A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

Why does reading philosophy hurt my head? Regardless, the effort for this book is worth it, as the hurt head also helps to heal hurt heart. What follows is a varied collection of thoughts on love, its absence, the object and subject of love. Barthes relies heavily on The Sorrows of Young Werther (maybe I can re-read in the original German?) for examples. His toolbox also includes Nietzsche, Racine, Winnicott, Sartre…
Note to self: when you dog-ear almost every page in the book, it’s a good indication that you should own a copy of the book.

I who love… am sedentary, motionless, at hand, in expectation, nailed to the spot, in suspense – like a package in some forgotten corner of a railway station. Amorous absence functions in a single direction, expressed by the one who stays, never by the one who leaves… To speak this absence is from the start to propose that the subject’s place and the other’s place cannot permute; it is to say “I am loved less than I love.”

Sometimes I have no difficulty enduring absence. Then I am “normal”… I behave as a well-weaned subject; I can feed myself… on other things besides the maternal breast. This endured absence is nothing more or less than forgetfulness. I am, intermittently, unfaithful. This is the condition of my survival; for if I did not forget, I should die.

A Greek lesson:

Pothos, desire for the absent being, and Himéros, the more burning desire for the present being.

Someone tells me: this kind of love is not viable. But how can you evaluate viability? Why is the viable a Good Thing? Why is it better to last than to burn?

What I hide by my language, my body utters. I can deliberately mold my message, not my voice… I am a liar (by preterition), not an actor. My body is a stubborn child, my language is a very civilized adult.

… the amorous glue is indissoluble; one must either submit or cut loose: accommodation is impossible (love is neither dialectical nor reformist).

Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words.

The resistance of the wood varies depending on the pale where we drive in the nail: wood is not isotropic. nor am I; I have my “exquisite points.” The map of these points is known to me alone, and it is according to them that I make my way, avoiding or seeking this or that, depending on externally enigmatic counsel; I should like this map of moral acupuncture to be distributed preventively to my new acquaintances (who, moreover, could also utilize it to make me suffer more).

On “I love you” as a phrase:

The word (the word-as-sentence) has a meaning only at the moment I utter it; there is no other information in it but its immediate saying: no reservoir, no armory of meaning. Everything is in the speaking of it: it is a “formula,” but this formula corresponds to no ritual; the situations in which I say I-love-you cannot be classified; I-love-you is irrepressible and unforeseeable… It is neither quite what is uttered (no message is congealed, sorted, mummified within it, ready for dissection) nor quite the uttering itself… We might call it a proffering, which has no scientific place: I-love-you belongs neither in the realm of linguistics nor in that of semiology. Its occasion (the point of departure for speaking it) would be, rather, Music. In the manner of what happens in singing, in the proffering of I-love-you, desire is neither repressed (as in what is uttered) nor recognized (where we did not expect it: as in the uttering itself) but simply: released, as an orgasm. Orgasm is not spoken, but it speaks and it says: I-love-you.

Continue reading “A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments”

The End of the Affair

More deep dish deliciousness from the fiction aisle. Greene seems to be a writer’s writer, starting out the book with the killer first line:

A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

Basic premise is that Maurice Bendrix (the narrator) is writing “a record of hate far more than of love” about Henry Miles (stuffy Parliamentary chap) and his wife Sarah (with whom the author had an affair a few years prior). Henry runs into Maurice one rainy night, and the two share a drink at a pub where Henry admits he is worried about Sarah, hinting that he’d like to have her followed by a detective to figure out what’s going on. Bendrix picks up the thread and runs with it, hiring Mr. Parkis to tail Sarah. Amusingly, Sarah & Maurice reconcile and have lunch for the first time in years, spied on by Mr. Parkis and reported back to Maurice. That snafu straightened out, Parkis finds that Sarah frequents the door of another man, information Bendrix shares with Henry at his club over lunch. Parkis infiltrates a party at the Miles’ and steals Sarah’s diary, which provides a bulk of the book and a window into her perspective.
Sarah is in love with Bendrix, having cut it off with him years ago in response to a prayer for him not to be dead during one of the bombing attacks during WWII. She’s been going to a preacher for advice (mostly to comfort him) for the past year, she catches a cold during that stormy night Henry & Maurice meet for a drink. This cold progressively gets worse, she is too weak to run away with Maurice when he suggests this after reading the truth about how she feels about him in her diary. In the end, she’s dead, and Maurice moves in with Henry to keep him company.
******
Read on the plane from San Francisco to Raleigh, NC.
Recommended by Michelle Richmond

Continue reading “The End of the Affair”

Lush Life

I luxuriated into this 450 pager like slipping into a bath, holding my breath with each page turn, letting the words sweep me away into the world of NYC crime, fast dialog, cop talk, victim confusion, drugs, beatdowns, hopelessness. It is a relief to return to fiction after the wacky world of nutrition, financial, or political non fiction.
Matty the cop and his partner Yolonda are assigned to the shooting death of white boy (Ike) who steps to his young black assailant (Tristan) during a robbery, saying “Not tonight, my man.” Eric Cash, a manager of a local restaurant, and Steve the actor, are the other two with Ike during the mugging. Eric is mistaken by the police as the shooter, after two eye witnesses pin it on him, which subjects him to hours of police grilling, a lockup and quick release once Steve sobers up enough to corroborate Eric’s story. Billy Marcus, Ike’s dad, becomes a central character, disfigured by grief and turned crazed.
*****
Recommended by SuperChen, who is feeding me good books like they’re pancakes hot off the griddle.

Continue reading “Lush Life”

The Awakening

“Remember the children!” gasps her friend immediately after a child birth scene described as “torture” by Edna Pontellier. I figured this to be the turning point, where Edna would re-embrace her own family, lover Robert be damned. Instead, Edna stumbles back to her cottage, sits on her porch processing the events of the night (Robert’s declaration, then being summoned to witness the birth of her friend’s baby) and decides she’s remember the children tomorrow, but tonight is about Robert. She fully expects him to be inside, waiting for her. Instead, she finds a note, “I love you. Good bye – because I love you.”
Let me back up. Mrs. Pontelier is a young, 29 year old wife and mother of two boys, residing in New Orleans during the winter and on the Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer. She has a young male companion, Robert Lebrun, who is excessively devoted to her and who falls in love with her, prompting his fleeing to Mexico so as not to act on his desires.
The story begins on Grand Isle, with a parrot squawking in French and disturbing Mr. Pontellier’s newspaper reading. He is described as a 40ish, glasses-wearing, medium height, slender build and “stooped a little.” Mrs. Pontellier seems rather out of his league, beautiful, quick, frank, engaging. In the beginning, Edna is a bit out of it, responding to her husband’s commands without thinking. Her first act of defiance is the night she refuses to come to bed, preferring to linger in the hammock for hours. Her husband comes out and smokes cigar after cigar after cigar, finally she’s cramped and tired and rises from the hammock, asking him if he won’t come to bed, to which he responds, “After I finish this cigar,” ensuring that he has the upper hand.
Edna lacks maternal instincts, “not a mother-woman” who idolizes their children. “She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them… Their absence was a sort of relief, though she did not admit this, even to herself. It seemed to free her of a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and for which Fate had not fitted her.”
Impulsively, Edna summons Robert to accompany her to church across the bay, but during the service becomes ill and needs fresh air. Robert leads her to a house where she can rest, and she falls into a deep sleep. Upon waking, she is ravenous and devours the meal Robert has scavenged from across the island. They have spent all day together (all the “livelong day”). Robert decides he will leave for Mexico that night to prevent his acting on feelings for Edna.
With Robert gone, Edna continues her transformation at a rapid rate, discontinuing the practice of staying at home on Tuesdays to receive callers, walking about alone in New Orleans until all hours, painting in her atelier, dropping in on Mademoiselle Reisz apartment to listen to the talented pianist play Chopin (I wonder if Kate Chopin was predisposed to like Frederic Chopin’s music?). She finds her voice and begins to use it. Her husband consults a doctor to get to the bottom of her behavioral change, and the doctor observes Edna over dinner, calling her “a beautiful, sleek animal waking up in the sun,” recognizing that she’s clearly in love with someone else.
Mr. Pontellier leaves town for extended business, leaving Edna at “radiant peace” all alone. She views the house in a new light, sitting in each chair and rediscovering each room as if brand new to her. After dinner, she collapses into a chair with Emerson and vows to start anew on a course of improved studies now that her time was completely her own. She paints, she wins money at the racetrack, she decides to move into a small cottage down the street that she can afford on her own without any money from her husband. She orchestrates an elaborate farewell dinner in the big house.
Robert returns from Mexico, stumbles upon Edna in Mdm Reisz’s house. They run into each other a few days later in a quiet corner of the city and renew their acquaintance. Robert confesses his love for her, admitting to a wild dream where he could have her as his wife, and she laughs and says she is no longer her husband’s possession to be given but can give freely of herself. Before they can go any deeper into the conversation, she is swept away to the bedside of her friend giving birth, and Robert escapes with his note. Edna then returns to Grand Isle for one final swim.
Sidenote: books like this make my skin crawl with their 30 page Introduction by some scholar who overanalyzes the descriptions of one particular dinner scene. Reminds me of being back in English Lit classes where the more crap you could spew out your blowhole, the better grade you got. I prefer to consume this book and sit quietly, drinking in the overall texture of the story.
Best vocabulary word to come out of this:
Befurbelowed – to decorate with a ruffle or flounce.

Continue reading “The Awakening”

The Food Revolution

Son of the Baskin-Robbins founder, John Robbins turned his back on the family business, built a cabin on a remote island near Vancouver, started researching nutrition and natural foods. Chalk another book up into the “meat kills people and the environment” column. The American diet’s focus on hamburgers and fries is the opposite of what our bodies need, creating chronic diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, etc.
I feel like I’ve already read about fifty other books just like this. If you’re not already aware that raising meat for food is bad for the environment, and that meat as food is bad for your body, you might enjoy this book. If you already know that eating plants is good for you and the Earth, you can happily skip this one.

Continue reading “The Food Revolution”

Diet for a Small Planet

Breaking news: meat is bad for you, for the planet, for the universe! Meat takes a ton of energy to feed and bring to maturity, making it a net negative for the environment (lots more calories expended to create meat than what meat brings to the table calorie-wise). Lappe shares her personal story of learning about the meat crisis, dumping her husband along the way, moving to Berkeley, and becoming a force behind the meatless movement.
A lot of (too much?) attention is spent hammering home the point that you don’t need to eat meat to get protein. She also includes several recipes for meatless meals.
Readable as a relic from the 1970s, as one of the books that touched off the Eating Better movement.

Continue reading “Diet for a Small Planet”

The Well-Fed Writer

I should probably create a new blog category for “skimmed” instead of “read.” Bowerman gives you 250+ pages on how to become a successful commercial freelance writer, including examples of pitch letters, invoices, follow up emails. Some of the information I retained:
* Make a ton of cold calls at the beginning. 50 a day if possible. Eventually you’ll drum up some business
* Write commercially, like brochures ($750/per) or direct mail pieces.
* You don’t have to be a great writer, just an average writer who does a competent job on time and on budget.
* Write thank you notes for business you’ve completed and been paid for.
* Incorporate a “kill fee” into your contract in case the project stalls, so you at least get something out of it.
* Be able to market the hell out of yourself.
* There are huge benefits to working freelance- tax advantages of deducting travel, home office expenses, freedom in scheduling, working from anywhere.
* Network with other freelancers – for the personal factor of seeing people, plus being able to throw projects to each other.

Continue reading “The Well-Fed Writer”

Ecological history tour of San Francisco

Record hot temperatures followed the nine of us as we biked around San Francisco, listening to Chris Carlsson’s well researched tour of the ecological history of the city.

Starting at CounterPULSE (Mission @ 9th), we looped through alleyways and the wrong-way down streets, stopping in front of the community gardens on Howard (I pass these every day on my commute and never noticed them!) to hear about the Food Conspiracies of the 1970s when people began to care about eating natural unprocessed food direct from farmers. Rainbow Grocery is one of the last remaining results of the Food Conspiracies (ironically, Rainbow was hated by the community in the 70s for its focus on capitalism and making a profit, which is what has kept it around through the last 30+ years), where neighbors would get together and bulk purchase produce from farmers in the Central Valley.
Then to Folsom & Main where the sparkly new highrise luxury apartments were build on shipwrecks and toxic sludge from the mines and gold rush dregs. Then to the original shoreline at Battery and Market, where we stopped to discuss the evils of PG&E and the Raker Act.

Deeper in the FiDi, we learned about the walruses on the old Alaska Commercial Company building (California @ Sansome). Heading out towards North Beach, we stood where the freeway used to allow people to zoom straight from Broadway and Sansome onto the Bay Bridge, learning about the freeway revolt and San Francisco’s rejection of the Federal Highway Plan which would have dropped highways smack dab on top of the city in the 1950s (Terry Francois was the deciding vote against this).
After cooling off in the shade of Telegraph Hill, we heard about illicit dynamiting of the hill and the transformation of the area by Grace Marchant’s garden development. The wild parrots yammered overhead, and then we were off to Pier 39 to ogle the sea lions who co-opted some of the most desired land in the city. Finally, up past Fort Mason then through Chrissy Field to admire the restoration work of the marshes and sand dunes.
Also along for the ride were Eduardo, the Brasilian traveling the world with his bike, and Bryan, editor of SF Streetsblog.
I love Chris’s “Serfs Up” hat:

Eduardo had a sweet bicycle evolution tattoo:

Sugar Blues

There is something to be said for the container a book’s contents come in; mass market paperbacks are degraded in my mind, somehow an indicator of lower quality. So I wasn’t too surprised by the level of discourse in Dufty’s book, as I read the flimsy pulped pages.
He starts out strong, with a personal appeal, noting the meeting he was in with Gloria Swanson who refused the sugared danishes and lumps of sugar in coffee, claiming it to be poison as she tossed her hair back from her fabulously aging face. From Ms. Swanson’s example, the author went on his own journey through the sugar trail, tracking down the origin of all Westernized diseases to the root cause: sugar.
Our brains are sugar addled, we shouldn’t be able to eat sugar and drive our cars. He began to lose me in the haphazard chapters on ancient Greece and Egypt, and then lost me for good when he claimed that the sugar in cigarettes is really what causes cancer. And he made me laugh out loud when he claimed, “Kicking a sugar habit isn’t going to be easy, but it can be lots of fun.” From there he jumps scatterbrained around until finally landing on a chapter with quasi-recipes for soup and rice balls.
More on sugar’s health impact:

Sugar taken every day produces a continuously over-acid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begins.
Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body. Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, buttocks, breasts and thighs.

Sugar should be given up in conjunction with red meat to restore the body’s natural balance. A whole yin/yang thang.
Dufty quotes a 1960s pamphlet The Sugar Story, which aimed to educate customers to the ill-effects of sugar, “Our intention is not to take the pleasure out of anyone’s life but to play a part in upgrading the quality of American food. If enough of us stop buying junk – even the better junk – the food manufacturers will listen.” Forty years later, I survey the American landscape of fat and know that we have not made a dent in speaking with our wallets. We have continued to reach for the junk year in and year out. And manufacturers gladly feed our need.

Continue reading “Sugar Blues”

Bicycle Library

Combining two of my favorite things, this library lets you check out bikes for up to six months. Run by volunteers and donated bikes, it’s a great way for people to get comfortable with the idea of biking before plunking down a couple of hundred bucks for their own ride. $20 deposit and you’re out the door.
Happy Bike to Work Day/Week/Month/Year!

Fly By Night

A lot of things bother me as I read this. I normally bail on a book like this at page 10, but I’m intrigued by this souvenir from the book-sniffing mission on Valencia. And so I plan on reading it all the way through, gathering thoughts on why it’s so wretched and how to prevent my own writing from devolving into this quality.
* Slang. Or more precisely, dated slang. Right out of the gate, first sentence, “you’ve got bats in your belfry.” Other words trapped in amber from that era: louse, scram, sporting proposition, in a real jam, in a spot, fierce (“This is fierce,” he said. The boy nodded dolefully. “I know it. They’re all fierce. The whole place is fierce.”)
* Overuse of adjectives and adverbs. Moodily plodded down, grim, rotten dirty trick, swung angrily about, wrapped in gloomy thought, eyes blazing,
* Mundane comparisions. “Eloise laughed a nasty laugh; cruel. It suggested that as a child she probably stuck pins through live butterflies,” “a room so bleak it looked like the cell of a penitent monk,” “Her eyes, for a second, were like blue water with mist rising over it.”
* Overuse of the same words, over and over. Doleful comes up a lot. There’s also this doozy: “He chuckled again, even more softly, because this chuckle was a tender chuckle, as chuckles go.”
* Just general bad writing: “The Inn of the Sighing Pines is, incredibly, more doleful than its name. Everything about it is perfectly dreadful. In the first place, it is a summer resort. In the second, it is, as its pamphlet says, ultra-refined.”
* Confusing writing during action scenes, not sure who does what to whom.
* Inexplicable details, like the fact that Brett could not have a suitcase with him as he flees town, since he goes directly from the Chin Chin club to a man on the run.
Final thought, inspired by this line: “He seemed to Brett more like someone he might read about in a book than an actual man.” This book seemed to be a practice run for a real story.

Continue reading “Fly By Night”

Disgrace

The guy can write. And the stories he pulls together in this book demonstrate his range of material; the main character goes from a steady date with a Thursday afternoon hooker, to pursuing a student whom he is “mildly smitten” with and who creates a sexual harassment scandal which ousts him from the university, he is then propelled to the hinterlands where his daughter has a farm. Throughout, he is working on a book about Byron’s time in Italy, which morphs into an opera by the end.
Disgrace lurks in many forms in this book, from the university scandal, to the random attack of Lucy and her father on the farm, to the dumping of dogs carcasses into the incinerator (although the professor eases that disgrace by carefully loading them one by one).
In the early chapters, we are privy to the professor’s lectures on Byron and literature. Coetzee uses the scholar character to push the story forward. I liked that interweaving, layering.
This, an exchange between the professor and his student-conquest:

“I’m not so crazy about Wordsworth.”
“You shouldn’t be saying that to me. Wordsworth has been one of my masters.”
It is true. For as long as he can remember, the harmonies of The Prelude have echoed within him.
“Maybe by the end of the course I’ll appreciate him more. Maybe he’ll grow on me.”
“Maybe. But in my experience poetry speaks to you either at first sight or not at all. A flash of revelation and a flash of response. Like lightning. Like falling in love.”

The professor isn’t exactly excited about his students:

He has long since ceased to be surprised at the range of ignorance of his students. Post-Christian, posthistorical, postliterate, they might as well have been hatched from eggs yesterday.

***
Thanks to Kubis for the recommendation.

Continue reading “Disgrace”

Book sniffing on Valencia

It all started as a idea flippantly fired off in email, half-joking; inspired by the movie Ratatouille, we would wander down Valencia Street, blindfolded and identifying used books by smell.

First up, I closed my eyes and inhaled the aroma of the pages. “Eighteenth century, British.” “Are you sure you’re not looking?” he asked, showing me The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
I held up a vintage children’s book to his nose, flipping the pages to maximize the scent. “Pre-1940s. No wait, 1950. American,” he guessed. I showed him the book, a maroon hardcover by Hon Geo W Peck called Peck’s Bad Boy with the Cowboys, with illustrations like “Pa Kicked the Dog” and “The Chief’s Knees Knocked Together”.
Next, he wafted the pages of a paperback towards my upturned nose, eyes closed. Breathing in deeply, I guessed, “1960s, On the Road.” Close. The Noble Savage, a collection of stories in a set of at least 5 volumes, which was edited by Saul Bellow as a literary magazine in the 1960s. He scoured the shelves and bought volumes 1, 3, and 5.
My turn again. I crinkled the plastic covering on the illustrated hardcover of this book, cracking it open and fluttering through the pages. He inhaled, mulled it over. “1953. Definitely.” “Actually, you’re not far off, you’ve transposed the 3 and the 5. 1935,” I corrected, showing him the illustrated cover of Fly By Night, a somewhat racy action book with this on the flap:

Brett Dixon was just the kind of chap who would fall in love with the wrong girl. His father knew it. “Have another cocktail,” he said. “I’m going to startle you. I’m going to make you a sporting proposition. If you accept it, I will back you to the limit. If you won’t I’m through. I mean about money, of course.”

Also interesting was the interior of Fly by Night, where a previous owner pleaded, “And please return. I find that though many of my friends are poor mathematicians, they are nearly all good bookkeepers.”


A map of Florida smelled nothing like coconuts and suntan oil, more like stuffy overcrowded glove compartment. Another children’s book had an interesting title but not much more (A Kitchen is Not a Tree). After ogling the image collage on the walls and poking around the stacks a bit more, we raced off into the night, bicycling madly toward the Makeout Room to wrap up a thoroughly entertaining Wednesday evening.

Food Matters

Ever since Michael Pollan swept onto the scene, a crop of me-too writers arrived to trumpet the same message: Eat less meat, eat more plants, save the environment. Cook more, shop the perimeter of stores, don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients unless you’re making it yourself. Yes, we have an agribusiness problem, but I don’t buy into Bittman’s solution that each of us eating less meat and creating less demand for the stuff will gradually solve this problem. 3,000 farmers benefit from agricultural subsidies of $19 billion. Let’s start by fixing our out of whack legislation propping up the price of corn and soy. If people want to become vegetarians, more power to them.
Best thing I got out of it was Bittman pointing to a Michael Pollan article in the 2003 New York Times Magazine about how we would rather eat than drink, how we used to convert excess grain into alcohol but no longer, now we want sugar.
I also got a bread recipe out of Bittman that turned out very un-breadlike. But maybe that’s beginner’s luck.

Continue reading “Food Matters”

How We Decide

The brain’s inner workings invite many metaphors– Plato’s concept of horses (emotions) and charioteer (reason), or a supercomputer calculating odds and counting cards. Rational thought is not the end-all-be-all of our brains– emotional decisions are a way for us to deal with thousands of minutia feeding into the decision; instinct is build on eons of evolutionary trial and error.
Mistakes aren’t things to be discouraged, but rather cultivated and studied. We don’t learn until we make a mistake. Praising kids for being “smart” as opposed to their “effort” leads them to choose easier paths and avoid challenges; encourages them to avoid learning from mistakes by avoiding mistakes.

Unless you experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong, your brain will never revise its models. Before your neurons can succeed, they must repeatedly fail. There are no shortcuts for this painstaking process. (54)

Commander Riley had a bad feeling about a blip he saw on the radar during the Gulf War, and made the decision to shoot it down. He couldn’t explain his feeling. Researchers later went back and analyzed the data, finally finding that the blip showed up on the radar further away from the shore than the other blips. This was recognized by Riley’s subconscious; a dopamine neuron in his brain was surprised by this blip’s behavior. The cell responded to this surprise by altering its rate of firing, sending an electrical message through the brain to publicize the prediction error.
The placebo effect “depends entirely on the prefrontal cortex, the center of reflective, deliberative thought. When people were told that they’d just received pain-relieving cream, their frontal lobes responded by inhibiting the activity of their emotional brain areas that normally respond to pain. Because people expected to experience less pain, they ended up experiencing less pain.”
“When we’re hungry or tired, the brain is less able to suppress the negative emotions sparked by small annoyances. A bad mood is really just a rundown prefrontal cortex.”
Too much information overwhelms us. Herbert Simon quoted, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” The danger of too much information is that it can interfere with understanding. When the prefrontal cortex is overwhelmed, a person can no longer make sense of the situation.
Mirroring neurons are a small cluster of cells that mirror the movements of other people- if you see someone smile, your mirror neurons light up like you’re smiling. These cells reflect the expressions of everyone else, on your inside. Giacomo Rizzolatti (discoverer of mirror neurons) quoted, “They allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation; by feeling, not by thinking.”
“Once people become socially isolated, they stop simulating the feelings of other people. Their moral intuitions are never turned on. As a result, the inner Machiavelli takes over, and the sense of sympathy is squashed by selfishness.”
“The best way to make sure that you are using your brain properly is to study your brain at work, to listen to the argument inside your head.”
“Why is thinking about thinking so important? It helps us steer clear of stupid errors. You can’t avoid loss aversion unless you know that the mind treats losses differently than gains… The mind is full of flaws, but they can be outsmarted… There is no secret recipe for decision-making. There is only vigilance, the commitment to avoiding those errors that can be avoided.”

Continue reading “How We Decide”