Tag Archive: brainpickings


Jung and other picks from brainpickings

Excerpt from What the Psychology of Suicide Prevention Teaches Us About Controlling Our Everyday Worries  

Two surprisingly simple yet effective techniques for ameliorating anxiety. We must gain victory, not by assaulting the walls, but by accepting them, wrote James Gordon Gilkey in his 1934 guide to how not to worry. “Don’t worry about popular opinion … Don’t worry about the past. Don’t worry about the future. … Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you,” F. Scott Fitzgerald advised his young daughter. And yet we do worry — we worry about money, we worry about whether our art is good enough, we worry that we’re all alone in the world, we worry about almost everything. For Kierkegaard, anxiety was the hallmark of the creative mind, but for most of us mere mortals, worries are more of a crippling than a crutch.

In Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception (public library) — which also gave us this fascinating explanation of why time slows down when we’re afraid, speeds up as we age, and gets warped when we’re on vacation — BBC’s Claudia Hammond explores the psychology of mitigating our worries:

Ad Kerkhof is a Dutch clinical psychologist who has worked in the field of suicide prevention for 30 years. He has observed that before attempting suicide people often experience a period of extreme rumination about the future. They sometimes reported that these obsessive thoughts had become so overwhelming that they felt death was the only way to escape. Kerkhof has developed techniques which help suicidal people to reduce this rumination and is now applying the same methods to people who worry on a more everyday basis. He has found that people worry about one topic more than any other — the future, often believing that the more hours they spend contemplating it, the more likely they are to find a solution to their problems. But this isn’t the case. His techniques come from cognitive behavioral therapy and may sound remarkably straightforward, but they are all backed up by trials.

‘My Wheel of Worry’ by Andrew Kuo, depicting his inner worries, arguments, counterarguments, and obsessions in the form of charts and graphs.

Click for details.

Hammond makes appreciative note of the fact that Kerkhof “does not make grand claims for his methods.” Rather, he offers the open disclaimer that his techniques won’t forever banish any and all worrying — but they do offer a promising way to cut down the time we spend worrying. Hammond offers a practical exercise based on the technique:

If you find yourself awake in the middle of night worrying, with thoughts whirling round repeatedly in your head, he has several strategies you can try. This is where imagery comes in useful again. Imagine there’s a box under your bed. This is your worry box. As soon as you spot thoughts that are worries, imagine taking those individual worries, putting them into the box and closing the lid. They are then to remain in the box under the bed until you decide to get them out again. If the worries recur, remind yourself that they are in the box and won’t be attended to until later on. An alternative is to choose a colour and then picture a cloud of that color. Put your worries into the cloud and let it swirl backwards and forwards above your head. Then watch it slowly float up and away, taking the worrying thoughts with it.

…………………………..Instead Kerkhof recommends the opposite. Set aside 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to do nothing but worry about the future. Sit at a table, make a list of all your problems and then think about them. But as soon as the time is up you must stop worrying, and whenever those worries come back into your head remind yourself that you can’t contemplate them again until your next worry time. You have given yourself permission to postpone your worrying until the time of your choice. Remarkably, it can work. It puts you in control.

Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung on Human Personality in Rare BBC Interview

“Man cannot stand a meaningless life.”

………………….Though famously accused of having lost his soul, Jung had a much more heartening view of human nature than Freud and memorably wrote that “the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” On October 22 of 1959, BBC’s Face to Face — an unusual series of pointed, almost interrogative interviews seeking to “unmask public figures” — aired a segment on Jung, included in the 1977 anthology C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters (public library). Eighty-four at the time and still working, he talks to New Statesman editor John Freeman about education, religion, consciousness, human nature, and his temperamental differences with Freud, which sparked his study of personality types. Transcript highlights below.

Echoing Anaïs Nin’s meditation on the fluid self from a decade earlier, Jung confirms that fixed personality is a myth:

Psychological type is nothing static — it changes in the course of life.

He advocates for psychology as the most potent tool for understanding human nature and thus saving humanity from itself:

We need more understanding of human nature, because the only danger that exists is man himself — he is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man — far too little.

But perhaps most timeless and timely of all is the interview’s concluding question, the answer to which arrives at the same conclusion that Viktor Frankl famously did:

FREEMAN: As the world becomes more technically efficient, it seems increasingly necessary for people to behave communally and collectively, now do you think it’s possible that the highest development of man may be to submerge his own individuality in a kind of collective consciousness?

JUNG: That’s hardly possible. I think there will be a reaction — a reaction will set in against this communal dissociation. You know, man doesn’t stand forever, his nullification. Once, there will be a reaction, and I see it setting in, you know, when I think of my patients, they all seek their own existence and to assure their existence against that complete atomization into nothingness or into meaninglessness. Man cannot stand a meaningless life.

Woman

Its “It’s been a while  since i’ve done an excerpt from brainpickings  ,  a  few picks from the interesting website

How Inviting the Unknown Helps Us Know Life More Richly   –

“The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves,” Rilke famously urged. “It is possible to live and NOT know,” Richard Feynman dissented in his memorable meditation on the responsibility of scientists. John Keats called for “negative capability” — that peculiar art of remaining in doubt “without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” Debbie Millman advised to look both ways when lingering at the intersection of the known and the unknown. And yet we continue to grasp for the security of our comfort zones, the affirmation of our areas of expertise, the assurance of our familiar patterns — however badly they may need rewiring.

The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947 (public library) — It is possible I never learned the names of birds in order to discover the bird of peace, the bird of paradise, the bird of the soul, the bird of desire. It is possible I avoided learning the names of composers and their music the better to close my eyes and listen to the mystery of all music as an ocean. It may be I have not learned dates in history in order to reach the essence of timelessness. It may be I never learned geography the better to map my own routes and discover my own lands. The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.

It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.

Maya Angelou on Freedom: A 1973 Conversation with Bill Moyers

by

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”

Well, one works at it, certainly. Being free is as difficult and as perpetual — or rather fighting for one’s freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good jew or a good Moslem or a good Zen Buddhist. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up in the next morning with the job still to be done. So you start all over again.

She addresses the laziness of stereotypes:All you have to do is put a label on somebody. And then you don’t have to deal with the physical fact. You don’t have to wonder if they are waiting for the Easter bunny or love Christmas, or, you know, love their parents and hate small kids and are fearful of dogs. If you say, oh, that’s a junkie, that’s a nigger, that’s a kike, that’s a Jew, that’s a honkie, that’s a — you just — that’s the end of it.

When Moyers asks Angelou what wisdom she’d share with a hypothetical young daughter — a question that would sprout the wonderful Letter to My Daughter more than three decades later — she offers:

I would say you might encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated, ever. In fact, it might even be necessary to confront defeat. It might be necessary, to get over it, all the way through it, and go on. I would teach her to laugh a lot. Laugh a lot at the — and the silliest things and be very, very serious. I’d teach her to love life, I can bet you that.

Moyers asks Angelou how, despite the devastating events of her life, she managed to “stay open to the world, open to hope,” and she reflects:

Well, I think you get to a place where you realize you have nothing to lose. Nothing at all. Then you have no reason to bind yourself. I had no reason to hold on. I found it stupid to hold on, to close myself up and hold within me nothing. So I decided to try everything, to keep myself wide open to human beings, all human beings — seeing them as I understand them to be, not as they wish they were, but as I understand them to be. Very truthfully — not idealistically, but realistically. And seeing that if this person knew better he would do better. That doesn’t mean that I don’t protect myself from his actions, you know.

E from brainpickings

  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/03/anais-nin-on-emotion-and-writing/         Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.

https://i2.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/anaisnindiary4.jpg

  •  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/08/anais-nin-unfamiliar/        Educators do all in their power to prepare you to enjoy reading after college. It is right that you should read according to your temperament, occupations, hobbies, and vocations. But it is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar, unwilling to explore the unfamiliar. In science, we respect the research worker. In literature, we should not always read the books blessed by the majority. This trend is reflected in such absurd announcements as “the death of the novel,” “the last of the romantics,” “the last of the Bohemians,” when we know that these are continuous trends which evolve and merely change form. The suppression of inner patterns in favor of patterns created by society is dangerous to us. Artistic revolt, innovation, experiment should not be met with hostility. They may disturb an established order or an artificial conventionality, but they may rescue us from death in life, from robot life, from boredom, from loss of the self, from enslavement.

  •    http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/24/anais-nin-global-village/  –    on the Dangers of the Internet (1946)    Even more interesting than the striking similarity between what Nin admonishes against and the present dynamics of the internet is the fact that she essentially describes Marshall McLuhan’s seminal concept of the global village… a decade and a half before he coined it.

    The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.

  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/14/how-to-avoid-work/No matter what your age or condition or experience, the sooner you find out what you really want to do and do it better, for that’s the only way anyone can avoid work.
  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/01/anais-nin-journals-paris-vs-new-york/                          Relationships seem impersonal and everyone conceals his secret life, whereas in Paris it was the exciting substance of our talks, intimate revelations and sharing of experience. People’s last concern is with intimacy. No attention is given to friendship and its development. Nothing is done to soften the harshness of life itself. There is much talk about the ‘world,’ about millions, groups, but no warmth between human beings. They persecute subjectivity, which is a sense of inner life; an individual’s concern with growth and self-development is frowned upon. The ivory tower of the artist may be the only stronghold left for human values, cultural treasures, man’s cult of beauty.

Happy Birthday, Agnes Martin: The Iconic Painter on Art, Solitude, and the Secret of Happiness

by

“Doing what you were born to do … That’s the way to be happy.”

Martin makes a case for finding your purpose and doing what you love:There are so many people who don’t know what they want. And I think that, in this world, that’s the only thing you have to know — exactly what you want. … Doing what you were born to do … That’s the way to be happy.

Adding to history’s famous definitions of art and echoing Susan Sontag on music, Martin observes:

Art is responded to with emotion … and the best art is music — that’s the highest form of art. It’s completely abstract, and we make about eight times as much response to music than any of the other arts.

She admonishes against the egocentricity of the artist:

The worst thing you can think about when you’re working is yourself.

Seconding Maira Kalman on the value of the empty brain, Martin professes:

I’m an empty mind. When something comes into it, you can see it.

She echoes Hemingway’s insistence on solitude:

The best things in life happen to you when you’re alone.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/28/richard-dawkins-letter-to-daughter/ – love

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/14/how-to-avoid-work/

The greatest satisfaction you can obtain from life is your pleasure in producing, in your own individual way, something of value to your fellowmen. That is creative living!

Actually, there is only one way in this world to achieve true happiness, and that is to express yourself with all your skill and enthusiasm in a career that appeals to you more than any other. In such a career, you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement. You feel you are making a contribution. It is not work.

No matter what your age or condition or experience, the sooner you find out what you really want to do and do it better, for that’s the only way anyone can avoid work.

How Not To Worry

find this concept somewhat similar to indian philosophy………………….

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/03/18/you-can-master-life-1934

We should make ourselves stop trying to explain our own difficulties. Our first impulse is to try to account for them, figure out why what has happened did happen. Sometimes such an effort is beneficial: more often it is distinctly harmful. It leads to introspection, self-pity, and vain regret; and almost invariably it creates within us a dangerous mood of confusion and despair. Many of life’s hard situations cannot be explained. They can only be endured, mastered, and gradually forgotten. Once we learn this truth, once we resolve to use all our energies managing life rather than trying to explain life, we take the first and most obvious step toward significant accomplishment.

……………………. Gilkey revisits the subject through the lens of aging:

Only as we yield to the inexorable, only as we accept the situations which we find ourselves powerless to change, can we free ourselves from fatal inward tensions, and acquire that inward quietness amid which we can seek — and usually find — ways by which our limitations can be made at least partially endurable.

Why is [this] so difficult for most people? because most of us were told in childhood that the way to conquer a difficulty is to fight it and demolish it. That theory is, of course, the one that should be taught to young people. Many of the difficulties we encounter in youth are not permanent; and the combination of a heroic courage, a resolute will, and a tireless persistence will often — probably usually — break them down. But in later years the essential elements in the situation change. We find in our little world prison-walls which no amount of battering will demolish. Within those walls we must spend our day — spend them happily, or resentfully. Under these new circumstances we must deliberately reverse our youthful technique. We must gain victory, not by assaulting the walls, but by accepting them. Only when this surrender is made can we assure ourselves of inward quietness, and locate the net step on the road to ultimate victory.

nature , musings and hesse

my musings– one of the most  moving reflections on nature i’ve read thus far………………. it was eons ago   ,   that  i  read  hesse’s siddartha ( another one of many gems from thatha’s  collection) ………… this  hesse excerpt  makes  me wanna read it again ………anywayz  this article reiterates the fact   that nature is the best teacher …………if you are willing enough ( silent enough in your head)…………to listen

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/21/hermann-hesse-trees/

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. ………………………….

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

 

 

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/02/11/sylvia-palth-on-life-death-hope-happiness/         * to know that millions of others are unhappy and that life is a gentleman’s agreement to grin and paint your face gay so others will feel they are silly to be unhappy, and try to catch the contagion of joy, while inside so many are dying of bitterness and unfulfillment. *                   the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead.  Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/10/a-private-history-of-happiness/            a refreshing celebration of happiness encrusted not in the bombastic language of our self-help pop psychology culture, but in the quiet humility of the real, the lived, the timeless human experience.

It is extraordinary how powerful real, remembered happiness is, how deep and true its source. Our happiest lived experiences have the power to help us face the real world with all its difficulties. They exercise a power that the advertised, virtual images and phrases of perfection do not possess. Celebrity and consumption melt away at the merest hint of trouble, but real happiness carries us onward toward the next dawn.

In his short memoir circa 1212, Japanese poet and former courier Kamo no Chomei notes the joy of shared serenity in climbing to the top of a hill:

At the foot of the hill stands a wooden hut, which is where the hill’s care-taker resides. With him lives a young child who sometimes comes to visit me. When he has nothing else to do, he joins me for a stroll. he is sixteen and I am sixty; but although our ages are far apart, we take pleasure in the same things. Sometimes we pick grass and berries, or gather yams and parsley. Other times, we go down to the rice paddies at the foot of the hill, and make sheaves of the leftover ears.

On fine days we climb up to the peak; gazing at the distant sky over my old home, we see Mt. Kohata, Fushimi village, Toba and Hatsukashi. Nobody owns this view, and nothing will stop us from enjoying it […] Depending on the season, on the way home we gather cherry blossoms, or look for maple leaves, or snap off bracken, or pick fruit and nuts; some of these I offer to the Buddha, and some I take home with me.


http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/06/07/rip-ray-bradbury-quotes/            Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/12/ted-hughes-inner-child-letter/

The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else  really counts at all.

brainpickings

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/03/15/a-calendar-of-wisdom-tolstoy/

Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know. Among the most necessary knowledge is the knowledge of how to live well, that is, how to produce the least possible evil and the greatest goodness in one’s life. At present, people study useless sciences, but forget to study this, the most important knowledge. (Jean Jaques Rousseau, March 16)

There are two types of ignorance, the pure, natural ignorance into which all people are born, and the ignorance of the so-called wise. You will see that many among those who call themselves scholars do not know real life, and they despise simple people and simple things.(Blaise Pascal, April 18)

There is only one real knowledge: that which helps us to be free. Every other type of knowledge is mere amusement.

(Vishnu Purana, Indian Wisdom)

The way to true knowledge does not go through soft grass covered with flowers. To find it, a person must climb steep mountains.

(Josh Ruskin, September 20)

Read less, study less, but think more.Learn, both from your teachers and from the books which you read, only those things which you really need and which you really want to know…………….A scholar knows many books; a well-educated person has knowledge and skills; an enlightened person understands the meaning and purpose of his life.

We live a senseless life, contrary to the understanding of life by the wisest people of all times. This happens because our young generations are educated in the wrong way—they are taught different sciences but they are not taught the meaning of life.The only real science is the knowledge of how a person should live his life. And this knowledge is open to everyone.

It is better to know less than necessary than to know more than necessary. Do not fear the lack of knowledge, but truly fear unnecessary knowledge which is acquired only to please vanity……………….i think this is  apt  for me

Beware of false knowledge. All evil comes from it.

A thought can advance your life in the right direction only when it answers questions which were asked by your soul. A thought which was first borrowed from someone else and then accepted by your mind and memory does not really much influence your life, and sometimes leads you in the wrong direction. Read less, study less, but think more.          Learn, both from your teachers and from the books which you read, only those things which you really need and which you really want to know.