ATG’s Thinker Thoughts

Welcome to ATG’s “Thinker Thoughts”, a new initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence. Each week, we’ll post our “Thinker Thoughts”, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!
This week’s Thinker Thoughts come from New York Times‘ David Brooks’ April 11, 2017 column, “This Age of Wonkery“:

People today seem less likely to give themselves intellectual labels or join self-conscious philosophical movements. Young people today seem more likely to have their worldviews shaped by trips they have taken, or causes they have been involved in, or the racial or ethnic or gender identity group they identify with. That’s changed the nature of the American intellectual scene, the way people approach the world and the lives they live.”

…intellectual life was just seen as more central to progress. Intellectuals establish the criteria by which things are measured and goals are set. Intellectuals create the frameworks within which politicians operate. How can you have a plan unless you are given a theory? Intellectuals create the age. Doing that sort of work meant leading the sort of exceptional life that allowed you to emerge from the cave — to see truth squarely and to be fully committed to the cause. Creating a just society was the same thing as transforming yourself into a moral person.”

See our previous Thinker Thoughts on learning from early humans and the importance of generosity of spirit

ATG’s Thinker Thoughts

Welcome to ATG’s “Thinker Thoughts”, a new initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence. Each week, we’ll post our “Thinker Thoughts”, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!
This week’s Thinker Thoughts come from an article in the April 2017 issue of The Atlantic, “Professor Caveman: Why Bill Schindler is teaching college students to live like early humans“, by Richard Schiffman:

 Schindler is keen to correct the popular conception of our ancestors as ignorant cavemen. People today have ‘thoroughly domesticated themselves,’ he told me. Early humans, by contrast, had to be much more inventive, adept at problem-solving, and subtly attuned to changes in the natural environment. Their need to cooperate made them socially connected, as people nowadays are desperate to be…”

Above and beyond its applications to his scholarly work, Schindler says that his mastery of early-human technologies has given him a sense of personal competence. He believes that our overdependence on technologies we don’t fully understand and are incapable of creating is disempowering. ‘The true value of all this is not trying to live a prehistoric life,’ he told me. ‘It’s applying what we learn from the past to address contemporary problems.’ For example: how to be healthy and happy. Ancient peoples faced dangers, he points out, but little routine emotional stress, and few of the chronic illnesses that arise from poor diet and lack of physical activity. They can also teach us a lot about how to interact with the natural world, he says. ‘In the past, when people killed too many animals or overharvested plants, they saw the impact on the world,’ Schindler told me. But today, living apart from nature, we do not see the results of our food and energy choices.'”

ATG’s Thinker Thoughts

Welcome to ATG’s “Thinker Thoughts”, a new initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence. Each week, we’ll post our Thinker Thoughts, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!
This week’s Thinker Thoughts come from the New York Times‘ op-ed, “Check This Box if You’re a Good Person” (April 4, 2017), written by Rebecca Sabky, a former admissions director at Dartmouth College:

Until admissions committees figure out a way to effectively recognize the genuine but intangible personal qualities of applicants, we must rely on little things to make the difference. Sometimes an inappropriate email address is more telling than a personal essay. The way a student acts toward his parents on a campus tour can mean as much as a standardized test score. And, as I learned from that custodian, a sincere character evaluation from someone unexpected will mean more to us than any boilerplate recommendation from a former president or famous golfer…Colleges should foster the growth of individuals who show promise not just in leadership and academics, but also in generosity of spirit.”

Let There Be Light

Genesis 1 commentary

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.” (Genesis 1:1-4)

Light is indeed good as we are reminded in the opening days of March that we will not be held forever frozen in the cold, dark abyss of winter. Around the 7th day of March each year, it begins to dawn on us that Daylight Savings time is just a wisp of wind around the corner and that the extra light will do us “good.” Good because it helps to bring us out of winter’s hibernating stupor and good because it reassures us that there is order in the universe – that we can find consistency and dependability in the rhythmic coming and going of seasons. Read more

For Lillie Belle and All Dogs Great & Small

Dog quotes
Lillie Belle
“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” –Agnes Sligh Turnbull, American Novelist (1888-1982)
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
–Anatole France, French Novelist (1844-1924)

Anyone who has loved and lost a dog will appreciate Lucy Dawson’s sketches in her book, Dogs Rough & Smooth, originally published in 1937.

Dawson (1870-1954) was a popular British illustrator known for her paintings and sketches of a variety of dog breeds and was commissioned by the Royal Family to paint the Queen Mother’s favorite Corgi, Dookie. The book, her second of dog sketches following Dogs As I See Them, was republished in 2016 with a foreword by Susan Orlean, an author of several books including Rin Tin Tin and a contributor to several publications, including the New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine and the New York Times. Read more

In the Beginning…

“In the beginning was Power, intelligent, loving, energising. In the beginning was the Word, supremely capable of mastering and moulding whatever might come into being in the world of matter. In the beginning there were not coldness and darkness: there was Fire.”
–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), French Philosopher & Paleontologist

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

A Memorial Day Salute to Our Fearless Protectors

Memorial Day quotesIn honor of Memorial Day, we salute all of those who courageously gave their lives to protect our great nation and the values it espouses by highlighting the military’s steadfastness, discipline, order, bravery, humility, integrity and respect, reflected in the below excerpts, creed and poems. Happy Memorial Day!

“Virtue & The Soldier’s Soul” (taken from Endowed by Their Creator: A Collection of Historic Military Prayers 1774-Present, 2012)

“Virtue is the ‘animating spirit’ of the American military and is the ‘keynote’ of a Commander’s sworn duty of exemplary behavior, supervision and correction.” Read more

Springing With Flowers

“Earth laughs in flowers.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, 1803-1882

beautiful spring flowers

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”
–William Wordsworth, English poet, 1770-1850

spring quotes

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson Read more

Happy Mother’s Day!

“The ordinarily decent impulses the ordinary man learned at his mother’s knee are our last line of defense against the wickedness of overweening power at home and abroad.”  –John Dos Passos, novelist, 1896-1970

Mother's day quotesThe importance of mothers is beautifully captured in the below excerpt from the book What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Tina Santi Flaherty (2004):

“The memory of our mother never leaves us – the good, the bad, and the ugly. That Jackie Kennedy Onassis was an exceptionally good mother even her harshest detractors readily acknowledge. Motherhood was what mattered most to Jackie. She believed that absolutely nothing came before the welfare of her children. Indeed, she referred to her efforts in raising Caroline and John Jr. as the best thing she’d ever done, saying she wanted to be remembered for that achievement more than for any other. She once remarked, ‘If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.’”