Identical People

A colleague stops me after a meeting and exclaims, “I met your best friend Jo-Jo! We had such a nice conversation about you.”

“Lester,” I say, “I don’t have a friend called Jo-Jo. Nothing even close.”

“Really??” asks Lester. “That’s weird.”

Two weeks later, we have another meeting of the same committee.

After the meeting, I stop to chat with a colleague named Peter.

“Peter!” Lester exclaims when he sees us together. “I talked with your best friend Jo-Jo but I completely confused you and Clarissa!”

Peter and I stare at each other in amazement. He’s male, black, tall, and definitely not Ukrainian.

“How, Lester?” Peter and I ask. “How could you possibly confuse us?”

“Oh, it’s because you both wear a lot of pale blue,” says Lester who teaches painting. “You always look so similar.”

Bring Your Languages

Can anybody put me out of my misery already and post a comment on the Ukrainian blog? It can be in any language. How great would it be to have comments in several different languages? Extremely great.

The url is Can you imagine how pathetic it feels to be the only commenter on your own blog?

No Other Explanation

They must have been really worried about the NATO expansion.

Free to Think

I’ve been wondering why Ukrainian philosophers, thinkers and pundits are so much more interesting to listen to than the Western ones. They aren’t any smarter. They don’t have significantly higher IQs. They haven’t read anything others can’t access. Why, then, does everything they say feel fresh and important?

It’s simply because they are free. They let their thoughts roam far and wide, unconstrained by political correctness, politeness, fear of wounding sensibilities, and the need to be nice, egalitarian or inclusive.

For me, it’s not even about what they say, although it’s always very fruitful. It’s the feeling of freedom, the capacity to be ironic, and the unconstrained flight of ideas that I find hypnotic.

Today, I’m going to spend 2,5 hours at a mandatory meeting where we’ll discuss our feelings about the video of police brutality in Memphis and “how we can do a better job of serving communities of color in a society dominated by institutionalized white supremacy.” It is my deeply held belief that such meetings destroy the capacity to think profoundly and freely precisely among the people whose job it is to think.

Quote of the Day

“Come, let’s argue then,” said Prince Andrew, “You talk of schools,” he went on, crooking a finger, “education and so forth; that is, you want to raise him” (pointing to a peasant who passed by them taking off his cap) “from his animal condition and awaken in him spiritual needs, while it seems to me that animal happiness is the only happiness possible, and that is just what you want to deprive him of. I envy him, but you want to make him what I am, without giving him my means. Then you say, ‘lighten his toil.’ But as I see it, physical labor is as essential to him, as much a condition of his existence, as mental activity is to you or me. You can’t help thinking. I go to bed after two in the morning, thoughts come and I can’t sleep but toss about till dawn, because I think and can’t help thinking, just as he can’t help plowing and mowing; if he didn’t, he would go to the drink shop or fall ill. Just as I could not stand his terrible physical labor but should die of it in a week, so he could not stand my physical idleness, but would grow fat and die.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace