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Ocean Vuong on being generous in your work [The Creative Independent]
"I find a home in feeling. I feel at home in feeling. When I collaborate or talk with my friends, the place doesn’t matter. We could be on Mars and it would feel like home, because I feel free. I can be myself. I can be uber-queer, uber-strange, and we can be uber-curious with one another. That’s comforting. Perhaps it’s even harder to protect a home that doesn’t exist in a physical space, because we have to continually tend to this abstract feeling: “How do I create the parameters in which I am safe enough to be free amongst my peers?”

My whole artistic life has been in New York City—the past 11 years—and I learned that one has to work. Competition is a patriarchal structure that privileges conquest. The most pivotal thing for me as an artist was to be able to say “no” to those structures in order to say “yes” to the structures I want to create. That’s why it’s so scary."



"Take the long way home, if you can."



"Competition, prizes and awards are part of a patriarchal construct that destroys love and creativity by creating and protecting a singular hierarchical commodification of quality that does not, ever, represent the myriad successful expressions of art and art making. If you must use that construct, you use it the way one uses public transport. Get on, then get off at your stop and find your people. Don’t live on the bus, and most importantly, don’t get trapped on it."



"The agency for joy is safety—and vice versa. It is not a place, but a feeling. But you can see it, even in the dark."
oceanvuong  competition  prizes  awards  patriarchy  hierarchy  love  creativity  art  poetry  conquest  2019  commodification  canon  capitalism  neoliberalism  freedom  artmaking  making  privilege  joy  safety  slow  small  meaning  purpose  beauty  relationships  identity  expression  home  comfort  collaboration 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit: When the Hero is the Problem | Literary Hub
"Positive social change results mostly from connecting more deeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action. Among the virtues that matter are those traditionally considered feminine rather than masculine, more nerd than jock: listening, respect, patience, negotiation, strategic planning, storytelling. But we like our lone and exceptional heroes, and the drama of violence and virtue of muscle, or at least that’s what we get, over and over, and in the course of getting them we don’t get much of a picture of how change happens and what our role in it might be, or how ordinary people matter. “Unhappy the land that needs heroes” is a line of Bertold Brecht’s I’ve gone to dozens of times, but now I’m more inclined to think, pity the land that thinks it needs a hero, or doesn’t know it has lots and what they look like."



"William James said of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, “Surely the cutting edge of all our usual misfortunes comes from their character of loneliness.” That is, if I lose my home, I’m cast out among those who remain comfortable, but if we all lose our homes in the earthquake, we’re in this together. One of my favorite sentences from a 1906 survivor is this: “Then when the dynamite explosions were making the night noisy and keeping everybody awake and anxious, the girls or some of the refugees would start playing the piano, and Billy Delaney and other folks would start singing; so that the place became quite homey and sociable, considering it was on the sidewalk, outside the high school, and the town all around it was on fire.”

I don’t know what Billy Delaney or the girls sang, or what stories the oat gatherers Le Guin writes about might have told. But I do have a metaphor, which is itself a kind of carrier bag and metaphor literally means to carry something beyond, carrying being the basic thing language does, language being great nets we weave to hold meaning. Jonathan Jones, an indigenous Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi Australian artist, has an installation—a great infinity-loop figure eight of feathered objects on a curving wall in the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane that mimics a murmuration, one of those great flocks of birds in flight that seems to swell and contract and shift as the myriad individual creatures climb and bank and turn together, not crashing into each other, not drifting apart.

From a distance Jones’s objects look like birds; up close they are traditional tools of stick and stone with feathers attached, tools of making taking flight. The feathers were given to him by hundreds who responded to the call he put out, a murmuration of gatherers. “I’m interested in this idea of collective thinking,” he told a journalist. “How the formation of really beautiful patterns and arrangements in the sky can help us potentially start to understand how we exist in this country, how we operate together, how we can all call ourselves Australians. That we all have our own little ideas which can somehow come together to make something bigger.”

What are human murmurations, I wondered? They are, speaking of choruses, in Horton Hears a Who, the tiny Whos of Whoville, who find that if every last one of them raises their voice, they become loud enough to save their home. They are a million and a half young people across the globe on March 15 protesting climate change, coalitions led by Native people holding back fossil fuel pipelines across Canada, the lawyers and others who converged on airports all over the US on January 29, 2017, to protest the Muslim ban.

They are the hundreds who turned out in Victoria, BC, to protect a mosque there during Friday prayers the week after the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. My cousin Jessica was one of them, and she wrote about how deeply moving it was for her, “At the end, when prayers were over, and the mosque was emptying onto the street, if felt like a wedding, a celebration of love and joy. We all shook hands and hugged and spoke kindly to each other—Muslim, Jew, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, atheist…” We don’t have enough art to make us see and prize these human murmurations even when they are all around us, even when they are doing the most important work on earth."
rebeccasolnit  heroes  change  democracy  collectivism  multitudes  2019  robertmueller  gretathunberg  society  movements  murmurations  relationships  connection  femininity  masculinity  leadership  patience  negotiation  listening  strategy  planning  storytelling  bertoldbrecht  violence  attention  ursulaleguin  williamjames  1906  sanfrancisco  loneliness  comfort  billdelaney  jonathanjones  art  humans  humanism  scale  activism  action 
april 2019 by robertogreco
For Anxious Kids, Parents May Need To Learn To Let Them Face Their Fears : Shots - Health News : NPR
"For instance, when Joseph would get scared about sleeping alone, Jessica and her husband, Chris Calise, did what he asked and comforted him. "In my mind, I was doing the right thing," she says. "I would say, 'I'm right outside the door' or 'Come sleep in my bed.' I'd do whatever I could to make him feel not anxious or worried."

But this comforting — something psychologists call accommodation — can actually be counterproductive for children with anxiety disorders, Lebowitz says.

"These accommodations lead to worse anxiety in their child, rather than less anxiety," he says. That's because the child is always relying on the parents, he explains, so kids never learn to deal with stressful situations on their own and never learn they have the ability to cope with these moments.

"When you provide a lot of accommodation, the unspoken message is, 'You can't do this, so I'm going to help you,' " he says.

Lebowitz wondered if it would help to train parents to change that message and to encourage their children to face anxieties rather than flee from them.

Currently the established treatment for childhood anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy delivered directly to the child.

When researchers have tried to involve parents in their child's therapy in the past, the outcomes from studies suggested that training parents in cognitive behavioral therapy didn't make much of a difference for the child's recovery. Lebowitz says that this might be because cognitive behavioral therapy asks the child to change their behavior. "When you ask the parents to change their child's behavior, you are setting them up for a very difficult interaction," he says.

Instead, Lebowitz's research explores whether training only the parents without including direct child therapy can help. He is running experiments to compare cognitive behavioral therapy for the child with parent-only training. A study of the approach appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry last month."
children  parenting  anxiety  2019  elilebowitz  fear  psychology  accommodation  comfort  behavior 
april 2019 by robertogreco
You Don’t Want Hygge. You Want Social Democracy.
"It’s the holidays, and you long to be cozy.

You want to curl up in a plush armchair next to a crackling fire. You want the softest of blankets and wooliest of sweaters. You want to devour grandma’s pecan fudge, get tipsy on eggnog with your cousins, and watch Miracle on 34th Street — mom’s favorite — for the thirty-fourth time. Or maybe neither Christmas nor family gatherings are your thing, but you like the idea of sipping hot toddies and playing board games with a few close friends while outside the snow falls and the lights twinkle.

But you can’t have it, because you couldn’t spring for a plane ticket. Or relatives are in town, but times are tight, and it seemed irresponsible to pass up the Christmas overtime pay. Maybe everything circumstantially fell into place, but you can’t relax. You’re eyeing your inbox, anxious about the work that’s not getting done. You’re last-minute shopping, pinching pennies, thinking Scrooge had some fair points. Or you’re hiding in your childhood bedroom, binge-watching television and scrolling social media, because a rare break from the pressures of daily life feels more like an occasion to zone out than to celebrate and be merry.

Either way, you feel terrible, because you know that someone somewhere is literally roasting chestnuts on an open fire, and you’re missing out.

The Danes have a word for the thing you desperately want but can’t seem to manifest: hygge.

The word isn’t easy to translate. It comes from a Norwegian word that means “wellbeing,” but the contemporary Danish definition is more expansive than that.

In The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, author Meik Wiking writes, “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It’s about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allowed to let our guard down.”

You can have hygge any time, but Danes strongly associate it with Christmas, the most hyggelig time of the year. When asked what things they associate most with hygge, Danes answered, in order of importance: hot drinks, candles, fireplaces, Christmas, board games, music, holiday, sweets and cake, cooking, and books. Seven out of ten Danes say hygge is best experienced at home, and they even have a word for it — hjemmehygge, or home hygge.

But Wiking stresses that while hygge has strong aesthetic properties, it’s more than the sum of its parts. You don’t just see it, you feel it.

“Hygge is an indication that you trust the ones you are with and where you are,” he writes, “that you have expanded your comfort zone to include other people and you feel you can be completely yourself around other people.” The opposite of hygge is alienation.

It’s no coincidence that this concept is both native to and universally understood in the same country that consistently dominates the World Happiness Report and other annual surveys of general contentment. On rare occasions when Denmark is surpassed by another country, that country is always a Scandinavian neighbor.

What makes people in these countries happier than the rest of us is actually really simple. Danes and their neighbors have greater access to the building blocks of happiness: time, company, and security.

Scandinavians don’t have these things just because they value them more, or for cultural reasons that are congenital, irreplicable, and beyond our reach. People all over the world value time, company, and security. What Scandinavians do have is a political-economic arrangement that better facilitates the regular expression of those values. That arrangement is social democracy.

The Politics of Hygge

Denmark is not a socialist country, though like its neighbor Sweden, it did come close to collectivizing industry in the 1970s. That effort was driven by “unions, popular movements, and left parties,” write Andreas Møller Mulvad and Rune Møller Stahl in Jacobin. “It was these mass forces — not benevolent elites, carefully weighing the alternatives before deciding on an enlightened mix of capitalism and socialism — who were the architects and impetus behind the Nordic model. They are the ones responsible for making the Nordic countries among the happiest and most democratic in the world.”

A strong capitalist offensive stopped this Scandinavian coalition from realizing the transition to socialism, and the legacy of their efforts is a delicate compromise. The private sector persists, but taxes are both progressive and high across the board. The country spends 55 percent of its total GDP publicly, making it the third-highest government spender per capita in the world. Meanwhile, the power of employers is partially checked by strong unions, to which two-thirds of Danes belong.

This redistributive arrangement significantly reduces the class stratification that comes from capitalism. As a result, Denmark has one of the highest degrees of economic equality in the world.

All of that public spending goes to funding a strong welfare state. Everybody pays in, and everybody reaps the rewards. This egalitarian, humane, and solidaristic model allows the values associated with hygge to flourish. It also gives people more opportunities to act on them.

In Denmark, health care is free at the point of service. Same goes for education, all the way through college and even grad school. Twenty percent of the Danish housing stock is social housing, regulated and financially supported by the state but owned in common by tenants, and organized in the “tradition of tenants’ participation and self-governance.” Denmark offers year-long paid parental leave, and guarantees universal child care for all children beginning the moment that leave ends, when the child is one year old.

Similarly, due in large part to the past and and present strength of unions, Denmark has worker-friendly labor laws and standards which make for a more harmonious work-life balance. Danes get five weeks’ paid vacation, plus an additional nine public holidays. Unlike the United States, Denmark has a national paid sick-leave policy. Denmark also has generous unemployment benefits and a wage subsidy program for people who want to work but, for reasons outside their control, need more flexible arrangements.

The normal work week in Denmark is set at thirty-seven hours, and people tend to stick to it. Only 2 percent of Danes report working very long hours. In a survey of OECD countries Denmark ranked fourth for people spending the most time devoted to leisure and personal care. (The US ranked thirtieth.)

All of this has a profound effect on individuals’ ability to experience pleasure, trust, comfort, intimacy, peace of mind — and of course, the composite of these things, hygge.

For one thing, there are only so many hours in a day. And there are some activities that make us happy, and some that make us unhappy.

The Princeton Affect and Time Survey found that the activities that make us happiest include playing with children, listening to music, being outdoors, going to parties, exercising, hanging out with friends, and spending time with pets. (These are also the activities that Danes associate with hygge.) The ones that make us least happy include paid work, domestic work, home maintenance and repairs, running errands, personal medical care, and taking care of financial responsibilities.

Everyone has to do activities in the unhappy category in order to keep their affairs in order. But it makes sense that if you take some of those responsibilities off people’s plate and design the economy to give them more time to do activities in the happy category, they will be more content and lead more enriching lives.

Many working-class Americans don’t have much time for activities in the happy category, because they work multiple jobs or long hours and also have to keep a household in order without much assistance. Many more are afraid that if they take time away from their stressful responsibilities, they will overlook something important and fall behind, and there will be no social safety net to catch them — a pervasive anxiety that creeps up the class hierarchy. This breeds alienation, not intimacy.

Additionally, working people in highly capitalist countries, where economic life is characterized by cutthroat competition and the punishment for losing the competition is destitution, tend to develop hostile relationships to one another, which is not very hyggelig.

The social-democratic model is predicated instead on solidarity: my neighbor and I both pay taxes so that we can both have a high standard of living. We care for each other on the promise that we will each be cared for. By working together instead of against each other, we both get what we need. Universal social programs like those that make up the Scandinavian welfare states are thus engines of solidarity, impressing upon people that their neighbor is not an opponent or an obstacle, but a partner in building and maintaining society.

By pitting people against each other, neoliberal capitalism promotes suspicion and animosity. This frequently maps onto social divisions and manifests as racism, sexism, xenophobia, and so on. But it also just makes people guarded and antisocial in general. People who live in social democracies are far from invulnerable to prejudice or misanthropy, but the social compact remains more likely to promote kindness, trust, and goodwill among people than neoliberal capitalism — and indeed the Danes are some of the most trusting people in the world, of friends and strangers alike.

One of these political-economic arrangements strengthens people’s connection to the fundamentals of happiness, and of hygge — time, company, and security — while the other severs it. The abundance or scarcity of these fundamentals forms the material basis of collective social life.

The Ambiance Agenda

Hygge is not just a cultural … [more]
hygge  meaganday  2018  denmark  socialdemocracy  socialism  socialsafetynet  politics  policy  happiness  comfort  us  coreyrobin  scandinavia  solidarity  wellbeing  responsibility  uncertainty  anxiety  neoliberalism  capitalism  risk  civics  qualityoflife  pleasure  multispecies  family  trust  intimacy  peaceofmind  leisure  work  labor  health  healthcare  unions  time  slow  fragility  taxes  inequality  company  security 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Why “I’m not racist” is only half the story | Robin DiAngelo - YouTube
"All systems of oppression are highly adaptive, and they can adapt to challenges and incorporate them. They can allow for exceptions. And I think the most powerful adaptation of the system of racism to the challenges of the civil rights movement was to reduce a racist to a very simple formula. A racist is an individual—always an individual, not a system—who consciously does not like people based on race—must be conscious—and who intentionally seeks to be mean to them. Individual, conscious, intent. And if that is MY definition of a racist, then your suggestion that anything I’ve said or done is racist or has a racist impact, I’m going to hear that as: you just said I was a bad person. You just put me over there in that category. And most of my bias anyway is unconscious. So I’m not intending, I’m not aware. So now I’m going to need to defend my moral character, and I will, and we’ve all seen it. It seems to be virtually impossible based on that definition for the average white person to look deeply at their socialization, to look at the inevitability of internalizing racist biases, developing racist patterns, and having investments in the system of racism—which is pretty comfortable for us and serves us really well. I think that definition of a racist, that either/or, what I call the good/bad binary is the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic because it makes it virtually impossible to talk to the average white person about the inevitable absorption of a racist world-view that we get by being literally swimming in racist water.

White fragility is meant to capture the defensiveness that so many white people display when our world views, our identities or our racial positions are challenged. And it’s a very familiar dynamic. I think there’s a reason that term resonated for so many people. I mean even if you yourself are to explain white fragility it’s fairly recognizable that in general white people are really defensive when the topic is racism and when they are challenged racially or cross racially.

So the fragility part is meant to capture how easy it is to trigger that defensiveness. For many white people the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will set us off. Another thing that will set us off is generalizing about white people. Right now I’m generalizing about white people, and that questions a very precious ideology, which is: most white people are raised to see ourselves as individuals. We don’t like being generalized about. And yet social life is patterned and observable and predictable in describable ways. And while we are, of course, all unique individuals, we are also members of social groups. And that membership is profound. That membership matters.

We can literally predict whether my mother and I were going to survive my birth and how long I’m going to live based on my race. We need to be willing to grapple with the collective experiences we have as a result of being members of a particular group that has profound meaning for our lives. We live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race. I think we all know that. How we would explain why that is might vary, but that it’s separate and unequal is very, very clear.

While we who are white tend to be fragile in that it doesn’t take much to upset us around race, the impact of our response is not fragile at all. It’s a kind of weaponized defensiveness, weaponized hurt feelings. And it functions really, really effectively to repel the challenge. As a white person I move through the world racially comfortable virtually 24/7. It is exceptional for me to be outside of my racial comfort zone, and most of my life I’ve been warned not to go outside my racial comfort zone.

And so on the rare occasion when I am uncomfortable racially it’s a kind of throwing off of my racial equilibrium, and I need to get back into that. And so I will do whatever it takes to repel the challenge and get back into it. And in that way I think white fragility functions as a kind of white racial bullying, to be frank. We make it so miserable for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable and often unaware racist patterns that we cannot help develop from being socialized into a culture in which racism is the bedrock and the foundation. We make it so miserable for them to talk to us about it that most of the time they don’t, right? We just have to understand that most people of color that are working or living in primarily white environments take home way more daily slights and hurts and insults than they bother talking to us about."
racism  oppression  robindiangelo  whitesupremacy  civilrights  race  2018  intent  consciousness  unconscious  morality  whiteness  socialization  society  bias  ideology  fragility  defensiveness  comfort  comfortzone 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Thread by @ErynnBrook: "I want to tell you a story about how my mum taught me that I’m allowed to leave an uncomfortable situation. I was maybe 7, I think it was my […]"
[original: https://twitter.com/ErynnBrook/status/1046055387617775616 ]

"I want to tell you a story about how my mum taught me that I’m allowed to leave an uncomfortable situation.

I was maybe 7, I think it was my first sleepover at someone else’s house. I don’t remember the girl’s name. But before I left Mum told me that if I was uncomfortable at any point, for any reason, even if it was in the middle of the night, I could call her.

She was very clear. She said even if her parents have gone to bed I want you to knock on their bedroom door and ask to use the phone. I could call her even if it was late. And if her parents didn’t answer the door to just go find the phone and call her anyway.

She said it doesn’t matter what time it is, you won’t be in trouble and I’ll come get you.

I think I was being teased about something. It definitely wasn’t just I can’t sleep, there was something social going on. But that’s what I did.

The girl’s mom tried to discourage me. She said it was late, I said my mum didn’t care. She said I could sleep on the couch. I said I wanted to go home. She said I was upsetting her daughter, I said she was mean to me.

I remember holding the phone and my mum answered. I said “hi Mum.” She said “you want me to come get you?” I said “yes please.” She said “ask her Mum to help you pack up your things and get your coat on. I’ll be right there.”

And my mum showed up on her doorstep in pajama pants and a coat. The girl’s mum kept apologizing for me calling, my mum put up a hand and said “don’t apologize for my daughter. I want her to know she’s allowed to leave and I’ll be there for her at any time.”

I remember the little crowd of sleepover girls huddled in the far doorway that led to the bedrooms, watching all of this confused and silent. And I remember that mom apologizing. She didn’t seem to know what to say after my mum asked her to stop.

I had more incidents like that as I grew up. My mum did a lot around boundaries with me. I remember her marching me down the street to another girl’s house to ask for an apology in front of her parents.

I remember her telling 3 friends to sit in the front room with their bags packed while they waited for their parents to come get them, after I had told them all to “get out of my house” for teasing me and bullying me.

I remember her coaching me through a speech on how to resign and leave from a hostile work environment when I was in the middle of nowhere at a camp for the summer, and she offered money to get a cab to pick me and my friends up.

I can’t say I’ve always followed my gut on boundaries and discomfort. I can’t say I’ve never swallowed it in order to make others comfortable. But I can say what she taught me was important. It was and still is radical.

It’s radical to have boundaries. And to exercise them. Three things I think were really really important in what she did:

1. She always explicitly said “you can leave if you want to.”
2. She never questioned why, or whether I was overreacting.
3. She showed up.

But I think a lot about the girl’s mum apologizing and how... that’s the norm, actually. What my mum taught me was radical, what that girl’s mum was teaching was the norm. “Just deal with it, don’t trouble anyone, go back to sleep, it’ll be over soon, don’t ruin it.”

And I still get that message from a lot of places. But my mum taught me that I’m allowed to leave.

I see what a privilege that is as an adult. For some people, for some situations, there is no way out. But sometimes, also, we don’t leave because we think we’re not allowed.

So, just in case no one ever told you (or you need a reminder): YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE.

You can leave a date, a party, a job, a meeting, a commitment. You are allowed. If you’re worried about keeping your word remember that your boundaries are also your word, your integrity.

I wanted to tell this story because the message to stay to make others comfortable is so pervasive, that without actively teaching me that I’m allowed to leave, that’s what I would’ve absorbed.

Hell, I absorbed a lot of it anyway. As an adult, at that camp job, I remember her on the phone saying “what do you want to do?” And not knowing, until she said “do you want to leave?” And I said “can I?” She said “You can always leave. What do you need so you can leave?”

So, if you’re a person like me, who was taught that you’re allowed to leave, keep an eye out for those who weren’t. They may need the reminder. They may need to hear that it’s okay. They may need help. And keep telling yourself that you are allowed. You’re allowed to leave. 💜

Wow this is really taking off! Before it goes too far I wanted to say: I’m seeing this being gendered and while I am a woman and my mother is a woman there’s no gender on this message. I understand the impulse to teach your daughters this but please teach all children.

When you know that you are allowed to leave, when you exercise that boundary, the idea that others are allowed to leave also comes up. Boys stay in uncomfortable situations to fit in as well, they also deserve this lesson.

Trans, non binary and gender non conforming folks often shrink themselves for the comfort of those around them. They deserve this lesson too. Everyone is allowed to leave. No one is obliged to be uncomfortable for others’ comfort or enjoyment. 💜"
children  parenting  boundaries  radicalism  comfort  erynnbrook  discomfort  2018 
september 2018 by robertogreco
John McWhorter: How Texting ‘LOL’ Changed Communication - The Atlantic
[on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA6V_th9rQw ]

"“Today, communication is much more fluid, much more varied, much subtler—it's better,” says John McWhorter, professor of linguistics at Columbia University, author, and frequent contributor to The Atlantic, in a new video from the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival. A big reason for this advancement in communication is, McWorther argues, the advent of texting—and even more specifically, the proliferation of the acronym “LOL.”

In the video, McWorther explains how LOL “ended up creeping in and replacing involuntary laughter,” and what meant for the new era of informal, nuanced communication. “It used to be that if you were going to write in any real way beyond the personal letter, there were all these rules you were afraid you were breaking—and you probably were,” he says. “It wasn't a comfortable form. You can write comfortably now.”"
johnmcwhorter  texting  texts  lol  2018  communication  language  linguistics  mobile  phones  change  flirting  fluidity  informal  informality  comfort  nuance  optimism 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Solving All the Wrong Problems - The New York Times
"We are overloaded daily with new discoveries, patents and inventions all promising a better life, but that better life has not been forthcoming for most. In fact, the bulk of the above list targets a very specific (and tiny!) slice of the population. As one colleague in tech explained it to me recently, for most people working on such projects, the goal is basically to provide for themselves everything that their mothers no longer do.

He was joking — sort of — but his comment made me think hard about who is served by this stuff. I’m concerned that such a focus on comfort and instant gratification will reduce us all to those characters in “Wall-E,” bound to their recliners, Big Gulps in hand, interacting with the world exclusively through their remotes.

Too many well-funded entrepreneurial efforts turn out to promise more than they can deliver (i.e., Theranos’ finger-prick blood test) or read as parody (but, sadly, are not — such as the $99 “vessel” that monitors your water intake and tells you when you should drink more water).

When everything is characterized as “world-changing,” is anything?

Clay Tarver, a writer and producer for the painfully on-point HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” said in a recent New Yorker article: “I’ve been told that, at some of the big companies, the P.R. departments have ordered their employees to stop saying ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ specifically because we have made fun of that phrase so mercilessly. So I guess, at the very least, we’re making the world a better place by making these people stop saying they’re making the world a better place.”

O.K., that’s a start. But the impulse to conflate toothbrush delivery with Nobel Prize-worthy good works is not just a bit cultish, it’s currently a wildfire burning through the so-called innovation sector. Products and services are designed to “disrupt” market sectors (a.k.a. bringing to market things no one really needs) more than to solve actual problems, especially those problems experienced by what the writer C. Z. Nnaemeka has described as “the unexotic underclass” — single mothers, the white rural poor, veterans, out-of-work Americans over 50 — who, she explains, have the “misfortune of being insufficiently interesting.”

If the most fundamental definition of design is to solve problems, why are so many people devoting so much energy to solving problems that don’t really exist? How can we get more people to look beyond their own lived experience?

In “Design: The Invention of Desire,” a thoughtful and necessary new book by the designer and theorist Jessica Helfand, the author brings to light an amazing kernel: “hack,” a term so beloved in Silicon Valley that it’s painted on the courtyard of the Facebook campus and is visible from planes flying overhead, is also prison slang for “horse’s ass carrying keys.”

To “hack” is to cut, to gash, to break. It proceeds from the belief that nothing is worth saving, that everything needs fixing. But is that really the case? Are we fixing the right things? Are we breaking the wrong ones? Is it necessary to start from scratch every time?

Empathy, humility, compassion, conscience: These are the key ingredients missing in the pursuit of innovation, Ms. Helfand argues, and in her book she explores design, and by extension innovation, as an intrinsically human discipline — albeit one that seems to have lost its way. Ms. Helfand argues that innovation is now predicated less on creating and more on the undoing of the work of others.

“In this humility-poor environment, the idea of disruption appeals as a kind of subversive provocation,” she writes. “Too many designers think they are innovating when they are merely breaking and entering.”

In this way, innovation is very much mirroring the larger public discourse: a distrust of institutions combined with unabashed confidence in one’s own judgment shifts solutions away from fixing, repairing or improving and shoves them toward destruction for its own sake. (Sound like a certain presidential candidate? Or Brexit?)

Perhaps the main reason these frivolous products and services frustrate me is because of their creators’ insistence that changing lives for the better is their reason for being. To wit, the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who has invested in companies like Airbnb and Twitter but also in services such as LikeALittle (which started out as a flirting tool among college students) and Soylent (a sort of SlimFast concoction for tech geeks), tweeted last week: “The perpetually missing headline: ‘Capitalism worked okay again today and most people in the world got a little better off.’ ”

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where such companies are based, sea level rise is ominous, the income gap between rich and poor has been growing faster than in any other city in the nation, a higher percentage of people send their kids to private school than in almost any other city, and a minimum salary of $254,000 is required to afford an average-priced home. Who exactly is better off?

Ms. Helfand calls for a deeper embrace of personal vigilance: “Design may provide the map,” she writes, “but the moral compass that guides our personal choices resides permanently within us all.”

Can we reset that moral compass? Maybe we can start by not being a bunch of hacks."
2016  allisonarieff  siliconvalley  problemsolving  disruption  claytarver  sanfrancisco  capitalism  jessicahelfand  books  invention  narcissism  theranos  comfort  instantgratification  hacking  innovation  publicdiscourse  publicgood  inequality  marcandreessen  morality  moralcompass  soylent  venturecapitalism  brexit  us  priorities 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Why I Begged My Mother to Take Me Out of the Gifted Program | Tue Night
"I understand what they were trying to do. When my teacher nominated me to be sent to a different classroom for part of each day, a class with older and more advanced learners, it was her way of keeping me interested in the learning process. Our school system was 90 percent black and, according to standardized tests, most of us were performing below grade level.

Not me.

At nine years old, my reading aptitude test scores were at the college level. My mother was so happy that she took out an ad in the local paper congratulating me for my grade-school accomplishment. She was proud. I was bored.

For weeks after the test results came in, my teacher would create separate spelling tests and reading lists just for me to try to keep me engaged and challenged. I understand that was probably an extra burden on her. If I was a third grade teacher and one of my students was reading Romeo & Juliet during silent reading time, I might suggest she needed to join a class at a higher grade level for part of the day, too. Unfortunately, even a good idea can take a negative turn.

In the beginning, I was excited about leaving my classroom for an hour a day. I thought it made me special or, at the very least, proved that I was smart. (Truthfully, most of my classmates were as smart as I was—I was just really good at memorization and taking tests.) It also helped that adults I loved and trusted had always told me I was smart. We were a school full of black children, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear our white teachers refer to us as “they,” “them,” “those kids,” or whisper to one another about our many shortcomings. I remember a time in class when a teacher told a black boy he’d never learn to read well if he insisted on speaking like a “thug.” Then she smiled toward me and said, “Don’t you want to sound smart like Ashley?”

I was taken aback. Not only did I hate being compared to the other kids (it didn’t exactly make me popular with them), but I also hadn’t realized I spoke differently from my classmates. From that day forward, they never let me forget it. Who could blame them?

By the time I got to fourth grade, I was no longer being sent to a different classroom for part of the day. No, my teachers felt that I was so brilliant I needed to be bused to an entirely different school two full days every week. The new school could not have been more different. The facilities were nicer, the test scores were higher, and my little brown face was one of a handful—maybe less.

At my “home” school, 75 percent of students received a free or reduced-rate lunch. We would laugh about our poverty, calling it “Government Lunch” and swapping dishes. The lunch ladies swiftly checked off our names on their list without a second glance and kept the line moving. At the new school, I explained that I didn’t pay for lunch and the cafeteria worker had to talk to three different people to figure out what the procedure was for such a thing. When I finally got my tray and sat with the rest of the kids from my class, I joked, “I guess you guys never had a poor kid here before.” They stared at each other, then at me, then back at each other. The silence nearly swallowed me up.

The days I spent at my “home” school varied greatly. Some days I was picked on mercilessly (usually because a teacher pointed me out as what everyone else should try to become). Other days, I felt so deeply understood by my peers, the thought of going back to the other school where they didn’t know anything about my culture was unbearable. And it wasn’t just about differences in the music we liked. I loved Matchbox 20 too! It was deeper than that. It was spending all night coloring a project with stubby crayons and nearly dry markers, just to have another kid bring in pages of pictures his dad printed out for him on a color printer. It was feigning sick the day of the Halloween party because I knew the other kids would show up in purchased costumes, something I’d never been able to do in my entire life. It was the mean lunch lady and the damn red binder she hauled out every time I said, “Free lunch.” At my “other” school , I was always the other. Always the black one. Always the poor one. The challenge in this new learning arena wasn’t academic but social. We could talk about Egypt all day long, but when I asked if Cleopatra was black, my new teacher pretended she didn’t hear me.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I wanted out of my new school, but getting out was harder than I thought. All of my teachers were convinced that I was just intimidated by the work, not weary of the environment. So I played into their narrative and did something I’d never done before: I flunked. I bombed every test and failed to turn in every homework assignment until they sent me back to my home school full-time. Suddenly, my grades improved. Everything improved. I was happier, I was learning, and I was free to be where I wanted to be. I worked with my teachers to come up with a curriculum that challenged me, and I made it easy for them. My worst fear was that I would get bused again to a “better” school.

Right before I started middle school, an elite private school in town called my mother to see if I’d be interested in taking a test to see if I qualified for a full scholarship. I knew about this school. All grades, all facilities, and all white. After the call, my mother asked me what I thought. “It could be a great opportunity, Ash. Everybody graduates, and almost 100 percent of them go to college.”

I thought about the teachers at my original school who worked so hard to keep my brain challenged, my friends who were as smart (or smarter) than I was, and the lunch ladies who never made me feel like I was less worthy of food than anybody else. I thought about the time I’d spent at the other school, and how it felt like every moment there had been time stolen from me. In separating me from my classmates, I was being separated from my culture. And why? Because I could read big words? I could read big words anywhere, including right beside people who looked and lived just like me.

I looked at my mom, smiled and said, “I’m happy where I am.”"
ashleyford  education  schools  race  class  gifted  2015  freedom  belonging  identity  inclusion  inclusivity  comparison  howweteach  independentschools  privateschools  segregation  teaching  children  comfort  environment  inlcusivity 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 34, Jean Cocteau
"If the ideas come, one must hurry to set them down out of fear of forgetting them. They come once; once only. On the other hand, if I am obliged to do some little task—such as writing a preface or notice—the labor to give the appearance of easiness to the few lines is excruciating. I have no facility whatever. Yes, in one respect what you say is true. I had written a novel, then fallen silent. And the editors at the publishing house of Stock, seeing this, said, You have too great a fear of not writing a masterpiece. Write something, anything. Merely to begin. So I did—and wrote the first lines of Les Enfants Terribles. But that is only for beginnings—in fiction. I have never written unless deeply moved about something. The one exception is my play La Machine à Écrire. I had written the play Les Parents Terribles and it was very successful, and something was wanted to follow. La Machine à Écríre exists in several versions, which is very telling, and was an enormous amount of work. It is no good at all. Of course, it is one of the most popular of my works. If you make fifty designs and one or two please you least, these will nearly surely be the ones most liked. No doubt because they resemble something. People love to recognize, not venture. The former is so much more comfortable and self-flattering.

It seems to me nearly the whole of your work can be read as indirect spiritual autobiography. "
jeancocteau  resemblance  comfort  interviews  adventure  via:anne  1964  ideas  memory  forgetting  writing  howwewrite 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Seven Pathways
"Our pathways are two things: Commitments for our professional learning - how will we learn to be contemporary educators - and promises to our students - what kind of educational environment are we building.

The Seven Pathways

Choice and Comfort

It is our responsibility to provide every learner with real learning space choices based on task-based and physical comfort-based needs, which not only allow their cognitive energy to be focused on learning but helps students to develop the contemporary skills needed to alter and use spaces to initiate and accomplish collaborative and individual work. This includes the availability of multiple communication tools and contemporary technologies as well as assisting students in understanding and creating a variety of learning products which demonstrate student choices in curriculum, task, technologies, and media.

Instructional Tolerance

We will all support student learning environments where active, engaged learners routinely choose from a variety of learning spaces, collaborative and individual activities, and technology tools, including their own personal devices. Our environments will create student opportunities to learn best practices essential to entering contemporary learning and work environments and which enable students to sustain an open mindset and skillset in the use of evolving technology tools. These environments, pre-K through 12, will allow negotiated environmental rules which include and improve student individual and community decision-making.

Universal Design for Learning/Individualization of Learning

No child within the Albemarle County Public Schools should need a label or prescription in order to access the tools of learning or environments they need. Within the constraints of other laws (in particular, copyright) we will offer alternative representations of information, multiple tools, and a variety of instructional strategies to provide access for all learners to acquire lifelong learning competencies and the knowledge and skills specified in curricular standards. We will create classroom cultures that fully embrace differentiation of instruction, student work, and assessment based upon individual learners’ needs and capabilities. We will apply contemporary learning science to create accessible entry points for all students in our learning environments; and which support students in learning how to make technology choices to overcome disabilities and inabilities, and to leverage preferences and capabilities.

Maker-Infused Curriculum

Across our School Division we are committed to student construction of knowledge and skills through the processes of imagining, creating, designing, building, engineering, evaluating and communicating learning. We believe that it is essential that our students learn how to be "Makers" in all phases of their lives, rather than just consumers. We are committed to "Making" as "how we learn," and not as an "extra," and we understand that both "Learning to Make" and "Making to Learn" are essential in every day classroom practice.

Project/Problem/Passion-Based Learning

All Albemarle County Public School students will have consistent learning opportunities across the curriculum to construct knowledge and understanding through responses to authentic problems; to create projects that demonstrate higher order thinking and knowledge acquisition, and to pursue personal interests by making real choices in project forms and media, even when those choices might lie beyond pre-determined expectations. Students will always be encouraged in the use of differentiated pathways as ways to both learn and demonstrate lifelong learning competencies.

Interactive Technologies

In every classroom, every day, we strive to create open learning environments in which students make individual choices as they use technologies to develop classroom work and assignments, and to provide opportunities for our students to actively make tech-based product investigation and choice as part of their study of curriculum. Our students will, regularly during instructional time, use those contemporary technologies (both school provided and individually owned) interact with external experts and students in other communities in order to build learner competencies in the use of the technologies of this century for information access and communication.

Connectivity

We will continuously develop and use activities that engage students in learning networks, including asynchronous and synchronous communication with external experts, access to digital content including primary sources, and interaction with other learners locally and globally who represent a variety of demographically diverse communities. We will, every day, promote and value collaborative projects and knowledge development representative of principles of global and digital literacy and effective, and which demonstrate appropriate global, national, community, and digital citizenship."
albermarleschooldistrict  irasocol  pammoran  technology  connectivity  projectbasedlearning  passionbasedlearning  making  mekers  curriculum  pathways  interaction  universldesign  learning  individualization  howweteach  howwelearn  teaching  education  schools  tolerance  instruction  choice  comfort  toolbelttheory  schooldesign  communication  pbl 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Creation and Destruction of Habits
"1/ There are two kinds of stories: about forming habits, and about preserving them. Superhero movies and Christmas movies.

2/ While you have room to grow in your life, forming habits is much easier than breaking habits. Neither is easy, however.

3/ A habit, once formed, demands use. This is because it exists as a sunk cost. Disuse would imply depreciating value.

4/ A living habit generates returns and grows more complex over time. This is growth. Growing habits occupy more room over time.

5/ A dying habit generates losses and grows simpler over time. This is decay. Dying habits decay to occupy less room over time.

6/ You are grown up when you run out of room to grow and are forced to break old habits in order to form new ones.

7/ The alternative to growing up is to preserve existing habits against decay through mummification. This is ritualization.

8/ To ritualize a habit is to decide to sustain steady losses for the indefinite future. This means feeding it with make-work.

9/ Living habits are ugly. Constant growth and increasing complexity means they always appear as an unrefined work-in-progress.

10/ The reward of a ritual is comforting, relived memories of once-profitable habits. These can be passed on for generations.

11/ Rituals are beautiful. Mummification is the process of aestheticizing a behavior to produce comfort instead of profit.

12/ Comforts must be paid for. But it is an easy decision to rob the ugly to pay the beautiful. Growth must pay for decay.

13/ Living habits can be valued in terms of expected future returns. Comforts cannot because they are being sustained despite losses.

14/ Living habits have a price. Rituals are price-less. They represent comforts worth preserving at indeterminate cost.

15/ Price-less comforts evolve from things-that-cannot-be-priced to things-that-must-not-be-priced. This is sacralization.

16/ The sacred price-less is the economic priceless. We drop the hyphen and add a notional price of infinity. This is a sacred value.

17/ The ritualized habit associated with a sacred value becomes a virtue: a behavior that serves as is its own justification.

18/ Virtues are behaviors that are recognized as their own justification by their unchanging beauty. The sacred is beautiful.

19/ Vice is that which cannot visibly co-exist with virtue: it is behavior that justifies its own suppression or marginalization.

20/ Profanity is an inchoate mixture of virtue and vice. Experimentation separates ugly profanity into future virtues and vices.

21/ When your living habits cannot pay for their own growth, and you sacrifice beauty for experimentation, you get innovation.

22/ When your living habits can pay for their own growth and your comforting rituals, you have a beautiful life. This is individualism.

23/ When living habits can pay for themselves but not for comforts, you have a problem. This is failed individualism: depression.

24/ If you try to strip away comforts and retain only growth, you have cognitive-behavioral cancer. This is being manic.

25/ You can pretend that comforts are profits. To do this you deny new data and restate old justifications. This is called derping.

26/ You can also strip away rituals, deliberately making your life uglier by unburdening living habits. This is called empiricism.

27/ You can strip away enough ritual to keep your life ugly at work and beautiful at home. This is called being a loser.

28/ You can confuse the beautiful with the living and the ugly with dying and strip away the wrong things. This is called cluelessness.

29/ You can consciously develop your ability to contemplate both ugliness and beauty with equanimity. This is called mindfulness.

30/ You can strip away rituals up to the limit of your mindfulness, staying on the edge of manic-depression. This is being a sociopath.

31/ The most common response to failed individualism, however, is to get others to pay for your comforts. This is called culture.

32/ A culture that cannot pay for its own comforts overall is a called a tradition. One that has no comforts to pay for is called a frontier.

33/ Tradition is beautiful, frontiers are ugly. To mistake one for the other is the defining characteristic of the clueless middle class.

33/ A culture that is more tradition than frontier is a loser culture. Sincere partisan conservatism and liberalism are both for losers.

34/ A culture that is more frontier than tradition is sociopath culture. It offers few comforts and fewer sacred ones.

35/ A compassionate culture is one that drives each member to the limit of their mindfulness. It is inclusive by definition.

36/ A beautiful culture is one that highlights comforting tradition and hides profit and profanity. It is extractive by definition.

37/ A culture cannot be both compassionate and beautiful at once without ceasing to grow. To be a sociopath is to recognize this.

38/ A culture that ceases to grow is a culture that increasingly trades compassion for beauty, paying more for its priceless elements.

39/ A culture that chooses to grow is one that systematically devalues beauty and resists the allure and comfort of pricelessness.

40/ Civilization is the mortal tension between the imperative to keep growing and the imperative to remain beautiful.

41/ Those who choose beauty tell one kind of story, about a relatively shrinking set of beautiful things that define the human.

42/ Those who choose growth tell another kind of story, about an expanding zone of mindfulness that defines the superhuman."
culture  humans  ideology  venkateshrao  2014  habits  growth  frontiers  balance  tradition  ritual  sociopathy  conservatism  liberalism  individualism  mindfulness  cluelessness  comforts  empiricism  derping  depression  experimentation  beauty  marginalization  pricelessness  comfort  complexity  ritualization  makework  mummification  sacralization  sacredness  virtue  justification  life  living  behavior  manicdepression  civilization  rituals 
february 2015 by robertogreco
SOLARPUNKS [a snip from E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful]
"The keynote of Buddhist economics, therefore, is simplicity and non-violence. From an economist’s point of view, the marvel of the Buddhist way of life is the utter rationality of its pattern — amazingly small means leading to extraordinarily satisfactory results.

For the modern economist this is very difficult to understand. He is used to measuring the ‘standard of living’ by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is ‘better off’ than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption. Thus, if the purpose of clothing is a certain amount of temperature comfort and an attractive appearance, the task is to attain this purpose with the smallest possible effort, that is, with the smallest annual destruction of cloth and with the help of designs that involve the smallest possible input of toil. The less toil there is, the more time and strength is left for artistic creativity. It would be highly uneconomic, for instance, to go in for complicated tailoring, like the modern west, when a much more beautiful effect can be achieved by the skilful draping of uncut material. It would be the height of folly to make material so that it should wear out quickly and the height of barbarity to make anything ugly, shabby or mean. What has just been said about clothing applies equally to all other human requirements. The ownership and the consumption of goods is a means to an end, and Buddhist economics is the systematic study of how to attain given ends with the minimum means."

— E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful [http://www.ditext.com/schumacher/small/small.html ]
efschumacher  buddhism  smallisbeautiful  economics  simplicity  nonviolence  consumption  well-being  ownership  consumerism  comfort  effort  efficiency  clothing  1973 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin — The Inner Life of Rebellion | On Being
"The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin and Quaker wise man Parker Palmer come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change."

[Also here: https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/parker-palmer-and-courtney-martin-the-inner-life-of-rebellion

and in clips

“Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin — Learning in Public”
https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/parker-palmer-and-courtney

“Courtney Martin — A New Relationship with Rebellion”
https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/courtney-martin-a-new

“Parker Palmer — Holding the Paradox of Chutzpah and Humility”
https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/parker-palmer-holding-the-paradox-of-chutzpah-and-humility ]
parkerpalmer  courtneymartin  comfort  persistence  rebellion  rebels  humility  burnout  discomfort  2015  depression  sustainability  resilience  mentalhealth  socialchange  savingtheworld  generations  agesegregation  intergenerational  interconnectedness  activism  reflection  service  idealism  privilege  success  efficiency  emotions  learning  howwelearn  piaget  listening  pause  ethics  busyness  resistance  soul  identity  maryoliver  attentiveness  attention  quakers  clinicaldepression  learninginpublic  living  love  flipflopping  mindchanging  malcolmx  victoriasafford  hope  jeanpiaget  onbeing  mindchanges  interconnected  interconnectivity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Just Asking - The Atlantic
"Are some things still worth dying for? Is the American idea1 one such thing? Are you up for a thought experiment? What if we chose to regard the 2,973 innocents killed in the atrocities of 9/11 not as victims but as democratic martyrs, “sacrifices on the altar of freedom”?2 In other words, what if we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea? And, thus, that ours is a generation of Americans called to make great sacrifices in order to preserve our democratic way of life—sacrifices not just of our soldiers and money but of our personal safety and comfort?

"The key to the John Ziegler Show," says the angry, outraged, and apocalyptically gleeful talk-radio host John Ziegler, "is that I am almost completely real." A report from deep inside the mercenary world of take-no-prisoners political talk radio.
In still other words, what if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?

Is this thought experiment monstrous? Would it be monstrous to refer to the 40,000-plus domestic highway deaths we accept each year because the mobility and autonomy of the car are evidently worth that high price? Is monstrousness why no serious public figure now will speak of the delusory trade-off of liberty for safety that Ben Franklin warned about more than 200 years ago? What exactly has changed between Franklin’s time and ours? Why now can we not have a serious national conversation about sacrifice, the inevitability of sacrifice—either of (a) some portion of safety or (b) some portion of the rights and protections that make the American idea so incalculably precious?

In the absence of such a conversation, can we trust our elected leaders to value and protect the American idea as they act to secure the homeland? What are the effects on the American idea of Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, PATRIOT Acts I and II, warrantless surveillance, Executive Order 13233, corporate contractors performing military functions, the Military Commissions Act, NSPD 51, etc., etc.? Assume for a moment that some of these measures really have helped make our persons and property safer—are they worth it? Where and when was the public debate on whether they’re worth it? Was there no such debate because we’re not capable of having or demanding one? Why not? Have we actually become so selfish and scared that we don’t even want to consider whether some things trump safety? What kind of future does that augur?

FOOTNOTES:
1. Given the strict Gramm-Rudmanesque space limit here, let's just please all agree that we generally know what this term connotes—an open society, consent of the governed, enumerated powers, Federalist 10, pluralism, due process, transparency ... the whole democratic roil.

2. (This phrase is Lincoln's, more or less)"
freedom  culture  terrorism  davidfosterwallace  2007  democracy  sacrifice  safety  mobility  autonomy  comfort  personalsafety  via:robinsonmeyer  johnziegler  risk 
january 2015 by robertogreco
08 | November | 2011 | AN EMPIRE OF ONE
"Two recent books, Alan Moore: Storyteller (which my wife was lucky enough to win from this site) and Grant Morrison’s Supergods, have re-sparked a question I’ve had regarding the connection between England’s social welfare system and the Eighties invasion of American comics by British writers and artists. There’s no doubt there were several factors, with perhaps the emergence, in the late Seventies, of comics magazines such as 2000 A.D., Warrior, the Marvel U.K. line being especially important. But the most intriguing factor? The dole.

So what is my hypothesis? That comic book artists such as Alan Moore and Grant Morrison would not exist without having had the benefit of being supported for several years by the British unemployment benefits system, otherwise known as “the dole,” thus giving them time to develop their skills such that they could survive without the dole.

The evidence?

Alan Moore: Storyteller:
Moore left the financial security of the office job [in 1977] and signed on at the Department of Health and Social Security for unemployment benefits. (p. 44)

Grant Morrison’s Supergods:
Perhaps at last, this [ie, superhero comics as represented especially by Alan Moore’s version of Marvelman, which first appeared in 1982] could be a way of making enough money to quit the dole and get noticed doing something I loved. (p. 186)
At twenty-four [1984],… I was still on the dole and living at home… (p. 208)

I do not know if Morrison and Moore are typical or exceptions, but I’m leaning towards their being representative of the writers and artists who constituted the British Invasion of American comics in the Eighties. The unemployment system in the USA in the Eighties did not allow anyone to continue collecting benefits for several years and, unlike Alan Moore’s case, it was not possible to obtain benefits after quitting or refusing a job. Another requirement was to have worked (on the books) for a certain number of weeks during the previous x number of months. In other words, to qualify for unemployment benefits in the USA, you had to have been employed a minimum amount of time, laid off (not fired), provide proof every other week of looking for work during the previous two weeks, and, even if you could not find a job, after a period of about six months the benefits would cease. The British system appears to have been very different.

Imagine an Earth-2 where Great Britain had no unemployment benefits. Would Alan Moore and Grant Morrison have been able to become Alan Moore and Grant Morrison without the benefit of the dole?"

[Continue reading for multiple updates to the post.]
alanmoore  grantmorrison  welfare  creativity  imagination  2014  uk  thedole  labor  work  cognitivesurplus  comics  socialsecurity  unemployment  comfort  money  benefits  2011 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Selected Literature and Features
"The essential thing is feeling at home in the world, knowing in the depths of one's being that one has a real place in the home of the world. The essential function of such hospitals as Mount Carmel - which house several millions of the world's population - is that they should provide hospitality, the feeling of home, for patients who have lost their original homes. To the extent that Mount Carmel acts as a home, it is deeply therapeutic to all of its patients; but to the extent that it acts as an institution, it deprives them of their sense of reality and home, and forces them into the false homes and compensations of regression and sickness." —Oliver Sacks

[via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzA4ItynYw ]
hospitality  institutions  belonging  comfort  humanism  openstudioproject  lcproject  education  community  institutionalization  society  coercion 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Mastering the Art of Sparking Connections
"1. People are the key ingredients.

2. The more varied the group, the more valuable the connections and outcome.

3. To foster a spirit of improvisation, create a comfortable environment.

4. We value discussion over presentation

5. Each camp is a series of small and loosely-joined events.

6. We value intimacy over publicity.

7. Productive discussions happen more easily with thoughtful, informed facilitation.

8. End — don't start — with a trust fall.

9. The better the planning, the smoother and more spontaneous the outcome.

10. We value experimentation and evolution over perfection.



How Spark Camp Will Evolve"
events  sparkcamp  amandamichel  andypergam  mattthompson  amywebb  planning  values  diversity  improvisation  comfort  conferences  discussion  conversation  howto  loosely-joined  intimacy  publicity  facilitation  eventplanning  unconferences  experimentation  perfection  trust  inclusion  conferenceplanning  accessibility  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
december 2013 by robertogreco
'There Are No Fat People in Paris' - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
"We talk about culture as a way of establishing hierarchies -- as though a hammer could, somehow, be innately better than a hacksaw. I believe that cultures take shape for actual reasons, responding to real environments. If Americans love choice, if we love our air-conditioning, and our ice, if we love our comforts, and our elevators, the question should not be, "How do we change?" for that too is a kind of colonization. Better to ask "Why do we love those things? How do they profit us? What we do we stand to lose should we abandon them?" 

I love the tradition of low architecture here. But I also wonder how that tradition affects the cost of living for actual people. And so this is the other thing about culture. It tends to be an interlocking network, a machine of related gears, pulleys and levers. The thing you find so valuable may well be related to something else which you find utterly objectionable. I suspect that the instinct toward ensuring an abundance of fresh, high-quality food is not so distant from the instinct to ban the <strike>hijab</strike> burka.

There is surely some knowledge to be taken back home. But in thinking about myself and my country, and "cultural" change, I find that I am more reformist than revolutionary. We are who we are. Our unchanging acre is forever our own."

[Full set of dispatches from Paris here: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/category/paris ]

[Update: see notes about http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/black-pathology-crowdsourced/360190/ here: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:268809a6129c ]
ta-nehisicoates  culture  complexity  behavior  france  food  identity  difference  cherrypicking  colonization  choice  change  agency  comfort  comforts  2013  paris  hierarchy 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Someone you know ill? Watch what you say, and to whom - Los Angeles Times
"When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan's colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn't feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague's response? "This isn't just about you."

"It's not?" Susan wondered. "My breast cancer is not about me? It's about you?"

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie's husband, Pat. "I wasn't prepared for this," she told him. "I don't know if I can handle it."

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan's colleague's remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie's aneurysm, that's Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie's aneurysm, that was Katie's husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan's patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair" and "Why me?" That's the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, "I'm sorry" or "This must really be hard for you" or "Can I bring you a pot roast?" Don't say, "You should hear what happened to me" or "Here's what I would do if I were you." And don't say, "This is really bringing me down."

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that's fine. It's a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

There was nothing wrong with Katie's friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn't think she could handle it. The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn't do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don't just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you're talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

And don't worry. You'll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that."
advice  communication  support  relationships  2013  susansilk  barrygoldman  illness  complaints  comfort  ringtheory  emotions  canon 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Day of Affirmation speech - Wikipedia
"First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills -- against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. …

The second danger is that of expediency; of those who say that hopes and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. Of course if we must act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done. But if there was one thing that President Kennedy stood for that touched the most profound feeling of young people across the world, it was the belief that idealism, high aspiration, and deep convictions are not incompatible with the most practical and efficient of programs -- that there is no basic inconsistency between ideals and realistic possibilities -- no separation between the deepest desires of heart and of mind and the rational application of human effort to human problems. …

A third danger is timidity. Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. …

For the fortunate amongst us, the fourth danger is comfort; the temptation to follow the easy and familiar path of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who have the privilege of an education. …"
futility  timidity  robertfkennedy  expediency  comfort  1966  steppingout  comfortzone  yearoff  change  courage  agency  society  youth  revolution  moralcourage 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Notebook on Cities and Culture: S3E1: Buoyancy and Poignancy with Pico Iyer
"Japan's distinctive combination of buoyancy and poignancy, which leads to the pre-savoring of wistfulness to come; the culture's dissolution of mind, heart, and soul all in the same place, and his efforts to build an intellectual infrastructure around his Japan-related intuitions; his recent reading of John Cage, an unexpected master of the Japanese virtues of not knowing and not saying; the necessity, when you want to write about something, to write about something else, and of writing about a passion in order to write about yourself; the Californian question of "being yourself," and its inadmissability to the Japanese mindset; his relief at not having to be Japanese within Japanese society, and what being a Japanese in Japanese society has done to visit a female brain drain upon the country; what it takes to best remain an outsider in Japan, enjoying its peculiar kind of diplomatic immunity, and how Donald Richie mastered that exchange of belonging for freedom…"
passions  memoirs  notknowing  presence  time  fleetingmoments  poignancy  buoyancy  nuance  invisibility  reservedness  quiet  energy  friction  spontaneity  globalization  osaka  english  responsibility  interdependence  compassion  isolationism  isolation  canon  identity  collectivism  community  place  westpoint  books  listening  silence  understanding  vitality  comfort  nostalgia  pre-nostalgia  memory  women  familiarity  attention  donaldrichie  gender  knowing  writing  belonging  california  thoughfulness  japan  intimacy  society  culture  colinmarshall  johncage  2013  via:charlieloyd  picoiyer 
january 2013 by robertogreco
The Distress of the Privileged « The Weekly Sift
"The lesson: Supremacy itself isn’t hate. You may even have affection for the person you feel superior to. But supremacy contains the seeds of hate."

"Privileged distress today. Once you grasp the concept of privileged distress, you’ll see it everywhere: the rich feel “punished” by taxes; whites believe they are the real victims of racism; employers’ religious freedom is threatened when they can’t deny contraception to their employees; English-speakers resent bilingualism — it goes on and on."

"The Owldolatrous approach — acknowledging the distress while continuing to point out the difference in scale — is as good as I’ve seen. Ultimately, the privileged need to be won over. Their sense of justice needs to be engaged rather than beaten down. The ones who still want to be good people need to be offered hope that such an outcome is possible in this new world."

[See also (referenced within): http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=369 and http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=288 ]
feminism  gender  class  hate  racism  comparisons  culture  chick-fil-a  transitions  change  comfort  pleasantville  2012  thehighroad  understanding  bristolpalin  homophobia  aesop  supre  superiority  distress  religion  rights  society  politics  equality  privilege  owldolatrous 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity: What he misses about raising a child with Down syndrome. - Slate Magazine
"Am I “cheerily generalizing” as Solomon says of other Down syndrome parents, “from a few accomplishments” of my child? Perhaps I am. But one thing I’ve learned these last four years that possibly Solomon has not: All of our accomplishments are few. All of our accomplishments are minor: my scribblings, his book, the best lines of the best living poets. We embroider away at our tiny tatters of insight as though the world hung on them, when it is chiefly we ourselves who hang on them. Often a dog or cat with none of our advanced skills can offer more comfort to our neighbor than we can. (Think: Would you rather live with Shakespeare or a cute puppy?) Each of us has the ability to give only a little bit of joy to those around us. I would wager Eurydice gives as much as any person alive."
identity  andrewsolomon  downsyndrome  christinanehring  love  comfort  shakespeare  accomplishment  whatmatters  parenting  life  via:ablerism 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Whither the Liberal Arts College? Or, Why Bloom’s Critique Doesn’t Matter | Front Porch Republic
"The hallmarks of these places are professionalization and specialization, and in the process they lose sight of the one (truly liberal) question that would help make an education coherent: the question of what it is to be a human being."

"as they become more specialized and professionalized in their internal functioning, they encourage the development of a faculty who are invested in not raising the larger questions about the purpose of education, and a student- body who will increasingly mimic this professionalization and specialization in pursuit of a well- paying job."

"…Not understanding leisure, neither can we understand work"

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/10/19/liberal-arts-uselessness-and-leisure-against-mere-work/ ]
gilmeilander  stanleyfish  allanbloom  us  militaryindustrialcomplex  cronycapitalism  authority  virtue  highereducation  highered  universities  colleges  jeantwenge  sherryturkle  josephpieper  alastairmacintyre  comfort  jeffreypolet  2012  capitalism  society  community  slowlearning  education  learning  slowness  slow  work  labor  leisurearts  leisure  values  purpose  living  life  sensemaking  meaningmaking  generalists  liberalarts  humanism  professions  professionalization  artleisure 
october 2012 by robertogreco
naffidy: Andrea Zittel -----"These things I know for sure"
"1. It is a human trait to organize things into categories. Inventing categories creates an illusion that there is an overriding rationale in the way that the word works.

2. Surfaces that are "easy to clean" also show dirt more. In reality a surface that camouflages dirt is much more practical than one that is easy to clean.

3. Maintenance takes time and energy that can sometimes impede other forms or progress such as learning about new things.

4. All materials ultimately deteriorate and show signs of wear. It is therefore important to create designs that will look better after years of distress.

5. A perfect filling system can sometimes decrease efficiency. For instance, when letters and bills are filed away too quickly, it is easy to forget to respond to them.

6. Many "progressive" designs actually hark back towards a lost idea of nature or a more "original form."

7. Ambiguity in visual design ultimately leads to a greater variety of functions than designs that are functionally fixed.

8. No matter how many options there are, it is human nature to always narrow things down to two polar, yet inextricably linked choices.

9. The creation of rules is more creative than the destruction of them. Creation demands a higher level of reasoning and draws connections between cause and effect. The best rules are never stable or permanent, but evolve, naturally according to content or need.

10. What makes us feel liberated is not total freedom, but rather living in a set of limitations that we have created and prescribed for ourselves.

11. Things that we think are liberating can ultimately become restrictive, and things that we initially think are controlling can sometimes give us a sense of comfort and security.

12. Ideas seem to gestate best in a void--- when that void is filled, it is more difficult to access them. In our consumption-driven society, almost all voids are filled, blocking moments of greater clarity and creativity. Things that block voids are called "avoids."

13. Sometimes if you can't change a situation, you just have to change the way you think about the situation.

14. People are most happy when they are moving towards something not quite yet attained (I also wonder if this extends as well to the sensation of physical motion in space. I believe that I am happier when I am in a plane or car because I am moving towards an identifiable and attainable goal.)

15. What you own, owns you.

16. Personal truths are often perceived as universal truths. For instance it is easy to imagine that a system or design works well for oneself will work for everyone else."

[Also (only 1-14) printed here: http://books.google.com/books/about/Andrea_Zittel.html?id=-uZiQgAACAAJ ]
andreazittel  criticalspace  progressive  human  humans  sorting  dichotomy  dichotomies  categorization  patternfinding  patterns  generalizations  generalization  surfaces  maintenance  time  art  learning  filingsystems  design  rules  constraints  personaltruths  universaltruths  truths  happiness  movement  progress  attainability  goals  perspective  comfort  security  clarity  creativity  freedom  creation  choice  polarization  ambiguity  function 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Week 2 - Weekly Dispatch
"a blog post by Tag Savage [http://sexpigeon.org/post/16729718345/path-puts-a-silly-amount-of-trust-in-its-avatars ] about Path’s user interface choices in their app. Central tennent: if a place is too pristine and planned, it can’t be colonized. Tag’s words:

"Path is pretty in the same designy way as our modern museums. […] These museums are very exciting when they open. You show up and marvel along with all of the other fans of architecture. Maybe you return for one of those nights where they stay open late and there is a band and drinking. “A great space,” you think. […] The art doesn’t get talked about so much at these museums."

Path is a monument to Path. It is no place to scribble in. I wish it longevity so that it might find shabbiness.

A tricky balance, to be sure, but one that must be navigated if a product is dependant on user’s content. Part of the product must be left undone to provide the opening for the user to contribute."
pristineness  usefulness  architecture  ownership  space  place  museums  over-planning  planning  tagsavage  frankchimero  wabi-sabi  comfort  approachability  shabbiness  2012  colonization  path 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making by Slim — Kickstarter
"At the heart of it is an inquiry into the meaning of making. I am deeply interested in how making works (as a process), what it means (to make something), and why it matters (to our lives).

One of the central theme is the relationship between the act of empathizing with the act of making…

The second theme is exploring how we can design a space that facilitates the act of making, especially in the digital space…

The book is structured around a number of stories that talk about the humbling experiences I've had in art school. These are experiences that have lead to epiphanies, which changed my understanding of what it means to make something.

In response to these experiences are conversations I've had with an interdisciplinary group of friends (an animator, a programmer, a neuroscientist, a human-computer interaction researcher, and a theologian) about these epiphanies.

Weaving together the stories and conversations are both reflective and analytic essays that model…"
integrity  honesty  acting  knowledge  workspace  space  metaphors  trust  courage  comfort  computers  computing  safety  technology  seungchanlim  perspective  risktaking  risk  dignity  humility  meaningmaking  meaning  scale_slim  tools  howwework  openstudioproject  making  empathy  design  2012  language  workspaces 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Men Shop in Bulk - NYTimes.com
"WOMEN shop, men stockpile. That’s one theory, anyway, of how men buy clothes differently from women. If women see shopping as an opportunity, a social or even therapeutic activity, the thinking goes, then men see it as a necessary evil, a moment to restock the supply closet.

At the risk of perpetuating sex stereotypes, the archetype may have been Steve Jobs. When Mr. Jobs died in October, he left behind not only a peerless legacy, but a closet full of identical black cotton turtlenecks by Issey Miyake. “If he loved a shirt, he’d order 10 or 100 of them,” his sister, the author Mona Simpson, said in her eulogy.

It was an obsession that many men could relate to. Here, stylish New Yorkers reflect on their wardrobe hoarding."

[via http://kottke.org/11/12/the-men-who-shop-in-bulk ]
2011  comfort  habits  harrybelafonte  marcussamuelsson  clothesshopping  clothing  apparel  fashion  scottcampbell  paulsevigny  paulbirardi  billyreid  christopherbollen  jonathangalassi  gabeschulman  gregfoley  ianbradley  fabienbaron  chuckclose  michaelwilliams  graydoncarter  uniforms  personaluniforms  stockpiling  cv  shopping  women  men  gender  pesonaluniforms 
december 2011 by robertogreco
The Time Machine - Ta-Nehisi Coates - Personal - The Atlantic
"The train, in all aspects, was a superior experience. The first thing was the feeling of everything melting away, of someone else taking control. When flying there are generally so many rules to be obeyed, and times when specific things can happen that I generally feel like, as a passenger, I'm actually a co-pilot. Lights tell you when you can and can't move. Announcements indicate (because I use a lap-top and iPad) when it's safe to read, write or listen to your music. Food and drink are administered at precise times. All of this within a confined space.

But there was a freedom on the train that you may need to be taller than six feet to really understand. You could walk as you needed to. You could sit in the cafe car and watch the scenery. You could fall into your book. Or you could just sleep, something I can't really do on airplanes. 

Finally there is the fact that, as much as possible, I should avoid supporting airline travel in its current American iteration…"

[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/09/when-you-buy-a-plane-ticket-the-terrorists-win/245009/ ]
ta-nehisicoates  flight  us  tsa  trains  amtrak  privacy  comfort  stress  2011  travel  policy  convenience 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Diversity Lecture: Ta-Nehisi Coates - YouTube
"As part of our Bob and Aliecia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center Diversity Lecture Series, Grand Rapids Community College presents Ta-Nehisi Coates speaking on "A Deeper Black: The Meaning of Race in the Age of Obama.""
ta-nehisicoates  civilwar  2011  martinlutherkingjr  race  barackobama  identity  dropouts  learning  education  observation  obsession  blackhistory  us  abrahamlincoln  slavery  history  africanamerican  truth  hemingway  huckleberryfinn  marktwain  malcolmx  acceptance  understanding  safety  incarceration  society  bodyscanners  airports  convenience  inconvenience  comfort  self-esteem  justice  challenge  segregation  success  progress  policy  politics  desegregation  parenting  books  homeenvironment  reading  curiosity  exposure  youth  adolescence  teens  adults  moralauthority  wisdom  mlk 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Roadtrip Nation: Define your own road in life! - Roadtrip Nation
"The Manifesto: Before we embarked on our first Roadtrip, we were feeling The Noise and pressure around us to conform. Our Manifesto keeps us true to the original principles that started us on this journey.<br />
Our History: Imagine telling people you were going to travel across the country in a bright green RV to learn how people defined their own lives. You can imagine the reactions – but we knew we needed to find our Open Road. Here’s our story.<br />
Education: Extending the Movement into education, we started a nonprofit, RoadtripNation.org. Our curriculum empowers students to get out into their communities and connect what they learn to their real world."
roadtrip  roadtripnation  education  comfort  comfortzone  mobile  mobileschools  place  location  community  via:cervus 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributors - Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend - NYTimes.com
"Somewhere in your childhood is a gaping hole. Fill this hole…best things I did in college all involved explorations"

"Remember to take some time away from campus"

"When you leave your room for class, leave laptop behind. In a lecture, you’ll only waste your time & parents’ money, disrespect professor & annoy whomever is trying to pay attention…by spending the hour on Facebook.

You don’t need a computer to take notes—good note-taking is not transcribing. All that clack, clack, clacking…you’re a student, not a court reporter. And in seminar or discussion sections, get used to being around a table with a dozen other humans, a few books & your ideas. After all, you have the rest of your life to hide behind a screen during meetings."

"when my drawing teacher invited several of us students to dinner at her house, I was still worried that I was out of my league. But in this casual setting, everyone opened up, & I was able to talk about art in the most relaxed & personal way."
education  learning  teaching  advice  wisdom  off-campus  exploration  colleges  universities  notetaking  self  identity  attention  technology  distraction  seminars  tcsnmy  lcproject  casual  intimacy  comfort  safety  reality 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Cellphones Become Our Comfort Objects During Disaster
"Two days after a 8.8 magnitude earthquake displaced them from their homes and separated them from dear ones, people gathered at a fire-station in Concepcion, Chile to charge their cellphones—their comfort objects during this disaster.

Chile was becoming a trending topic on Twitter before even the fastest newscasters got a chance to talk about Saturday's earthquake, thanks to many hastily posted Tweets—most of which likely came from mobile devices. Tweets, text messages, emails, calls, voicemails—everything flew across the networks, draining phones and granting people some comfort and peace. Just hearing a familiar voice or reading words of assurance—knowing that your mobile device links you to the world, to family, and to much needed aid—makes one heck of a difference.

We need food. We need medication. We need a hand to pull us out of the rubble. But we also need a little gadget that lets us cry out to the world so that everyone else has a chance to tell us that it'll be ok."
chile  earthquakes  disasters  mobile  phones  emergency  trust  twitter  comfort  2010  via:jbleecker 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Alfie Kohn Interview 2/1/2010 - Dr. Ross Greene2 | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio
"In this program, Dr. Greene had the pleasure of talking with Alfie Kohn, author of Punished by Rewards, Beyond Discipline, and many other critical books. This was a fun and enlightening discussion about a variety of school-related topics, including school discipline, socially healthy classrooms, high-stakes testing...the whole gamut."

[via: http://twitter.com/joe_bower/status/17543978978 quoting "When you put autonomy and community together you get democracy."]
autonomy  topost  democracy  community  alfiekohn  education  progresive  tcsnmy  discipline  schools  teaching  learning  structure  responsiveclassroom  responsibility  trust  democratic  progressive  interviews  hierarchy  management  leadership  administration  coercion  learningcommunities  compliance  compulsory  authority  timeouts  punishment  classroommanagement  classroom  safety  comfort  care  culture  ethics  citizenship  caringcommunities  caring  classrooms 
july 2010 by robertogreco
My Year Of Everything • B. E.
"Pretend you’re giving it all up and going back to school in a year. Act like you have one year to make it work before you give up and try something else. What haven’t you done? Where aren’t you being aggressive enough? Go do it and embarrass yourself with your pushiness- after all, you’ll be doing something else in a year anyway, so who cares what people think? Push until you feel uncomfortable, and then double it."

[via: http://www.matthewculnane.co.uk/post/607550184 ]
tcsnmy  perseverance  life  cv  ballsiness  comfort  yearoff  work  risk  risktaking  advice  quitting  notcaring  pushiness 
may 2010 by robertogreco
My Four Word Education Plan! « Education On The Plate
"I was breaking the most basic rule of being a male teacher; sitting in classroom alone w/ just-turned 12yo girl. & she was sitting w/ me. We could do this because we trust each other. We feel safe w/ each other. The distillation of my philosophy came to me as I was telling S how I realized she was different from almost every student I’ve taught. Whenever I ask a question requiring a higher-order thinking skill & the rest of her class stares at me as if I were speaking Klingon, she will raise her hand slowly & say, “I’m not sure, but…” That’s it! ...my education philosophy distilled to its most essential point...I want all my students – all students – to feel safe enough, secure enough, challenged enough & supported enough to take risk that S takes. No, I don’t mean spending almost 3 hours alone w/ teacher. I want them all to be able to say…“I’m not sure, but…” If we can get our students to that point I guarantee they will learn. So how do we get them there? I’m not sure. But…"
education  learning  schools  teaching  tcsnmy  risk  safety  comfort  trust  conversation  lcproject 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Bookshelf: An Interview With David Foster Wallace
"I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves. Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering, part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering, necessarily a vicarious experience, more like a sort of “generalization” of suffering. Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside."
via:preoccupations  davidfosterwallace  2005  empathy  reading  writing  fiction  alone  loneliness  identity  suffering  humanexperience  humans  imagination  self  comfort  discomfort  nourishment 
april 2010 by robertogreco
The Danish Art of Hygge - Denmark - VisitDenmark
"The Danes have a word that's hard to translate, and no foreigner can hope to pronounce, but it's as Danish as pork roast and cold beer. It's hygge, and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. The closest we can come phonetically is "hooga," if we try forming our mouths for "ee" while saying "oo." It doesn’t translate directly into any other language but we can illustrate it in action."
hygge  hyggelig  denmark  culture  copenhagen  words  meaning  definitions  language  danish  coziness  tranquility  peacefullness  definition  comfort  peacefulness 
february 2010 by robertogreco
hackwriters.com - Hyggelig - Denmark in a word - Roger Smith
"As it turned out, the peculiar difficulty of pronouncing this word (for me), the very tenseness of its articulation, belied the meaning in a curious way. That meaning involved a lack of tenseness, a determined relaxation. Dictionaries give "comfortable," "snug," "cozy," "homelike," "accommodating." "Yes," Kaja said. "It means cozy. But that’s only part of it. We want things to be hyggelig whether they are or not. We want it so much it has become nearly subconscious. So we call something hyggelig with intention sometimes and sometimes without meaning much at all, really."
words  denmark  danish  hygge  coziness  tranquility  peacefullness  hyggelig  definition  meaning  comfort  peacefulness 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Culture of Denmark - Wikipedia [points to the section on Hygge]
"One of the fundamental aspects of Danish culture is "hygge", which, although translated as "coziness" is more akin to "tranquility". Hygge is a complete absence of anything annoying, irritating, or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle, and soothing things. Hygge is often associated with family and close friends. Christmas time when loved ones sit close together with candles lit on a cold rainy night is "hygge", as is grilling a pølse (Danish sausage) on a long summer evening. These examples, although they do not precisely define "hygge", can give an English speaker an idea of a deeply valued traditional concept of Danish culture."
words  denmark  danish  hygge  coziness  tranquility  peacefullness  hyggelig  definition  meaning  comfort  peacefulness 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Joe Moran's blog: Banging the drum for boredom
"Boredom is a modern notion: if our ancestors suffered from it, they didn’t call it boredom. The verb “to bore” was first used in the late 18th century, while the noun “boredom” dates only from the mid-19th century. By then, it was often seen as an illness … Patricia Meyer Spacks traces a shift from 18th-century notions of boredom, which saw it as an individual’s personal responsibility or moral failing, to more modern notions which situated the sources of boredom outside the self. … Boredom was one way of making sense of modernity: the repetitiveness of work, the monotony of bureaucracy, the regimented time of clocks and timetables. Boredom was also the luxury of people whose lives had become relatively comfortable. … begin to notice this commonplace, everyday world that we normally regard as unworthy of our attention … [and] We might even find boredom quite interesting."
via:preoccupations  language  history  boredom  modernity  repetition  bureaucracy  time  comfort 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Futurist Richard Watson's predictions for 2010 - Speakers Corner
"Constant partial stupidity ... Digital isolation ... Hunger for shared experiences ... Flight to the physical ... Expecting less ... Conspicuous non-consumption ... Unsupervised adults ... Localism ... Re-sourcing ... Fear fatigue" + "Ten things on the way out: Dining rooms, Letter writing on paper, Paper statements and bills, Optimism about the future, Individual responsibility, Intimacy, Humility, Concentration, Retirement, Privacy"
future  libraries  predictions  2010  richardwatson  fear  human  multitasking  conspicuousconsumption  consumption  frugality  outsourcing  localism  isolation  social  twitter  sharedexperience  physical  books  distraction  attention  non-consumption  postconsumerism  re-sourcing  paper  optimism  responsibility  safety  health  comfort  greed  loneliness  via:TheLibrarianEdge 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Building a brand « Re-educate
"When I talk to parents about school, they all agree that there are problems. That’s not the hard part. The hard part is convincing them to do something about it. Because really, most people just want to fit in.
lcproject  change  parenting  tcsnmy  schools  schooling  entrepreneurship  speaking  marketing  administration  leadership  gamechanging  comfort  fittingin  branding 
november 2009 by robertogreco
“Willing to Be Disturbed” Margeret Wheatly [.pdf]
"As we work together to restore hope to the future, we need to include a new and strange ally—our willingness to be disturbed. Our willingness to have our beliefs and ideas challenged by what others think. No one person or perspective can give us the answers we need to the problems of today. Paradoxically, we can only find those answers by admitting we don’t know. We have to be willing to let go of our certainty and expect ourselves to be confused for a time. We weren’t trained to admit we don’t know. Most of us were taught to sound certain and confident, to state our opinion as if it were true. We haven’t been rewarded for being confused. Or for asking more questions rather than giving quick answers. We’ve also spent many years listening to others mainly to determine whether we agree with them or not. We don’t have time or interest to sit and listen to those who think differently than we do."

[via: http://weblogg-ed.com/2009/willing-to-be-disturbed/ ]
change  disruption  innovation  learning  confidence  knowledge  society  future  opinions  perspective  tcsnmy  curiosity  comfort  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  filetype:pdf  media:document 
august 2009 by robertogreco
neo-nomad - HOmeTEL - "A neo-nomad scenario developed in my thesis..."
"...Neo-nomads embody spaces remotely. Via the Internet they customize their hotel room in advance, bringing in the complementary piece of home, the last piece of the “home” puzzle, with them, their luggage, and transitional objects."

[related: http://www.flickr.com/photos/studies_and_observations/63415776/ ]
travel  homes  hotels  neo-nomads  nomads  yasmineabbas  space  identity  comfort  objects 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Wired News - AP News: Study Finds Dogs, Robots Cheer Elderly
"Robotic competition is nipping at [dogs'] heels in the man's-best-friend department...study by Saint Louis U found lovable pooch named Sparky & robotic dog AIBO, were about equally effective at relieving loneliness of nursing home residents"
robots  dogs  animals  loneliness  elderly  technology  society  robotics  health  comfort 
march 2008 by robertogreco
ballpark.ch / blog || Real life socialization
"Socialization is about something else, much richer, much more human, much less controllable or “narrowable” than what we do online...about getting confronted to the unexpected...being destabilized, ...being out of your comfort zone."
comfort  yearoff  social  socialsoftware  socialnetworks  life  relationships  experience  cv  gamechanging 
may 2007 by robertogreco
ButtUgly: Main_blogentry_150507_3: Local minima theory
"people tend to get stuck in a local minimum: they find their comfort zone, and stay there. Many...never bother to take the extra effort needed to climb out...and see if there would be a better "local minimum"
travel  glvo  work  geography  life  comfort  yearoff  psychology  cv  via:blackbeltjones  gamechanging  mattjones 
may 2007 by robertogreco
A Comfortable Truth - Edutopia [April 2007]
"Should schools be comfortable, and if so, why? What follows are eight truths that can go a long way toward settling an argument that probably should have been arbitrated long ago."
schools  design  schooldesign  comfort  lcproject  education  learning  children 
march 2007 by robertogreco

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