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Writing

Quotes - January 2016

Alexei Muravsky

 
There was one more thing about the shithead’s relationship with the bank… something even Peepgass never talked about to anybody at the bank, even though he was sure that plenty of his colleagues were aware of it and felt it. There was believed to be – he knew very well what people outside banking thought, had known it ever since his days at the Harvard Business School – there was believed to be two kinds of males in American business. There were the true Male Animals, who went into investment banking, hedge funds, arbitrage, real estate development, and other forms of empire building. They were the gamblers, plungers, traders, risk takers; in short, the Charlie Crokers of this world. And then there were the passive males who went into commercial banking, where all you did was lend money and sit back and collect interest.
— Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full

 
Social psychology is distinct, however, primarily because it is concerned not so much with social situations in any objective sense, but rather with how people are influenced by their interpretation, or construal, of their social environment. To understand how people are influenced by their social world, social psychologists believe, it is more important to understand how they perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world than it is to understand the objective properties of the social world itself (Lewin, 1943).
— Elliot Aronson et. al, Social Psychology 5th Canadian Edition

 
 
It was later, in my senior year in college, that I learned the next two lessons about students helping students. The first came when a fellow student shared with me an all time best-seller book, Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. Reading the manuscript of Students Helping Students reminds of this lesson because of the pedagogical emphasis that Newton and Ender put on the idea that students must first know themselves before they can fulfill their potential to help others, particularly their strengths and weaknesses, and how those are revealed in interactional contexts with other students. Comparably, Fromm argued influentially that before any person (e.g., college student) can “love” another, she or he must first have attained sufficient self-esteem to have developed the capacity for self-love and respect.
— John N. Gardner, Students Helping Students: A Guide for Peer Educators on College Campuses 2nd Edition, Foreword

“Robb says the man died bravely, but Jon says he was afraid.”

“What do you think?” his father asked.

Bran thought about it. “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”

“That is the only time a man can be brave,” his father told him.
— George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 
In final account, then, not only does social life demand teaching and learning for its own permanence, but the very process of living together educates. It enlarges and enlightens experience; it stimulates and enriches imagination; it creates responsibility for accuracy and vividness of statement and thought. A man really living alone (alone mentally as well as physically) would have little or no occasion to reflect upon his past experience to extract its net meaning.
— John Dewey, Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education

If public education is to overcome its preoccupation with standardized test scores, we need an improved vision of what it means to be an educated person.
— Deanna Kuhn, Education for Thinking

At the bottom of the heart of every human being form earliest infancy until the tomb there is something that goes on indomitably expecting – in the teeth of all crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed – that good and not evil will be done to him. It is above all that is sacred in every human being.
— Simone Weil

 
 
“The question was not why the man had to die, but why I must do it.”

Bran had no answer for that. “King Robert has a headsman,” he said, uncertainly.

“He does,” his father admitted. “As did the Targaryen kings before him. Yet our way is the older way. The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die. One day, Bran, you will be Robb’s bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and your king and justice will fall to you. When that day comes, you must take no pleasure in the task, but neither must you look away. A ruler who hides paid executioners soon forgets what death is.”
— George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 
The key fact remains that when trying to account for a person’s behaviour in a complex situation, the overwhelming majority of people will jump to the conclusion that the behaviour was caused by the personality of the individual involved rather than consider the influence of the situation. And this fact – that we often fail to take the situation into account – is important to a social psychologist, for it has profound impact on how human beings relate to one another.
— Elliot Aronson et. al, Social Psychology 5th Canadian Edition

 
 
Hence one of the weightiest problems with which the philosophy of education has to cope with is the method of keeping a proper balance between the informal and the formal, the incidental and the intentional, modes of education. When the acquiring of information and technical intellectual skill do not influence the formation of a social disposition, ordinary vital experience fails to gain in meaning, while schooling, in so far, creates only “sharps” in learning – that is, egoistic specialists. To avoid a split between what men consciously know because they are aware of having learned it by a specific jog of learning, and what they unconsciously know because they have absorbed it in the formation of their characters by intercourse with others, becomes an increasingly delicate task with every development of special schooling.
— John Dewey, Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education

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