Susan Sontag’s Advice to Raise Children
There are benefits in the wisdom of others, especially in those with the precision and passion for “fair causes” as Sontag did.
It’s hard to surpass Susan Sontag’s intellectual magnetism. Even though she wrote about film, disease, or Walter Benjamin; her intelligence, as Juan Villoro stated, was always a form of pleasure. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised that even a list about how to raise children —that subject that nobody has authority to speak about and which by definition is subjective— is also delightful.
There is no doubt that being a parent is hard, and that only based on empirical knowledge, personal value systems and a wide margin of error, we can learn to bear this endeavor in the best way. But we benefit from the wisdom of others, especially of those who have the precision and passion for “fair causes” as Sontag so strongly did.
Naturally, she did not conceive this list for publication. It’s one of the many that she systematically wrote in the first person to order the world for herself, and which after her death her ex-husband Philip Rieff published in two volumes entitled Reborn: Journals and Notebooks.
The list reads as follows:
Don’t speak about him to others (e.g. tell funny things) in his presence. (Don’t make him self-conscious.)
Don’t praise him for something I wouldn’t always accept as good.
Don’t reprimand him harshly for something he’s been allowed to do.
Daily routine: eating, homework, bath, teeth, room, story, bed.
Don’t allow him to monopolize me when I am with other people.
Always speak well of his pop. (No faces, sighs, impatience, etc.)
Do not discourage childish fantasies.
Make him aware that there is a grown-up world that’s none of his business.
Don’t assume that what I don’t like to do (bath, hairwash) he won’t like either.
7 Recommendations for Organizing Your Library
For the true bibliophile, few things are more important than finding a book from within your library.
Red tea, the best antioxidant beverage on earth
Red tea is considered to be the most unusual of teas because it implies a consistently different preparation process. ––It is believed that its finding came upon surprisingly when traditional green
A brief and fascinating tour of the world's sands
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. - William Blake What are we standing on? The ground beneath our feet
Strengthen your memory with rosemary oil
For thousands of years rosemary oil has been traditionally admired and used due to its many properties. In the Roman culture, for example, it was used for several purposes, among them cleansing, as
Literature as a Tool to Build Realities
Alain de Botton argues that great writers are like lenses through which we can see an infinite array of possibilities.
Mandelbrot and Fractals: Different Ways of Perceiving Space
Mathematics has always placed a greater emphasis on algebra, a “purer” version of itself, one that is more rational at least. Perhaps like in philosophy, the use of a large number knotted concepts in
Luis Buñuel’s Perfect Dry Martini
The drums of Calanda accompanied Luis Buñuel throughout his life. In his invaluable memoirs, published under the Buñuel-esque title, My Last Sigh, an entire chapter is dedicated to describing a
A Brief Manual of Skepticism, Courtesy of Carl Sagan
Whether or not you’re dedicated to science, these tips to identify fallacies apply to any form of rigorous thinking.
How to Evolve from Sadness
Rainer Maria Rilke explored the possible transformations that sadness can trigger in human beings.
Alan Watts, A Discreet And Charming Philosopher Of The Spirit
British thinker Alan Watts was one of the most accessible and entertaining Western interpreters of Oriental philosophy there have been.