A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness.
Today is my father’s birthday. It always reminds me of the father he was and the one I wish he had been. My birthday wish for him is that he remember his three children. After years of running, it is time to face the guilt and pain of the past. Perhaps it would help heal my wounds too.
On my recent trip to Poland, I was able to take advantage of an unexpected day off. I seized the opportunity to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau. Far from a carefree site seeing locale, I thought it was important to connect myself with the tragedy…although it was an extremely difficult journey; I am grateful I did it. I was horrified by the enormity of both camps and by the details illuminated by our incredible guide. I have included some images here, in case some of you never have the same opportunity to visit it in person. Missing are the images that brought me to tears; the rooms filled with human hair, prosthetics, eyeglasses, suitcases, baby clothes and shoes. They made clear the incredible numbers of people who lost their lives…the sadness hit me like a tidal wave when I saw the hair, hair that was later used to make socks for the German army. You can imagine my shock. These images can never replace a personal visit which I highly recommend. Everyone needs to see the camps, remember the event and never let it happen again. More images follow in another post.
"One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude."
The 8 Best Lines From Ginsburg’s Dissent on the Hobby Lobby Contraception Decision —By Dana Liebelson
On Monday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned a blistering dissent to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that the government can’t require certain employers to provide insurance coverage for methods of birth control and emergency contraception that conflict with their religious beliefs. Ginsburg wrote that her five male colleagues, “in a decision of startling breadth,” would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law that they find “incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Here are seven more key quotes from Ginsburg’s dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:
- "The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage"
- "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community."
- "Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults."
- "It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."
- "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision."
- "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."
- "The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."
You can read the full dissent here. (It starts on page 60.)
Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.
The only roads are those that offer access.
Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.
The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.
The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.
On the right a cave where Meaning lies.
On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.
Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.
For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.
As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.
Into unfathomable life.
By Wislawa Szymborska
From “A large number”, 1976
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996
Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh