What We’re Reading

By The Garrison Institute

Looking for something interesting and enlightening to read? Here is a roundup of links recommended by the Garrison Institute staff, highlighting stories from around the web.

On Being | Krista Tippett and Rachel Yehuda

How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations

“We’re just starting to understand that just because you’re born with a certain set of genes, you’re not in a biologic prison as a result of those genes — that changes can be made to how those genes function. And maybe some changes are more likely to occur than others, and some genes are more flexible than other genes, but the idea is a very simple idea, and you hear it from people all the time. People say, when something cataclysmic happens to them, ‘I’m not the same person. I’ve been changed. I am not the same person that I was.’ And we have to start asking ourselves, well, what do they mean by that?”

Nautilus | Steve Paulson

The Spiritual, Reductionist Consciousness of Neuroscientist Christof Koch

“You don’t say consciousness only exists if you have more than 42 neurons or 2 billion neurons or whatever. Instead, the system is conscious if there’s a certain type of complexity. And we live in a universe where certain systems have consciousness. It’s inherent in the design of the universe. Why is that so? I don’t know. Why does the universe follow the laws of quantum mechanics? I don’t know. Can I imagine a universe where the laws of quantum mechanics don’t hold? Yes, but I don’t happen to live in such a universe, so I believe our universe has certain types of complexity and a system that gives rise to consciousness.”

n+1 | Jedediah Purdy

On Nature Writing in the Anthropocene

“The world has had many endings, in extinctions, ecological simplifications, and other catastrophes that people have hardly registered. The pace is quickening. An epoch of slow crisis, when the boundary between life and not-life continues to blur, will have many more endings, and those endings taken together better describe our situation than the one big ending of cinematic apocalypse. Much of what will disappear we have failed to understand, or neglected even to try to understand. Imagining the end of the world and imagining its ongoing life are now parts of the same everyday business.”

Ecology Without Nature | Timothy Morton

Kicked in the Biosphere

“Let’s not stay frozen in horror. Now we know all this information we don’t have to keep juicing ourselves. Solutions like geoengineering are, as a brilliant PhD student Eliot Storer pointed out today, ways of not going further, but of being trapped in the horror tragedy.”

Lion’s Roar | bell hooks, Sharon Salzberg, and Melvin McLeod

The Six Ingredients of Love

“Love is mostly about the action, not the definition. Drawing on Erich Fromm, I see love as a combination of six ingredients: care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust. They form a basis for action. It’s not about what you’re feeling or how you’re defining love. The real question is: what is the action you’re taking?

The 74 | Kate Stringer

Social-Emotional Support for Teachers

“Social-emotional learning programs for students are becoming more popular, and rightly so, as research points to gains in academics, graduation rates, and earnings. But what’s missing from these programs is support for the social-emotional needs of their teachers, who are experiencing stress and burnout.”

Wired | Nicholas Thompson and Tristan Harris

Our Minds Have Been Hijacked by Our Phones

“The premise of hijacking is that it undermines your control. This system is better at hijacking your instincts than you are at controlling them. You’d have to exert an enormous amount of energy to control whether these things are manipulating you all the time. And so we have to ask: How do we reform this attention economy and the mass hijacking of our mind?”

MIT Technology Review | David Byrne

Consumer Tech Is Working against What It Means to Be Human

“We might think Amazon was about making books available to us that we couldn’t find locally—and it was, and what a brilliant idea—but maybe it was also just as much about eliminating human contact.”

Fast Company | Alexi Robichaux

Inner Work Is Crucial in The “Knowledge” Economy

“Thinking about inner experiences in the context of work is not something we’re accustomed to doing. It’s a lot harder to visualize than outer work. One reason it’s so much harder to understand inner work is because we don’t have a clear picture of our inner world.”

The New Yorker | Adam Gopnik

What Meditation Can Do for Us, and What It Can’t

“Buddhism in America is simultaneously exotic and familiar—it has lots of Eastern trappings and ceremonies that set it off from the materialism of American life, but it also speaks to an especially American longing for a publicly productive spiritual practice.”

One comment on “What We’re Reading”

  1. J Kodet says:

    Thank you for sharing these resources. I find them valuable and inspiring.

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