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Cake day: July 24th, 2023

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  • Letter from Charles Darwin to Asa Gray (22nd May 1860)

    With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me.— I am bewildered.— I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see, as plainly as others do, & as I shd wish to do, evidence of design & beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.

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  • I do use it as a thought terminating statement usually when friends have asked me to help. I ask for them to tell me what has happened and then I suggest a forward plan of action. It is very common for people at this point to feel guilty about having to ask for help and also to go down a spiral of putting all the blame on themselves. Neither of these things are useful as I need their active help and participation in putting the problem right and that’s where their energy needs to be focussed.

    So it this point I will very often say to them something like, “Well, it is what it is and we are where we are and there’s no sense in blaming yourself, let’s see what we can do about getting into a better position.”

    I did encounter a proper thought terminating cliche in the form of, “I hear what you’re saying…” from bosses in various places. Means “I hear what you’re saying but I couldn’t give less of a shit about it even if I were prepared to put in the slightest effort, which I am not.”