September 18, 2014
"Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty."

— Jon Krakauer (via katelouisepowell)

(via natenhagen)

September 17, 2014

An Egyptian burial chamber mural, from the tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum dating to around 2400 BC, showing wrestlers in action.

September 15, 2014
"

How do some cultures motivate superb achievement while others leave potential geniuses uninspired and inert? In his study of the ancient Greeks, Nietzsche imagined Plato declaring, ‘Only the contest made me a poet, a sophist, an orator!’ Competition, Nietzsche observed, was central to that culture, where rivalries were encouraged not only in sports but also in oratory, drama, music, and politics. Other Greek historians concur. ‘The ancient Greeks turned competition into an institution on which they based the education of their citizens,’ explains Olympic official Cleanthis Palaeologos. ‘They presented the victory at major games as a godsent blessing, a joy and pride for the city, its fame and prestige, and they recognised the victors as men worthy of respect and honoured them with great distinctions.’

The ambitious goal was to assist as many Greek citizens as possible (though not women or slaves) in their aim to attain the human ideal. To achieve this, public spaces and customs were designed to encourage public education, mentorship, achievement, and the competitive spirit known as ‘agonism.’ The key emphasis was on contest as a means, not an end. ‘Agonism implies a deep respect and concern for the other,’ explains political theorist Samuel Chambers. ‘Indeed, the Greek agon refers most directly to an athletic contest oriented not merely toward victory or defeat, but emphasizing the importance of the struggle itself … marked not merely by conflict but just as importantly, by mutual admiration.’

With this ideal, the Greeks planted a seed that has sprouted from time to time in cultures enlightened enough to understand its promise. Dutch historian Johan Huizinga suggests that without the agonistic spirit, human beings would simply be incapable of rising above mediocrity.

Which brings us back to the Italian Renaissance, one of the most concentrated periods of creativity in history. Not coincidentally, it was also an era of planned cultural combat in which patrons and artists constantly competed against one another for the best ideas and works. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Correggio were all open-eyed adversaries who learned from, mimicked, advised, critiqued, annoyed, one-upped, and desperately admired one another. Aesthetic rivalries also flourished on a political level. Interspersed between actual life-and-death battles, cities fought artistic wars, competing against one another for the finest public monuments. As soon as Florence began to build a new colossal duomo, for example, Siena immediately set out to exceed it.

In fact, the Italian Renaissance actually began with a specific contest, according to Rutgers art historian Rona Goffen. In the year 1400, Florence’s Merchants Guild launched a competition to create grand new doors for its octagonal baptistry. The contest winner, Lorenzo Ghiberti, later reported that seven combattitori had competed for the commission and that ‘to me was conceded the palm of victory.’ After that, such contests gradually became commonplace, and the increasingly competitive arts culture fueled both public interest and artistic achievement. Artists were pitted against one another like gladiators; bruised feelings were as much a part of the scene as religious inspiration and bold new ideas.

In 1503, Piero Soderini, the newly elected chief executive of the Republic of Florence, commissioned Leonardo and Michelangelo to work literally side by side on the walls of the council hall. Da Vinci was asked to depict the battle of Anghiari, Michelangelo the battle of Cascina. The rivalry was exploited to the fullest: the contract specified that they were to be ‘in competition with each other.’ The public was expected to enjoy the spectacle. ‘Artists have always borrowed from each other,’ writes Goffen. ‘What is different about the sixteenth century is that the great masters … often knew each other’s major patrons; and they knew each other, sometimes as friends and colleagues, sometimes as enemies—but always as rivals.’

"

David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us

6:00pm
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 15, 2014
Hopefully Mr Jordan’s other examples are correct. :)

Hopefully Mr Jordan’s other examples are correct. :)

4:55pm
Filed under: reply 
September 15, 2014
"

Conquest is the overcoming of an evil habit, the rising superior to opposition and attack, the spiritual exaltation that comes from resisting the invasion of the grovelling material side of life. Sometimes when you are worn and weak with the struggle; when it seems that justice is a dream, that honesty and loyalty and truth count for nothing, that the devil is the only good paymaster; when hope grows dim and flickers, then is the time when you must tower in the great sublime faith that Right must prevail, then must you throttle these imps of doubt and despair, you must master yourself to master the world around you. This is Conquest; this is what counts.

Even a log can float with the current, it takes a man to fight sturdily against an opposing tide that would sweep his craft out of its course. When the jealousies, the petty intrigues and the meannesses and the misunderstandings in life assail you,―rise above them. Be like a lighthouse that illumines and beautifies the snarling, swashing waves of the storm that threaten it, that seek to undermine it and seek to wash over it. This is Conquest.

When the chance to win fame, wealth, success or the attainment of your heart’s desire, by sacrifice of honor or principle, comes to you and it does not affect you long enough even to seem a temptation, you have been the victor. That too is Conquest. And Conquest is part of the royal road to Happiness.

"

William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

12:00pm
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 15, 2014
"

One of the most weakening elements in the individual make-up is the surrender to the oncoming of years. Man’s self-confidence dims and dies in the fear of age. ‘This new thought,’ he says of some suggestion tending to higher development, ‘is good; it is what we need. I am glad to have it for my children; I would have been happy to have had some such help when I was at school, but it is too late for me. I am a man advanced in years.’

This is but blind closing of life to wondrous possibilities. The knell of lost opportunity is never tolled in this life. It is never too late to recognize truth and to live by it. It requires only greater effort, closer attention, deeper consecration; but the impossible does not exist for the man who is self-confident and is willing to pay the price in time and struggle for his success or development. Later in life, the assessments are heavier in progress, as in life insurance, but that matters not to that mighty self-confidence that will not grow old while knowledge can keep it young.

Socrates, when his hair whitened with the snow of age, learned to play on instruments of music. Cato, at fourscore, began his study of Greek, and the same age saw Plutarch beginning, with the enthusiasm of a boy, his first lessons in Latin. The Character of Man, Theophrastus’ greatest work, was begun on his ninetieth birthday. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was the work of the poet’s declining years. Ronsard, the father of French poetry, whose sonnets even translation cannot destroy, did not develop his poetic faculty until nearly fifty. Benjamin Franklin at this age had just taken his really first steps of importance in philosophic pursuits. Arnauld, the theologian and sage, translated Josephus in his eightieth year. Winckelmann, one of the most famous writers on classic antiquities, was the son of a shoemaker, and lived in obscurity and ignorance until the prime of life. Hobbes, the English philosopher, published his version of the Odyssey in his eighty-seventh year, and his Iliad one year later. Chevreul, the great French scientist, whose untiring labors in the realm of color have so enriched the world, was busy, keen and active when Death called him, at the age of 103.

These men did not fear age; these few names from the great muster-roll of the famous ones who defied the years, should be voices of hope and heartening to every individual whose courage and confidence is weak. The path of truth, higher living, truer development in every phase of life, is never shut from the individual―until he closes it himself. Let man feel this, believe it and make this faith a real and living factor in his life and there are no limits to his progress. He has but to live his best at all times, and rest calm and untroubled no matter what results come to his efforts. The constant looking backward to what might have been, instead of forward to what may be, is a great weakener of self-confidence. This worry for the old past, this wasted energy, for that which no power in the world can restore, ever lessens the individual’s faith in himself, weakens his efforts to develop himself for the future to the perfection of his possibilities.

"

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

6:00am
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 14, 2014
"

Makedon’s seventeen reasons for Greek success

Some of the reasons mentioned by those who examined Greek culture, then, include, first, democracy, where free speech and public criticism were openly practiced; and a corresponding hatred for tyrannies or one-man-rule of all kinds.

Second, striving for excellence by the public at large. This happened through the internalization over the centuries of the heroic or ‘aristocratic’ ideal by the masses, in the classical sense of ‘aristocratic’ as the rule of the excellent.

Third, a corresponding effort at moral excellence, including not only constantly inquiring which life is worth living, but also people practicing what they preached.

Fourth, ‘fighting graft and corruption’ at all levels, with a corresponding internalization over the centuries of certain basic civic values. For example, even the slightest infraction by someone entrusted with a public office may lead not only to his dismissal, but also to his exile from the city state.

Fifth, trying to overcome personal weaknesses, which may be seen as a corollary to their unusually intense attempts to excel.

Sixth, behaving with the highest integrity even in the absence of immediate supervision.

Seventh, subscribing to the ‘agonistic’ or competitive spirit, mostly through playful contests and competitions.

Eighth, rewarding individuals on the basis of merit, as opposed to wealth, or family or political connections. This led to the birth of the Olympic Games in Greece, which in ancient Greece included not only physical, but also literary, dramatic, and musical contests.

Ninth, instituting education through play.

Tenth, designing a whole city as the school, by building it for personal effort and refinement, than mere protection from the elements.

Eleventh, making public facilities free to the poor, so everyone could abundantly benefit from opportunities for self-development.

Twelfth, inviting young people to adult events, where there were amble opportunities for learning through emulation by the young. In such situations, adults usually acted uprightly in their capacity as role models.

Thirteenth, exercising neighborhood supervision over the young, similar to the supervision exercised in Philippine barangays, except with many more opportunities for the worthy canalization of youthful energy through sports, and artistic and educational contests.

Fourteenth, the institutionalization through art of numerous role models, including lining streets with statues of heroes.

Fifteenth, involving numerous adults in a city-wide network of mentors who were not only unpaid, but considered it their honor to pay themselves for the pedagogical expenses of their proteges.

Sixteenth, subscribing to an informal educational system of expert itinerant teachers, called ‘sophists,’ who provided both an excellent education, and a model of excellence in learning, and were amply rewarded for their professional services.

And seventeenth, placing a priority on public service and philanthropy, as contrasted to personal accumulation of wealth at the expense of the common good. For example, the wealthy were expected to pay a large part of the cost of large public projects.

"

Alexander Makedon, In Search of Excellence: Historical Roots of Greek Culture

6:01pm
  
Filed under: quotes greece greek culture 
September 14, 2014
"A mere theory of life, that remains but a theory, is about as useful to a man, as a gilt-edged menu is to a starving sailor on a raft in mid- ocean. It is irritating but not stimulating. No rule for higher living will help a man in the slightest, until he reach out and appropriate it for himself, until he make it practical in his daily life, until that seed of theory in his mind blossom into a thousand flowers of thought and word and act."

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

12:00pm
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 14, 2014
"

Man to be great must be self-reliant. Though he may not be so in all things, he must be self-reliant in the one in which he would be great. This self-reliance is not the self-sufficiency of conceit. It is daring to stand alone. Be an oak, not a vine. Be ready to give support, but do not crave it; do not be dependent on it.

To develop your true self-reliance, you must see from the very beginning that life is a battle you must fight for yourself,―you must be your own soldier. You cannot buy a substitute, you cannot win a reprieve, you can never be placed on the retired list. The retired list of life is,―death. The world is busy with its own cares, sorrows and joys, and pays little heed to you. There is but one great password to success,―self-reliance.

"

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

6:00am
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 13, 2014
"The man who is not self-reliant is weak, hesitating and doubting in all he does. He fears to take a decisive step, because he dreads failure, because he is waiting for someone to advise him or because he dare not act in accordance with his own best judgment. In his cowardice and his conceit he sees all his non-success due to others. He is ‘not appreciated,’ ‘not recognized,’ he is ‘kept down.’ He feels that in some subtle way ‘society is conspiring against him.’ He grows almost vain as he thinks that no one has had such poverty, such sorrow, such affliction, such failure as have come to him.

The man who is self-reliant seeks ever to discover and conquer the weakness within him that keeps him from the attainment of what he holds dearest; he seeks within himself the power to battle against all outside influences. He realizes that all the greatest men in history, in every phase of human effort, have been those who have had to fight against the odds of sickness, suffering, sorrow. To him, defeat is no more than passing through a tunnel is to a traveller,―he knows he must emerge again into the sunlight."

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

6:01pm
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 13, 2014
"There are men and women whose presence seems to radiate sunshine, cheer and optimism. You feel calmed and rested and restored in a moment to a new and stronger faith in humanity. There are others who focus in an instant all your latent distrust, morbidness and rebellion against life. Without knowing why, you chafe and fret in their presence. You lose your bearings on life and its problems. Your moral compass is disturbed and unsatisfactory. It is made untrue in an instant, as the magnetic needle of a ship is deflected when it passes near great mountains of iron ore.

There are men who float down the stream of life like icebergs,―cold, reserved, unapproachable and self-contained. In their presence you involuntarily draw your wraps closer around you, as you wonder who left the door open. These refrigerated human beings have a most depressing influence on all those who fall under the spell of their radiated chilliness.

But there are other natures, warm, helpful, genial, who are like the Gulf Stream, following their own course, flowing undaunted and undismayed in the ocean of colder waters. Their presence brings warmth and life and the glow of sunshine, the joyous, stimulating breath of spring. There are men who are like malarious swamps,―poisonous, depressing and weakening by their very presence. They make heavy, oppressive and gloomy the atmosphere of their own homes; the sound of the children’s play is stilled, the ripples of laughter are frozen by their presence. They go through life as if each day were a new big funeral, and they were always chief mourners. There are other men who seem like the ocean; they are constantly bracing, stimulating, giving new draughts of tonic life and strength by their very presence."

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

12:00pm
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 13, 2014
"

The first sermon in the world was preached at the Creation. It was a Divine protest against Hurry. It was a Divine object lesson of perfect law, perfect plan, perfect order, perfect method. Six days of work carefully planned, scheduled and completed were followed by,―rest. Whether we accept the story as literal or as figurative, as the account of successive days or of ages comprising millions of years, matters little if we but learn the lesson.

Nature is very un-American. Nature never hurries. Every phase of her working shows plan, calmness, reliability, and the absence of hurry. Hurry always implies lack of definite method, confusion, impatience of slow growth. The Tower of Babel, the world’s first skyscraper, was a failure because of hurry. The workers mistook their arrogant ambition for inspiration. They had too many builders,―and no architect. They thought to make up the lack of a head by a superfluity of hands. This is a characteristic of Hurry. It seeks ever to make energy a substitute for a clearly defined plan,―the result is ever as hopeless as trying to transform a hobby-horse into a real steed by brisk riding.

Hurry is a counterfeit of haste. Haste has an ideal, a distinct aim to be realized by the quickest, direct methods. Haste has a single compass upon which it relies for direction and in harmony with which its course is determined. Hurry says: ‘I must move faster. I will get three compasses; I will have them different; I will be guided by all of them. One of them will probably be right.’ Hurry never realizes that slow, careful foundation work is the quickest in the end.

Hurry is the deathblow to calmness, to dignity, to poise. The old-time courtesy went out when the new-time hurry came in. Hurry is the father of dyspepsia. In the rush of our national life, the bolting of food has become a national vice. The words ‘Quick Lunches’ might properly be placed on thousands of headstones in our cemeteries. Man forgets that he is the only animal that dines; the others merely feed. Why does he abrogate his right to dine and go to the end of the line with the mere feeders? His self-respecting stomach rebels, and expresses its indignation by indigestion. Then man has to go through life with a little bottle of pepsin tablets in his vest-pocket. He is but another victim to this craze for speed. Hurry means the breakdown of the nerves. It is the royal road to nervous prostration.

"

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

6:00am
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 12, 2014
"Globalization is all about wealth. It knows the price of everything and value of nothing. Without borders the world will become - is visibly becoming - a howling desert of traffic fumes, plastic and concrete, where nowhere is home and the only language is money."

— Peter Hitchens (via nineisamagicnumber)

(via vikingmanx)

September 12, 2014
"The man who is calm has his course in life clearly marked on his chart. His hand is ever on the helm. Storm, fog, night, tempest, danger, hidden reefs,―he is ever prepared and ready for them. He is made calm and serene by the realization that in these crises of his voyage he needs a clear mind and a cool head; that he has naught to do but to do each day the best he can by the light he has; that he will never flinch nor falter for a moment; that, though he may have to tack and leave his course for a time, he will never drift, he will get back into the true channel, he will keep ever headed toward his harbor. When he will reach it, how he will reach it, matters not to him. He rests in calmness, knowing he has done his best. If his best seem to be overthrown or overruled, then he must still bow his head,―in calmness. To no man is permitted to know the future of his life, the finality. God commits to man ever only new beginnings, new wisdom, and new days to use the best of his knowledge."

— William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness (1898)

12:00pm
  
Filed under: quotes 
September 12, 2014
"A rule not ultimately backed by the threat of violence is merely a suggestion. States rely on laws enforced by men ready to do violence against lawbreakers. Every tax, every code and every licensing requirement demands an escalating progression of penalties that, in the end, must result in the forcible seizure of property or imprisonment by armed men prepared to do violence in the event of resistance or non–compliance. Every time a soccer mom stands up and demands harsher penalties for drunk driving, or selling cigarettes to minors, or owning a pit bull, or not recycling, she is petitioning the state to use force to impose her will. She is no longer asking nicely. The viability of every family law, gun law, zoning law, traffic law, immigration law, import law, export law and financial regulation depends on both the willingness and wherewithal of the group to exact order by force.

When an environmentalist demands that we ‘save the whales,’ he or she is in effect making the argument that saving the whales is so important that it is worth doing harm to humans who harm whales. The peaceful environmentalist is petitioning the leviathan to authorize the use of violence in the interest of protecting leviathans. If state leaders were to agree and express that it was, indeed, important to ‘save the whales,’ but then decline to penalize those who bring harm to whales, or decline to enforce those penalties under threat of violent police or military action, the expressed sentiment would be a meaningless gesture. Those who wanted to bring harm to whales would feel free to do so, as it is said, with impunity — without punishment.Without action, words are just words. Without violence, laws are just words."

Jack Donovan, Violence is Golden

(Source: zerogate)

6:00am
  
Filed under: quotes 
Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »