Day 4: Garbage in...

We are positively encouraged to create for ourselves minds we would want to live with. I had teachers articulate that to me: "You have to live with your ind your whole life." You build your mind, so make it into something you want to live with.

Four years ago, Wyatt Mason wrote a brilliant profile of Marilynne Robinson for The New York Times Magazine. The above is one of several penetrating observations made by Robinson in the course of their conversations.

Annie Dillard wrote, of writers:

He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.

What mind have I built for my life? The brain remains plastic throughout our lifespans, so I am still building it, more mindful now of what I put into it and sorry for how much time I have spent taking in crap. Especially crap reading. To build an optimal mind, I think we must make the careful consideration of input habitual. No easy task as William James observed:

The acquisition of a new habit, or the leaving off of an old one, we must take care to launch ourselves with as strong and decided an initiative as possible. Accumulate all the possible circumstances which shall reenforce the right motives; put yourself assiduously in conditions that encourage the new way; make engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid you know. This will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might; and every day during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not occurring at all.

Hoo boy.