Recent Articles

The body as the yardstick for meaning

| May 8, 2016 | Reply

Mark Johnson (of “Metaphors we live By,” written with George Lakoff) gave this excellent talk destroying the notion that meaning is something ethereal and disembodied. Instead, the body is the yardstick for meaning. This talk turns much of traditional epistemology upside down.

Johnson opens the talk with a Billy Collins talk titled “Purity.”

Read More

The ways in which it is expensive to be poor

| May 6, 2016 | 1 Reply

People who are poor get ripped off in many ways that people with money would never tolerate. That is the point of this article at Alternate, 8 Ways Being Poor is Wildly Expensive in America. The sharply higher costs of having a place to live, food to eat and a means of getting around are merely the first 3 of the 8.

Read More

Quotes on dangers of materialism

| May 5, 2016 | 1 Reply

I offer these quotes as a hypocrite who strives to live less in the world of things.  I found many of these on a site called Tentmaker.

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. –Thoreau 

Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment. –Mark Twain

An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit. –Pliny the Younger

Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.— Thoreau

Possessions are usually diminished by possession. –Nietzsche

The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury. –Charlie Chaplin

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. –Thoreau

The man who pets a lion may tame it, but the man who coddles the body makes it ravenous.– John Climacus

The most terrible thing about materialism, even more terrible than its proneness to violence, is its boredom, from which sex, alcohol, drugs, all devices for putting out the accusing light of reason and suppressing the unrealizable aspirations of love, offer a prospect of deliverance. –Malcolm Muggeridge

All earthly joy begins pleasantly, but at the end it gnaws and kills. –Thomas a’Kempis

You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled. –Charles Haddon Spurgeon 

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.–Mahatma Gandhi 

Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought of as poor.—Robert Mallett

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. –Jim Elliot

The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world. — B. C. Forbes

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.–D. Elton Trueblood 

Learn to live a life of honest poverty, if you must, and turn to more important matters than transporting gold to your grave. – Credenda

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. — Thoreau

Read More

Mug Shot

| April 20, 2016 | Reply

mug

Unattributed.  Seen on Facebook.

Read More

On being confident – Eric Barker’s research on self-esteem

| April 20, 2016 | Reply

Eric Barker has summarized research on many self-improvement topics, and peppered his summaries with links to the actual research. I’ve taken much of his work to heart and felt like I have become a better person because of it.

His latest post is on self-esteem/confidence, an counter-intuitive topic. In the following excerpt, he points out the danger of artificially boosting self-esteem:

But you’ve read plenty of stuff on these here interwebz about raising self-esteem, right? And that must work. And that must be good. Right? Wrong.

California set up a task force and gave it $250,000 a year to raise children’s self-esteem. They expected this to boost grades and reduce bullying, crime, teen pregnancy and drug abuse. Guess what?
It was a total failure in almost every category.

Reports on the efficacy of California’s self-esteem initiative, for instance, suggest that it was a total failure. Hardly any of the program’s hoped-for outcomes were achieved. Research shows self-esteem doesn’t cause all those good things. It’s just a side effect of success. So artificially boosting it doesn’t work.

In one influential review of the self-esteem literature, it was concluded that high self-esteem actually did not improve academic achievement or job performance or leadership skills or prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, and engaging in early sex. If anything, high self-esteem appears to be the consequence rather than the cause of healthy behaviors.

Actually, let me amend that. It is good at raising something: narcissism. So trying to increase self-esteem doesn’t help people succeed but it can turn them into jerks.

Barker also offers suggestions of what we need instead of artificially boosted self-esteem:

Instead, focus on forgiving yourself when you’re not. [cites to the work of Kristin Neff is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin]:

Self-compassion is not about a judgment or evaluation of self-worth; it’s not about deciding whether or not we’re a good or bad person; it’s just about treating oneself kindly. Treating oneself like one would treat a good friend, with warmth and care and understanding. When self-esteem deserts us, which is when we fail and we make a mistake, self-compassion steps in. Self-compassion recognizes that it’s natural and normal to fail and to make mistakes, and that we’re worthy of kindness even though we’ve done something we regret or didn’t perform as well as we wanted to.

Read More

Better Hosting for DI

| April 4, 2016 | Reply

For many months,It’s been as difficult to write posts as it has been to read posts at Dangerous Intersection. The problem has been with the hosting. I was at two different hosts over the past few years, struggling to get a combination of good speed and good price.

Read More

Google throwing elections?

| March 29, 2016 | Reply

Fascinating and entertaining . . .

Read More

GIF’s representing users’ first sexual experiences

| March 20, 2016 | Reply

The title of this hilarious collection of GIF’s: “Reddit Users Were Asked To Sum Up Their First Sexual Experience With A GIF. The Responses Were Magnificent.”

Read More

Putting more words on the big pile of words

| March 17, 2016 | 1 Reply

I’ve been blogging for 10 years at this website. It started off as a collaboration of authors, which made sense back then, in that it was not as easy to create a blog back then, and a group of authors seemed like better bait than a single author to attract readers.It was a good experience back then, and I really appreciated bouncing ideas off the co-authors through our comments and posts. I explored many ideas that I conceptualize as being under the umbrella of cognitive science. Writing about the writings of others pushed those ideas further into my working knowledge–this was so very much more satisfying than ideas slipping in and out. Before I blogged, ideas didn’t stick, and I didn’t have articles to link to my new articles, making both old and new ideas more accessible.

In short, I was blogging for self-improvement, with the thought that many of the things in which I was interested would also interest some others. As I blogged through the years, the number of daily visitors climbed up to the hundreds and then the thousands (according to a measuring tool I then used called “Webstats”). I was inspired to work ever harder at finding articles that challenged me yet were accessible, or at least I tried to make them accessible. I invested two, three, four or more hours per day reading, dictating, polishing and proofing my articles, some of them running into the thousands of words. It was a really invigorating was to become educated.

And here I am, still blogging, though at a much-reduced pace, but thinking that this website is a familiar and attractive place for me. Especially now that I’ve changed hosts, which has sped up the site considerably, which makes blogging seem almost effortless. And as I sit here writing, at the age of almost 60, I wonder whether what I really have to offer that hasn’t been offered dozens or hundred of times already. And upon writing that, I think I’ve identified my quest – to stay unique in my voice, even if it means writing a lot less. Even if it means “reporting” less and emoting more with my words. Bottom line: I suspect that I will be veering more toward essays and observations, though remaining vigilant regarding others’ articles and creative works.

Well . . . that’s it for now. I will be taking some new steps in some new directions in the coming weeks and months, and seeing how it looks the next day and week.

Read More