Morning Memo for Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

TLP’s Morning Memo is brought to you by all the circumstances that leave me with not enough time to write full length essays about these topics. Enjoy.


Morning Memo for Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

All (okay, some of) the things in my mind I wish I had time to blog about today. Some of these things may get a full post later, but most will not. As always, many more links can be had by visiting TLP’s Facebook page.

Philosophy, Re: Eudaimonian Parenting

Aristotle’s moral philosophy is referred to as the Nichomachean Ethics, the ten scrolls on the subject Aristotle wrote and dedicated to his father and/or son, Nichomachus. (Such a better dad than Plato!) I can’t get behind everything in there – e.g. Aristotle’s disdain for, and confusion about why people like, mental/physical ecstasy – but for the most part I maintain that an Aristotelian approach to behavior and relationships is a good thing, particularly in the context of a taoist view of the universe, nature, and life itself. The central concept (and goal) of Aristotle’s ethical system is eudaimonia, which basically means “human flourishing,” and if anyone has yet come up with a better concept to put at the center and horizon of thinking about human behavior, I haven’t heard about it. (This statement is not made cavalierly, but after years of reading about and debating the various and sundry objections to a wellness-centric morality and finding all such arguments to be lacking merit, or lacking a coherent alternative organizing principle for ethics, or both.)

I tend to spend a lot of time philosophizing about what I am doing and the last few years that has involved a lot of philosophizing about parenting and/or being a father. As my son gets to an age where he is beginning to really have his own personality, his own evolving personal relationship to suffering/pleasure, and an increasingly complicated set of material, emotional, and social preferences that interact with all that, I find myself increasingly looking for how I can synthesize my longterm, or big picture, parenting choices that are focused on his excellence (diet, education, exercise/activity, sociopolitical awareness, emotional intelligence & mastery, etc) with the short term, one-day-at-a-time focus on happiness. In other words, I try to figure out how each day we are together can be both immediately enjoyable and also fulfill longterm goals, and it is an interesting back and forth. (This is probably just a fancy way of describing what most parents are doing most of the time.)

For example, breakfast: We eat the same thing for breakfast everyday, unless there is some occasion not to (have to leave the house early, decide to go out to eat, etc). Since the breakfast rarely involves sugar, but rather a mix of greens, fruit, and protein, this was not – compared to, say, donuts – “immediately enjoyable” for my son when we started. I initially had to be very affirming and even entertaining about the eating of the protein and greens, but now when I put the food in front of him he just eats it – greens and protein first, usually. He says “mmmmm” and increasingly asks for more eggs. And our days got even better as a result of this, because protein in the morning really is important both physically and mentally. He even drinks tea with me now, which is just delightful.

Eating the same, healthy breakfast every morning is one of the best things I’ve learned to do in my adult life. I decided to take a chance that the benefits – getting a full, balanced meal without having to make or debate choices first thing in the morning – would apply to by child if I took the time to get him used to it. So while initially focused on long-term excellence (healthy, growing) at the expense of some short-term suffering (the months of not wanting to eat his eggs) we have now arrived at a point where there is no debate about breakfast, it is really healthy, and we really enjoy it. Having an ongoing dialogue between happiness and excellence of my child to arrive at a state where the two are integrated; this is what I mean when I say Eudaimonian Parenting.

Politics, Re: About (the stories about) those polls…

In the last few days you may have seen poll-related headlines about “Toomey pulls ahead in PA Senate Race” or “Trump Closing in on Clinton” or whatever. All of those headlines are related to a large set of polls put out by the same polling organization at Emerson College, and they only involve landlines (so no mobile phone calls). All of which is to say: don’t freak out. These polls are outliers and their methodology contains likely explanations for their abnormal results. Donald Trump’s “pivot” on immigration is not getting him anything but scorn from his alt-right base and probably nothing has really changed. Everybody chill.

Nerd stuff, Re: New Warriors feat. Squirrel Girl coming to TV, maybe


All the superhero clickbait today is based on a report from TV Line that Marvel and ABC are looking for someone to broadcast and/or stream a New Warriors TV show:

Described as the junior version of The Avengers, the New Warriors are a superhero squad made up of teenagers, one of whom would include Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl). For the record, SG can do more than just communicate with the world’s vast squirrel population; she also possesses super-speed and strength.

Super Girl is high on the list of fan favorites to get a TV show or movie. I am still hoping for Kamala Khan or a near-immediate move to the big screen for Riri Williams, but New Warriors could be good too.

Image of the Day

Sent in by a good friend. I particularly appreciate that they got Poohcard’s jacket so right.



Meme of the Day, aka MOTD

Quote, from Khalil Gibran:

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry,

the philosophy which does not laugh,

and the greatness which does not bow before children.

Image: lion dad submitting to lion cub face sniffing


Enjoy your Wednesday

Have a question, comment, or request for one of these thoughts to become a whole blog post? Send an email, comment on Facebook, or tweet on Twitter. There is also Tumblr and the comment field below, if you’re into that kind of thing. 

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