Mercy

Are there virtues that we forget? Personally or as a culture? Ones that simply fade like the faces on ancient Roman coins? For Aurelius, Clementia – mildness, gentleness, mercy – was one of the noble virtues. A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange.…

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Be Ordinary

In his poem “Born Yesterday”, Phillip Larkin looks at a new born baby and wishes, not that she is beautiful or smart or talented, but that she is ordinary. There is great value in our just being. There is something essential about remaining attentive to those around us, whatever the…

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Hugging the Horse’s Head

In January 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche went insane. Armed with metaphor, irony and aphorism, the German philosopher carved his influence deep into 20th century culture, criticism, literature and psychology.  Freud, Mann, Yeats, Richard Strauss and countless other artists and thinkers were shaped by the “first Immoralist”.  In popular culture, Nietzsche was…

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An Argument for Kindness (Part II)

(portions of this article first appeared on positive psychology news daily:  http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/sean-doyle/2013032525681) In my first post on this topic, I concluded that in the face of hardship, injustice or deep trauma, the only answer was love and holding even tighter to kindness.  This seems naive, trite.  However whether in the…

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