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A Eulogy for Nana


Abby lost her grandmother this week.
This is her eulogy to her.

She was Aunty Matty to other people, mummy to her children and countless other fond names to who knew her.

But she was my Nana.

I have memories of her cradling me, and taking care of me as a baby.
Vacations at Nana’s were the highlight of my childhood years.
She was a tireless, hard working woman who raised her large family to the best of her abilities.
And not just her family, but also (to me it seemed) the whole neighbourhood.
She was loved and appreciated, just by about everyone whose life she touched.

As the years flew by, Nana seemed very out of place.
In our fast paced, always connected, no time for any one age, Nana was a slow, deliberate, thoughtful, kind, gentle and gracious woman, like someone from a different, more altruistic age.

And it was here in her shadow years, while i was grew up and was beginning to work and could make my own trips to see her, that i really began to see her for the strong willed, tireless, hard working that she was, beyond just my nana who cossetted me and made me nice things.

And after all these years, the only theme i see that has rung true throughout Nana’s life was, Nana was there.

  • when i was a young bawling baby, Nana was there.
  • throughout my growing up years, Nana was there.
  • to cook me what my heart desired, Nana was there.
  • for everyone in her life, Nana was there.
  • to crack jokes and lighten up any room, Nana was there.
  • to empathise and have a compassionate ear to whatever was ailing you, Nana was there.
  • to gently, yet firmly correct you, Nana was there.
  • to remember you on your birthdays and anniversaries, Nana was there.
  • to worry about you and pick you up when you were down, Nana was there.

Since the day before, when Nana left us, I feel distraught and left alone, that Nana wasn’t there.
And yet, as i read this little note, i realise that this is not quite true.
Like the Little Prince tells the author,

I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy.
But it will be like an old abandoned shell.
There is nothing sad about old shells …

Nana was in pain, and she moved on beyond her body to her rest.
But that does not mean, she isn’t there anymore.
I will always carry Nana with me.
We all do.
Nana is here.


The Safal Niveshak Wall of Ideas

These weekly posts will slow down until the end af April.
Hard at work, studying for exams.

Link for this week is the Safal Niveshak Wall of Ideas.
Vishal’s little scribbles have been as influential in shaping my ideas and views of the world around (and within) me, as Shane’s Mental Models page.

Each doodle is deceptively simple to read, yet will profoundly affect your life, should you choose to apply its teaching.

My personal favourite is his Reading Spectrum.
But I’m biased. There are a whole lot more that you will find more important or interesting.

Click here, (or the image above) to go see his entire wall of ideas.

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Want to do Great Things?

Then be willing to look like an idiot.

(Claude) Shannon had courage. Who else but a man with almost infinite courage would ever think of averaging over all random codes and expect the average code would be good? He knew what he was doing was important and pursued it intensely. Courage, or confidence, is a property to develop in yourself. Look at your successes, and pay less attention to failures than you are usually advised to do in the expression, “Learn from your mistakes”. While playing chess Shannon would often advance his queen boldly into the fray and say, “I ain’t scaird of nothing”. I learned to repeat it to myself when stuck, and at times it has enabled me to go on to a success. I deliberately copied a part of the style of a great scientist. The courage to continue is essential since great research often has long periods with no success and many discouragements.

From Farnam Street’s article on doing great things.
There’s plenty more to do, than just be willing to look like an idiot though.
Go read the entire article.


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Tim Cook on Computers & AI & the Humanities

Tim Cook’s entire commencement address to the MIT class of 2017 is lovely (with enough fluff), but this is the part that struck a nerve:

Technology is capable of doing great things. But it doesn’t want to do great things. It doesn’t want anything.
That part takes all of us. It takes our values and our commitment to our families and our neighbors and our communities. Our love of beauty and belief that all of our faiths are interconnected. Our decency. Our kindness.

I’m not worried about artificial intelligence giving computers the ability to think like humans.
I’m more concerned about people thinking like computers without values or compassion, without concern for consequences.
That is what we need you to help us guard against.
Because if science is a search in the darkness, then the humanities are a candle that shows us where we’ve been and the danger that lies ahead.

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Why You Need a Reading Plan

Jeremy Andenberg, on the importance of Reading Plans:

Creates room for mastery of a subject.

This is perhaps my favorite part of having a reading plan. We’ve made the case multiple times here on Art of Manliness that everyone should strive to be “T-shaped”; that is, you should have a breadth of general knowledge, but also mastery in a single topic or subject or skill. Such mastery provides satisfaction and self-confidence in spades.

So how do you achieve mastery?
One way is certainly by reading deeply into a single subject.
Whether driven by your career or your personal passions, having a reading plan is a surefire way to deepen your knowledge base.

Read more over at the Art of Manliness.
They also have a helpful list of several reading plans if you need inspiration.

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