Emerson’s Truth

“The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul. This every man is entitled to; this every man contains within him, although, in almost all men, obstructed, and as yet unborn. The soul active sees absolute truth; and utters truth, or creates. In this action, it is genius; not the privilege of here and there a favorite, but the sound estate of every man. In its essence, it is progressive. The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius. This is good, say they, — let us hold by this. They pin me down. They look backward and not forward. But genius looks forward: the eyes of man are set in his forehead, not in his hindhead: man hopes: genius creates.”

The American Scholar – Emerson’s 1837 oration.




Social Network Sadness

Wedding © Natalia Martinez

From The Anti Social Network article in Slate:

The human habit of overestimating other people’s happiness is nothing new, of course. Jordan points to a quote by Montesquieu: “If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, which is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.” But social networking may be making this tendency worse… By showcasing the most witty, joyful, bullet-pointed versions of people’s lives, and inviting constant comparisons in which we tend to see ourselves as the losers, Facebook appears to exploit an Achilles’ heel of human nature […] By helping other people look happy, Facebook is making us sad “…happiness is impersonal in a way that pain is not…”

It Starts with Us

“It Starts with Us” is an organization focused on crazy, lofty goals giving back and changing the world. Their message is simple: sign up and they will send you an weekly email with a 15-minute assignment. The goal? To do something that helps, supports, uplifts someone and to build a community of individuals focused on making a positive impact. Their conceptual framework? Small incremental change ripples out and eventually tips over into real, tangible change. It is our personal responsibility to improve the world around us, so I personally love the model of this organization and have definitely signed up! Considering that in college, Tal Ben-Shahar’s “Positive Psychology” class taught me that the value of kindness and philanthropy is in part selfish – and not in the bad way – in that it helps you be a happier and more purposeful person, It Starts With Us is a win-win for everyone. To read more about it, see here.


This essentially sums up how I feel about this week, this month, and pretty much from now until December. I have never been one to shy away from having too many things on my plate, but starting off this semester I knew that I would have to bunker down and focus in a way that I have not had to do in a long time and that I have never done particularly well. Since most of the things on my figurative plate are of high-to-paramount importance, the current state of affairs entails balancing all of them in equal measure with  minimal tolerance for trade-offs. I am sure in four months, through the beauty that retrospective adds, this will seem like a fulfilling and challenging adventure that is  – thankfully – over, but my goal is to have it take on this shape in the present: to enjoy the stress, the ambiguity, the hectic rushing around…if for no other reason, that I am invested in the tangible process of molding my own future.

Work Intermission

Childhood at the Met © Natalia Martinez

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge

Ladies, sit at the table

I recommend watching this video by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg. I was prompted to look for it after reading this great piece in The New Yorker about her, and I recommend it for any woman trying to figure out the workforce.

And so, without any further ado, here is the TED video!