July 17, 2012

"How strange is the lot of us mortals!"

"Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving." 

- Albert Einstein.

h/t: Andrew Sullivan

July 12, 2012

How to Gather Stories

How to Gather Stories, a piece inspired by my recent work with philanthropic foundation program officers, has just been published at the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog.

Here's an excerpt:
Ask: “Tell me about a time…” By asking about a discrete moment in time, you encourage the sharing of experience and the details and emotion that accompany the recollection.

Ask for superlatives....

We tend to remember the superlative moments in our lives. Probe for those experiences. Ask for heightened emotional moments. Emotion is often referred to as the “glue” of memory. Ask people about moments when they have felt connected, surprised, or touched. Ask for “Aha!” moments of epiphany and for turning points.

You can also share a story of your own—and then be quiet. Sit back, and transfer all your attention to the person with whom you just shared your story. Most likely, you will hear one in return. If necessary, ask: “Does that story remind you of anything?”

You can read the entire short piece here.

July 7, 2012

Ouch! The drink is sweet, but the vessels are prickly.

Pottery by Sabina Diehr, M.D. (click image for larger version, or see zoom below).

July 3, 2012


At the Barns of Wolf Trap tonight, when Leporello sang the aria "Madamina, il catalogo รจ questo'" (also known as "The Catalogue Aria"), listing Don Giovanni's conquests ("In Italy, 640 / In Germany, 231 / 100 in France; in Turkey, 91 / But in Spain, already 1003"), he read not from a book, but from an iPad — while the data were digitally projected onto tall scrim panels.

Don Giovanni's iPad can be seen at the 0:30" mark in this video.

And here's a video of the aria (from a different production) with English subtitles.

July 1, 2012

Some good advice from Karen Amstrong.

"There are times when you have to speak out against injustice or cruelty. But if you speak — and this is what Gandhi said — in order to punish or wound, you will do more harm than good. The Dalai Lama said that to condemn injustice with hatred in your voice will make the injustice worse. ... So it does no good to attack viciously. The thing to do is not to rise to the bait."
-from an interview with Karen Armstrong in the June issue of the Believer magazine.


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