I began today with a little yoga.
Scratch that. (Yes, I did do yoga, but…) I woke up late, to the strident sounds of the geriatric felines, yowling for breakfast and crying in blind confusion like a fussy infant, respectively. My head was fuzzy and I felt like I was being pried from a glorious dream world. I went to bed just a little too late last night, after knitting and baking most of the evening, and drinking just a touch too much wine. Knitting and alcohol are an odd couple, but somehow they seem meant to go hand in hand.
Continue reading “Setting the intention”
Before you diagnose yourself with depression and low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. – William Gibson
An excerpt from the 2005 commencement speech for Kenyon College by David Foster Wallace, on making a conscious choice about how we view the world.
Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible — it just depends on what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important — if you want to operate on your default-setting — then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren’t pointless and annoying. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars — compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.
This concept – the Bystander Effect and the idea of diffusion of responsibility – has always been ever so fascinating to me, in my psychology courses in college, and ever since. Fascinating, and sometimes sad and bewildering, too. And something that has made me strive to be conscious of myself in moments when there is a crowd and someone looks hurt or in need of assistance, so if it is helpful (and desired), I find a way to do something if it’s in my power and capacity to do so, or at least to offer to do so. A little morsel for thought that I am currently savoring: a friend of a friend recently said something along the lines of “I’ve realized that help is only real help when you actually want it.” Continue reading “The Bystander Effect (And Why I Do Not Want to Live in New York City, Anyway)”