Weekly Reading: Mar 1st – 7th

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. (David Bayles, Art and Fear)
Fifteen years old is the middle of my life, regardless of when I die.

I recognize the scent of a tiger. I have touched the dry head of a tortoise and an elephant’s hard skin. I have caught sight of a herd of wild boar in a forest in Normandy. I ride. I do not explain. I do not excuse. I do not classify. I go fast. (Édouard Levé, When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue. Recommended by Andrew Dowd)

In her 2006 book Generation Me, Twenge laid out astonishing data. For example, by the mid-1990s, the average college male had higher self-esteem than 86 percent of college men in 1968. The figure for women was 71 percent. The average child in the mid-1990s had higher self-esteem than 73 per cent of children in 1979. (Will Storr, The Man Who Destroyed America’s Ego)

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