Les valeurs personnelles by René Magritte Serendipituous encounter of Les valeurs personnelles by René Magritte at SF MoMA.

Les valeurs personnelles by René Magritte

On the plaque beside the painting read “Would you like someome who can turn night into day? Would you like to be sure that desired are often stuck by lightning? Would you like to walk through a transparent door? Would you like poetic order from chaos? And fire, wouldn’t you like to control fire, and gravity and air and the stars? Would you like someone who could make things seem what they really are? Then you will like René Magritte”

Corner of heart-to-hearts

A party game for those who would like some intimacy at parties. The most meaningful interactions I have had at large gatherings are the one-to-ones.

Two people sit in a cozy corner of a party. If they have a candle, they may light it. They have a set of cards, and each card has a single word, such as "loss", "fragility", or "dream." One player randomly draws a card, and spurred by the word, shares a personal story, memory, or experience. They may explore the word as they wish. The other person listens closely and, when the speaker is done talking, asks questions and offers reactions. Then it's the listener's turn to share. The two people chat until conversation trails off. Then they return to the party while reflecting on living in a world where they meet people, share something meaningful, then part ways, sometimes for good.

corner cards part 1corner cards part 2

card suggestions for the corner of heart-to-hearts

original page on the corner original page on the corner of heart-to-hearts

h/t: Andre T. Taken from DSM: The Asian American Edition.

Notes on “How Children Fail” by John Holt

It’s been an interesting read, and I can relate to a lot of the behavior of children Holt describes, having once been very much there as a child in school and also as an adult now.

  • Success and failure are adult ideas imposed on children. We often teach them that success is good and desirable, but we cannot give them love of succeeding without also giving them the fear of failure
  • Often, there are no clear boundaries between “success” and “failure”. E.g. in learning a new skill like learning a new language at which point does success begin? The difference is only apparent when it comes to pleasing others (adults).
  • It is better to think in terms of “effort” and “adventure”.
  • There is danger in using a child’s concept of himself as a motivation. When we say ‘you are a good and smart boy, therefore you can solve this task’, the child’s concept of himself if strongly tied to how well he does. If he fails at a task, does it now mean that he is not ‘good and smart’ anymore? If we are made to feel good about good work, do we not then teach that bad work should make us feel bad? Realized that this is a habit that I still have – so much aversion to doing ‘bad’ work or to make mistakes because the quality of my work is tied so strongly to how good/smart I am as a person.
  • The difference between a good thinker and a poor thinker:
    • a good thinker takes time to understand the problem, and is okay with the uncertainty of an answer
    • a poor thinker makes a mad dash for the answer as they cannot stand not having an answer
  • Flaws in our language when describing what is ‘normal’
    • Normal =/= desirable/proper/correct
    • Normal just means usual. That which is not normal isn’t something bad. This made me think of Rei Kawakubo and her unusual designs. It may be confusing, bewildering and unconfortable, but why undesirable?

Rei Kawakubo collection at The Metropolitan Musuem of Art Rei Kawakubo collection at The Metropolitan Musuem of Art