Monday, November 28, 2011

This Painting Has a Very Important Message to Share

Few people think of Edouard Bisson anymore. But after reading that consumers in America went "shopping like there's no tomorrow," I recalled this painting of his.


I recently answered that very question on Facebook and, not wanting to see those thoughts disappear forever below random clicks of things I "like," I'll reproduce my answer below:

Luc Travers would probably be able to answer this better than I can but here's my quick "reading" of the painting:

The subject is a girl with a mandolin--some type of instrument that she seems to have been playing.

She is in the snow but, aha, is hardly dressed for it. In fact, she's wearing a sleeveless dress and trying to keep herself warm. Experience suggests that this is not going to work and isn't at that moment.

But on her face there is no suggestion of persistence--"I'm going to stay warm or figure out how!" Her eyes are cast downward and if I put myself in that position, what do I feel? Regret.

So this woman is regretting something. What? We can imagine she regrets playing so much rather than preparing for this moment. In fact, the message I take from this painting is "prepare for the winter before it comes."

As to connections with shopping, the American consumer has little savings if not a lot of debt. Meanwhile it's not hard to imagine a snowstorm--i.e., economic crisis--as the "snow" is already in the sky. Winter, in my view, is here and it's about to get even colder.

So news that Americans went "shopping like there's no tomorrow" reminded me of this mandolin player--who herself is representative of the Grasshopper (in Aesop's Fables). She hasn't prepared for the future [and] is now dependent on anyone who has.

There are a lot more connections here, however, and Luc would undoubtedly stress the more personal ones. For example, this painting is a nice concretization of not preparing for an important meeting, or test, or challenge.

Although beautiful, I love this painting for the above things (much of which I probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't read Luc's book on the subject, Touching The Art).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Pause that Pleases

Here's praise for the pause that...
And a toast for the stop that...
While it gets us worked up,
It's so fun when time's up
And the tension at long last...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Objective Communication for Sale

Update: Someone bought this course long ago. Feel free to check out the quote that I shared from it, however, and then (if you're wondering about his latest book) read 6 Quotes From (and Some Thoughts on) Leonard Peikoff's DIM hypothesis.


A year ago, I bought a lecture course called "Objective Communication" by Leonard Peikoff. Since then, I have listened to the course twice. It has proven extremely valuable, helped me to get published numerous times, and I treasure it.

However, my wife also gave me something valuable last year--a baby boy. And I treasure him too. So in order to help buy him all the Montessori toys that a parent can buy, I'm selling the course that I originally bought for $280 for $150 plus shipping.

You can learn more about the course--usually sold for $350--here. Below is an excerpt from the first lecture, where Peikoff establishes why the subject matters:
We are none of us, very few of us, taught to think or communicate. We didn’t learn the skills [or] techniques involved. And yet these techniques, both with regard to thought and communication, are not innate, they’re not automatic. It’s a difficult, complex ability to present complex ideas, to deal with them, to make them clear. It’s an ability which rests on principles that have to be defined, applied, practiced. It’s an art that has to be learned. And it can be—and I mean here both thought and communication. 
Now in the ancient world this art was essentially taught, they called it rhetoric. It was the art of how to present ideas persuasively to others and the major philosophers all had a definite theory on that. (Aristotle wrote a whole treatise on it.) Today, it is not effectively taught. 
The future of the world depends on the spread of the right ideas. And that requires that the advocates of those ideas understand them clearly in their own mind and then can communicate them effectively in whatever form is appropriate—whether in a drawing-room discussion where it’s appropriate or to your child if he asks you whether there’s a god, or to his teacher if he celebrates UN Day in grade 3, or on a paper if you’re a student in school, or to your lady’s club when it meets, or in a letter to your editor, or to Congress, or whatever. 
All of these are the practical daily means by which the world is changed, and saved—saved if what you present is correct. But all of this requires inner clarity on the part of the people with the right ideas and the ability to communicate them effectively.
Anybody interested in the course is free to contact me on Facebook, Twitter, or by email. For an extra $25, I'd also throw in an absolutely delightful course called "Gems of Drama" by Lisa VanDamme.