Archive | September, 2015


27 Sep

Depression is the most common emotional problem, and 80% of people with a major depressive episode may relapse. Mindful mediation, defined as attending only to the present with acceptance and disengagement, looks to be as effective as maintenance antidepressants in preventing relapse. (Lu, S. Mindfulness holds promise for treating depression. Monitor on Psychology, 2015, 46(3), 50-54).

Novel Comments

23 Sep

An author writing in my home town in North Carolina, Karen Bender had published a book, A Town of Empty Rooms (2013), that I just read. I found it to be a page-turner and read it in one sitting. It is an evocative rendering of human frailty and existential loneliness in the person of a woman seeking ultimately to hear herself and others in ways that make for more connection and community. It is not for everyone, perhaps, because it uses the Jewish experience in a small southern town as illumination of what it is to be an isolated outsider, including in the Jewish community itself, within which there are struggles and potential alienation centering around a charismatic but troubled Rabbi.


20 Sep

Mark Twain: Humor is the good-natured side of a truth.


13 Sep

Albert Einstein: The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.

Novel Comments

10 Sep

In her 2012 novel Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver tells of the personal journey of her heroine, Dellarobia, as she grows toward mature flight behavior against the background of the disrupted flight behavior of Monarch butterflies.

At the novel’s start, Dellarobia, feeling trapped in her small town and in her marriage, is on the way to running away by way of an affair. As she goes to meet her lover, she sees an unexpected sight, the arrival of off-course migrating Monarch butterflies. She reads a personal message into their appearance that helps her realize the terrible hurt her flight would cause herself and her family. She returns home. The Monarchs’ flight pattern has disrupted her own.

A specialist in Monarchs comes to town to try to understand their new migratory behavior. From him, she learns that global warming has caused the Monarchs to fly to a place where they can not survive. Their flight behavior will result in their extinction. In contrast, Dellarobia learns how to leave her marriage and town in a way that can eventually be better for everyone, including herself.

Humans have choice and Dellarobia will be all right. But butterflies don’t have choice and the planet is still in trouble.


7 Sep

Dalai Lama: When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.