Which is more important? Being cool, winning, and engaging in consensus reality with other winners? Or catching a glimpse of something miraculous, unforeseen, strange or uncanny, full of chance and possibility?
“Yes, my consuming desire is to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, barroom regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all this is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always supposedly in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night…”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
“Morality isn’t just about stealing and killing and honesty, it’s often about menstruation, and food, and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses.” –Jonathan Haidt
Jonathan Haidt’s research into disgust and politics is fascinating. For example, many conservatives are disgusted by the ideal of gay sex and are therefore against gay marriage. Libertarians tend to have the lowest levels of disgust. I saw a TED talk of his in which he said that most people would find it disgusting to contemplate, but college students are able to consider “eating their pets”. College is an environment designed to encourage openness — the ability to think of things in novel ways, and entertain unconventional beliefs. Here’s a lecture by Haidt on Reason that’s a good intro to some of his ideas.
At some point we’ll have a comprehensive directory on Findery, but for now, I’m sticking this here.
A Love Letter to Philadelphia
Philadelphia Open Plaques
Yo Philadelphia Sports
Stay Curious Philadelphia
Street Art Philadelphia
History Happened Here: Philly
There are so many great notemaps in Findery. Here are some:
Lost Angeles. Weird, interesting, and off the beaten path in Los Angeles, and isn’t Los Angeles already weird and interesting? Next trip to Los Angeles, this is the one I am going to follow.
Changing New York. An amazing walk through history, using Berenice Abbott’s photographs as a jumping off point. Including McSorley’s Ale House, which is still in operation.
Mermaids are Real. One of my own notemaps, which collects all the notes about mermaids on Findery, for a worldwide Mermaid tour! There’s a bar in Sacramento where a real mermaid swims in a tank behind the bar.
Leslie Jamison writes about the body in The Atlantic, and in the article this quote from Virginia Woolf’s Essay “On Being Ill:
Literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind; that the body is a sheet of plain glass through which the soul looks straight and clear, and, save for one or two passions such as desire and greed, is null, and negligible and non-existent. On the contrary, the very opposite is true. All day, all night, the body intervenes…
I had never understood why the farmlands of the US had been settled in such a sparse and isolated way, whereas the farming communities in Europe seemed closer, more convivial, centered around village life. It turns out it was mostly due to the Homestead Act, passed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, which granted land to homesteaders, 160 acres each, from unappropriated federal land.
I’ve been reading the autobiography of Loren Eiseley, “All the Strange Hours”, and found the explanation. In it he wrote:
The medical observers of the early century had a good deal to say about the life of women in soddies, on lonely homesteads, and what it could do to them. Americans made a mistake they have been paying for ever since. In response to the Homestead Act they have been strung out at nighttime into a vast solitude rather than linked to the old-world village with its adjoining plots.