Why We Should Forgive The Faults Of Our Heroes

There comes a time in the life of every son or daughter when they begin to see their parents as flawed mortals.  Before this, they are still under the spell of their upbringing; they see their parents more as imposing authority figures than as anything else.  I am not sure exactly when, or how, this transition takes place; for some it may be one event, for others it may be a series of events, or an incremental process.  But it does happen, and the son begins to see the father as the human being he is, in all his definitive defects and foibles.

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Do Not Be Too Proud Of Your Generosity

I have always counted myself fortunate when receiving the generosity of another.  I have never paused to ask questions about the circumstances of the giver, or to weigh the relative merits of a gift.  To be graced with the kindness of another is enough.  Perhaps what matters more is the sincerity of the giver; for a gift wrapped in cold anonymity is valued less than a benefaction derived from proximate familiarity.  We appreciate any generosity, but are more likely to cherish that which carries this aura.

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When Embarked On A Great Enterprise, Do Not Look Back

When you have begun a great project, press forward until it is completed.  Do not look back; do not be distracted by the ambient noise of life, the doubting whispers of others, or the gnawing doubts that will inevitably bore their way into your consciousness.  Nothing great was ever accomplished by half-measures; and the failure of grand ambition is still more inspiring than the cautious steps of the timid man.  In a 1368 letter to Pope Urban V, the humanist Petrarch wrote the following words that I happened to read this morning:

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Why Worrying Is Pointless

For a good part of my life I used to worry excessively about things.  When I was in college I worried about keeping up my grade point average and being able to complete Marine Corps Officer Candidate School; when I was on active duty I worried about doing my job well; when I started my law practice many years ago I worried about all the various thing related to establishing oneself in one’s profession.  And there are other examples of worrying that I need not rattle off here.  All of this worry, all of this stress, was largely self-inflicted.

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“Italy Is Excellent In All Things”

The Roman engineer and architect Vitruvius believed that one of Italy’s special gifts was its geographical location.  The nation was so situated, he believed, to combine the positive aspects of both cool and warm climates.  In his treatise De Architectura (VI.11), he notes that

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We Should Seize The Present Hour For Action

At the beginning of this month I bought the special director’s cut of the Michael Mann film Collateral.  I don’t usually buy movies, having learned from past experience that it makes more sense to rent them.  But every rule should have exceptions; and it is a good thing to collect those movies that transport you to a specific place or mood.  And when you recall the mood, you revisit certain pleasurable sensations.  There is just something about the way Collateral is shot, the way it glimmers, that gives it a cool but intense patina.

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We Can’t Expect Too Much From People (Podcast)

One big frustration we can experience in life is having unrealistic expectations of other people.  That is, we can want people to behave in ways that are just not within their desires or capabilities.  What is the best way to deal with this?  We use the example of the humanist Petrarch’s strained relationship with his son.

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