Tag Archives: psychology

How art changes us

I began to understand art as a kind of black box the reader enters. He enters in one state of mind and exits in another. The writer gets no points just because what’s inside the box bears some linear resemblance … Continue reading

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The Androgyny of Creativity

Woolf believed that the creative mind is androgynous. She was an expert in Elizabethan literature. She loved both the scope and the certainty of the Renaissance mind. Shakespeare, writing his sonnets to boys and women with equal passion, understanding the … Continue reading

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Chekhov on Happiness

In Chekhov’s story “Happiness” (1887), two shepherds talk to an overseer about fabulous treasure buried somewhere in the vast Russian steppe. We recognize the men’s search for treasure as an allegory on the quest for true happiness. The old shepherd … Continue reading

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Trauma Fiction

“Beyond stating the bare facts, trauma cannot speak of itself. If it could, it wouldn’t be trauma. The odd purity of true suffering, in this case, is that it demonstrates nothing.” – Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction (Charles … Continue reading

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The Godliness of Objects

I recently re-read “Talking Forks: Fiction and the Inner Life of Objects,” an essay from Charles Baxter’s book Burning Down The House: Essays on Fiction. To me, the most interesting parts of the essay were when Baxter touched on the religious … Continue reading

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Enlightenment without Ideas

People have the wrong ideas about ideas. They think that, to live right, one needs the correct abstractions, but more often ideas get in the way. In [Chekhov’s] “The Name-Day Party” (1888), a husband given to endless political argument exasperates … Continue reading

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Not for Happiness

  Perhaps the greatest delusion surrounding Buddhist practice and non-secular mindfulness is that they bring happiness. They do not. Both Buddhist practice and non-secular mindfulness, when meaningfully realized, can bring greater awareness, understanding, peace, kindness, and liberation. No one said … Continue reading

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To want, or not to want: the unanswered question.

Yesterday I had a great meeting with one of my Buddhist teachers, a man whose wisdom, guidance, humor, and kindness mean a great deal to me. It’s incredible to spend time with someone so very clear-seeing and un-deluded. After talking … Continue reading

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“Getting Better All The Time”: That most painful of delusions.

Just now, I was practicing Sacred Harp songs for the singing I go to every Thursday, and I felt a sudden burst of annoyed impatience that I can sometimes pick up the music quickly, and then suddenly I won’t be … Continue reading

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