A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

Weekly Mind Cleanup

Murray and Mallory grudgingly share my lap while I read

Murray and Mallory grudgingly share my lap while I read

Discoveries from my input this week…

From Articles

A meteor shower of phenomenal articles fell across my mind’s telescopes this week:Read, Kids, Read”
by Frank Bruni (New York Times)
A lively op-ed full of interesting information about research on children and reading

I Don’t Want to Be Right: Why Do People Persist in Believing Things that Just Aren’t True?”
by Maria Konnikova (The New Yorker)
I am so deeply interested in why people believe false things (as I did for so long) that this article couldn’t fail to catch my eye. But it did more than that, happily. It presented important new information, and quite a lot of it (I had to print it out in order to read it well). It also presented a new theory, which is the part that most impressed me.

Based on study results, the theory proposes that people are more broad-minded and open to new information when they are feeling good about themselves and when their self-perceived identities are not being threatened.

I can’t wait to see the studies that will be done on this. It makes sense to me intuitively: there is practical value in speaking diplomatically and positively, rather than presenting bare facts (which evidently seldom change people’s minds) or alienating people by harsh statements.

Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers
by Scott Samuelson (The Atlantic)
This article makes an interesting and personal case for reviving educational emphasis on the liberal arts. In a nutshell: “We don’t intellectually embrace a society where the privileged few get to enjoy the advantages of leisure and wealth while the masses toil on their behalf. Yet that’s what a sell-out of the liberal arts entails.” 

The author ends by citing several examples of his community college students becoming deeply, personally engaged with philosophy: “I once had a janitor compare his mystical experiences with those of the medieval Sufi al-Ghazali’s….A mother who’d authorized for her crippled son a risky surgery that led to his death once asked me with tears in her eyes, ‘Is Kant right that the consequences of an action play no role in its moral worth?'”

How to Be a Better Parent: 3 Counterintuitive Lessons From Science
by Eric Barker (TIME)
An interesting and relevant read for everyone, I think, not just parents

This Interactive Chart Compares the Vocal Ranges of the World’s Greatest Singers
by Samantha Grossman (TIME)
This is just plain cool.

Where to Get the Best Online Grocery Deals
by Techlicious / Fox Van Allen (TIME)
I am definitely checking into these services!

From WordPress Blogs

Posts I especially liked:

Nillu Nasser Stelter, Fiction & Freelance Writer: In Praise of Slowness

A Holistic Journey: Calling All Artists, Thinkers, Writers, Part 2: The Luxury of Art

The Bookshelf of Emily J.: My Top Ten Classic Novels for Teenage Boys

From My Reading

Another excellent quote from Don Quixote:

“‘Haven’t you been at plays where you see kings, emperors, popes; knights, ladies, and other diverse characters? One plays the ruffian, another the trickster, this one the merchant, that one the soldier…And when the play is over and the actors take off their costumes, they’re all equal…
Well, the same thing,’ said don Quixote, ‘that happens in plays happens in life–some are emperors, others popes, and all the characters that there are in a play. But when the end comes, which is when life ends, Death takes away all the clothing that differentiates them and they become equal in the grave.”


5 comments on “Weekly Mind Cleanup

  1. emilievardaman
    May 23, 2014

    Interesting reading this week, Sarrah! I have not yet read the New Yorker article on believing false things, but I heard it discussed on NPR a week or so ago. Fascinating. Think I’ll take a dip into some of the ones you’ve mentioned later today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 23, 2014

      Thanks, Emilie! Yes, that topic is really interesting, and so multi-faceted too—it applies to everything from superstitions to magic tricks to religions and, as this article discussed, to believing false rumors or reports.


  2. Holistic Wayfarer
    May 23, 2014

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dloretimnidian
    May 23, 2014

    As infrormative as it is insightful.
    The more you ruminate on it, the more resonance you find in it.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I’d like to know your thoughts on my short story:



    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 24, 2014

      Thank you! I’ll try to read your story as soon as I get a chance. I’m going camping this weekend (yay!!), so it won’t be right away.


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This entry was posted on May 23, 2014 by in Cat Photos, Mind Cleanups and tagged , , , , .
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