What I learned last week (#119): go positive and go first

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Quote (excerpt?) I enjoyed:

Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed.

Maya Angelou

Real knowledge is knowledge that you can use:

A universal lesson that transcends medical education. Read widely and regularly, even in short intervals.

William Osler was one of the founding physicians of John Hopkins Medicine, creator of the hospital residency system, inventor of much of the hands-on medical pedagogy still used in medical schools today, and one of the most famous doctors of his day. On the final page of Aequanimitas, a collection of Osler’s lectures and orations published in 1904, is a list of books that Osler believes should be on every medical student’s bookshelf. He suggests that while in medical school young doctors-to-be should spend the last 30 minutes of their night reading from this chosen library.

This is the list:

The Old and New Testaments



Plutarch’s Lives

Marcus Aurelius


Religio Medici

Don Quixote


Oliver Wendell Holmes—Breakfast Table series.

Also, carefully guard and filter what you put into your brain.

Osler was practical minded: he had these words stenciled in in every one of his medical textbooks at John Hopkins:

The knowledge which a man can use is the only real knowledge, the only knowledge which has life and growth in it and converts itself into practical power. The rest hangs like dust about the brain or dries like rain drops off the stones.[2]

Read For God and Progress: Notes On Training the Medical Mind on scholars-stage.blogspot.com

Go positive and go first, and be constant in doing it:

The audio quality is kind of crap, but this was surprisingly great.

So I discovered that on the Internet there were twelve years of Discover magazine articles available in the archives. So I printed out twelve years times twelve months of these interviews. I had 144 of these interviews. And I put them in these big three-ring binders. Filled up three big binders. And for the next six months I went to the coffee shop for an hour or two every morning and I read these. And I read them index fund style, which means I read them all. I didn’t pick and choose. This is the universe, and I’m going to own the whole universe. I read every single one. Now I will tell you that out of 144 articles, if I’d have been selecting my reading material, I probably would have read about fourteen of them. And the other 130? I would never in a million years read six pages on nanoparticles. Guess what I had at the end of six months? I had inside my head every single big idea from every single domain of science and biology. It only took me six months.

Read The Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking on fs.blog

Aleatoric music:

The notion that music can be composed to be played in any order, forward, backward, or by multiple players at different paces at the same time, was something I never thought about before. 🤯

Thanks to Scott for sharing this with me.

The magnitude of your enjoyment will depend on the level of your mindfulness:

In a section of his 1992 classic Peace Is Every Step (public library) titled “Tangerine Meditation,” he observes that if you are offered a freshly picked tangerine, the magnitude of your enjoyment will depend on the level of your mindfulness:

“If you are free of worries and anxiety, you will enjoy [the tangerine] more. If you are possessed by anger or fear, the tangerine may not be very real to you.”

He goes on to share a reality-regrounding mindfulness practice from his work with children that is, like a great children’s book, a miniature masterpiece of philosophy and a psychological salve for any stage of life:

“One day, I offered a number of children a basket filled with tangerines. The basket was passed around, and each child took one tangerine and put it in his or her palm. We each looked at our tangerine, and the children were invited to meditate on its origins. They saw not only their tangerine, but also its mother, the tangerine tree. With some guidance, they began to visualize the blossoms in the sunshine and in the rain. They saw petals falling down and the tiny fruit appear. The sunshine and the rain continued, and the tiny tangerine grew. Now someone has picked it, and the tangerine is here. After seeing this, each child was invited to peel the tangerine slowly, noticing the mist and the fragrance of the tangerine, and then bring it up to his or her mouth and have a mindful bite, in full awareness of the texture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. We ate slowly like that.”

Read Tangerine Meditation: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Simple, Profound Mindfulness Practice to Magnify Your Capacity for Joy on brainpickings.org

I think this is a good place to close the week out:

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.

Edith Sitwell

Stuff I wrote and drew about this week:

Other things I was reminded of, or thankful for, last week:

  • Took most of the week off from my (computer) work for the spring/easter holiday and traded that work for work in the garden, bike rides, and ice cream cones. Fair trade for sure.
  • Went on a date with my daughter on Monday and with my son on Tuesday. Because of lockdown we were pretty limited in terms of what we could do, but at least we got out on our own and each took bike trips and picnics to different locations. They were great outings and I shared some pics here and here.
  • It’s finally felt like spring is actually here and summer is not far off!!
Field with large manor sticking up from behind some trees.
NOT my house/castle in the background 😉

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!

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