“In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.
Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained.
That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”
“If in the last 1% of our lives, we can get a victory over some longstanding sinful habit or hurtful defect in our personality, it will be a beautiful testimony now to the power of grace; and it will be an added witness (not the only one) at the last judgment of our faith in Christ and our union with Him.
Take heart, struggler. Keep asking, seeking, knocking.
Keep looking to Christ.
If God gets glory by saving robbers in the eleventh hour, He surely has His purposes why He has waited till now to give you the breakthrough you have sought for decades.”
A new study analyzes vocabulary from around the world and finds a universal skew toward the positive.
In the time of Twitter and Internet comments, it’s not hard to find language being used for evil. People take the remarkable human capacity for communication and wield it like a big dumb ax, hacking into anything and anyone they don’t like.
When you see enough of that, it’s easy to forget that people also use language as a scalpel, to dissect and understand complex things, and as a salve, to help and heal each other. They write the kind of sweet notes people love to share on social media, maybe as a deliberate antidote to all the online hate.
Thanks to a large data analysis, we now know that the latter outweighs the former. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined 100,000 words across texts in 10 different languages and found “a universal positivity bias.”
In every language, on every platform, the median happiness score was higher than five.
This bias was first posited in 1969, when a pair of psychologists wrote a paper called “The Pollyanna Hypothesis,” named for the fictional orphan girl with a propensity to look on the bright side. The original study had high school boys, who belonged to different cultures and spoke different languages, do word association tasks, and then ranked whether the pairs were positive or negative. More often, they were positive.
In the new PNAS study, researchers analyzed texts from Google Books, Twitter, the New York Times, a Google Web Crawl, subtitles from movies and TV shows, and music lyrics. They measured how frequently words were used in each language (English, German, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, and Indonesian), and had native speakers rate how negative or positive they felt upon hearing those words.
In every language, on every platform, the median happiness score was higher than five—five being a totally neutral word—as seen in the chart below. The yellow is the “above-neutral” portion, and the blue is the “below-neutral.”
Though all the languages studied seemed predisposed to positivity, there are differences between them. Spanish and Portuguese were the most happy, in this study. For some languages, it really depended what kind of text the researchers were looking at—in English, music lyrics were significantly less positive than books, the New York Times, or even Twitter.
So all the languages studied tended to use happy words more often, but overall, languages also contained more happy than unhappy words. The researchers also measured “average word happiness” and found it to be high, regardless of how frequently those words were used in the text. So even lesser-used words were more often positive than negative.
“Words, which are the atoms of human language, present an emotional spectrum with a universal, self-similar positive bias,” the researchers write. While individual texts—books, songs, tweets—may skew negative, all in all, it looks like language is a positive tool.
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Yesterday (Sunday)we were downtown taking in the beautiful weather and decided to tour the Masque on Embassy Row. In the thirty years I’ve been in DC, I never ventured in there. It’s a magnificent building and the people we met inside could not have been more welcoming and gracious to us. They were delighted to see us. I suspect not many main line Americans drop in. Five or six people asked me if I wanted anything explained or if I had any questions. I prayed with them and was welcomed by all. It was a good and an interesting day.