Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity

The quote in the title is from Simone Weil.

When I pay attention I am giving my time. It prompts the question: Who, or what, receives my attention?

Therein lies my treasure.

C’est quoi un pote?

Un souffre-douleur, un faire-valoir;

À la vie, à la mort;

Quelqu’un avec qui on aime être, davantage que seul.

L’extrait qui suit  est tiré d’un making of d’un film que j’ai beaucoup aimé. Un truc qui raconte une histoire. Pas de morale, pas de grands messages, une vignette sur la naissance d’une amitié.

 

A subtler, more intangible, but vital kind of moral consensus: Comity

[It] exists in a society to the degree that those enlisted in its contending interests have a basic minimal regard for each other: one party or interest seeks the defeat of an opposing interest on matters of policy, but at the same time seeks to avoid crushing the opposition, denying the legitimacy of its existence or its values, or inflicting upon it extreme and gratuitous humiliations beyond the substance of the gains that are being sought.

The basic humanity of the opposition is not forgotten; civility is not abandoned; the sense that a community life must be carried on after the acerbic issues of the moment have been fought over and won is seldom very far out of mind; an awareness that the opposition will someday be the government is always present

(source)

Thank you Mom!

Cultivate extreme indifference to both praise and blame

John Berryman’s advice to writers:

I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.

Vanity and self-pity are bad for any professional.

h/t to Maria Popova

Of politics and turkey

Frank Bruni in the NYT:

Every year around this time, I read about the fraught partnership of politics and turkey. How can a family survive the Thanksgiving meal with a mix of Democrats and Republicans at the table? What if some of the people voted for Trump and others didn’t? What if some continue to defend him even as others quiver in moral horror?


Well, that’s my family. And we manage just fine.


It’s not that we’re reticent, timid types. Um, we’re Italian. And while that primarily means a ridiculous abundance of food […], it also means a ridiculous abundance of opinions, registered in loud and overlapping voices.


Members of the family get worked up. Members of the family get stressed out. Members of the family even, on rare occasions, remove themselves from an overheated conversation and retreat to a different room — probably the kitchen, for seconds. We’re a ravenous lot.


But we’re a grounded one, too. All of us bear in mind that no division of thought, no partisan split, matters a fraction as much as the experiences that we’ve shared with one another, the support that we’ve lent one another and the compact that we’ve made to march together across the unpredictable years and through this messy world.


All of us, in other words, know where to draw the line. That’s key. Perspective. Proportion. I’m immeasurably thankful for relatives who hold on to those, and I hope that you and your relatives hold on to them, too.


And I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.

Amen!

What makes a fulfilling life

Bertrand Russell on a fulfilling life:

Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.

An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls.

Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.

More here.