Monday, April 30, 2012

Read Elsewhere: Books, Human Nature, Weight, Appearances

"I think, consciously or not, what we readers do each time we open a book is to set off on a search for authenticity. We want to get closer to the heart of things, and sometimes even a few good sentences contained in an otherwise unexceptional book can crystallize vague feelings, fleeting physical sensations, or, sometimes, profound epiphanies." - Maureen Corrigan, Leave me Alone, I'm Reading

"Most Asian cultures see human beings as innately good, born perfect but then pulled off course by false beliefs, unfounded fears, and other delusions. The Judeo-Christian tradition that undergirds Western philosophy sees humans as innately imperfect, born with all sorts of problems (original sin, carnal nature, ignorance of God's laws) that must be rectified and controlled if we are to become worthy. From a Western perspective, setting the original self free is shocking and dangerous: 'Why, if we just act from a place of freedom, we'll all be pillaging and looting by nightfall.' In Asian psychology, pillaging and looting (etc., etc.) come from a place of delusion, from imagining ourselves as separate from others, so that our welfare and theirs are disconnected." - Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight

"Nevertheless, she is six years old, and she is so far below the average weight for her height that the pediatrician mentions it at each visit, and she doesn't want to gain weight. She's mentioned this a few times recently, but I've ignored it because I didn't want to draw a lot of attention to it---or more truthfully, because I didn't know what to say. This time I asked soooooo casually if the other girls at school talk about gaining weight. She said no. I asked if anyone else had mentioned it. She said no. I asked why she said she didn't want to gain weight, and she laughed nervously and said, well, she meant she didn't want to gain TOO MUCH weight.

I didn't pursue it any further. There isn't any point. It's not as if it's possible to rear a daughter who doesn't understand that this society expects her to be thin. I'd been hoping, though, for a longer time before she understood it." - Swistle, writing "Weight and Daughters" at the blog Swistle

"None of us lead the lives our appearance suggests. We each lie in bed at night with our personal terrors as to what life could be, or about what life is like right now, and whether we have the strength to get through it. Clothes and money rarely can make that go away." - Deborah L. Jacobs, in Forbes Magazine

1 comment:

  1. Oh that first quote is IT. I am adding that book to my library list NOW.