Relatability

Carl Sagan always used to say that when he was trying to explain something to someone, he would go back to that time when he didn’t understand it, and then he would retrace his thought steps so that he could make it absolutely clear, and that’s one of the infinite number of things I learned from him.

Ann Druyan

hat/tip to SGU #787. I found an alternative version of the quote here.

John Lewis

Our actions entrench the power of the light on this planet. Every positive thought we pass between us makes room for more light. And if we do more than think, then our actions clear the path for even more light. That is why forgiveness and compassion must become more important principles in public life.

John Lewis

hat/tip to:

brainpickings.org
nytimes.com
ABC NewsBarack Obama’s eulogy for Rep. John Lewis – Jul 30, 2020

Imposter Syndrome

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things.  And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name*. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

Neil Gaiman

hat/tip to Eric Buck

The Meaning of Design

If you don’t stretch you won’t know where the edge is. I was constantly stretching into areas that I didn’t know very much about.

Designers don’t just look, but they see. They don’t just hear, but they listen. And they don’t just touch, but they feel. To design is to attempt to make a world a better place.

Sara Little Turnbull
The Mask – Throughline – May 14, 2020

Fallibility

At first I did blame him. You should say there is no loyalty if someone commits crime, but if someone didn’t, then you should not lie about people. Then one day I was so angry when they told me that a detainee lied about me. When I was tortured, I did not blame them anymore, because I was saying, “Wow. This is one way for Allah to show me that I am a weak person too.”

Mohamedou Slahi

Not weakness. Fallibility. Choosing life over death isn’t a weakness. He lied to save himself. He’s human.

Radiolab – The Other Latif: Episode 4 – February 25, 2020

This is episode four in a series from WNYC and Radiolab. Like most of my long-term listening podcasts, I’ve listened to every episode, even some that aren’t on the current podcast list. Since they don’t link the other episodes in the series, I will link them here.

If the only other person that had my name that I could find on Google had been a detainee at Guantanamo, I would have wanted to understand that RAnthony the way that Latif wants to understand this guy. There is a American football player who uses RAnthony the way I do. I wondered who that guy was who was more popular than me.

In the first four episodes we discover just how little evidence existed for why we took him prisoner in the first place. In episode five we go into the Upside Down (is it a movie reference instead of a Stranger Things reference? I wonder) and discover the other side of Abdul Latif Nassir. What did we do to him? What have we done to him in the eighteen years we have kept him locked up. Locked up without trial. Without charges. Without a justifiable reason other than that we wanted to hide away what we had done to him, and to the other detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

There will be an episode six as well.

Mailed to Freedom

“I felt my eyes swelling as though they would burst from their sockets, and the veins on my temples were dreadfully distended with pressure of blood upon my head,” Brown wrote. “I felt a cold sweat coming over me that seemed to be warning that death was about to terminate my earthly miseries.”

Washington Post – Henry ‘Box’ Brown

…he then turned his escape into an act that he made a fortune with.

Palindrome Verse

Ignore the clickbaity header and footer if you can. Just experience the beauty of the verse.

Danielle Curtis: I Am Broken

On days when you feel that you can't go on, listen to this:by Roc Solid Foundation

Posted by The Daily Goalcast on Friday, October 5, 2018
The Daily Goalcast E141 – Danielle Curtis: I Am Broken

…The shameless promotion represented in the clickbaity come on to watch almost kept me from watching the damn thing. This is why nakedly inspirational material will almost never be found around me. Most of it amounts to a desire for wish fulfillment. Saying “I’m not broken” is easy. Living the best life you can with disabilities is very hard, and continues every day that you get up and start the day again.

RAnt(hony)-ings

Elijah Cummings January 18, 1951 – October 17, 2019

It’s about– adherence to the Constitution. And the American people and the Congress is insisting that he allows us to do our job. Basically what the president has done and the Republicans have done, they’ve joined hands. And the Republicans have been basically not only blocking but become the defense counsel for the president. Okay. But no documents? I mean, come on.

60 Minutes

The House of Representatives will have to soldier on without him now.

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

This poem ran through my head for weeks as I watched my mother slowly fade away. As I watched my dad die. It is the only answer I have.

Dylan Thomas reciting his villanelle ‘Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night’

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953
Copyright © 1997-2002 by The Academy of American Poets

(Yes, I realize that posting the poem here constitutes a probable breach of copyright. The widget that allows for embedding the poem does not function. I would happily have used that function if it worked. It would have been easier.)

Rallying Cry

Poor people across the world. Unite in brotherhood refuse to bear arms against the downtrodden and hopeless from another place, another time. Go peacefully into death if your only other option is to do injustice to those who do not deserve it.

Protectors across the world. Armed and organized people. Recognize your duty to your fellow humans. Do not do injustice to the poor and unlucky who, like you were once, simply cannot escape the life they were born into. Use your might to bring the evil to justice. The evil; those who profit without providing a return benefit, those who take without giving, those with power who want more power for power’s sake. The hoarding wealthy. The commanding despot. Bring them to justice if there is justice. Bring them death if there is no justice. Spread their hoards, their power, across the vast swaths of the poor who could use what the evil merely sit upon.

Finally, for the haves. The powerful. The wealthy. Recognize that your good fortune was not your own doing. That you were lucky as so many others were not. Teach. Nurture. Elevate. Make the world a better place for your having had the luck to be able to provide for others; because without those people you know, you would not have what you have now. Their willingness to follow is what allows you to lead. Understand that if you do not do these things, force will be applied in proportion to your evil nature. We will come for you, eventually.