Best Question

The best question from today’s talk was, “do Ukrainians, Latvians, etc perceive themselves as being a separate country from Russia?”

I always get this question, so I had a map of Europe with countries marked on it all ready to go. But yeah, it’s kind of sad.

Literary Genius

To illustrate what literary genius is, I’m reading Castellanos Moya’s recent essay collection, and there’s a chapter on Vargas Llosa’s novel The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta. I didn’t like the novel, and I’m thinking, why do I need to read an essay about it?

But then I start reading, and it’s so good that I’m walking into walls and tripping over furniture. Castellanos Moya explains so well why I didn’t like the novel. Beautiful, incredible writing.

Need to Do Something

The way we are collectively reacting to the virus is product of the “there is no God, so I will be God” mentality. People just can’t process the simple fact that the waves of the infection are determined not by human actions but by seasonality. We are cognitively incapable of acknowledging that there are parts of reality that we can’t control.

And it’s in everything, not just the COVID response.

Global warming. We need to do something!

Low math scores in schools. We need to do something!

Puberty is unpleasant. We need to do something! Of course, the “doing of something” is always moralistic.