saut/news/on-a-passe-les-100-pre-commandes-346661/

I’m really excited about this. Two friends of mine, after very much work over several years, have finished a book. It’s in French (there’s discussion of doing an English version next) and available as a digital file if you’re not in France. Two things…

I had a conversation with Stany Boulifard Mallet (one of the authors) back in 2018.

And if you just thought, “lart du depla-what?!” and you’re the curious type, see my Art du Déplacement tag for my blog posts related to this beautiful movement community and its French roots.

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It’s a lot of work

Granted, cultivating a slipbox is a lot of work. This morning, as I regularly do, I was rereading journal entries. A year ago I had made note of a book, Trust Yourself, and how it had spurred some specific thinking. Finding mention of the book in my journal caused me to reflect on what I had written: Was it still accurate? Journaling for the win.

I had also made a little note, “(2tu1)” of the book’s slip in the slipbox. It took only a moment to flip there… and to discover I had written out 9 slips under the book with some take-aways and key learnings from the book. A crash refresher on the book, completely unbidden; A gift from my self-from years past.

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The price of the ticket

What a journey this life is! Dependent, entirely, on things unseen. If your lover lives in Hong Kong and cannot get to Chicago, it will be necessary for you to go to Hong Kong. Perhaps you will spend your life there, and never see Chicago again. And you will, I assure you, as long as space and time divide you from anyone you love, discover a great deal about shipping routes, airlines, earth quake, famine, disease, and war. And you will always know what time it is in Hong Kong, for you love someone who lives there. And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time and, furthermore, to win.

~ James Baldwin from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/01/31/james-baldwin-nothing-personal-love/

I’m not sure how many things I’ve linked to over on Popova’s Marginalian project. By now you should be directly following it and reading everything she’s publishing. I’m frozen by indecision; there are so countless many superlative books, and here’s another one. Drat!

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Eleven ways to really screw yourself up

Most things in life aren’t black and white. Overly dualistic thinking isn’t true to reality. Life is full of nuance. A goal can be worth pursuing even if it doesn’t garner the highest success; there are worthwhile things in both flawed people and flawed philosophies.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/the-11-cognitive-distortions-that-are-making-you-a-miserable-sob/

I’m not even sure how to classify this article for you. It’s short enough that you can just go glance at it. You’ll either shrug it off as simplistic (or possibly even offensive), or you’ll find the list of common cognitive mistakes useful. My pull-quote is indicative of the mistake of “splitting” thinking explained, not of the article overall. This mistake was—is still?—my biggest problem.

On the topics of depression and cognitive mistakes, from personal experience I recommend as useful Stoicism in general, and the more modern, (than the one McKay is referencing in the article above,) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple. To be fair, David Burns, the author of the book McKay is summarizing, was instrumental in bringing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy into the mainstream.

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The Structurist

Sometimes I have a “thread of interest” that I simply know I will never have the time to do anything with. Instead of simply ̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄ing and letting it go, I’m sharing this here so I can feel like I did something with it.

The what now? Oh, this periodical…

https://artsandscience.usask.ca/structurist/

…but the links on that page itself are broken. More searching did lead me to find at least some issues in U Sask.’s online store. But they are not cheap. (If they were single-dollars-each, I might just buy them all.)

They are available on ABE Books…

https://www.abebooks.com/book-search/title/structurist/

Open questions I had:

Does anyone within the sound of my voice have any issues?
Anyone have any commentary about the periodical at large?
Does anyone’s closest library have any of them?
Is anyone near the University of Saskatchewan?
…have a contact there?
…or any in-real-life means of getting more information?

And also, why aren’t the contents of these online? They seem to be culturally significant.

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Sapiens

About 70,000 or so years ago, our DNA showed a mutation (Harari claims we don’t know quite why) which allowed us to make a leap that no other species, human or otherwise, was able to make. We began to cooperate flexibly, in large groups, with an extremely complex and versatile language. If there is a secret to our success—and remember, success in nature is survival—It was that our brains developed to communicate.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2019/01/yuval-noah-harari-dominate-earth/

Sapiens by Y N Hurari has been on my to-read pile for ages. It’s currently aged its way to the no-seriously-I’m-not-kidding pile of books that are near my desk. The run-of-the-mill to-read pile is several bookcases that live in another room.

And the clock is ticking. The weeks—if one lives to 76, one gets 4,000 weeks—tick by and my collection of to-listen-to podcast episodes (I’ve given up; There are no shows that I subscribe to, pretending I’ll listen to every episode) and my to-read books continues to grow. I need to stop screwing around trying to do things and make a living, and instead get back to listening and reading. Chicken and egg problem, that is.

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