It is useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased with everything we have done. In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity […] We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting immediate reward, to love without an instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition
This is brilliant.
Not too long ago, we posted a fantastic article giving 4 Lessons in Creativity from John Cleese — make sure to check it out. And for anyone looking to dust off your creative hat, take it a step further and check out this incredibly insightful lecture he gave in 1991.
Guaranteed to make you immediately feel 10 times more creative upon viewing.
In 1970, a Zambia-based nun named Sister Mary Jucunda wrote to Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, then-associate director of science at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in response to his ongoing research into a piloted mission toMars. Specifically, she asked how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on such a project at a time when so many children were starving on Earth.
Stuhlinger soon sent the following letter of explanation to Sister Jucunda, along with a copy of “Earthrise,” the iconic photograph of Earth taken in 1968 by astronaut William Anders, from the Moon (also embedded in the transcript). His thoughtful reply was later published by NASA, and titled, “Why Explore Space?”
The only thing I know for certain,” [Michael] Collins writes, “is that starting a human colony on a second planet will cost much less than the weapons we buy to destroy the first one.
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with assholes.
When I met for lunch with Dr. Phil Zimbardo, the former president of the American Psychological Association, I knew him primarily as the mastermind behind The Stanford Prison Experiment. In the summer of 1971, Zimbardo took healthy Stanford students, gave them roles as either guards or inmates, and placed them in a makeshift prison in the basement of Stanford University. In just days, the prisoners demonstrated symptoms of depression and extreme stress and the guards had become sadistic. The experiment was stopped early. The lesson? As W. Edwards Deming wrote: “A bad system will defeat a good person, every time.” But is the opposite true? I asked Zimbardo, “Can you reverse the Stanford Prison Experiment?”
He answered with a thought experiment referencing the infamous Milgram experiment (where subjects showed such obedience to people in authority that they administered what they believed were fatal electric shocks to patients). Zimbardo, who by an almost unimaginable coincidence went to high school with Stanley Milgram, wondered whether we could conduct a Reverse Milgram Experiment. Could we, through a series of small wins, architect a “slow ascent into goodness, step by step”? And could such an experiment be run at a societal level? We actually already know the answer.
For years, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment in Richmond, Canada ran like any other law enforcement bureaucracy and experienced similar results: recidivism or reoffending rates ran at around 60%, and they were experiencing spiraling rates of youth crime. This forward-thinking Canadian detachment, led by a young, new superintendent, Ward Clapham, challenged the core assumptions of the policing system itself. He noticed that the vast majority of police work was reactive. He asked: “Could we design a system that encouraged people to not commit crime in the first place?” Indeed, their strategic intent was a clever play on words: “Take No Prisoners.”
Their approach was to try to catch youth doing the right things and give them a Positive Ticket. The ticket granted the recipient free entry to the movies or to a local youth center. They gave out an average of 40,000 tickets per year. That is three times the number of negative tickets over the same period. As it turns out, and unbeknownst to Clapham, that ratio (2.9 positive affects to 1 negative affect, to be precise) is called the Losada Line. It is the minimum ratio of positive to negatives that has to exist for a team to flourish. On higher-performing teams (and marriages for that matter) the ratio jumps to 5:1. But does it hold true in policing?
According to Clapham, youth recidivism was reduced from 60% to 8%. Overall crime was reduced by 40%. Youth crime was cut in half. And it cost one-tenth of the traditional judicial system.
You know who’s really bugging me these days. These pro-lifers …
You ever look at their faces? “I’m pro-life!” (Pinches up face.) ”I’m pro-life!” Boy, they look it, don’t they? They just exude joie de vivre. You just want to hang with them and play Trivial Pursuit all night long.
You know what bugs me about them? If you’re so pro-life, do me a favor – don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries. Let’s see how committed you are to this idea. (Mimes the pursed lipped pro-lifers locking arms.)
(As pro-lifer) She can’t come in!
(As confused member of funeral procession) She was 98…she was hit by a bus!
(As pro-lifer) There’s options!
(As confused member of funeral procession) What else can we do? Get her stuffed? What are you talking about she’s dead!
I want to see pro-lifers with crowbars at funerals opening caskets yelling “Get out! She’s not going! We’re pro-life people! There will be no death on this planet!”
Then I’d be really impressed by their mission.
We’re a virus with shoes.
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
The Story of Stuff
Great film, watch it!