Quotations

Good thoughts on getting older

” When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live in such a
manner that when you die the, the world cries and you rejoice.”

“Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back,
you’ll enjoy it a second time.”


Rebellion and conspiracy

I finished “Foucault’s Pendulum” this morning. Something that resonated with me is the notion that the associative, connective impulse to see conspiracy all around has less to do with reality (what is that?) and more to do with an essential personal desire to blame something. It is a need to find causes rather than an attempt to accept or understand what is understandable. It’s difficult for me to explain, so I need to think about it more. Peppered throughout the book are quotations from all sorts of places like this one from Karl Popper:

“The conspiracy theory of society comes from abandoning God and then asking: ‘Who is in his place?”

It reminds me of when I first started blogging regularly in 2000 when I was around 22-23. I was very paranoid and obsessed about the various conspiracies threatening to turn the world into a black iron prison, figuratively speaking. It was an unhappy time mostly because of the sense of powerlessness and victimization. Powerlessness in the face of a desire for control and autonomy. I’ve realized that this was one of the growing pains in coming out of the last stages of my adolescence. For so long I defined myself in terms of negation, “I am A because A is the opposite of B and I don’t want to be B because I associate that with some sort of pain or injury”, but beyond that I had no idea who I was. In many ways, I am just now finding that out.

The above quotation makes sense if you think about it in another way. God can represent the child’s view of his parents, the inscrutable creators who are responsible for everything. As we mature, we have to necessarily abandon our parents (God) in order to become complete and whole individuals. Assassinated as powerful symbols our mothers and fathers regain their humanity. Everything that we blame them for has to be resolved because until then you cannot take on the responsibility for your own existence.

“Instead of killing and dying in order to produce the being that we are not, we have to live and let live in order to create what we are.” – Albert Camus

Are feelings of paranoia and rebelliousness related to unresolved emotions? After all, what is rebellion but the expression of negation? Where does the desire spring from? Rebellion is not the same as disinterest or disregard. Rebellion requires an idea or authority to push against. It cannot exist without it’s opponent.

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A Selection of Proverbs

Some to inspire you, hopefully.

  • When the student is ready, the master appears. – Buddhist Proverb
  • A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer. – Norwegian Proverb
  • Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love. – Turkish proverb
  • Fall seven times, stand up eight. – Japanese Proverb
  • All things good to know are difficult to learn. – Greek Proverb
  • Eating while seated makes one of large size; eating while standing makes one strong. – Hindu Proverb
  • The hammer shatters glass but forges steel. – Russian Proverb
  • Listen to all, plucking a feather from every passing goose, but follow no one absolutely. – Chinese Proverb

“Good advice never gets old”

Words of wisdom get lodged in my head and I like to get them out so they can be shared with anyone else who might find them useful.

  • “Good advice never gets old” – JC spotted this one at a gas station on the way back from picking her up at the airport after her short trip to Lubbock.
  • “At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all.” I think about this Gracian quotation quite a bit, especially as I approach “lionhood”, which is a good description of what I’ve been feeling now that a lot of my shiny surface is starting to wear off and I feel like I’m maturing in some hard to define way. The older I get the more I feel like I’m being either polished or worn down. When I’m feeling optimistic, it’s polish. When I’m feeling negative, it’s being worn down. I thought about the stages one goes through in life yesterday when I was at the grocery store behind an old man while waiting to check out. He look slowed and bowed by time with his modest selections of frozen vegetables and twenty pound bag of wild bird seed. He seemed almost transparent or invisible, and I tried to imagine him in his twenties or thirties and how he might have been different. Surely, he was not preoccupied with feeding birds then. Maybe as we get older and we realize we have more life behind than ahead of us, we take more enjoyment in the natural world around us that will live on after we pass.

Today’s quotation

Courtesy of my personalized google page.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw


Meme: “Busier than a…”

The past few weeks I’ve been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I try to make a lot of lists and at least get through at least 7 items a day. I’m also starting to crunch for E3, which means we’ll be working twelve hour days until the end of May. That’s good because I’ll need all the scratch I can get before I leave to work for myself full-time.

Busier than…

  1. a one-armed paperhanger with a case of the hives.
  2. a one-eyed cat watching nine rat holes.
  3. a one-legged man in a butt kickin’ contest.
  4. a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest.
  5. a mosquito at a nudist colony.
  6. a one-armed paper hanger.
  7. a cross-eyed air traffic controller.
  8. a set of jumper cables at a country funeral.
  9. a cat with puppies.
  10. a weatherman in a tornado.
  11. a desert cobra at a mongoose convention.
  12. a termite in a saw mill.
  13. a dog scratching fleas.
  14. a one-armed-pimp in a bitch-slapping contest
  15. a one-armed trombone player.
  16. a rooster in a henhouse.

Best advice of 2004

Here are some things I’ve learned from others over the course of the year and have added to my mental arsenal. Where possible I have included the original statement as it was given. Many of things may not resonate with you, but you may find ideas worth consideration:

  • “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” (source) Maintain high standards for the people you surround yourself with and you will start holding yourself to a higher standard. You can learn a lot of good strategies for life from other people. Listen closely to what people say and watch what they do, especially if you see them doing something you would like to do.
  • “Think in terms of opportunities.” I don’t remember where I first heard this. It was either in some mass-market self-help book or a book on investing. I don’t really remember. All I know is, it works. Granted, I’m not much better off financially or career-wise than I was 5 or 6 years ago, but if I ever get discouraged it helps me get back out there and fighting. Your own worst enemy is yourself, more specifically, your “self”. Little mental tricks can help you keep going in a positive direction. For example, instead of saying “I can’t afford this.” think “How can I afford this?” The first statement kills action and will. The second statement spurs creative thought and action. Be positive. Keep moving forward. Your attitude is one of the most important things you can actually change.
  • “Deciding not to act is still a decision.” I have this problem where I defer decision-making in the hopes that difficult problems will take care of themselves. I don’t like the responsibility of making decisions that will result in pain or discomfort. I ignore them. I delay acting. I let other people decide things and then I just adapt to whatever the eventual result is. You finally reach a point where you know this is exactly what you’re doing. That doesn’t mean I don’t procrastinate anymore, but I do realize that I am just delaying what will still be something difficult. Sometimes that helps me put everything aside and take care of those difficult responsibilities.
  • “Keep it simple, stupid.” My friend Oliver said this one day in AIM. What he actually said was “KISS” and I had no idea what he was talking about until he de-abbreviated it for me. It stuck in my mind and got rolled up into a lot of other ideas I was having on the problem with too much of the wrong kind of self-consciousness. “Keep it simple” can apply to almost any situation. Many times people just over-think things and this leads to paralysis and indecision. Thoughts can spiral out of control and you can lose sight of your goals and objectives. In other situations, you can start a project and try to do too much at once. Keeping KISS in mind helps you retain focus on what’s vital and important.
  • “Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” This is a quotation by Voltaire that has been on my Metafilter member page. This one can mean many things. For one, don’t be afraid to ask questions and admit when you don’t know something. Secondly, there are few definite answers. Beware of anyone who thinks they have all the answers or who speaks too stridently. Facts and knowledge can block understanding. Think in terms of questions and hold your own counsel since no one can read your mind or see things completely from your point of view. Asking questions is also a great thing to do in the midst of a debate. Focus on the inconsistencies of the opposing argument. Ask who, what when, where and how? This can go a long way.

I like lists and bullets

I haven’t been inspired to write long entries and I find little notes to be more helpful lately.

  • Soundtrack for today:
    1. Pantera – This Love You have to love caveman lyrics like: “You keep this love, fist, scar, break”
    2. Notorious B.I.G – Hypnotize It just came on the radio. Nice sampling.
  • Christmas wishlist:
    1. XM MyFi
    2. Treadmill (I have a spare tire that needs puncturing especially if I even think about going to my 10 year high school reunion.)
    3. Books by or about Otto Weininger. I’ve always been perversely fascinated with history’s heretics.
  • Provocative William Blake quotations:
    • Active Evil is better than Passive Good.
    • Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
    • The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion.

Selections from the Hagakure:

This is a nice passage:

    “To hate injustice and stand on righteousness is a difficult thing. Furthermore, to think that being righteous is the best one can do and to do one’s utmost to be righteous will, on the contrary, brig many mistakes. The Way is in a higher place then righteousness. This is very difficult to discover, but it is the highest wisdom. When seen from this standpoint, things like righteousness are rather shallow. If one does not understand this on his own, it cannot be known. There is a method of getting to this Way, however, even if one cannot discover it by himself. This is found in consultation with others. Even a person who has not attained this Way sees others front the side. It is like the saying from the game of go: “He who sees from the side has eight eyes.” The saying, “Thought by thought we see our own mistakes,” also means that the highest Way is in discussion with others. Listening to the old stories and reading books are for the purpose of sloughing off one’s own discrimination and attaching oneself to that of the ancients.”

Quotations

  • “Dost thou love life? Then waste not time; for time is the stuff that life is made of. ”
    — Benjamin Franklin
  • “Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think. ”
    –Jean de La Bruy√®re
  • “Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches. ”
    — Alice Longworth
  • “Many of life’s circumstances are created by three basic choices: the disciplines you choose to keep, the people you choose to be with; and, the laws you choose to obey.”
    — Charles Millhuff
  • “Life is the childhood of our immortality. ”
    –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe