As your new week gets underway, check out these recent links – fascinating essays and interviews that came across our radar, along with the excerpts that moved us to highlight them here on The Wisdom Daily. Read on for fresh viewpoints about operating a Google self-driving car, building a peaceful life after a traumatic childhood, staying up long after sundown and more. Whatever’s transpiring in your life, may you find the words of wisdom you need.
1. Unafraid of the Dark
“The night has a special quality about it. It’s one thing when it’s 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m., but once you enter 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 a.m., you know that the amount of people who are awake is slowly diminishing. There is a certain quiet and a certain deliriousness that just overtakes the body.”
“I still often feel like the seven-year-old girl waiting for water at the refugee camp in Burundi, trying to assert that I have a right to take up space. I scan every room for the exits, in case I need to run, and I read people’s faces and body language so I know how they’d like me to walk, talk, and gesture… [People] ask if I feel guilty for surviving. Uh, no. I did everything I could to survive. Do you think I should feel guilty for surviving? Do you feel guilty that on 9/11 you weren’t in one of the Twin Towers? I stand there and talk, and ask people to investigate their lives and hope they stay awake.”
“The idea that anxiety impairs perspective-taking is important, because it is just this sort of nervousness that crops up when an empathic connection is most sorely needed. A public speaking gig, a job interview, even the act of teaching a child to read: all require a nuanced understanding of what it’s like to be the other person in the room. So by allowing anxiety to occupy our thoughts we might actually be undercutting our odds of success at the most critical social moments.”
“Something I wanted to explore in this book is: What is community? Is your community just the people who look like you and dress like you and believe what you do? Or is your community greater than that? Is it the people who are different from you but who are your neighbors?”
“When the road cleared and it was safe to turn right, the car didn’t budge. I thought this was a bug at first, but when I looked to my right there was a pedestrian standing very close to the curb, giving the awkward body language that he was planning on jaywalking. This was a very human interaction: The car was waiting for a further visual cue from the pedestrian to either stop or go, and the pedestrian waiting for a cue from the car. When the pedestrian didn’t move, the self-driving car gracefully took the lead, merged, and entered the roadway. Freaky.”
“Along the way, I became invested… Rather than just interviewing [people] I came to relate to the issues more intimately. When someone close to you struggles with chronic pain because they have no healthcare, has their kitchen window pierced by gunfire or cannot pay a visit to their home country because they are undocumented, your relationship to issues like health reform, gun control or immigration is transformed. Not because your views change, but because knowing and understanding something simply does not provide the same intensity as having it in your life.”