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food-for-thoughtIn Praise of Doodling

HiLoBrow on the magical-ness of doodling and its etymological history.

“In its modern sense, doodling is surrealism and abstract expressionism’s dour bachelor uncle — a workaday, intuitive expression and proof of the conviction that the artist is coextensive with nature. And the power of all art, furthermore, is bound up in our empathetic experience as doodlers; great art returns our doodles to us with a kind of alienated majesty. It was Emerson who said this, referring to the works of great thinkers — in whose complex, polished, and ramified ideas we may discern the traces of our own abandoned musings.”

The Whole Point of Capitalism

The Forbe article sort of praises Michael Moore’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story.  I write “sort of” because I haven’t seen the film yet and it’s not clear what the author agrees with. I suppose this discussion is healthy, but we have to be careful and separate what’s purely ideology (capitalism is fair and egalitarian) from what the economic system actually is.

I think Moore’s a little too flip about how important it is for people to be free to chase their fortunes. Some take Moore’s own financial success as irony. I see it as hopeful. We need more Michael Moores. But we don’t get them in a system where, say, the telecom, television and radio industries are difficult to disrupt because only the largest companies can afford access to a spectrum that’s supposed to be held in the public trust.

via This is Probably an Interesting Blog

Understanding the Anxious Mind

NYT Magazine profiles Jerome Kagan’s research on anxiousness.

The tenuousness of modern life can make anyone feel overwrought. And in societal moments like the one we are in — thousands losing jobs and homes, our futures threatened by everything from diminishing retirement funds to global warming — it often feels as if ours is the Age of Anxiety. But some people, no matter how robust their stock portfolios or how healthy their children, are always mentally preparing for doom. They are just born worriers, their brains forever anticipating the dropping of some dreaded other shoe. For the past 20 years, Kagan and his colleagues have been following hundreds of such people, beginning in infancy, to see what happens to those who start out primed to fret. Now that these infants are young adults, the studies are yielding new information about the anxious brain.