Montag, 21. Mai 2018

Personal relationships with beautiful things:

"The connection we make to beauty - music, art, literature, whatever we find beautiful - becomes as powerful in our lives as we let it. For some people this connection carries no power at all, because they do not allow it to develop. For others it means everything. We may sit in a museum in front of a painting for an hour carrying on a kind of conversation with that painting and develop a special relationship with it as we look at it. It is said that Henry Clay Frick, the famous industrialist who put together one of the greatest private collections of art ever assembled, used to get up in the middle of the night and go down and sit alone in one of the large rooms where his old masters hung. He would look at these works and listen to the paintings as they spoke to him silently. One of the paintings was a Rembrandt self-portrait, full of sadness and pain. The image of Henry Clay Frick, a ruler of the world in his day, sitting alone before Rembrandt at midnight speaks to me of how art and beauty can connect with the human spirit as nothing else can. I imagine Rembrandt told Frick things no one else would, and evoked in him feelings nothing else did."

Edward Halowell, Connect

[See also: Personal relationships with ideas, Building Slowness]

Personal relationships with ideas:

"We all think, so we connect with information and ideas somewhat, but we probably know a few people who have really delved deeply into the pleasures of thought."

Edward Hallowell, Connect


"we all connect to information and ideas. For some people it is the central connection in their lives."


"If you nurture your connection to the world of ideas and information, that world will nurture you as you grow older. It will give you pleasure year after year as you look forward to reading a certain journal, or can't wait for the publication of the next book by a certain author, or eagerly await the results of the next experiment in a certain field."


Will man tatsächlich eine "dauerhafte Beziehung" zu den Inhalten eines Buchs oder eines Artikels aufbauen, kommt es wohl zum einen darauf an, den Lesestoff nicht zu durchhasten, zum anderen darauf, bei Gelegenheit den Lesestoff oder die interessanten Stellen des Lesestoffs erneut zu besuchen.

[See also: Personal relationships with beautiful things, Building Slowness]

Sonntag, 20. Mai 2018

James on Attention:

"Geniuses are commonly believed to excel other men in their power of sustained attention. In most of them, it is to be feared, the so-called 'power' is of the passive sort. Their ideas coruscate, every subject branches infinitely before their fertile mind, and so for hours they may be rapt. But it is their genius making them attentive, not their attention making geniuses of them. And, when we come down to the root of the matter, we see that they differ from ordinary men less in the character of their attention than in the nature of the objects upon which it is successively bestowed."

James on Attention:

"The only general pedagogic maxim bearing on attention is that the more interest the child has in advance in the subject, the better he will attend. Induct him therefore in such a way as to knit each new thing on to some acquisition already there; and if possible awaken curiosity, so that the new thing shall seem to come as an answer, or part of an answer, to a question preexisting in his mind."

Learning – theory and practice

Learning – theory and practice, Emil Kirkegaard


Hallowell, Delivered From Distraction:

"In other ways having ADD is like being supercharged all the time. I tell kids it’s like having a race-car brain. Your brain goes faster than the average brain. Your trouble is putting on the brakes. You get one idea and you have to act on it, and then, what do you know, but you’ve got another idea before you’ve finished up with the first one, and so you go for that one, but of course a third idea intercepts the second, and you just have to follow that one, and pretty soon people are calling you disorganized and impulsive and disobedient and defiant and all sorts of impolite words that miss the point completely. Because you’re trying so hard to get it right. It’s just that you have all these invisible vectors pulling you this way and that, which makes it really hard to stay on task."

"I can pay a lot better attention to something when I’m taking a walk or listening to music or even when I’m in a crowded, noisy room than when I’m sitting still and surrounded by silence. God save me from the reading rooms in libraries. These are peaceful havens for most people, but for me they are torture chambers."

"The way I go through a museum is the way some people go through a bargain basement. Some of this, some of that, oh, this one looks nice, but what about that rack over there? I love art, but my way of loving it can make someone think I’m an ignorant Philistine."

"If there is a separate disorder called Can’t Wait in Lines Disorder, I’ve got it."

"Like so many people with ADD, I lack tact. Tact is entirely dependent on the ability to consider your words before uttering them. We ADD types become like the Jim Carrey character in Liar Liar when he can’t lie. I remember in the fifth grade I noticed my math teacher’s hair in a new style and blurted out, 'Mr. Cook, is that a toupee you’re wearing?' I got kicked out of class."

"I’ve since learned how to stifle most of these gaffes, but I can still get into trouble for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time."

"As you might imagine, intimacy can be a problem if you’ve got to be constantly changing the subject, pacing, scratching, and blurting out tactless remarks. My wife has learned not to take my tuning out personally, and she does say that when I’m there, I’m really there. When we first met, she thought I was some kind of a nut, as I would bolt out of restaurants at the end of meals or disappear to another planet during a conversation. She has since grown accustomed to my sudden comings and goings. I am lucky I married her."

"Many of us with ADD crave high-stimulus situations. In my case, I love casinos and horse races. I deal with this passion by not going often, and when I do go, I bring a modest sum that I can afford to lose. And lose I usually do! Obviously, a craving for high stimulation can get a person into trouble, which is why ADD is prevalent among criminals and self-destructive risk-takers. ADD is also often found among so-called type A personalities, as well as among manic-depressives, sociopaths, violent people, drug abusers, and alcoholics."

"But it is also common among creative and intuitive people in all fields, and among highly energetic, interesting, productive people. You can find high stimulation in being a surgeon, for example, or a trial attorney, or an actor, or a pilot, or a trader on the commodities exchange, or working in a newsroom, or in sales, or in being a race-car driver!"

"Usually the positive side of ADD doesn’t get mentioned when people speak about it."

"Suddenly, the radio station is tuned in, the windshield is clear, the windstorm has died down and you can start to build that house of cards. You can start to use all the great plans and ideas you’ve been storing up for years. Now the adult or the child who had been such a problem, such a nudge, such a general pain in the neck to himself and everybody else, starts doing things he’d never been able to do before. He surprises everyone around him. He also surprises himself. I use the male pronoun, but it could just as easily be she."

"People with ADD often have a special 'feel' for life, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters, while others have to reason their way along methodically. This is the person who can’t tell you how he thought of the solution, or where the idea for the invention came from, or why suddenly he produced such a painting never having painted before, or how he knew the shortcut to the answer for the geometry problem. All she can say is she just saw it, she could feel it."

"If the environment insists on rational, linear thinking and “good” behavior all the time, then these people may never develop their intuitive style to the point where they can use it profitably."

"What is the treatment all about? Anything that reduces the static and strengthens the true signal. Just making the diagnosis helps muffle the static of guilt and self-recrimination. Building certain kinds of structure into one’s life—like lists, timetables, and healthy habits of sleep, diet, and exercise—can sharpen mental focus. Working in small spurts rather than long hauls helps. Breaking down tasks into smaller tasks helps."

"Marrying the right person and finding the right job are probably the two most important 'treatments' for adults. And for kids it is most important to get rid of ridicule and fear from home and school and promote big dreams."

"We who have ADD need help and understanding from others. But, then, who doesn’t? We probably need more than the average person, as we can be especially exasperating and difficult. We may make messes wherever we go, but with the right help, those messes can be turned into realms of reason and art."

"So, if you know someone like me—of any age—who’s acting up and daydreaming and forgetting this or that and just not getting with the program, consider ADD before he starts believing all the bad things people are saying about him and it becomes too late."


"So let me describe ADD from my point of view. First of all, I resent the term. Maybe it’s just because I have ADD myself, but it seems to me that if anyone has a disorder, it is the people who plod along paying close attention to every little speck and crumb, every little detail and rule, every minor policy and procedure in every minuscule manual. I think these are the people who have a disorder. I call it Attention Surplus Disorder. They did exactly what they were told as children, told on others who did not, and now make a living doing what they’re told, telling others what to do, and telling on those who don’t."

"As far as I can see, many people who don’t have ADD are charter members of the Society of the Congenitally Boring. And who do you suppose advanced civilization? Who do you suppose comes up with the new ideas today? People with ADD, of course."

"Many metaphors come to mind to describe it. Having ADD is like driving in the rain with bad windshield wipers. The windshield gets smudged and blurred as you’re speeding along, but you don’t slow down. You keep driving, trying your best to see. Why don’t you slow down or, better yet, pull over? That is not the way with ADD. You keep going. Faster is better. It is in your blood (and in your brain)."

ADD and Criminality:

"I dare say that in any prison in this country you would find that 75 or 80 percent of the guys in jail had ADD as a kid. I would just bet it."

Winifred Gallagher