hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Thursday, April 06, 2017





Blog post for 4-17-2017 (2/2):

Not feeling much of an impulse to yawp at the moment, so mainly epistolary blogging, from various emails over the past year:

Little Talk:

I've been playing around with the idea of Fibonacci tithing:

First, determine your residual: income - essential expenses.

Split your residual 3 ways: Yoga, lobha, and bhoga.

Or, less rhyme-y but more accurate in translation: Dharma, Artha, and Kama.

Or:  Charity, Investment/savings, and personal.

Of the personal money that you don't wind up spending, split it half way between charity and investment/saving:

Of the money you devote to charity (33 per cent of your residual), split it up like this:
1 arts & science
1 public interest journalism
2 politics
3 religious organization
5 religious charity
8 reputable charity
13 disreputable charity

I guess the main thing worth commenting on, is that I believe, that while both are important, disreputable charity is more important than reputable charity.

 I'm currently working. . .as a contractor. The contract is supposed to last till June 30, 2017, and if I can last that long, I will be very happy, and in a good position to carry out my plan of moving to India in 2017. . .

If I can adjust to the pace and smarts and work ethic required to keep up. . .I can see it being a very good year. A good opportunity for me to explore SoCal, and make a jump in my understanding of the software trade, before abandoning it for studying math!

. . .I'm definitely *planning* on moving to India in 2017, whether I will actually do it, who knows? There are a bunch of math/physics books/textbooks I want to read/work through, it makes sense to me to do it in a place where my burn rate will be lower, plus I have many friends from my school years in India, and would enjoy living closer to them for at least a few years. I'm tentatively planning to travel in the US/Canada in the summer of 2017 (Crater Lake and the Grand Canyon are near the top of the list of places to visit) then arrive in India soon after that.

I [plan] to move to India, [sometime] after easter 2017, for a few years, at least, to study math, at first. . .I am looking forward to it, though I am feeling a bit more fearful and a bit less courageous now that the time has finally come to put my plan into action.

In any case, once in India, and for some months before in preparation, I will have to eliminate dollar expenditures. . .

. . .Regarding my India plan, one day in a bar, I was describing to a friend what I wanted to do if I had the money, and it was basically sit at my desk everyday and work through math and physics textbooks, without deadlines, until I had achieved the deepest understanding of the book's subject matter that I was capable of. My friend said it sounded like one of those old Rabbis, who spend all their time studying the Talmud, never doing a stroke of work, and I agreed that that sounded pretty much right. Ever since then, we called it my "Rabbi Krishna" plan, and at some point I selected Easter 2017 as the date I would start on it.

An example of the type of books: Calculus, volumes 1 & 2, by Tom Apostol, and Mechanics, by Kleppner and Kolenkow.

I decided to do it in India because:

1) I went to school in India for 5 years (6th-10th grade), and would like to live for a few years closer to my Indian friends and family.

2) I hope it will be cheaper than the US. . .

It could very well be my [planned budget] is a hopeless underestimate, in which case I will have less time. We shall see.

My plan to move to India came before Trump, though the prospect of leaving him behind is not displeasing. What the Trump movement has clarified for me is what I believe in: I believe in a society of free and equal human beings, and I believe that without both a love for freedom, and a love for equality, the human spirit starts to sicken and die.

Equality for me doesn't mean we all have beachfront homes, but it does mean a society where nobody has to suck up, or gets to spit down.

As I get older, I'm starting to understand a bit about the rigors of aging. It's difficult, no question about it. In C.S. Lewis's book of letters, edited by his brother, in one of the last letters of his life, which his brother chose to end the book with, he talks about an enduring sorrow for mutabilitie (quoting Edmund Spenser, I think), and I agree with them. . .

. . I also am grateful for this opportunity to write down the things I've been thinking. Maybe I should do it more often!

. . .I would say, I will be in India within a year, and probably a bit sooner. (Gives me chills to say that!) The contract at my job currently ends on June 30, I had planned to leave any time after Easter 2017. If the contract is extended 6 months, I may accept it, but right now, I'm not expecting it to extended. [It wasn't.] There's also the possibility my contract would be suddenly cancelled, before June 30, which would be a trifle worrying, but no more than that, and I'm excited at the prospect at not having to worry about stuff like this, at least for a few years!

After I leave my job, I am planning to do a little traveling - Crater Lake and the Grand Canyon are on the list. Then on to India!

Actually, one of my favorite cartoons is Charlie Brown's rage at Snoopy after Snoopy takes 3 strikes down the middle of the plate without swinging. Haven't been able to find it online. . .Thanks so much!!! It's the cartoon I remembered. 

CS Lewis's anthology of George MacDonald helps keeps me closer to sane in a world (and a self) frequently gone mad, but the price of buying sanity from such a supplier is that you have to listen to that voice, when it roars with an inescapable clarity and volume:

      [ 271 ] Visitors
      By all means tell people, when you are busy about something that must be done, that you cannot spare the time for them except they want of you something of yet more pressing necessity; but tell them, and do not get rid of them by the use of the instrument commonly called the cold shoulder. It is a wicked instrument. 
One of my favorite bits from Surprised By Joy:
Closely linked with Barfield of Wadham was his friend (and soon mine), A. C. Harwood of The House, later a pillar of Michael Hall, the Steinerite school at Kidbrooke. He was different from either of us; a wholly imperturbable man. Though poor (like most of us) and wholly without “prospects”, he wore the expression of a nineteenth-century gentleman with something in the Funds. On a walking tour when the last light of a wet evening had just revealed some ghastly error in map-reading (probably his own) and the best hope was “Five miles to Mudham (if we could find it) and we _might_ get beds there,” he still wore that expression. In the heat of argument he wore it still. You would think that he, if anyone, would have been told to “take that look off his face”. But I don’t believe he ever was. It was no mask and came from no stupidity. He has been tried since by all the usual sorrows and anxieties. He is the sole Horatio known to me in this age of Hamlets; no “stop for Fortune’s finger”.

next post: 1/18/2018

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