In The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, Olivia Laing tells the stories of a number of artists who led isolated lives and found meaning in their work even if their relationships couldn’t fulfill them. While she focuses specifically on visual artists in New York over the last seventy years, their methods of using their loneliness and transmitting it into their art carry wide resonance. These particular artists tapped into sentiments many of us will experience at least once in our lives. They found beauty in loneliness and showed it to be something worth considering, not just something to run from.
It is always good to ask ourselves, once in a while, “Have I learnt anything, lately?”
There are two types of knowledge and most of us focus on the wrong one. The first type of knowledge focuses on knowing the name of something. The second focuses on knowing something. These are not the same thing. The famous Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman understood the difference between knowing something and knowing the name of something and it’s one of the most important reasons for his success. In fact, he created a formula for learning that ensured he understood something better than everyone else.
Normally, I don’t recommend any needull with lists. But, I like Farnam Street and what they suggest on effective ways to take notes while reading makes sense to me. But, for this you will have to have your own copy of the book 🙂
There are three steps to effectively taking notes while reading:
At the end of each chapter write a few bullet points that summarize what you’ve read and make it personal if you can — that is, apply it to something in your life. Also note any unanswered questions. When you’re done the book, put it down for a week.
Pick up the book again and go through all your notes. Most of these will be garbage but there will be lots you want to remember. Write the good stuff on the inside cover of the book along with a page number.
Copy out the excerpts by hand or take a picture of them to pop into Evernote. Tag accordingly.
Chanced upon this brilliant letter written by Hunter S. Thomson when he was just 22 years old. The letter mainly talks about goals in life.
As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).
This one is another article related to Richard Feynman. There is just so much to learn from him. With the vast amount of information before us, we live in a world of generalities. I find myself specially guilty of this with my love for trivia. Today’s needull makes you ask this question to yourself – Do I really understand?
Test it this way: you say, “Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language.” Without using the word “energy,” tell me what you know now about the dog’s motion.” You cannot. So you learned nothing about science. That may be all right. You may not want to learn something about science right away. You have to learn definitions. But for the very first lesson, is that not possibly destructive?