Politics

Responding To Tragedies: More Than Thoughts and Prayers – Spiritual Article

When tragedy occurs we naturally want to reach out with words of comfort. We have to do better than “thoughts and prayers.” We’ve been pelted with tragedies — some human created and others of nature — and many of us are reflecting and praying. Texas mass shootings, multiple other mass shootings, Hurricane Dorian, many other hurricanes that left swaths of populated areas devastated, and the deadly California dive-boat fire are just a few of the tragedies we have grieved over…

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Year of the Monkey: Patti Smith on Dreams, Loss, Love, and Mending the Broken Realities of Life – Happiness Article

“Life is a dream. ‘Tis waking that kills us,” Virginia Woolf wrote in Orlando — her groundbreaking novel that gallops across centuries of history, across lines of logic and convention, to telescope a vision for a different future of the human heart. There are moments in life when it is no longer clear whether we dream our dreams or are dreamt by them — moments when reality presses against us with such intensity, acute and overwhelmingly real, that all we…

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The Devonshire town that transformed local democracy – Positive News – Positivity Article

As part of our United Kingdom of Solutions focus, we meet deputy mayor and deputy chair of Buckfastleigh town council, Pam Barrett. The south Devon town’s ‘indie council’ aims to prove that local democracy doesn’t have to be boring, archaic or ineffectual “I always say to people, if you’re going to wait for your district council, county council or the national government to sort out the social issues in your town, you’re going to be waiting an awfully long time.”…

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What Does It Mean to Be an Engaged Citizen? – Happiness Article

This year’s Independence Day marks the 243rd birthday of the United States—a country that today has a population of around 330 million people from all walks of life. Our growing diversity, combined with an increasingly polarized politics, challenges us to imagine what a modern American civic identity looks like. America is not the same country it was decades ago, so it makes sense that our view of what it means to be a citizen in today’s America would evolve, as…

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What Are the Solutions to Political Polarization? – Happiness Article

What drives political polarization? Is it simply disagreement over the great issues of the day? Not necessarily. Recent research by the More in Common Foundation found that more than three-fourths of Americans support both stricter gun laws and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought here as children. Roughly the same number of Americans agree “that our differences are not so great that we cannot come together.” Are they right? Advertisement X Oct. 10-12, 2019: Greater Good Institute for…

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How John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor’s Pioneering Intimate Partnership of Equals Shaped the Building Blocks of Social Equality and Liberty for the Modern World – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

Half a century after the 18th-century political philosophers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin pioneered the marriage of equals, and just as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller were contorting themselves around the parameters of true partnership, another historic power couple modeled for the world the pinnacle of an intimate union that is also an intellectual, creative, and moral partnership nourishing not only to the couple themselves but profoundly influential to their culture, their era, and the moral and political development…

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William Godwin’s Stunning 1794 Advice to a Young Activist on How to Confront the Status Quo with Self-Possession, Dignity, and Persuasive Conviction – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

In the autumn of 1793, the thirty-year-old West Indian political reformer Joseph Gerrald set out for Edinburgh as a delegate for a convention of British reformers gathering there to advance the then-radical causes of universal suffrage and annual parliaments. During the trip, he toured the Scottish countryside to promote the ideals of the reform movement and soon published a fiery pamphlet addressed to the people of England, unambiguously titled A Convention, the Only Means of Saving Us from Ruin. Although…

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The Remarkable Illustrated Story of Wangari Maathai, the First African Woman to Win the Nobel Peace Prize – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

Walt Whitman saw in trees the wisest of teachers and Hermann Hesse found in them a joyous antidote to the sorrow of our own ephemerality. “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way,” William Blake wrote in his most beautiful letter. “As a man is, so he sees.” Many tree-rings after Blake and Whitman and Hesse, another visionary turned to trees as an instrument…

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In a Divided World, We Need to Choose Empathy – Happiness Article

As I dialed the number, my palms began to sweat. The person on the other end wasn’t a loan officer or angry lawyer; he was an old friend and we were about to catch up. This should all be mildly pleasant but was instead nerve-wracking. You see, I had reached out to him because we had a problem.  Over the years, my friend’s politics and my own had taken incompatible turns. On social media, I saw him growing reactionary; he…

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A Manifesto for Peripatetic Empowerment – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“Every walk is a sort of crusade,” Thoreau exulted as he championed the spirit of sauntering in an era when the activity was largely a male privilege — for a woman, these everyday crusades meant the dragging of long skirts across inhospitable terrains, before unwelcome gazes. It would take a century and a half of bold women conquering the mountains and reimagining the streets before Rebecca Solnit could compose her exquisite manifesto for wanderlust, reclaiming walking as an activity that…

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Shelley’s Prescient Case for Animal Rights and the Spiritual Value of Vegetarianism – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals,” the great nature writer Henry Beston wrote in 1928 as he contemplated belonging and the web of life, adding: “In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.” Since the dawn of our species and its consciousness, we have reverenced other animals…

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An Empowered Retelling of Cinderella – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge,” Bertrand Russell wrote in his 1925 treatise on the nature of happiness shortly after Freud asserted that love and work are the bedrock of our mental health and our very humanity. In the century since, this notion has been taken to a warped extreme — love has been industrialized into the one-note Hollywood model of romance and work has metastasized into aching workaholism. Russell, one of the deepest…

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Iris Murdoch on Language as a Vehicle of Truth and Art as a Force of Resistance to Tyranny – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“To create today is to create dangerously,” Albert Camus wrote in the late 1950s as he contemplated the role of the artist as a voice of resistance. “In our age,” W.H. Auden observed around the same time across the Atlantic, “the mere making of a work of art is itself a political act.” This unmerciful reality of human culture has shocked and staggered every artist who has endeavored to effect progress and lift her society up with the fulcrum of…

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Walter Lippmann on Public Opinion, Our Slippery Grasp of Truth, and the Discipline of Apprehending Reality Clearly – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“Truth always rests with the minority … because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion,” Kierkegaard wrote in his journal in the middle of the nineteenth century as he tussled with the eternal question of why we conform. Around the same time, across the Atlantic, Emerson fumed in his own diary as he contemplated the supreme existential challenge of…

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120 Years Ago, Dostoevsky Explained Trump With Remarkable Accuracy – Self Improvement Article

In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky describes the patriarch, Fyodor Pavlovich: “He was a strange type yet one rather frequently met with, precisely the type of man who is not only worthless and depraved but muddleheaded as well—one of those muddleheaded people who still handle their own little business deals (if nothing else) quite skillfully….He was married twice and had three sons….There never was mutual love, either on the bride’s part or his own, despite the beauty of Adelaida Ivanova [his…

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White Hoods Are Making A Comeback In The Form Of Red Hats – Self Improvement Article

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have covered themselves with all manner of things, from leaves to animal skins. What we wear has come to represent who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going. The old adage still holds true, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have now.” When I look in the closet in the morning and select an outfit, I am selecting a persona and a personality for my day. I…

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