from the world's big
Books That Have Insiders And Outsiders
There are many books that purport to offer you a better life. Some such books offer fairly mundane enrichment: weight loss, professional advancement, organized closets. Others are bolder, offering salvation, redemption, enlightenment, meaning, purpose, or truth.
Of the latter variety, there are those that you find through your own efforts, those that seem to draw you towards them, and those that have been confronting you with their purported importance for as long as you can remember.
The authors of these books are often treated like gurus or shrouded in mystery. Followers saturate themselves with the relevant words, symbols, ideas, and rituals in order to establish themselves as the book’s authentic audience.
When I went to college there seemed to be a correlation between reading postmodern theory and tight black pants that only make it to the ankles, similarly fitting sweaters, and Buddy Holly glasses. Jewish people who become observant of the Torah’s commandments in an Orthodox fashion begin to punctuate their sentences with “baruch hashem” (blessed is God). Fans of the Grateful Dead – who arguably performed a kind of musical scripture for their followers – used to wear tie-dye shirts, smell like patchouli oil, and have nearly-dreaded hair.
The subcultures that surround such texts – with their insider jargon, hierarchies, and carefully guarded membership – justifiably provoke cynicism in outsiders. They also compel outsiders who become interested in their hallowed text to feel like inauthentic readers, mere prospective proselytes, or dilettantes – they make you feel like it’s not really your book.
If you are not already a certified insider in one of these subcultures, and you are cynical about membership in any subculture at all, is there no enduringly edifying book for you?
Is this also true if I replace the word “book” with the word “tradition,” “philosophy,” or “religion”?
My own life has largely revolved around the promising books and traditions that I have found through intellectual exploration, that seemed to draw me towards them, and that have been confronting me with their purported importance for as long as I can remember. [See my previous post: The Importance Of Repudiated Books]. But I am often repelled by the subcultures that surround them. And this sometimes estranges me from books and traditions whose promise of edification I am otherwise predisposed to believe.
Maybe you have had similar experiences. If so, when the estrangement threatens to overwhelm all opportunities for edification with cynicism, it may be worthwhile for us to recall the following story.
The Secret Name of the King’s Beloved
Once there was a king who promised the most wondrous treasure to the person who could find the secret name of his beloved.
This king had a grand library and at the center of it he displayed “the king’s book.”
Most of the treasure hunters in the kingdom assumed that the king’s book was the book that contained the name of his beloved. They were forever crowded around it, each pushing and shoving to get closer, scouring every page.
But no one ever seemed to find it.
Some did claim to have found it. After amassing great wealth and power through other means, they claimed that their good fortune was in fact the reward of the king.
The king’s minister knew differently. He monitored the king closely. Not like the king’s worshipful subjects, the minister knew the king more intimately. He knew that the king was “only human” and he found his position in the royal service at times aggravating.
Since he was in constant candid conversation with the king, the minister knew that the king’s reward had not yet been granted.
One day it occurred to the minister that the name of the king’s beloved might not be in the king’s book.
Now, among the duties of the minister was to map the kingdom. And this task naturally required occasional travel to the farthest and most obscure regions.
He decided that he would use his next trip to find the treasure.
The minister set out for a long trip. Since he had filled in some of the map already he knew where to find the best libraries and private book collections.
He visited all of them. And he found knew places, speaking at length to the varieties of people touched by the power of the king. All the while he dutifully and fastidiously drew his map.
After a long journey, having peeked into countless rare book rooms and archives, he returned to the king’s court exhausted and demoralized. He confessed himself to the king, explaining that he had used his travels not only to map the kingdom but also to find the name of the king’s beloved. Hoping to offer at least a small amount of compensation for the abuse of his office, he did note that he had accomplished quite a bit of mapping in the process. He signed the enormous rolled paper document and handed it to the king with his head down.
“But you have found the name!” the king exclaimed in his hearty way. “You have signed it here on your map of my kingdom. You are my beloved, who knows me intimately and steadfastly surveys my dominion. You are the one who has earned my wondrous treasure, by your own name.”
Thereafter, the minister traveled far and wide on many adventurous mapping expeditions, always with the loving bounty bestowed by the king. From then on, he treasured his lot.
There is something of the greedy treasure hunter in the acolyte, the insider to the subculture of a text. The devoted reader who is less deferential (even an outsider), who does not take its claims at face value but instead critically surveys the kingdom of its meaning and influence, ministers to the author in a different way. It is this reader, perhaps, who enjoys the truly edifying bounty of the text.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Men take longer to clear COVID-19 from their systems; a male-only coronavirus repository may be why.
- A new study found that women clear coronavirus from their systems much faster than men.
- The researchers hypothesize that high concentrations of ACE2-expressing cells in the testes may store more coronavirus.
- There are many confounding factors to this mystery—some genetic, others social and behavioral.
Where is coronavirus hiding?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE1NTgxNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODY4NzkxMX0.D84W6ZUOhv6Q-Ki7ddiF3zmDLK_Z6vuXtzfB9R8zLAA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C179%2C0%2C180&height=700" id="1cc38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b4e083fb45357e1fb56a8571e8cdc553" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A laboratory technician at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, holds a container of test-tube samples from people tested for novel coronavirus.
Further research required<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="z9vH49bb" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="7ef1ab8ca2f90b28543d580c408ed25f"> <div id="botr_z9vH49bb_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/z9vH49bb-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/z9vH49bb-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/z9vH49bb-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The Montefiore-Einstein study is currently preliminary, and further research will be required before researchers can determine what, if anything, its results illuminate.</p><p>The study is currently published on <em>Medrxiv</em>, a <a href="https://www.aje.com/arc/benefits-of-preprints-for-researchers/" target="_blank">preprint</a> distributor. This means the study has been shared publicly before undergoing the <a href="https://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/howscienceworks_16" target="_blank">peer-review process</a>.</p><p>Preprints allow researchers to communicate their findings before official publication, which can take months if not a year or longer. This pre-publication can lead to early feedback, increased visibility, and new collaborations. It's especially helpful for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400415/" target="_blank">early-career researchers</a> trying to establish themselves.</p><p>However, given the speed at which coronavirus is spreading, researchers have leaned on preprints as a means of disseminating data to other experts faster than the peer review allows. As a result, <em>Medrixiv</em> has seen a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/science/coronavirus-disinformation.html" target="_blank">surge of preprint studies</a>, but they must be read within the context of their preliminary status.</p><p>The Montefiore-Einstein also has its limitations. The study had an initial sample size of only 68 subjects (48 males, 20 females) and a further examination of three families. And the connection of coronavirus to ACE2 enzymes in the testes came from database research, not direct observation.</p><p>The researchers acknowledge the need for further investigation. In particular, Shastri stresses the need to confirm the coronavirus's ability to infect and multiply in testicular tissue. If other researchers find their data promising, they could move forward with new research to build upon the study and see if this clue fits into the mystery.</p>
One clue among many<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE1NTc5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTQ3NjEzMX0.G-p4KniVRhsHXoIOyFfzEARdN5nGXWWkkQa85x6_ooM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C281%2C0%2C298&height=700" id="d50c6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="938d51b21df264aae5e883e5f1f9c894" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Coronavirus protesters in Los Angeles. Men are more likely than women to disregard health warnings from officials.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.