Atul Gawande: Curiosity and What Equality Really Means

As always, so moved by the words of Atul Gawande…

We are not sufficiently described by the best thing we have ever done, nor are we sufficiently described by the worst thing we have ever done. We are all of it.

Once we lose the desire to understand—to be surprised, to listen and bear witness—we lose our humanity. Among the most important capacities that you take with you today is your curiosity. You must guard it, for curiosity is the beginning of empathy. When others say that someone is evil or crazy, or even a hero or an angel, they are usually trying to shut off curiosity. Don’t let them.

We are all capable of heroic and of evil things. No one and nothing that you encounter in your life and career will be simply heroic or evil. Virtue is a capacity. It can always be lost or gained. That potential is why all of our lives are of equal worth.

Source:  https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/curiosity-and-the-prisoner

Replacing Feelings with Words

Note to self: Let me daughter wonder sometimes too without putting words to everything.

“Culture replaces authentic feeling with words. As an example of this, imagine an infant lying in its cradle, and the window is open, and into the room comes something, marvelous, mysterious, glittering, shedding light of many colors, movement, sound, a tranformative hierophany of integrated perception and the child is enthralled and then the mother comes into the room and she says to the child, “that’s a bird, baby, that’s a bird,” instantly the complex wave of the angel peacock irridescent transformative mystery is collapsed, into the word. All mystery is gone, the child learns this is a bird, this is a bird, and by the time we’re five or six years old all the mystery of reality has been carefully tiled over with words. This is a bird, this is a house, this is the sky, and we seal ourselves in within a linguistic shell of disempowered perception, and what the psychedelics do is they burst apart this cultural envelope of confinement and return us really to the legacy and birthright of the organism.” Terence McKenna