Last night I took the time to wander and wonder outside our North Lake home with my camera taking pictures of the super moon. The evening not only was beautiful but the act of having to focus and refocus my camera helped develop in me thoughts about the importance of focus and refocus in my life. Reflection and refocusing in one’s life for me is not only good but imperative.
I’m sitting at my desk for the moment between the time of administering two exams. How best should I use this “free” time? Too often I use the time to start yet another project. Instead this time I am reflecting. I also am trying to dictate this blog piece using my Nuance Dragon Professional software. It surely has improved in terms of its accuracy and ease of use, and it is far past time for me to learn how to use it to my advantage.
Still, it has its limitations (or perhaps I still need to learn better its features).
“Hours longer we to bury was.” That gibberish was what the software produced when I attempted to quote something I read in Latin almost 50 years ago: “ars longa, vita brevis.” Art is long; life is short.
I had forgotten that the passage was originally attributed to Hippocrates. I embrace his more complete quotation:
“Life is short,and art long,opportunity fleeting,experimentations perilous,and judgement difficult.”
So much to learn; so little time. So much beauty to discover and to appreciate.
So many perilous experimentations to be risked in order to live more fully. So many difficult judgments to make. So many difficult conversations needed. Yet, I continue to believe that I have been blessed by being given the opportunity to teach and to learn continuously.
Time to return to the classroom—renewed…
For numerous reasons I am a slow writer. I don’t type. though a nuanced writer I do not naturally dictate into a piece of software like dragon dictate. I’ve never had a secretary. I am a prodigious reader (and have been criticized for reading too much in order to delay writing). I revise multiple times trying to find just the right word, the right tone, the right feeling (This is version 21 of this short piece!). I am interested in so many different things—and therefore easily distracted from the task at hand (yesterday I was distracted from writing by reflecting on digital doppelnamers!). I have no strong external incentive to write (I am tenured and intrinsically motivated). Are these excuses or reasons?
I am having quite a bit of difficulty writing this piece—and have had that difficulty for the past three years when my identity with my discipline of social psychology became disrupted and unsettled. In my Experimental Social Psychology class the past three years I have been sharing with students a case study of the influential career of European social psychologist Diederik Stapel. May I never be so famous that
- my biography is regularly updated in Wikipedia,
- my story is featured in the New York Times,
- my entire career’s work is evaluated by a Commission,
- I’m featured on a TED train special,
- and my work is regularly condemned on Retraction Watch.
The past two years I have invited my students to share in writing their reactions to this case study. Before “publishing them” in a blog piece, I was interested in whether Diederik might be interested in seeing them. Thank you, Diederik for replying and sharing some of your experiences over the past three years.
I am left struggling with the questions of at what point is ostracism unwarranted and forgiveness or a variant of compassion warranted. At what point does ostracism degenerate into a witch hunt? How can one both acknowledge and condemn wrong behavior (never forget) and yet not engage in wrong behavior by failing to allow an individual opportunities to show that they have learned from their wrong behavior?
I have much to ruminate about.
Robin the Newf knows about FLOW.
In an interesting article entitled “The What, Why, When, and How of Teaching the Science of Subjective Well-Being” in the April 2014 issue of the journal Teaching of Psychology Ed Diener and Christi Napa Scollon point out that in the past few years there have been over 10,00 publications per year on the topic of happiness. Anyone interested in teaching a course about Subjective Well-Being (I myself developed and taught such a course once for Freshmen) might find this article especially useful. It includes sample discussion questions, sample syllabus topics, exercises for enhancing well-being, and scholarly references. Here are webpages describing related work of two scholars I admire Richard Davidson and Sonja Lyubormirsky.
Some relatively recent “SWB” research is summarized in this Happify link.
Below are some germane videos I have come across that made me laugh, smile, or think and that I might use were I to teach such a course again.