Kidnapper Ants, On Gaslighting, Ólafsson's Tender Farewell, and More
Seven links to worthwhile thin(g/k)s
Hello dear reader,
I am reporting from Los Angeles, and dare I say, it might rain this weekend. I have been so proper-weather-deprived that I’ll take the forecast’s 50% and sing.
And so, in the spirit and hope of a cozy weekend cuddled up with a warm blanket:
Here are seven links to bits of the world I have been exploring this week, shared with the hope that you will find them to be an inspiring springboard for deeper thinking.
On Gaslighting: This week, Aeon has yet again proved itself to be an excellent digital curator of ideas. This week’s essay: The psychological flicker of gaslighting (including the origin of the word from the theatre world).
There ant no revolution: Kidnapper Ants
Ursula K. Le Guin: Work with time, not against it.
Music making things better: NPR’s Tiny Desk Home Concert featured Víkingur Ólafsson from his Berlin home elevating our spirits with the works of Bach’s “Andante,” Rameau’s "Le rappel des oiseaux [the birds recall],” and Debussy’s “The Snow is Dancing.” 25 minutes of musical splendor. Enjoy! I certainly did so and good a really relaxing reading session out of it. I particularly enjoyed Ólafsson’s tender commentary. He refers to the piano key strokes as ‘birds,’ and draws a comparison between his birds and those of the great Russian pianist Emil Gilels’s. The latter, Ólafsson notes, were “more Russian, more sad, somehow.” In the video, Ólafsson bid farewell to his Berlin apartment, but “not to [his] Berlin years.” How sweetly said. Have you experienced a similar sentiment in a past farewell, to a place, to a person?
Proust’s Visual Companion: For those on the arduous yet enriching journey of reading through Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, here is a visual companion a friend on Bookstagram recommended to me. Couple it with this solemn imagery from page 177 of Proust’s Swann’s Way:
“I dined with Legrandin on the terrace of his house by moonlight. ‘There is a charming quality, is there not,’ he said to me, ‘in this silence; for hearts that are wounded, as mine is, a novelist whom you will read in time to come asserts that there is no remedy but silence and shadow. And you see this, my boy, there comes in all our lives a time, towards which you still have far to go, when the weary eyes can endure but one kind of light, the light which a fine evening like this prepares for us in the stillroom for darkness, when the ears can listen to no music save what the moonlight breathes through the flute of silence.’”
Original and Reproduction: Do you recall the last painting you saw in a museum? Mine was Gustav Klimt’s Kiss, along with his Judith and the Head of Holofernes. Most of us are still in lockdown-mode, with museums still closed. And so, John Berger’s Way of Seeing points us pertinently to an interesting observation:
“Having seen the reproduction [of an artwork], one can go to the National Gallery to look at the original and there discover what the reproduction lacks. Or one can forget about the quality of the reproduction and simply be reminded, when one sees the original, that it is a famous painting of which somewhere one has already seen a reproduction. But in either case the uniqueness of the original now lies in it being the original of a reproduction. It is no longer what its image shows that strikes us as unique; its first meaning is no longer to be found in what it says, but in what it is.”
Worth contemplating the personal value museums hold for us in the modern, technology-driven age we live in.
If you would like to get in touch with me or comment on this week’s newsletter, I’d love to connect with you!
Happy weekend, my lovelies. Reach out if you need open and attentive ears. I am here for you.