Posts tagged "Jane Austen"

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

1. Think positive! The New Yorker this week pushes back against the “think I can” trend, famously espoused by Thomas the Train – and even in adult media, too. While it’s certain that confidence often sometimes helps (Seahawks defensiveback Richard Sherman self-imputed the title “best cornerback in the league” and subsequently grew into it), it tends to break down in the long run, ht TB:

According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images,…

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Another Week Ends: Townes Van Zandt, Hyper-Parents and Filial Competence, Jane Austen, Visible Signs (That You Were A Youth Group Kid), Girls, Christian Athletes, Jonah Lehrer Proves Himself, More Ash Wednesday, St. Paul, and Beck

Another Week Ends: Townes Van Zandt, Hyper-Parents and Filial Competence, Jane Austen, Visible Signs (That You Were A Youth Group Kid), Girls, Christian Athletes, Jonah Lehrer Proves Himself, More Ash Wednesday, St. Paul, and Beck

1. Over at Internet Monk, a thoughtful Ash Wednesday article explores singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt’s legacy in relation to the way Americans process death, depression, powerlessness, or other ‘negative’ emotions:

Of course we live in a culture of death — because we are human, and human beings die, and human beings often choose ways that lead to death rather than life. My question is how we deal with this fact.

…We the people will watch violence and death on our TV screens and computer monitors, but we continue to hide our dying ones away in hospitals and nursing homes. We spend the vast…

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Empathy, Justice and the Science of Story

Empathy, Justice and the Science of Story

An interesting preview in the Boston Globe of Jonathan Gottschall’s new book, Graphing Jane Austen, which surveys some recent studies looking at the role fiction plays in society, most of which seek to determine why/how stories are ‘good’ for us. Which sounds a bit lame, I know, especially given how much the conclusions depend on what stories are being told (and how). The studies in question don’t tell us anything we don’t already know – storytelling appears to have two primary ‘benefits': it instills empathy for others and can act as “social glue’ by promoting shared values. The values themselves…

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