American Thanksgiving isn’t until next month, but we like to celebrate Turkey Day a little earlier here in Canada. And with the scent of pumpkin spice in the air, we also take this time to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. As much as I may gripe about this or that, I also recognize just how fortunate I am to be who I am, where I am, with the people that I am.
“The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.”
I suppose it’s not terribly surprising that I am oftentimes drawn to quotes by writers about writing, given that I make my living as a freelance writer myself. How meta. Language is an incredibly powerful tool that can move armies and document the human experience. Sure, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but carefully crafted words can be worth thousands of pictures too.
Over the years, I’ve posted quite the eclectic collection of content. In many ways, you could say that I’ve taken a similar approach to Beyond the Rhetoric, using the blog and the YouTube channel as personal platforms for expression. The YouTube channel is arguably even more varied than this blog, as I don’t necessarily share every video via Beyond the Rhetoric either.
English can be confusing enough for someone who has grown up as a native speaker, never mind for someone who is trying to learn it as a second language. For every rule in English, there are innumerable exceptions. And then there is the never-ending list of English idioms that either don’t make logical sense or sound too much like other common words. This becomes even more problematic when the idiom is spoken far more often than it is written.
Let’s dive right into this week’s speedlink.
Knowledge for its own sake is incredibly powerful and infinitely useful. That’s why Scott Young says that learning useless things isn’t all that useless after all. From what psychologists call the availability heuristic to how knowing something helps you learn new things more easily, learning “useless” tidbits of information can “still make your model of reality a little more accurate.” And that’s pretty useful.
It’s no secret that I like to eat out and the Metro Vancouver area offers a plethora of opportunities to explore my culinary interests. And while I post many of these #foodporn adventures on Instagram, I am home most of the time and home cooking makes up the majority of my meals. Surprisingly, it was only a few years ago that the only things I could make were toast and reservations. These days, my home cooking is just a little more sophisticated.
Hang around Facebook or Pinterest long enough and you’re bound to see them: life-affirming quotes about how you don’t have any responsibility to anyone else but you. They’ll say you should never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s opinion. They’ll say you should forget about what other people want from you and focus on your own needs. They’ll say that people are going to judge you anyway, so stop living your life to impress others and start living life to impress yourself.
Even Jared Leto said that you should “never live your life for anyone but yourself.” And he’s wrong.
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
Relative to a number of “hard” sciences, psychology as a social science is still in its relative infancy. Sure, philosophers may have pondered about the inner workings of the mind for centuries, but it is really only in the last 100 years or so that the human mind has been studied so closely from more of a scientific perspective. One of the earliest pioneers in this field was Carl Jung.