Mar 01 / Simcha

Self-Acceptance or Self-Improvement? (D. Brooks)

Art: Andrew Cleary

In a compelling piece in yesterday’s New York Times (Ease and Ardor, 2.27.14), op-ed columnist David Brooks takes a close look at two of the greatest essayists who ever lived: Michel de Montaigne and Samuel Johnson.

Brooks notes how the two men tackled similar problems and were fascinated by some of the same perplexities, yet emerged with different attitudes towards adversity and  living life: Montaigne focused on self-understanding and self-acceptance, while Johnson sought self-conquest and self-improvement; where the former sought a life of wisdom and restraint, the latter pursued a life of improvement and ardor.

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Jan 23 / Simcha

Being Present in the Face of Grief (D. Brooks)

facesNew York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks writes this week of one family’s trauma, following the death of their 27-year-old daughter and the severe injury of their second daughter, Catherine, a few years later at the age of 26.  He shares lessons drawn by the Woodiwisses, which at least apply to their own experience, about how those of us outside the zone of trauma might better communicate with those inside the zone.

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