People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. … The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
Our story begins here in the dark, pullulating, dimly illuminated disk: the story as it actually turned out, and an enormous number of other stories that would have come to be had things gone just a little differently; the story of our world and species, but also the story of many other worlds and lifeforms destined never to be. The disk is rippling with possible futures.
Humans and their canine companions both find solace in music. Researchers from the University of Glasgow put on five different playlists for kennel dogs while monitoring their stress. Although reactions differed, the music had a calming effect–particularly soft rock and reggae.
“The Science of Dogs”
In a shaft of sunlight, even when the air is still, you can sometimes see a tribe of dust motes dancing. They move in zigzag paths as if animated, motivated, propelled by some small but earnest purpose.
…the key to improved mental performance of almost any sort is the development of mental structures that make it possible to avoid the limitations of short-term memory and deal effectively with large amounts of information at once.
“Don’t you see? The real magician isn’t the bleary-eyed guy who doesn’t understand a thing; it’s the scientist who has grasped the hidden secrets of the universe.”
“Do you know where the wicked go after death?”
“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.
“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”
“A pit full of fire.”
“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there forever?”
“What must you do to avoid it?”
I deliberated a moment. My answer, when it did come, was objectionable. “I must keep in good health, and not die.”
If you write, you must believe–in the truth and worth of the scrawl, in the ability of the reader to receive and decode the message. No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.
Tactics are often used as a substitute for a strategic approach.
To all of us the thought of heaven is dear–
Why not be sure of it and make it here?
Le Gallienne edition, quoted in The Portable Atheist