Having not been out of the house, except for short, solitary walks around the neighborhood, since last Sunday, I was glad to be able to go to church again this week without violating any rules. With most of our congregation watching the service on Facebook, it was easy to keep a respectable distance from others. We come in the back entrance just before the service, wear gloves, and leave right afterwards. It's weird, but better than not being there at all.

In contrast with last week, today's church service was more uplifting than not. It had its moments of grief, such as saying goodbye to a good friend who is moving far away, and not being able to give her a hug. But this time I was prepared for a service stripped of much of its music, and it even seemed fitting, somehow, for Lent.

Last week we grieved. Today we moved on.

After the (diminished) procession, Father Trey set the tone of the service with this pronouncement:

When the church finds itself in a time of great need, we typically break out the strongest thing we have in our arsenal, and that is the Great Litany.

I love the Great Litany, so even though I would have preferred to sing it, it was a powerful way to begin. We also continued our COVID-19 Concert Series, which simultaneously fills in for a greatly reduced choir and provides employment in a time of great need for local musicians. This time we were joined by a violinist.

It was a good service.

On the way home we stopped at Publix; Porter stayed in the car and I shopped, having donned a new pair of gloves. There were plenty of cars in the parking lot, but the store was not particularly crowded, and it was not hard to keep a decent distance, except during checkout. The cashiers have been promised Plexiglas shields, but there are not yet in place.

We could have managed a while longer without shopping, but I decided it was better to go sooner rather than later. Our most urgent need was milk, and I had planned on getting some extra gallons to put in the freezer so that we would not have to shop again for at least two or three weeks. That plan was foiled, however, because milk purchases were limited to one gallon. That was odd, and frustrating, because the milk section was chock full of gallon jugs. I did mange to pick up several other things for which our supplies were low. Even if I spend this quarantine time baking, we will not run out of sugar for a while, as it was only available in 10-pound bags. Except for toilet paper, sugar, and eggs, I noticed no particular shortages. I couldn't find my favorite whole wheat hamburger buns, but bread was available and will do the job in a pinch.

Unpacking at home was interesting, to say the least. Someone had sent me a video by a doctor in Michigan showing "sterile technique" for bringing food from the store into your home. When I watched it, my reaction was "that's not happening." But I decided to try it. It's doable, if you are a small household. I pretty much guarantee it will not happen in our daughters' households, with their large families.

One piece of his advice I took to heart was the one-touch rule when shopping, That is not me at all: I typically look at my groceries carefully, to make sure they are not out of date, that the package hasn't been slashed by a box cutter, etc. But that often involves touching several packages and leaving my fingerprints behind, so this time I practiced grab-and-go.

The advice I did not take from this doctor is that which revealed that he really was talking from Michigan: Keep your groceries outside for three days before bringing them into the house. Maybe in Michigan, or Minnesota, or New Hampshire. But in Florida, pretty much anything other than canned goods would in three days be rotten, moldy, or eaten by creatures.

So I worked with his second best practices. One of his good points was that many items have both and outer and an inner wrapper, so that, for example, I could open and discard the graham cracker box, and put away the clean inner packages. Bread I took out of its wrapper and put into smaller zip-lock bags to freeze. Plastic and glass I wiped down with a disinfecting solution. The only thing that stumped me was the bunch of bananas. The commercial disinfectant said only to use on surfaces that didn't touch food, so I figured that using it on a banana would not be a good idea. The doctor's solution for fruit was to wash it all in a sink full of soapy water. I didn't think that would work for bananas, either. I know, you peel the banana and the fruit inside is clean—but you really don't want to peel bananas until you're ready to eat them. My final solution was a gentle rubdown with an alcohol solution, figuring the alcohol would have evaporated long before we touched the bananas again.

Of course, in and around and between, over and under all this process, I washed my hands a gazillion times.

In the end, I concluded that this is an excellent protocol if one wants to encourage shoppers to buy as little as possible.

And that—plus writing this post—pretty much took up the whole day. Now I'm violating a clear health rule: staying up long past bedtime. Adequate sleep is as important as clean hands.  Good night, all!

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Edit
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When the church finds itself in a time of great need, we typically break out the strongest thing we have in our arsenal, and that is the Great Litany. — Fr. Trey Garland

When writing about today's church service, I referenced the Great Litany from the Book of Common Prayer.  Not finding anything online in a format I liked to link to, I've created my own here.

The Great Litany is better when sung, but powerful in any form.  There's not much it doesn't cover.

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon us.

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God,
Have mercy upon us.

Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, nor the offenses
of our forefathers; neither reward us according to our sins.
Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast
redeemed with thy most precious blood, and by thy mercy
preserve us, for ever.
Spare us, good Lord.

From all evil and wickedness; from sin; from the crafts
and assaults of the devil; and from everlasting damnation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory,
and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want
of charity,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the
deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness
of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and
flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from
violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and
unprepared,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity
and submission to the Law; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and
Temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion;
by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection
and Ascension; and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in
the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that
it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church
Universal in the right way,
We beesech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and
deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of thy
Word; and that both by their preaching and living, they may
set it forth, and show it accordingly,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thy
harvest, and to draw all mankind into thy kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give to all people increase of grace
to hear and receive thy Word, and to bring forth the fruits of
the Spirit,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth all such
as have erred, and are deceived,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give us a heart to love and fear
thee, and diligently to live after thy commandments,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants,
the President of the United States (or of this nation), and all
others in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy,
and walk in the ways of truth,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world;
to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to
bestow freedom upon all peoples,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners
and captives, the homeless and the hungry, and all who are
desolate and oppressed,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the
bountiful fruits of the earth, so that in due time all may enjoy
them,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings,
to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of
heart as thy servants, and for the common good,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to preserve all who are in danger by
reason of their labor or their travel,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all
women in childbirth, young children and orphans, the
widowed, and all whose homes are broken or torn by strife,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all
who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with thy
presence those who are failing and infirm,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who
are in danger, necessity, and tribulation,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to have mercy upon all mankind,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive
us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue
us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives
according to thy holy Word,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors,
and slanderers, and to turn their hearts,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; to
comfort and help the weak-hearted; to raise up those who
fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to grant to all the faithful departed
eternal life and peace,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to grant that, in the fellowship of
all the saints, we may attain to thy
heavenly kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant us thy peace.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Edit
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It is almost a cliché these days to see someone in the military or emergency services, and say, "Thank you for your service."  (What a contrast to the Vietnam years of my vivid memory!)

These days it is naturally being extended to all medical personnel.

But there are also many others on the front lines in this war, endangering themselves for our sakes.  To name just three:  pastors and other church workers, all who work for delivery services, and those who keep grocery stores open and functioning.  In the case of the last, I especially honor my nephew and pray for his continued health.

Thank you all!

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 8:58 am | Edit
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One of Porter's favorite board game partners self-quarantined well before most of us even thought about it.

Not that it was exactly self-quarantine. At the insistence of his father, the whole family was among the first to practice the social distancing now recommended for all of us. It's a good thing it's possible to play board games using the Internet!

Although he's not old enough to be in college, this young man has a passion for history and a good deal more sense than many college students. With his permission, I'm sharing some of his thoughts on current events.

The year 2020 will be remembered as a benchmark year in history. Many things are happening, and the Coronavirus will bring them all to a head. I think that the greatest result will be the government’s increasing authority. This is because we have come to a point where it is almost simply rights vs. lives.

My dad suggests that I should write a book, titled: Rights vs. Life: Coronavirus, the People, and the Government.

It would be quite the book.

We now find an astonishing number of people who are incapable of enjoying their liberties safely. People refuse to practice social distancing, even though it is obviously in their best interest.

There are many reasons for this, I think. First, people generally despise the major media outlets. Thus, when these said that the Coronavirus could be bad, people were inclined to think that they were wrong—because they usually are. Next, the alternative media pundits decided that it was a smart idea for them to say that the mainstream media was wrong, as a way of boosting their own popularity. Thus, the people’s idea that the Coronavirus was going to be a minor disease was confirmed in their minds.

We find now that same inclination towards the government. 

The only reason my dad had us quarantine was that he works online with Chinese children, and he saw first hand what this disease did to China. If he was still in his previous job, I’m sure that we would soon be catching the virus ourselves.

Another reason that people are inclined to believe that the Coronavirus is not a problem is that people are very social. The family has fallen apart in too many places, and this has led to people becoming especially dependent on relationships outside of the family. Thus, people are more inclined than ever to underplay the risks of gathering together.

If it doesn't take too much time from the gaming that is keeping Porter from going stir crazy here, I would love to feature more guest posts from this young man. (And I'm certain that one of these days he will actually beat Porter in Afrika Korps.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 5:59 am | Edit
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I lost it in church today.

Our family has been through a lot of loss and grief in the past week. Week? How can it possibly have been only a week? But the world is turned so thoroughly upside down that the shock enabled me to hold myself together. Until now.

Oh, I'm still okay. Unless you count being touchy and frazzled and unproductive and unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes "not okay." Other than that, I'm doing fine.

But I'm highly sensitive to the power of music to bring forth emotions. Joy, sorrow, determination, tenderness ... music opens floodgates. There are songs that to this day reduce me to tears because of events that happened nearly 20 years ago.

I'm not surprised that I sometimes find it difficult to sing; the throat is not designed to handle sobs and songs at the same time. But this time it was not singing that did me in.

We were two of maybe a dozen people in church today, and we went into the service knowing it was going to be hard. We were spread well apart from one another, we'd already suspended the "passing of the peace," and made changes to the way we offer the Eucharist. (Quote of the week from our rector: I've used so much hand sanitizer today I'm afraid to go near an open flame.) Porter and I went further, wearing gloves, and—most heartbreaking of all—deciding not to take Communion. I doubt the latter was necessary, but out of an abundance of caution we took that step for the sake of others, in order to maintain distance. In an Anglican church, where Eucharist is the heart of worship and definitely not "just a memorial," that really hurt.

But we had counted on having the music.

We did, sort of. I'm rather proud of our "COVID-19 Concert Series" in which local musicians, who now find themselves unemployed as all their jobs have been cancelled, are hired to provide music for the service, even if everyone is watching the live stream instead of being in church. Today we had a young man who played clarinet, flute, and oboe, and we really enjoyed talking with him (from a distance) before the service about life as a professional musician, the dangers of air conditioning to wooden instruments, and the fickleness of oboe reeds.

It was lovely, but it was not enough. We are accustomed to a "sung service" with chants and music throughout. Today, for reasons I don't understand, it was instead a "said service." (That's "said," not "sad," but if I'd made that typo it would not have been inappropriate.) We had a few hymns, but we didn't sing the Psalm, and we didn't sing the Trisagion; we hardly sang at all.

Where it really hit me was during the Offertory. We had planned to sing one of our favorite anthems, and were thrilled to have flute accompaniment for it. But there weren't enough choir members present to make it work. Instead, we just had the piano and flute part together, which turned out to be very beautiful, but not singing along ripped me apart, exposing me to all the pent-up grief of the week (which would have been more than enough for a year).

Still, I know that if that's the worst of the grief this year brings, we are very blessed.

I also know why churches should not close any more than hospitals, grocery stores, and post offices should close. We must adapt as needed to minimize risk, and be patient with each other as we figure it all out. But this is not a social club. It's a life-and-death essential service.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Edit
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Despite my firm intentions to capitalize on the need to stay at home, I have not recently been accomplishing much. The world has been turned upside down and I'm finding it hard to stay focused on anything. On top of my own frazzled state, interruptions from distant family have greatly increased. They're all distant at this point—and that's harder than usually to take because in just one week we were supposed to have begun to gather most of them together here! The interruptions are most welcome and most treasured, but it's hard to work when every call, every text, every e-mail, every WhatsApp, every form of contact suddenly feels urgent.

I was at sixes and sevens all yesterday, but I made a concerted effort to have one finished task I could point to at the end of the day: I made barbecue sauce.

For years our favorite barbecue sauce was Jack Daniel's Original Old No. 7. But for months now I haven't been able to obtain it, and I became determined to make something similar of my own. Inspired by discovering the remains of a bottle of Scotch whiskey in our cupboard, I decided that yesterday would be the day. It was Cutty Sark, not Jack Daniel's, but I will hereby shock and alienate all aficionados by insisting that "whiskey is whiskey."

I found several "Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce" recipes online, took what I judged to be the best of each one, added a few twists of my own, and cooked it up.

In testimony to my frazzled state, it took me two tries. I hadn't gotten very far on the first one when something interrupted, and it ended up burning on the stove, making an awful mess of the pan.

After some extensive clean up work, I was able to see Try #2 through to the end.

Oh, was it delicious! Yes, I do say so myself. I think that even if I do find the commercial kind again, I won't look back. This is 'way better. The flavors bring to mind—of all things—the description in C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Proposes a Toast of devil's wine made from "vintage Pharisee": Look at those fiery streaks that writhe and tangle in its dark heart, as if they were contending ... forever conjoined but not reconciled. The flavors mingle without blending. It's sweet and sour, salty and smoky, smooth and rich with a bit of fire. No one impression dominates; each takes its turn coming to the forefront.

Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 - 2 tbsp whiskey
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Put both garlic and onion through a garlic press. Add with whiskey to a medium saucepan and heat gently for about five minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients, mix well and add to saucepan. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Stir in remaining whiskey and simmer for another five minutes. Bottle when cool, and refrigerate.

Using the garlic press on both the garlic and the onion was my idea, and I think it works well. The sauce ended up silky, with no blending necessary.

Initially I resisted using ketchup, figuring that I ought to be able to make the sauce from tomato paste alone. But all the recipes I consulted used ketchup, and the clincher was that my tomato paste stock was low and we had lots of ketchup. Since ketchup is pretty much a staple around here, why not use it?

None of the online recipes call for smoked Spanish paprika and hot paprika; Liquid Smoke and bottled hot sauce seem popular. I used what I had hanging around, and am pleased with the result. I suspect there's a fair amount of flexibility here if you can't get the named ingredients. If Worcestershire sauce is unobtainable, for example, try a dab of anchovy paste or some fish sauce.

Enjoy!

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 20, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Edit
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(Posted by a grieving young woman dear to my heart, who gave me permission to share.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 7:22 am | Edit
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altThe World's Last Night and Other Essays by C. S. Lewis (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1952)

This delightful collection contains seven essays, originally published between 1952 and 1959. Lewis's theology and his cultural analysis generally remain accurate and applicable even one-fifth of the way through the 21st century. His specific examples, being tied to his own time and culture, can sometimes be hard to follow, but less so here than in some of his other books.

Two of my favorites remain "Lilies that Fester" and "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," which over the years have become more, not less, accurate in their devastating criticism of our educational system. ("Screwtape Proposes a Toast," though out of courtesy nominally directed at the British system, was largely inspired by American education.)

Here's the table of contents, followed, as usual, by a few quotations.

  1. The Efficacy of Prayer
  2. On Obstinacy in Belief
  3. Lilies that Fester
  4. Screwtape Proposes a Toast
  5. Good Work and Good Works
  6. Religion and Rocketry
  7. The World's Last Night

From "Lilies that Fester"

To be engaged with the idea of culture, and (above all) of culture as something enviable, or meritorious, or something that confers prestige, seems to me to endanger those very "enjoyments" for whose sake we chiefly value it. If we encourage others, or ourselves, to hear, see, or read great art on the ground that it is a cultured thing to do, we call into play precisely those elements in us which must be in abeyance before we can enjoy art at all. We are calling up the desire for self-improvement, the desire for distinction, the desire to revolt (from one group) and to agree (with another), and a dozen busy passions which, whether good or bad in themselves, are, in relation to the arts, simply a blinding and paralysing distraction. (p. 34)

Those who read poetry to improve their minds will never improve their minds by reading poetry. (p. 35)

The sensitivity that enriches must be of the sort that guards a man from wounding others, not of the sort that makes him ready to feel wounded himself. (pp. 35-36)

Theocracy is the worst of all possible governments. All political power is at best a necessary evil: but it is least evil when its sanctions are most modest and commonplace, when it claims no more than to be useful or convenient and sets itself strictly limited objectives. Anything transcendental or spiritual, or even anything very strongly ethical, in its pretensions is dangerous and encourages it to meddle with our private lives.

I don't think we are in any danger of [Theocracy]. What I think we are really in danger of is something that would be only one degree less intolerable, and intolerable in almost the same way. I would call it Charientocracy. (pp.40-41, emphasis mine)

Charientocracy is a word made up by Lewis, and I will make no attempt to define it. I can't even quote his own definition, because that includes both Greek and Latin, as well as social terms that were meaningful back in Lewis's own time and culture, but not particularly comprehensible now. This article may help, if you are curious. Possibly he would have used the phrase "academic and media elites" today, but that's just a guess. Anyway, it leads into one of my favorite passages, which is so much more true about education today than when he wrote it 65 years ago.

Education is increasingly the means of access to the [Ruling] Class. And of course education, in some sense, is a very proper means of access; we do not want our rulers to be dunces. But education is coming to have a new significance. It aspires to do, and can do, far more to the pupil than education (except, perhaps, that of the Jesuits) has ever done before.

For one thing, the pupil is now far more defenceless in the hands of his teachers. He comes increasingly from [homes] where there are few books or none. He has hardly ever been alone. The educational machine seizes him very early and organizes his whole life, to the exclusion of all unsuperintended solitude or leisure. The hours of unsponsored, uninspected, perhaps even forbidden, reading, the ramblings, and the "long, long thoughts" in which those of luckier generations first discovered literature and nature and themselves are a thing of the past. If a Traherne or a Wordsworth were born today he would be "cured" before he was twelve. In short, the modern pupil is the ideal patient for those masters who, not content with teaching a subject, would create a character.... Or if by chance (for nature will be nature) he should have any powers of resistance, they know how to deal with him. (pp.41-42, emphasis mine)

Modern poets are read almost exclusively by one another. (p. 45)

From "Good Work and Good Works"

Until quite recently ... it was taken for granted that the business of the artist was to delight and instruct his public. There were, of course, different publics; the street-songs and the oratorios were not addressed to the same audience (though I think a good many people liked both). And an artist might lead his public on to appreciate finer things than they had wanted at first; but he could do this only by being, from the first, if not merely entertaining, yet entertaining, and if not completely intelligible, yet very largely intelligible. All this has changed. In the highest aesthetic circles one now hears nothing about the artist's duty to us. It is all about our duty to him. He owes us nothing; we owe him "recognition," even though he has never paid the slightest attention to our tastes, interests, or habits. ... In this shop, the customer is always wrong. ...

As "giving employment" becomes more important than making things men need or like, there is a tendency to regard every trade as something that exists chiefly for the sake of those who practise it. The smith does not work in order that the warriors may fight; the warriors exist and fight in order that the smith may be kept busy. The bard does not exist in order to delight the tribe; the tribe exists in order to appreciate the bard. (pp. 78-79)

"Great works" (of art) and "good works" (of charity) had better also be Good Work. Let choirs sing well or not at all. (p. 80)

From "The World's Last Night"

Jesus professed himself (in some sense) ignorant, and within a moment showed that he really was so. To believe in the Incarnation, to believe that he is God, makes it hard to understand how he could be ignorant; but also makes it certain that, if he said he could be ignorant, then ignorant he could really be. For a God who can be ignorant is less baffling than a God who falsely professes ignorance. The answer of theologians is that the God-Man was omniscient as God, and ignorant as Man. This, no doubt, is true, though it cannot be imagined. Nor indeed can the unconsciousness of Christ in sleep be imagined. (p. 99)

The modern conception of Progress or Evolution (as popularly imagined) is simply a myth, supported by no evidence whatever.

I say "evolution, as popularly imagined." I am not in the least concerned to refute Darwinism as a theorem in biology. There may be flaws in that theorem, but I have here nothing to do with them. … For purposes of this article I am assuming that Darwinian biology is correct. What I want to point out is the illegitimate transition from the Darwinian theorem in biology to the modern myth of evolutionism or developmentalism or progress in general.

The first thing to notice is that the myth arose earlier than the theorem, in advance of all evidence. Two great works of art embody the idea of a universe in which, by some inherent necessity, the "higher" always supersedes the "lower.” One is Keats's Hyperion and the other is Wagner's Nibelung's Ring. And they are both earlier than the Origin of Species. …

The Idea that the myth (so potent in all modem thought) is a result of Darwin's biology would thus seem to be unhistorical. On the contrary, the attraction of Darwinism was that it gave to a pre-existing myth the scientific reassurances it required. If no evidence for evolution had been forthcoming, it would have been necessary to invent it. The real sources of the myth are partly political. It projects onto the cosmic screen feelings engendered by the Revolutionary period.

In the second place, we must notice that Darwinism gives no support to the belief that natural selection, working upon chance variations, has a general tendency to produce improvement. The illusion that it has comes from confining our attention to a few species which have (by some possibly arbitrary standard of our own) changed for the better. Thus the horse has improved in the sense that protohippos would be less useful to us than his modern descendant. The anthropoid has improved in the sense that he now is Ourselves. But a great many of the changes produced by evolution are not improvements. … In the battle for survival, species save themselves sometimes by increasing, sometimes by jettisoning, their powers. There is no general law of progress in biological history.

And, thirdly, even if there were, it would not follow—it is, indeed, manifestly not the case—that there is any law of progress in ethical, cultural, and social history. No one looking at world history without some pre-conception in favor of progress could find in it a steady up gradient. There is often progress within a given field over a limited period. A school of pottery or painting, a moral effort in a particular direction, a practical art like sanitation or shipbuilding, may continuously improve over a number of years. If this process could spread to all departments of life and continue indefinitely, there would be "Progress" of the sort our fathers believed in. But it never seems to do so. Either it is interrupted … or else, more mysteriously, it decays. … The idea of the world slowly ripening to perfection, is a myth, not a generalization from experience. (pp. 102-104, emphasis mine)

Lewis liked the myth a lot; he was especially fond of Wagner's Ring Cycle. But he was under no illusions that it was true.

Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things—ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. (p. 109)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 9:09 am | Edit
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This is my father's journal entry for Monday, the 22nd of October, 1962.  David and Alan are my brothers, then five months and three years old.

Spent some of this evening doing some repair work on David's sitting-carrying device in an effort to keep the bent-wire stand from coming out of its assigned place and poking him in the back. Alan worked in the basement with me, sawing, pounding nails, and finally sweeping the floor. The latter part of the evening was spent peeling and cooking apples for applesauce. We probably peeled a total of about 1/3 bushel.

That's it. There's no indication, there or in subsequent pages, that President Kennedy had just told the country we were on the brink of nuclear war.

I'm currently reading Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. Despite my prejudices against Mr. O'Reilly, I learned from Killing Lincoln that he can produce well-written and interesting books of history. This is my second, and so far I am not disappointed. I'm finding it fascinating to learn more about the times that shaped my childhood, especially those from which I was largely sheltered.

I was ten years old at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and if it had any effect at all on my daily life I retain no memory of it. Sure, I lived in the days where "air raid" drills were as common in school as fire drills, but that was just one of many peculiar things about going to school. No child I knew had any concerns about nuclear annihilation, and if the adults talked about it, they certainly didn't do so in front of us. I really doubt it had much effect at all on my parents' everyday lives; it didn't even make the pages of my father's private journal. And he was far from ignorant, having himself worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

In many ways that was a much saner time than today.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Edit
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altLeaphorn and Chee by Tony Hillerman (HarperCollins, 1992), containing

Skinwalkers (1987)
A Thief of Time (1988)
Talking God (1989)

Having succeeded spectacularly with the Brother Cadfael series, and failed with Ordinary Grace, my son-in-law has hit another home run with Tony Hillerman's Leaphorn and Chee books.

Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police solve crimes together, though in many of the books I've read so far, they work independently and only come together later in the book. It's an interesting change-up.

I'm making no attempt to read them all in order. I'd rather, but these three are not the initial books anyway, and there are many in the series that our library doesn't have, so I take what I can get. I've read a total of seven so far, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one. This means the events in the lives of the protagonists get rather jumbled, but each mystery is independently understandable and enjoyable.

What I like best: The excellent mysteries, of course, but after that I love learning more about the Southwest—a part of the country I've never even visited except for a brief trip to Arizona—and about Navajo culture.

What I like least: The stories are so wonderfully detailed, and told with what appears to be a high regard for the facts, and with cultural sensitivity, that it actually makes me worry just a little that I might be picking up some wrong ideas—because it sounds so trustworthy!

What surprises me: If you've read my previous reviews, you know I have a very low tolerance for bad language. Yet there is some in these books, and it doesn't bother me one bit. I wonder why, and though I'm only speculating at this point, it's probably a combination of factors:

  • The use is very sparse, like the addition of a little spice to a dish rather than a tablespoon of hot sauce.
  • It appears appropriate to the characters and the situations.
  • It is neither vicious nor puerile.
  • The characters manage to use only the words I find least offensive, which when you think about it is quite an accomplishment, considering that I really, really dislike "OMG," which most of America can't seem to get along without.

What puzzles me: Part of the charm of the books is the traditional Navajo culture, and while I find it interesting as history, I can't understand the attitude—which is certainly not limited to these books—that "real" Native American culture is what it was in the distant past. Cultures grow, they evolve, they blend, yet to many people to be "traditional" means one must revert to practices frozen at a particular point in time

A Christian Navajo, for example, seems to be considered an oxymoron, or at best a mongrel who has sold out to the white culture—as if Jesus had been born in England instead of in Israel. Are my Anglican beliefs a denial of my Puritan ancestors? Am I stuck with Calvinism because of the faith of my forebears? The couple of times I attended a real Native American Pow-Wow (albeit Seminole, not Navajo), this joyful celebration of their traditions was also unabashedly Christian. Surely it is possible to enjoy one's ancestral culture and yet differ with them on some points. Truth is independent of both culture and lineage.

Possibly—again, just speculating—when one's culture has been assaulted, and forcibly taken away instead of being allowed to evolve, people may feel the need to reboot, to rewind to the place where their culture was lost, before they can feel comfortable with any change.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 9:21 am | Edit
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altInnovation on Tap: Stories on Entrepreneurship from the Cotton Gin to Broadway's Hamilton by Eric B. Schultz (Greenleaf, 2019)

This is the book I've been waiting nine years to read. Well, it's almost that book: Apparently, this amazing man's story, of which I was hoping to learn more, got left on the cutting room floor. No matter. Actually, it does matter, but I'm sure Eric will tell the story eventually, and in the meantime, Innovation on Tap has plenty of interesting tales.

A priest, a rabbi, and an imam walk into a bar....

Oops. Wrong story. But this book is set in a bar; the premise that provides its structure being that entrepreneurs as diverse as America itself—from Eli Whitney, who was born before we became a country, to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is still making headlines—have gathered together in a bar and are swapping stories.

Innovation on Tap invites you to come on in, find an empty bar stool, and eavesdrop. Learn a little about business, learn a little about American history, and have fun!

Here's the table of contents:

PART ONE—MECHANIZATION

  • Eli Whitney: Accidental Entrepreneur
  • Oliver Ames: Riding the Perfect Storm
  • Against the Odds: Social Entrepreneurship in the Early Republic

PART TWO—MASS PRODUCTION

  • King Gillette: Mass Production in an Age of Anxiety
  • Mary Elizabeth Evans Sharpe: The Instinct to Do
  • John Merrick: Building a Great Institution
  • Willis Carrier: Mass Production Meets Consumerism
  • Charles “Buddy” Bolden: The Sound of Innovation

PART THREE—CONSUMERISM

  • Elizabeth Arden: A Right to Be Beautiful
  • J. K. Milliken: Community in a Model Village
  • Alfred Sloan: America’s Most Successful Entrepreneur?
  • Branch Rickey: Prophet or Profit?

PART FOUR—SUSTAINABILITY

  • Stephen Mather: Machine in the Garden
  • Emily Rochon: Giving Voice to the Environment
  • Kate Cincotta: Creating Climate Entrepreneurs
  • Viraj Puri: Plants Are Not Widgets

PART FIVE—DIGITIZATION

  • Brenna Berman: Building a Smarter City
  • Jean Brownhill: A Community of Trust
  • Brent Grinna: Quietly Building an Amazing Network
  • Jason Jacobs: A Cheerleader for Community
  • Guy Filippelli: From Battlefield to Cybersecurity
  • Meghan Winegrad: Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur

Conclusion: A Model for Innovation and Community
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton 

Most of these names meant little to me before I read Innovation on Tap, the primary exception being Eli Whitney, whom I wrote about in "Sometimes Old Family Stories Are True." I learned a lot. Some of what I learned was scary—especially in the section on consumerism; no one likes feeling manipulated—but I enjoyed seeing the human face of business.

Thanks to the ability to copy text from the Kindle version of the book (which at the time was on sale for 99 cents!), the quotes are a little more extensive than they might have been had I needed to type them all in by hand. Thanks, Eric!

The crisis at the turn of the twentieth century became how to keep giant, automated factories from oversaturating their market with goods. The solution to this problem defines the third entrepreneurial theme, consumerism, a fundamental change in America from a land of sober and frugal citizens defined by what they produced, to a land of ravenous consumers defined by what they purchased. (Introduction, p. 7)

Winners are those who become skillful at situating themselves in a supportive network. Education, intelligence, courage, grit—all are secondary factors. The entrepreneurial experience in America, no matter the period, is built on this cornerstone: The stronger the community, the greater the chances for success. From Eli Whitney to Mary Elizabeth Evans to Lin-Manuel Miranda, a strong personal network is the most striking attribute and powerful resource of a successful entrepreneur. (Introduction, p. 13)

Catharine [Greene] extended her home and hospitality to Whitney while he regrouped. In turn, he made himself useful through odd jobs, including the redesign of a tambour embroidery frame that Catharine had found difficult to use. This inconsequential act would soon have historic implications. ...

With few good crop options available, some Southern farmers began to plant short-staple cotton in the 1790s, hoping a process would be developed to make it salable in quantity. ... Raising a crop destined to rot in the field or warehouse was an act of agricultural desperation. In the midst of this worried conversation, Catharine Greene introduced the group to Eli Whitney, telling the story of her new tambour frame. Whitney denied any claim of mechanical genius and further admitted that he had never seen cotton or a cotton seed in his life. However, he also sensed opportunity. (Eli Whitney, pp. 19-20)

The above illustrates the excellent point my daughter made when I mentioned the entrepreneurial strength of her husband's unusual ability to gather community around himself and his family. She acknowledged the truth of that, but added, "I've also learned that we don't all have to be entrepreneurs." It seems that Catharine Green, being herself and doing what she did best, was also an essential part of the invention of the cotton gin.

It was her grandfather Riegel who first set in motion Mary Elizabeth’s future career. “He did not approve of our buying cheap penny candy,” Evans said. “He thought it was not good for us . . . so he told us that we could have all the candy we wanted, if we’d make it ourselves.” For Judge Riegel, this dictate was common sense. In the unregulated market of nineteenth-century America, before passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, store-bought candy was often unhealthy and sometimes deadly. (Mary Elizabeth Evans Sharpe, p. 76)

Modern air-conditioning transformed twentieth-century America no less than Eli Whitney’s cotton gin transformed the nineteenth century. Consumers began to enjoy comfort air not only at the theater, but in restaurants, trains, and stores. By 1957, an Arkansas court concluded that “air conditioning is becoming standard equipment in homes, offices, and public buildings; it contributes to the comfort and efficiency of all those people who have occasion to utilize its benefits and is as necessary as telephones, heating, etc., in courthouses.” The 1970 Federal Census, sometimes called “The Air-Conditioned Census,” showed modern air-conditioning as having circulated people along with air, pushing the American population southward. Today, some 90 percent of American homes have central or room air-conditioning. (Willis Carrier, p. 110)

That so many homes are now air conditioned is still difficult for me to believe. True, we wouldn't have moved to Florida without it, but we never had air conditioning when we lived in the Northeast—not in our homes, not in our cars, and barely even in our workplaces as late as the 1980's. What brought air conditioning to the hospital where I worked was not human comfort, but the fact that the computers we had learned to depend on would not function in the hot weather. Even in 2002, our Boston apartment was not air conditioned, nor was our church. The Arkansas courthouse may have been cool in the 1950's, but at my grandparents' home in Florida, relief came from a relaxed lifestyle and a house designed to take advantage of the Atlantic Ocean breezes.

Buddy [Bolden] died at age fifty-four in 1931, leaving behind no interviews or recordings. Not until two years after his death did jazz historians even begin to recover his name and legacy. In so doing, they realized that what Bolden created between 1900 and 1906 was novel and striking enough to his contemporaries that they believed they were hearing something entirely new. Don Marquis resolved that, if Buddy was not the first to play jazz, “he was the first to popularize it and give the music a base from which to grow.” ...

As tragically as his story ends, Buddy Bolden also serves as a poignant reminder that even marginalized entrepreneurs can flourish where community thrives and where race and class are second to innovation and talent. (Charles "Buddy" Bolden, p. 117)

With the growth of cities came the rise of the department store and the growth of chain stores. Americans living thousands of miles apart were being joined together by magazines, the telephone, Hollywood, the radio, and the automobile. A journalist traveling cross-country in the early twentieth century found Americans from New York to California “are more and more coming to be molded on something of the same outward pattern.” This included their clothing, their homes, and the novels they read. A “mass market” was rising implausibly from a nation that was once a loose collection of regions and not long before at war with itself.

Having mastered mechanization and mass production, industry was suddenly faced with a new crisis. “The problem before us today is not how to produce the goods,” journalist Samuel Strauss (1870–1953) wrote in 1924, “but how to produce the customers.” (Elizabeth Arden, p. 121)

The concept of “style” arose as an important attribute of a product, and style could be manipulated. “This new influence . . . is largely used to make people dissatisfied with what they have of the old order,” advertising executive Earnest Calkins (1868–1964) wrote, “still good and useful and efficient, but lacking the newest touch.” ... Academics disagreed about who was responsible for this phenomenon of consumerism. Some saw its birth as the result of a generation of high-quality, low-cost product being available in the market. Americans had come to expect the newest and best, all at an affordable price. ... Others believed that business was more responsible, more manipulative, having found ways through clever marketing to create new demand.... The journalist Mark Sullivan (1874–1952) believed that new demand was created by businessmen who realized that “if the old could be made to seem passé . . . the new could be sold in profitable quantities.” For Sullivan, consumerism was the result of a calculated push from producers.

Pull or push, consumer or producer, the transformation was real. When Robert and Helen Lynd took a detailed look at attitudes in the town of Muncie, Indiana, in 1929, they found residents being informed by their local paper that the “citizen’s first importance to his country is no longer that of citizen but that of consumer. Consumption is the new necessity.” Consumer credit soared among young people. So did a signature cultural innovation of the age: planned obsolescence. “We are urged deliberately to waste material,” one commentator wrote. “Throw away your razor blades, abandon your motor car, and purchase new.” Style over function, credit, and obsolescence had all become virtues—a way to keep the giant factories of automation humming along, but a complete about-face from the frugal world of the previous century. (Elizabeth Arden, pp. 122-123, emphasis mine)

As with air conditioning, this was not my world, growing up. It's barely my world now. Frugality, making do, wasting nothing, caring for the environment—that was, and is, the the backdrop of our lives. I am not at all happy that Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows 7....

"It is astonishing what you can do when you have a lot of energy, ambition and plenty of ignorance," [Alfred Sloan] concluded. (Alfred Sloan, p. 141)

One GM executive wrote, “The question was no longer ‘can I afford an automobile,’” but—thanks to the marketing brilliance of GM and its leader, “‘can I afford to be without an automobile?’” (Alfred Sloan, p. 152)

While the term sustainability would not become common until the 1970s, the need to balance growth with resource conservation is the fourth important entrepreneurial theme in America. Sustainability would come to address pollution, overconsumption, and climate change, but its roots were set in the conservation movement that sprang up in the early twentieth century. (Stephen Mather, p. 163, emphasis mine)

This was my world. I've never quite been comfortable with what has been called "environmentalism," but "conservationism" was as much a part of my youth as our beloved Adirondack Mountains. Certainly both involve politics, and I can't deny that the environmentalist movement has facilitated much good, but in my gut it feels like anger and violence, whereas conservationism feels like love and respect and good times with friends.

The national park system is an American crucible, facing the irreconcilable mandates of providing a world-class experience to every visitor who enters while leaving the park and its resources unimpaired. The American consumer experience appears to have reached its limit in places like Yellowstone and Yosemite. “These are irreplaceable resources,” says retired park superintendent Joan Anzelmo. “We have to protect them by putting some strategic limits on numbers, or there won’t be anything left.” (Stephen Mather, p. 177)

“The predominant narrative that you hear when somebody puts solar on their rooftop is, ‘If you’ve gone solar and I haven’t, you’re free-riding on the system, and you’re shipping costs to me.’ You hear that here in the US, in Europe, in Australia. It’s a common refrain,” Rochon says, promoted by utility companies. “It’s black and white and very persuasive: You’re not paying utility bills so you are cheating the system.”

Her counternarrative redefines those who adopt solar as responsible stewards of the grid. People who invest in their homes, adding solar panels, air-source heat pumps, and insulation have, Rochon says, “prepaid their electricity bill for the next ten years. When the sun is shining and everybody has turned on their air-conditioning, their house is not part of the problem. We need these people to participate.” They spend private dollars at no risk to others, generate clean local power, support the economy, and create jobs. (Emily Rochon, p. 185)

I wonder where this "predominant narrative" is heard? It's new to me. I only hear praises for those who are investing in alternative energy for their homes. At worst I hear complaints about taxpayer-funded subsidies that they take advantage of.

Fundamental to Rochon’s work in both Europe and the United States is the creation of new entrepreneurial opportunities and attractive business models, and helping to spread best practices. “If you give renewable energy developers in the US the right framework and right incentives, they can solve almost any problem. You don’t see that same level of creativity in Europe,” she says. “It doesn’t have the same capitalist roots. But the story that I tell is that you just need to give the market the right framework and let the forces innovate. Renewable energy developers everywhere can be extraordinarily clever, creative people if you give them the space within which to do that stuff, and the guidance to ensure it happens responsibly.” (Emily Rochon, p. 186)

“Everyone’s got their stuff; they just need to be self-aware, find things that make good use of those skills, and put the right people around them.” (Jason Jacobs, p. 247)

Pitting start-up entrepreneurship against big-company “intrapreneurship” may be the wrong debate, however. Innovation is successful when delivered as part of a compelling business model, and when its sponsoring entrepreneurs have the support of a robust community. These qualities can be found in start-up ecosystems, but they also exist in large, well-run organizations. (Meghan Winegrad, p. 260)

Steve Jobs has observed that “creativity is just connecting things.” This suggests that entrepreneurs with rich life experiences have a distinct advantage. The more time spent listening, observing, reading, experimenting, sharing, and living—the more “things” they ultimately have to connect, and the more opportunity they uncover. ...

Likewise, our stories suggest that each river of entrepreneurial success is fed by an incalculable number of little streams. These streams flow from the talent, resources, wisdom, and luck generated by the community each entrepreneur works to assemble. Our virtual barroom of entrepreneurs, encompassing three centuries and delivering innovations as different as the cotton gin and Hamilton, would undoubtedly endorse this truth: the stronger the community, the greater the chances for success. (A Model for Innovation and Community, p. 273, 284)

This would suggest that extroverts have a decided advantage in the world of entrepreneurship, and it may very well be true. But introverts bring their own collections of "listening, observing, reading, experimenting, sharing, and living" that should not be underestimated.

Moreover, for extroverts and introverts alike, it is an encouraging truth that many important life experiences look very much like failures. I'm not of the school that believes failure, per se, to be a prerequisite for success, but the entrepreneurs in this barroom prove that repeated failures, enormous disadvantages, and even mental illness and early death don't disqualify one from making important contributions to the world.

I have but one complaint about Innovation on Tap: the use of the term, "people of color." I can't wait for this to go the way of other, now-outdated designations that wrongfully categorize people. As if the world consists of but two classes of people: People of Color and ... what? The Colorless? It has already become a meaningless term, with people now being told, "You're not really a Person of Color because you are: rich, successful, Republican, anything that makes you one of Them." I've felt this myself, as a woman—not being "really a woman" because I don't toe someone's party line—and it stinks. Then there was the American schoolteacher on a Kilimanjaro hike, who couldn't believe her guide was "really African" because he was a Roman Catholic (instead of "worshipping spirits") and had never heard of Kwanzaa. (Yes, I said schoolteacher!) I'm done with this nonsense.

 


Back when I used to receive free books in exchange for reviews, I was required to include in the review a "Disclosure of Material Connection," explaining that the book was free, my opinions were my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I'm tired of legal blather. Eric Schultz is my friend, he was kind enough to send me a copy of Innovation on Tap with a lovely inscription, and my opinions are always my own. Deal with it.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 9:11 am | Edit
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altLegion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books, 2018), containing

Legion (2012)
Legion: Skin Deep (2014)
Lies of the Beholder (2018)

My grandson, with some assistance from my brother, has been pushing me to read Brandon Sanderson. I've been intimidated. Me, intimidated by books? I read voraciously, averaging five and a half books each month since I began keeping score in 2010. I read fiction and non-fiction, short books and long books, books for all ages—though not of all genres: you'll find little or no Romance or Horror on my lists, and I loathe Coming of Age novels. But Sanderson doesn't appear to fall into any of the hated genres; why am I intimidated?

It's probably the commitment involved. They want me to read the Mistborn series: six books, running between five and six hundred pages each. Really, I could do it. It's less than two months' worth of reading; the issue is what books would I not be reading in that time? (That's two months' worth of reading for me; my grandsons seem to be able to polish off these books in a day or two.)

So I started small, with The Rithmatist. Fewer pages, and just one book. By the time I was finished, I was anxious to read the sequel, but since that hasn't yet been written, I'm safe for a while. I won't go through the reasons getting Mistborn has eluded me at the library, but its time will come. Instead, the last time I was browsing the library shelves I found Legion. It's actually three books, but all together only 352 pages, so not intimidating at all.

Not intimidating, but gripping. The premise—a man of unparalleled genius whose mind keeps him from descending into madness through the creation of hallucinatory people who contain and control his knowledge—is unique as far as I know. I see an opportunity here for a very interesting TV detective series.

Sanderson calls these his "most personal" stories. I think he would be a fascinating person to know.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 7:28 am | Edit
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I've been woefully behind in writing reviews for the books I've read, but this morning I returned to Eric B. Schultz's latest book, Innovation on Tap

Important note: I went to Amazon to grab the book's link and discovered that the Kindle version is currently on sale for $0.99! That's 99 cents! Do not pass up this opportunity. I didn't, even though thanks to the author's generosity I already own an autographed hardcover copy. Not only do I enjoy having searchable e-books as well as "real" copies, but this is going to make my review so much easier to write, since I'll be able to copy the quotes marked by my 25+ sticky notes, instead of laboriously typing them in by hand.

This is one reason why writing takes longer than maybe it should. I start to work on my review, then decide to catch up on the last couple of Occasional CEO posts (I'm behind in reading as well as writing), and when I read "Leadership in the White Space" I'm immediately inspired to design a T-shirt. So I play with that for a while, so I can have an image to post. And then I (temporarily) abandon my review post in order to write this one, which turns out to be a great idea because of the above discovery of the 99 cent Kindle book, which as I said will make writing the review easier. But still!

On with the White Space thing.

As I usually say, you're better off reading the whole post. But since all the mothers, for whom this post is primarily written, are so busy, here's something to give you an idea of it (emphasis mine).

Today, scientists believe that dark energy and dark matter make up almost everything. What can be seen, what we used to believe was our entire universe, is less than 5% of what's really out there. ...

There’s a comparable concept in organizations, a kind of force that's invisible, hard to measure, but likely the most important tool a leader possesses. ...

Despite individual talent, there’s a kind of glue that binds, a kind of energy that powers a successful organization. ...

When asked what he did all day, [a brilliant CEO] replied, “I just manage in the white space.” ...

I was fortunate to start my career under a leader ... who was an expert at managing in the white space. When I wrote Innovation on Tap, I highlighted entrepreneurs ... who were geniuses at doing the same.

That doesn't mean I understand how they did it, or how exactly "white space" works. But it reminds me—like astronomers and dark energy—that what we can see and teach is important, but what we can't see or explain might be the most consequential stuff of all.

So here you go, mother-CEO-heroes. Here's your T-shirt.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 7:35 am | Edit
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