In the Pocket: Loose Change #1
On Plans, Planning and Paradox // On Tracing Quotations // On Being Human
This “In the Pocket” represents the first in what might likely be a series of random somehow connected goodness that I’ll share in short-form bits.
On Plans, Planning and Paradox
In honor of his birthday today October 14th, this quote from Former U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower scratches all the paradoxical itches:
This resonates on so many levels, particularly as it relates to this initiative you’re reading, or any such project or life dream. It’s product vs process.
The product of a planning process for any endeavor usually contains biases and fallacies and are undercut by events and aspects that could not be foretold. But the process of thinking things through, of slowing down to probe a thing is invaluable regardless.
A paradox like this engages the mind like an unusual exercise gets at a little-worked muscle. In the face of such a statement I find myself, in a flash, forging my way towards the logic of the twist but also looking for a failure within it, if one exists. A worthy dose of calisthenics.
On Tracing Quotations
A corollary to the above. As most of us do, I find my way to a wide array of resources and information outlets and happen upon salient quotations along the way. These are gold. But in the back of my mind, I worry that the quotation in question has found its way to me through a winding game of so-called ‘telephone’ where the source or verbiage or context of the quotation gets skewed along its way.
And while that process, where it occurs, is fine to an extent, in the interest of assuring the product and securing it into the right frame here, it’s good to have a sensemaking double-check, such as Quote Investigator, an outstanding resource run by a Johns Hopkins computer scientist. He seeks the truth behind famous and infamous quotations.
On Being Human
Speaking of quotations, the other day I listened to the inimitable On Being with Krista Tippet interview with poet Jericho Brown, whose book The Tradition won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize. The whole episode is a beauty and a balm, and Jericho Brown is just a boundless joy to listen to. This quote hit me in the feels.
I think poetry evolved to save us from ourselves. It questions our understanding of what it means to be human and, in the process, deepens our humanity. History teaches us — and the Daily News reminds us — how easily we forget what it means to be human.
It left me with the question that I’ll leave with you:
What else saves us from ourselves? What else reminds us what it means to be human?
Thanks and have a great day.
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I love this question: what reminds us what it means to be human?
I have observed that being "alone" in nature is this paradoxical experience which persuades us of our connectedness to "the other (that which is not us)." It reminds us that to be human is not a solitary affair but rather an experience that is bound to a community that extends far beyond other humans.
Another interesting paradox: silence as a profound way to connect with other humans. Although language has been this extraordinary tool for societal engagement and self actualization, it is so limiting in many ways. We use words to try and convey a feeling that sometimes a glance or a touch can express a thousand times over.