The Collapse of American Parenting

Family doctor and psychologist Leonard Sax explains what we see instead in his book, The Collapse of Parenting:

In American culture today, same-age peers matter more than parents. And parents are reluctant to change the rules—to insist, for example, that time with parents and family is more important than time with same-age peers—because parents are suffering from the “role confusion” described by Elias. They are unsure what authority they ought to have and how to exercise it. As a result, it’s much harder for American parents to teach Fulghum’s Rules to their kids. And the older the child, the more true that is. In one study, the attitude of American teenagers toward their parents was described as “ingratitude seasoned with contempt..”

Everyone Has a Religion, Even the Athiests

Andrew Sullivan writes in New York (magazine,)

Everyone has a religion. It is, in fact, impossible not to have a religion if you are a human being. It’s in our genes and has expressed itself in every culture, in every age. By religion, I mean something quite specific: a way of life that gives meaning, a meaning that cannot really be defended without recourse to some transcendent value, undying ‘Truth,’ or God (or gods.) Even today’s atheists are expressing an attenuated form of religion. Their denial of any God is as absolute as others’ faith in God, and entails just as much a set of values to live by—including, for some, daily rituals like meditation. We are a meaning-seeking species.

Original Innocence

Pema Chodron writes in Awakening Loving Kindness,

When the Buddha taught, he didn’t say that we were bad people or that there was some sin that we had committed—original or otherwise—that made us more ignorant than clear, more harsh that gentle, more closed than open. He taught that there is a kind of innocent misunderstanding that we all share, something that can be turned around, corrected, and seen through, as if we were in a dark room and someone showed us where the light switch was. It isn’t a sin that we are in the dark room. It’s just an innocent situation, but how fortunate that someone shows us where the light switch is. It brightens up our life considerably. We can start to read books, to see one another’s faces, to discover the colors of the walls, to enjoy the little animals that creep in and out of the room.

Pragmatic Buddhism

Patricia Anderson writes in Real or Pretend,

I became enamored of Buddhism when I realized its basic tenet began by saying, essentially, “Life sucks and then you die, so what’s that all about? This was the religion for me. This was a framework I could use to examine my actual experience. Far from the promise of pie-in-a-big-sky afterlife, this was about dealing with the fear that comes when you realize nothing is going to save your ass.

The Legacy of the Lascaux Cave Paintings

Bing’s daily picture featured 12-Oct-2018 featured the Lascaux prehistoric gallery of art:

In the fall of 1940, a group of boys exploring the outdoors in the Dordogne area of southwest France came upon the entrance to a cave—and unwittingly discovered a treasure trove of prehistoric art. The walls of the cave now known as ‘Lascaux’ are covered with hundreds of images—giant drawings of bulls, horses, and humans—created some 17,000 years ago, in the Upper Paleolithic Period. The cave was opened to the public in 1948, but after several years, scientists observed that the artwork was being damaged by carbon dioxide, heat, humidity, and other contaminants produced by an average of 1,200 daily visitors to the cave. To protect the prehistoric masterpieces, the cave has been closed to the public since 1963. Today, the closest you can get is viewing full-scale replicas at the International Centre for Cave Art in nearby Montignac.

Compassion is Our Nature

Jack Kornfield writes in The Wise Heart, Buddhist Psychology for the West:

From the perspective of Buddhist psychology, compassion is natural. It derives from out interconnection, which Buddhism calls “interdependence.” This can readily be seen in the physical world. In the womb, every child is interdependent with its mother’s body. If either of them is sick, the other is affected. In the same way we are interdependent with the body of the earth. The minerals of the soil make up our wheat and our bones, the storm clouds become our drinks and our blood, the oxygen from the trees and forests is the air we breathe. The more consciously we realize this shared destiny, the more compassion arises for the earth itself.

Meeting Expectations Quarter After Quarter

Warren Buffett asserted at the 2005 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting:

Businesses do not meet expectations quarter after quarter and year after year. It just isn’t in the nature of running businesses. And, in our view, people that predict precisely what the future will be are either kidding investors, or they’re kidding themselves, or they’re kidding both. Charlie and I have been around the culture, sometimes on the board, where the ego of the CEO became very involved in meeting predictions which were impossible, really, over time. And everybody in the organization knew, because they were very public about it, what these predictions were and they knew that their CEO was going to look bad if they weren’t met. And that can lead to a lot of bad things.

Doing Less and Being Okay with It

Charlie Munger said at Daily Journal 2019 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting,

We tried to do less. We never had the illusion we could just hire a bunch of bright young people and they would know more than anybody about canned soup and aerospace and utilities and so on and so on and so on. We never had that dream. We never thought we could get really useful information on all subjects like Jim Cramer pretends to have.

And we always realized that if we worked very hard, we can find a few things where we were right. And the few things were enough. And that that was a reasonable expectation. That is a very different way to approach the process.

A Second Handle on Reality

Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe wrote in Hopes and Impediments,

Literature, whether handed down by word of mouth or in print, gives us a second handle on reality, enabling us to encounter in the safe manageable dimensions of make-believe the very same threats to integrity that may assail the psyche in real life; and at the same time proving through the self-discovery which it imparts, a veritable weapon for coping with these threats whether they are found within our problematic and incoherent selves or in the world around us. What better preparation can a people desire as they begin their journey into the strange, revolutionary world of modernization?

Charlie Munger on Being Properly Educated

Charlie Munger said at the Daily Journal Meeting 2019,

My definition of being properly educated is being right when the professor is wrong. Anybody can spit back what the professor tells you. The trick is to know when he’s right and when he’s wrong. That’s the properly educated person.