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Welcome to The Sea Pearl, a collection of curiosities, essays, and guiding principles that inspire my life and everything in it. My mission is to explore what matters in the universe — and then to embrace the best.

Why Aren’t People Happier?

Government of NCT of Delhi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It isn’t often that I reference articles that I randomly find on the Internet, but this one by Arthur C. Brooks, contributing writer for The Atlantic, left me in tears. It caught my attention because it is totally in the spirit of what The Sea Pearl is all about: human excellence that goes beyond mere worldly achievement and hits the note of resounding personal satisfaction. He writes, “Are we trading our happiness for modern comforts?: As society gets richer, people chase the wrong things.” The answer to that dilemma would seem like common sense, yet why is it so easy to get derailed — even with our eyes wide open — by modern conveniences that should enrich our lives instead of robbing our souls? He makes three major suggestions for avoiding misery, the third of which I find the most important: “The world encourages us to love things and use people. But that’s backwards. Put this on your fridge and try to live by it: Love people; use things.” 

Art Subjects

If you are interested in art subjects, please check out Art Chowder magazine, a Northwest regional publication which my husband, Melville Holmes, writes for. I copy edit his stuff and sometimes contribute to his pieces. Issue 29 is out and we are on page 34 of this one with an article on Élizabeth Vigée Le Brun, a French artist who escaped the Revolution and ended up for some years in Russia where she became friends with Catherine the Great.

A Hidden Treasure of a Magazine

One of the great “pearls” I have found in the vast sea of global culture is Aramco World, a cultural magazine funded by Saudi Aramco, a multinational petroleum and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I realize that oil companies are not popular with many these days, but please hear me out on this one. Given that there is plenty of money to turn out a top notch magazine, this is perhaps the best cultural smorgasbord in the world. The magazine is filled with a diversity and quality of writing that is unmatched, with the most beautiful graphics anywhere — I defy anyone to show me better. There are even pages with resources for the classroom at the back of the magazine, and best of all, it’s free! You can read it online or order a printed copy (as I do).

“En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme . . . ” How could I ever forget slogging through the Golden Age of Spanish literature in grad school? Aramco World is featuring “The Dialogues of Don Quixote,” written and photographed by Tom Verde. (I’m still in process of studying it.) As a former Spanish civilization student, I chose to study Iberian peninsular history because it sits at an unbelievably rich cultural crossroads: Moorish, Jewish, Visigothic, and stretches back even further to the Greeks and Phoenicians. The picture links to the online article where you can feast your inquisitive mind on some things that may delight and astound you about the background to this epic Spanish story and its author, Miguel de Cervantes.

 

Memos

It has been silent around here lately, but very busy with all sorts of projects for the winter.

First of all, a friend contacted me recently to let me know that he is publishing an updated version of a work, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart . . .

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