Alan Watts – Music and Life. (via somewhere on Twitter months and months ago)
I was having trouble sleeping a couple nights ago, so I read some Kay Ryan poems to settle my brain a bit.
This one helped:
“When not telling feels like ‘hiding,’ it’s time to tell. There’s your opener, too. ‘I should have said this sooner.’”
Carolyn Hax. As it is in relationships, so it is on the web.
Give your past, present and future selves influence in proportion to what each has earned. Which one of you is working with the most reliable information — about you and nobody else?
Recently I’ve been thinking that when you’re younger, you need to say yes to everything; then, when you’re older, you need to learn how to say no to everything. I don’t mean younger in age, but as a step in your profession.
Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).
Timepieces were formerly an apt reminder that your time on Earth grows shorter with each passing minute. Public clocks would be decorated with mottos such as ultima forsan (“perhaps the last” [hour]) or vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (“they all wound, and the last kills”).
It is not the young man who is most happy, but the old man who has lived beautifully; for despite being at his very peak the young man stumbles around as if he were of many minds, whereas the old man has settled into old age as if in a harbor, secure in his gratitude for the good things he was once unsure of.
All the time you spend tryin’ to get back what’s been took from you, more’s goin’ out the door.
I need to watch this movie again. Cf. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.
Our unlived lives–the lives we live in fantasy, the wished-for lives–are often more important to us than our so-called lived lives; we can’t (in both senses) imagine ourselves without them.
Get out of the conceptual rut that a good life looks one way and a disappointing one looks another.
Childhood holidays seem to last forever, but as you grow older time seems to accelerate. “Time” is related to how much information you are taking in – information stretches time. A child’s day from 9am to 3.30pm is like a 20-hour day for an adult. Children experience many new things every day and time passes slowly, but as people get older they have fewer new experiences and time is less stretched by information.
I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Life is, to some extent, an extended dialogue w/ your future self about how exactly you are going to let yourself down over the coming years
Many people today find it easy to use the vocabulary of entrepreneurialism, whether they are in business or social entrepreneurs. This is a utilitarian vocabulary. How can I serve the greatest number? How can I most productively apply my talents to the problems of the world? It’s about resource allocation.
People are less good at using the vocabulary of moral evaluation, which is less about what sort of career path you choose than what sort of person you are.
In whatever field you go into, you will face greed, frustration and failure. You may find your life challenged by depression, alcoholism, infidelity, your own stupidity and self-indulgence. So how should you structure your soul to prepare for this? Simply working at Amnesty International instead of McKinsey is not necessarily going to help you with these primal character tests.
[…] It’s worth noting that you can devote your life to community service and be a total schmuck. You can spend your life on Wall Street and be a hero. Understanding heroism and schmuckdom requires fewer Excel spreadsheets, more Dostoyevsky and the Book of Job.
The question arose as to what we would do differently if we were immortal. […] I answered that I would travel more. Later the question was asked, what would you do differently if you found out you had only a short time to live. I answered again that I would travel more. Click, buzz, whirr…does not compute, does not compute. […] Given that I would travel more if I was to live either less or more, the probability that I was at just that level of mortality that I should not be traveling now must be vanishingly small.
6. Read obituaries. They are just like biographies, only shorter. They remind us that interesting, successful people rarely lead orderly, linear lives.
7. Your parents don’t want what is best for you. They want what is good for you, which isn’t always the same thing. There is a natural instinct to protect our children from risk and discomfort, and therefore to urge safe choices.