"You have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul."from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw These words spoken by Professor … Continue reading Can language transform your life?
Image: Sleeping Hermaphroditus, Louvre; Roman copy of a Hellenistic original. Source I have a feeling that most of the mistakes I make in French and German have to do with not knowing or not remembering the gender of a noun, and thus the associated changes that have to be made in articles and adjectives. I … Continue reading Should language have gender?
As we retreat from one another and the world to reduce our risk of contagion, the passing of harmful substances from one person to another, it makes me wonder about the transmission of health. Is this something that may also be passed from one person to another? It would seem not, because health is not … Continue reading Can health also be contagious?
Reading the Bible on the one-year plan is a fascinating experience. I've read it in bits and pieces before, but never so intensively. One thing I did not expect was how illuminating it would be to read the Old Testament. It is full of rich, archetypal picture-language that can still speak to us today with … Continue reading Our daily bread
In a video course about mindfulness meditation that I've been watching, there is a segment that discusses the importance of compassion, even and especially toward those for whom we feel antipathy, aversion, and even enmity. The simple practice is suggested of saying to oneself, when inconvenienced or annoyed by someone: "Just like me." That lady … Continue reading Just like me
What is it really that we should write in our hearts — the feeling that we may have on this Christmas night? In this Christmas night there should pour into our hearts the fundamental human feeling of love, the fundamental feeling that says: compared with all other forces and powers and treasures of the world, … Continue reading The greatest power
Along with some of my own writing from the past, as I was packing up recently I came across a book in which I recorded things my son said between the ages of three and six. As many have noted, children at this age have such a fresh and surprising approach to language that can … Continue reading Wise words from a toddler
As I've been going through long-ignored documents and books, I've found some interesting messages from my past self. My high school yearbook quote, for example: Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their … Continue reading Wise words from myself
Recently I was hit by a blast of anger from an unexpected direction, from a person I thought I was on good working terms with. She was upset about something I had done, which I was willing to hear and take responsibility for as necessary, but I was stunned by the virulence of her reaction, … Continue reading As we forgive
Suppose you had never known anything but winter, never known the trees and shrubs around you as anything other than smooth, bare branches. Then suddenly one day they were covered with a sickly greenish sort of excrescence, that grew and spread until it completely obscured the familiar structure you were used to. Wouldn't it be … Continue reading It’s not the end of the world