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In honor of The Atlantic’s 160th anniversary, we’re posting one article every day to mark each year of the magazine’s history. From 1888, Lillie B. Chace Wyman reports on life in New England’s cotton-manufacturing villages:
The manufacture of cotton into various fabrics for personal wear has this peculiarity, that it employs as laborers great numbers of women and children. As a consequence, it affects the family life of its operative class more closely than those industries do in which men principally are employed. Various circumstances have contributed to increase this influence on the family life beyond the measure which the bare statement of the case naturally makes apparent at once. The laissez-faire principles commonly accepted by the last two generations have led to the result that this influence has practically become something like control, and that it has been largely unregulated by law and largely unperceived by the people in general.
Read more here, and find more stories from our archives here.
A new book by the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and the neuroscientist Wolf Singer discusses how the human brain responds to meditation. This reader, Mo, had a positive experience with that practice:
Having been badly abused as a child, I entered my postadolescent years as a walking raw nerve, incapable of functioning in society, well along on the path to harming myself or others, and quickly heading toward that well-known conclusion of being dead or in prison.
Without meditation I would not have been able to control myself well enough to do anything—no program, no external or internal system, nothing until I could control my reactions to the intrusive memories and rage within me.
I’m 60 and have raised a family and am a basically happy, well-functioning person. I have had a good life, and I have not harmed others … Years of work in my 20s did this, but it all started with meditation … 45 years of meditating and I take great joy in it.
More on how some at-risk high-school students have benefited from meditation here.
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Time of Your Life
Happy birthday to Rachel’s husband, Arash (a year younger than commercial bar-code scanning); to JoBeth (19 years older than the moonwalk); to Mike’s wife, Kate (a year younger than The Godfather); from Papa to Robin (the same age as Barack Obama); to Bernadette’s wife, Ashley (twice the age of American Idol); to Naitnaphit’s husband (a year younger than mass-produced personal computers); to Craig (twice the age of the Disney Channel); and from Amanda to Tharpa (twice the age of the International Space Station).
From yesterday, happy birthday to Nicole’s brother (a year younger than Google); to Chris (twice the age of texting); and to Paula’s son Matthew (a year younger than MTV).
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