Full Title:: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Why shoulders straight? Can't I slouch? Why posture is important?
Habit creates freedom, not limiting it. Automates what's repeated. In this case, if you stand up straight, you setup your mentality as a champion, winner, and exudes confidence. You want that to immerse, not just displayed. Display until it becomes your personality. Say, do, act, until it becomes real. It is not fake it till you make it because we hack our brain network to release serotonin.
The acts of life we repeat every day need to be automatized. They must be turned into stable and reliable habits, so they lose their complexity and gain predictability and simplicity.
So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them-at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. EnCourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.
People, including yourself, will start to assume that you are competent and able (or at least they will not immediately conclude the reverse). Emboldened by the positive responses you are now receiving, you will begin to be less anxious. You will then find it easier to pay attention to the subtle social is to clues that people exchange when they are communicating.
Your conversations will flow better, with fewer awkward pauses. This will make you more likely to meet people, interact with them, and impress them. Doing so will not only genuinely increase the probability that good things will happen to you--it will also make those good things feel better when they do happen.
Life hack: determine what a man is made of.
The programmability of his massive brain means that he must be trained until he is eighteen (or thirty) before being pushed out of the nest. (Page 60)
How to Determine a Man: either 18 or 30, not 21. Family plays an significant role in a child's life. In western countries, when their Children reached the age of 18, they must live on their own. Yet, it is almost interesting to note the difference between 18 and 30, not mentioning 21 in between.
The events that happened post-18 particularly important to judge someone's maturity:
What does it matter?
The physical demands of emergency preparedness will wear you down in every way.
If you have a high status, on the other hand, the counter's cold, pre-reptilian mechanics assume that your niche is secure, productive, and safe and that you are well buttressed with social support. It thinks the chance that something will damage you is low and can be safely discounted.
Change might be an opportunity, instead of a disaster. The serotonin flows plentifully. This renders you confident and calm, standing tall and straight, and much less on constant alert. Because your position is secure, the future is likely to be good for you.
To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open.
It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended.
Am I incompetent? Why can't people, government, or others help me?
These passages made me think about the distinction between neglect and incompetence instead of systemic injustice. Also, my responsibility to help others as if to inwardly help myself and externally help shape the world.
Reference to Biblical stories of Genesis I
We can derive the feminism problem and how the Bible portrays the nature of the relationship between men and women. Women have the power to make men resentful and feel small. I think that's why the Bible described women as 'helpers'? In addition, we see men are more aggressive. Should we assume that they were triggered by their own broken self-image?
God says, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat something you weren't supposed to?" And Adam, in his wretchedness, points right at Eve, his love, his partner, his soul-mate, and snitches on her. And then he blames God.
He says, "The woman, whom you gave to me, she gave it to me (and then I ate it)." How pathetic-and how accurate.
The first woman made the first man self-conscious and resentful. Then the first man blamed the woman. And then the first man blamed God. This is exactly how every spurned male feels, to this day. First, he feels small, in front of the potential object of his love, after she denigrates his reproductive suitability. Then he curses God for making her so bitchy, himself so useless (if he has any sense) and Being itself so deeply flawed. Then he turns to thoughts of revenge.
How thoroughly contemptible (and how utterly understandable). At least the woman had the serpent to blame, and it later turns out that snake is Satan himself, unlikely as that seems. Thus, we can understand and sympathize with Eve's error. She was deceived by the best. But Adam! No one forced his words from his mouth.
The moral of Genesis I is that Being brought into existence through true speech is Good. This is true even of man himself, prior to his separation from God. This goodness is terribly disrupted by the events of the fall (and of Cain and Abel and the Flood and the Tower of Babel), but we retain an intimation of the prelapsarian state. We remember, so to speak. We remain eternally nostalgic for the innocence of childhood, the divine, unconscious Being of the animal, and the untouched cathedral-like old-growth forest. We find respite in such things. We worship them, even if we are self-proclaimed atheistic environmentalists of the most antihuman sort. The original state of Nature, conceived in this manner, is paradisal. But we are no longer one with God and Nature, and there is no simple turning back. (Page 65)
We have seen the enemy, after all, and he is us. The snake inhabits each of our souls. This is the reason, as far as I can tell, for the strange Christian insistence, made most explicit by John Milton, that the snake in the Garden of Eden was also Satan, the Spirit Evil itself.
Why suffering? How to distinguish suffering that needed help and suffering that emphasize personal irresponsibility?
Only man will inflict suffering for the sake of suffering. (Page 63)
Unlike us, predators have no comprehension of their fundamental weakness, their fundamental vulnerability, their own subjugation to pain and death.
But we know exactly how and where we can be hurt, and why. That is as good a definition as any of self-consciousness.
We are aware of our own defencelessness, finitude and mortality. We can feel pain, and self-disgust, and shame, and horror, and we know it. We know what makes us suffer. We know how dread and pain can be inflicted on us-and that must means we know exactly how to inflict it on others. We know next how we are naked, and how that nakedness can be exploited -and that means we know how others are naked, and how they can be exploited. (Page 62)
Before you help someone, you should find out why that person is in trouble. You shouldn’t merely assume that he or she is a noble victim of unjust circumstances and exploitation.
Imagine someone not doing well. He needs help. He might even want it. But it is not easy to distinguish between someone truly wanting and needing help and someone who is merely exploiting a willing helper. The distinction is difficult even for the person who is wanting and needing and possibly exploiting. The person who tries and fails, and is forgiven, and then tries again and fails, and is forgiven, is also too often the person who wants everyone to believe in the authenticity of all that trying. (Page 88)
not everyone who is failing is a victim, and not everyone at the bottom wishes to rise, although many do, and many manage it. Nonetheless, people will often accept or even amplify their own suffering, as well as that of others, if they can brandish it as evidence of the world's injustice. (Page 87)
I am not saying that there is no hope of redemption. But it is much harder to extract someone from a chasm than to lift him from a ditch. And some chasms are very deep. And there's not much left of the body at the bottom.
Maybe I should at least wait, to help you, until it's clear that you want to be helped. Carl Rogers, Rogers believed it was impossible to convince someone to change for the better. The desire to improve was, instead, the precondition for progress. (Page 94)
Who are the people that I'm responsible for helping?
Maybe it's your sick family members or Children you encounter on the street. Empathy is key.
To treat yourself as if you were someone you are responsible for helping is, instead, to consider what would be truly good for you. This is not "what you want." It is also not “what would make you happy." Every time you give a child something sweet, you make that child happy. That does not mean that you should do nothing for Children except feed them candy. “Happy" is by no means synonymous with "good." (Page 72)
How do I help myself?
Strive for a To create a balanced and meaningful life.
Hatred for self and mankind must be balanced with gratefulness for tradition and the state and astonishment at what normal, everyday people accomplish-to say nothing of the staggering achievements of the truly remarkable. (Page 71)
Know where you are going, so that you can bargain for yourself. It looks easy (but trust me it is not), but it will make you anti-toxic. Learn how to Talk to yourself before you listen to yourself.
You need to consider the future and think, "What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly? What career would challenge me and render me productive and helpful, so that I could shoulder my share of the load, and enjoy the consequences? What should I be doing, when I have some freedom, to improve my health, expand my knowledge, and strengthen my body?" You need to know where you are, so you can start to chart your course. You need to know who you are, so that you understand your armament and bolster yourself in respect to your limitations. You need to know where you are going, so that you can limit the extent of chaos in your life, restructure order, and bring the divine force of Hope to bear on the world.
You must determine where you are going, so that you can bargain for yourself, so that you don't end up resentful, vengeful and cruel. You have to articulate your own principles, so that you can defend yourself against others' taking inappropriate advantage of you, and so that you are secure and safe while you work and play. You must discipline yourself carefully. You must keep the promises you make to yourself, and reward yourself, so that you can trust and motivate yourself. You need to determine how to act toward yourself so that you are most likely to become and to stay a good person. It would be good to make the world a better place. (Page 73)
When you are about to befriend someone, determine whether they are unwilling to learn.
Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth-or, perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives--they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past. Such people don't believe that they deserve any better--so they don't go looking for it. Or, perhaps, they don't want the trouble of better.
Freud called this a "repetition compulsion." He thought of it as an unconscious drive to repeat the horrors of the past -sometimes, perhaps, to formulate those horrors more precisely, sometimes to attempt more active mastery and sometimes, perhaps, because no alternatives beckon. People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand.
Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it. It's partly fate. It's partly inability. It's partly... unwillingness to learn? Refusal to learn? SocJxGnVr? (Page 87)
He explored the repetition compulsion further in his 1920 essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle, describing four aspects of repetitive behavior, all of which seemed odd to him from the point of view of the mind's quest for pleasure/avoidance of unpleasure.
The first was the way 'dreams occurring in traumatic neuroses have the characteristic of repeatedly bringing the patient back into the situation of his accident' rather than, for example, 'show[ing] the patient pictures from his healthy past'.
The second came from children's play. Freud reported observing a child throw his favorite toy from his crib, become upset at the loss, then reel the toy back in, only to repeat this action. Freud theorized that the child was attempting to master the sensation of loss 'in allowing his mother to go away without protesting', but asked in puzzlement 'How then does his repetition of this distressing experience as a game fit in with the pleasure principle?'
Are they trapped in the cycle of suffering and 'unfortunate events'?
Maybe your misery is your attempt to prove the world's injustice, instead of the evidence of your own sin, your own missing of the mark, your conscious refusal to strive and to live. Maybe your willingness to suffer in failure is inexhaustible, given what you use that suffering to prove. Maybe it's your revenge on Being. How exactly should I befriend you when you're in such a place? How exactly could I?
Success: that's the mystery. Virtue: that's what's inexplicable. To fail, you merely have to cultivate a few bad habits. You just have to bide vour time. (Page 93)
To fail, you merely have to cultivate a few bad habits. You just have to bide vour time.
How do I know that I befriend people who want the best for me?
People who support you will enCourage you NOT only to do good for yourself, but will PUNISH you when you do not. They don't want to see you destruct yourself. They will offer you cigarettes, alcohol, and other things that ruin yourself.
If you surround yourself with people who support your upward aim, they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness. They will instead enCourage you when you do good for yourself and others and punish you carefully when you do not. This will help bolster your resolve to do what you should do, in the most appropriate and careful manner.
People who are not aiming up will do the opposite. They will offer a former smoker a cigarette and a former alcoholic a beer. They will become jealous when you succeed, or do something pristine. They will withdraw their presence or Support, or actively punish you for it. They will over-ride your accomplishment with a past action, real or imaginary, of their own. Maybe they are trying to test you, to see if your resolve is real, to see if you are genuine. But mostly they are dragging you down because your new improvements cast their faults in an even dimmer light.
Comparing yourself to someone else is useless. Quotes
No matter how good you are at something, or how you talk your accomplishments, there is someone out there who makes you look incompetent. (Page 99)
We have to abandon childhood metrics of significance.
When we are very young we are neither individual nor informed. We have not had the time nor gained the wisdom to develop our own standards. In consequence, we must compare ourselves to others, because standards are necessary. Without them, there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. As we mature we become, by contrast, increasingly individual and unique. The conditions of our lives become more and more personal and less and less comparable with those of others. Symbolically speaking, this means we must leave the house ruled by our father, and confront the chaos of our individual Being. We must take note of our disarray, without completely abandoning that father in the process. We must then rediscover the values of our culture-veiled from us by our ignorance, hidden in the dusty treasure-trove of the past -rescue them, and integrate them into our own lives. This is what gives existence its full and necessary meaning. (Page 104)
Why it is important to value individuality and combat the tendency of rat race:
Be cautious when you're comparing yourself to others. You're a singular being, once you're an adult. You have your own particular, specific problems-financial, intimate, psychological, and otherwise. Those are embedded in the unique broader context of your existence. Your career or job works for you in a personal manner, or it does not, and it does so in a unique interplay with the other specifics of your life. You must decide how much of your time to spend on this, and how much on that. You must decide what to let go, and what to pursue.
I am unhappy because I don't get what I want?
Or is it precisely the reason?
Imagine that you're unhappy. You're not getting what you need. Perversely, this may be because of what you want.
You are blind, because of what you desire. Perhaps what you really need is right in front of your eyes, but you cannot see it because of what you are currently aiming for. (Page 115) Quotes
Visionary Life. You don't have to determine what is better right away. Start slow, but you must decide in the first place that you really want it.
What would your life look like, if it were better? What would Life Itself look like? What does "better" even mean? You don't know. And it doesn't matter that you don't know, exactly, right away, because you will start to slowly see what is "better," once you have truly decided to want it. You will start to perceive what remained hidden from you by your presuppositions and preconceptions-by the previous mechanisms of your vision. You will begin to learn. (Page 117)
What if I, after careful consideration, lose the game in life?
It's also unlikely that you're playing only one game. You have a career and friends and family members and personal projects and artistic endeavors and athletic pursuits. You might consider judging your success across all the games vou play. Imagine that you are very good at some, middling at others, and terrible at the remainder. Perhaps that's how it should be. You might object: I should be winning at everything! But winning at everything might only mean that you're not doing anything new or difficult. You might be winning but you're not growing, and growing might be the most important form of winning. Should victory in the present always take precedence over trajectory across time? (Page 103)
Life consists of many games: career, family, friendship, etc. What if it seemed like you are doing it wrong and everyone else is doing it right?
If the cards are always stacked against you, perhaps the game you are playing is somehow rigged (perhaps by you, unbeknownst to yourself). If the internal voice makes you doubt the value of your endeavors--or your life, or life itself--perhaps you should stop listening. If the critical voice within says the same denigrating things about everyone, no matter how successful, how reliable can it be?
Maybe its comments are chatter, not wisdom. There will always be people better than you--that's a cliché of nihilism, like the phrase, In a million years, who's going to know the difference? The proper response to that statement is not, Well, then, everything is meaningless. It's, Any idiot can choose a frame of time within which nothing matters. Talking yourself into irrelevance is not a profound critique of Being. It's a cheap trick of the rational mind. (Page 100)
Chapter 5 [[Do not make your Children do anything that makes you dislike them]]
Children Why shouldn't I tolerate my children's behavior? At what point should I let them be?
Being 'merciful' may equal to inattentive, insensitive to the world's reality and harm for your Children's life.
Children are damaged when their "mercifully" inattentive parents fail to make them sharp and observant and awake and leave them, instead, in an unconscious and undifferentiated state.
Children are damaged when those charged with their care, afraid of any conflict or upset, no longer dare to correct them, and leave them without guidance. (Page 144)
First step of doing better in life: stop doing what you know to be wrong.
Consider your circumstances. Start small. Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you? Are you working hard on your Career, or even your job, or are you letting bitterness and resentment hold you back and drag you down? Have you made peace with your brother? Are you treating your spouse and your Children with dignity and respect? Do you have habits that are destroying your health and Well-being? Are you truly shouldering your responsibilities? Have you said what you need to say to your friends and family members? Are there things that you could do, that you know you could do, that would make things around you better?
^^Have you cleaned up your life?
If the answer is no, here's something to try: Start to stop doing what you know to be wrong.^^ (Page 185)
You may come to ask yourself, “What should I do today?" in a manner that means "How Could I use my time to make things better, instead of worse?" (Page 235)
Expedient: (of an action) convenient and practical although possibly improper or immoral.
What do you value the most?
Sometimes, when things are not going well, it's not the world that's the cause. The cause is instead that which is currently most valued, subjectively and personally. (Page 200)
Chapter 8 Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie
Fact is dead, in and of itself.
An idea is not the same thing as a fact. A fact is something that is dead, in and of itself. It has no consciousness, no will to power, no motivation, no action. There are billions of dead facts. The internet is a graveyard of dead facts. But an idea that grips a person is alive. It wants to express itself, to live in the world. It is for this reason that the depth psychologists-Freud and Carl Jung paramount among them-insisted that the human psyche was a battleground for ideas. An idea has an aim. It wants something. It posits a value structure. An idea believes that what it is aiming for is better than what it has now. It reduces the world to those things that aid or impede its realization, and it reduces everything else to irrelevance. An idea defines figure against ground. An idea is a personality, not a fact. (Page 230)
Why capitalism is better than socialism
The socialism that soon afterward became so attractive to me as an alternative proved equally insubstantial; with time, I came to understand, through the great George Orwell, that much of such thinking found its motivation in hatred of the rich and successful, instead of true regard for the poor.
the socialists were more intrinsically capitalist than the capitalists. They just thought that if different people had the money, the problems plaguing humanity would vanish. This is simply untrue. They believed just as strongly in money. There are many problems that money does not solve, and others that it makes worse.
The toxicity of Life-lie.
You can use words to manipulate the world into delivering what you want. This is what it means to "act politically". This is spin. It's the specialty of unscrupulous marketers, salesmen, advertisers, pickup artists, slogan-possessed utopians and psychopaths. It's the speech people engage in when they attempt to influence and manipulate others. It's what university students do when they write an essay to please the professor, instead of articulating and clarifying their own ideas. It's what everyone does when they want something, and decide to falsify themselves to please and flatter. It's scheming and sloganeering and propaganda. (Page 248)
Someone living a life-lie is attempting to manipulate reality with perception, thought and action, so that only some narrowly desired and pre-defined outcome is allowed. A life lived in this manner is based, consciously or unconsciously, on two premises: The first is that current knowledge is sufficient to define what is good, unquestioningly, far into the future. The second is that reality would be unbearable if left to its own devices. The first presumption is philosophically unjustifiable. What you are currently aiming at might not be worth attaining, just as what you are currently doing might be an error. The second is even worse.
It is valid only if reality is intrinsically intolerable and, simultaneously, something that can be successfully manipulated and distorted. Such speaking and thinking require the arrogance and certainty that the English poet John Milton's genius identified with Satan, God's highest angel gone most spectacularly wrong. The faculty of rationality inclines dangerously to pride: all I know is all that needs to be known. (Page 249)
A naively formulated goal transmutes, with time, into the sinister form of the life-lie. One forty-something client told me his vision, formulated by his younger self: "I see myself retired, sitting on a tropical beach, drinking margaritas in the sunshine." That's not a plan. That's a travel poster. (Page 250)
Why is it important to tell the truth:
If you will not reveal yourself to others, you cannot reveal yourself to yourself. (Page 251)
If you say no to your boss, or your spouse, or your mother. When it needs to be said, then you transform yourself into someone who can say no when it needs to be said. If you say yes when no needs to be said, however, you transform yourself into someone who can only say yes, even when it is very clearly time to say no.
The importance of positive self-talk
"Did what I want happen? No. Then my aim or my methods were wrong. I still have something to learn." That is the voice of authenticity.
"Did what I want happen? No. Then the world is unfair. People are jealous, and too stupid to understand. It is the fault of something or someone else." That is the voice of inauthenticity. It is not too far from there to "they should be stopped" or “they must be hurt" or “they must be destroyed." Whenever you hear about something incomprehensibly brutal, such ideas have manifested themselves. (Page 254)
Each human being has an immense capacity for evil, Each human being understands, a priori, perhaps not what is good, but certainly what is not. (Page 233)
Why is it important to setup an ambition for our lives? Can't we just 'go with the flow'?
Set your ambitions, even if you are uncertain about what they should be. The better ambitions have to do with the development of character and ability, rather than status and power. Status you can lose. You carry character with you wherever you go, and it allows you to prevail against adversity. (Page 266)
When we do demand a systemic change instead of personal responsibility? Wisdom
Sometimes, however, the entire hierarchy of values is faulty, and the whole edifice has to be abandoned. The whole game must be changed. That's a revolution, with all the chaos and terror of a revolution. (Page 253)
Everyone needs a concrete, specific goal-an ambition, and a purpose -to limit chaos and make intelligible sense of his or her life.
But all such concrete goals can and should be subordinated to what might be considered a meta-goal, which is a way of encroaching and formulating goals themselves. The mere goal could be "live in truth." This means, “Act diligently towards some well-articulated, defined and temporary end.
Make your criteria for failure and success timely and clear, at least for yourself (and even better if others can understand what you are doing and evaluate it with you). While doing so, however, allow the world and your spirit to unfold as they will, while you act out and articulate the truth." This is both pragmatic ambition and the most courageous of faiths. (Page 269)
Aim up. Pay attention. Fix what you can fix. Don't be arrogant in your knowledge. (Page 233)
A client in my practice recounts a long, meandering, emotion-laden account of a difficult period in his or her life. We summarize, back and forth. The account becomes shorter. It is now summed up, in the client's memory (and in mine) in the form we discussed. It is now a different memory, in many ways--with luck, a better memory. It is now less weighty. It has been distilled; reduced to the gist. We have extracted the moral of the story. It becomes a description of the cause and the result of what happened, formulated such that repetition of the tragedy and pain becomes less likely in the future. “This is what happened. This is why. This is what I have to do to avoid such things from now on": That's a successful memory. That's the purpose of memory. You remember the past not so that it is "accurately recorded," to say it again, but so that you are prepared for the future. (Page 293)
A good lecturer is not only delivering facts (which is perhaps the least important part of a lecture), but also telling stories about those facts, pitching them precisely to the level of the audience's comprehension, gauging that by the interest they are showing. The story he or she is telling conveys te the members of the audience not only what the facts are, but why they are relevant-why it is important to know certain things about which they are currently ignorant. (Page 298)
Chapter 10 Be precise in your speech
Chaos emerges in a household, bit by bit. Mutual unhappiness and resentment pile up. Everything untidy is swept under the rug, where the dragon feasts on the crumbs. But no one says anything, as the shared society and negotiated order of the household reveals itself as inadequate, or disintegrates, in the face of the unexpected and threatening. Everybody whistles in the dark, instead. (Page 321)
To say is to admit. Wisdom
Because to specify the problem is to admit that it exists. Because to specify the problem is to allow yourself to know what you want, say, from a friend or lover-and then you will know, precisely and cleanly, when you don't get it, and that will hurt, sharply and specifically. (Page 327)
Strive to correct them. That is how you discover the meaning of your life. That will protect you from the tragedy of your life. How could it be otherwise?
Confront the chaos of Being. Take aim against a sea of troubles. Specify your destination, and chart your course.
Admit to what you want. Tell those around you who you are.
Narrow, and gaze attentively, and move forward, forthrightly.
Be precise in your speech. (Page 335)
Say what you mean, so that you can find out what you mean
Chapter 11 [[Do not bother Children when they are skate-boarding]]
Jung developed the most surgically wicked of psychoanalytic dicta:
Imagine that a boy and a girl, aged nine, get into a fight. Just for engaging, the boy is highly suspect. If he wins, he's pathetic. If he loses -well, his life might as well be over. Beat up by a girl. (Page 353)
politics of oppression, hierarchy, winner and loser.
Consider this, as well, in regard to oppression: any hierarchy creates winners and losers. The winners are, of course, more likely to justify the hierarchy and the losers to criticize it. But (1) the collective pursuit of any valued goal produces a hierarchy (as some will be better and some worse at that pursuit no matter what it is) and (2) it is the pursuit of goals that in large part lends life its sustaining meaning. We experience almost all the emotions that make life deep and engaging as a consequence of moving successfully towards something deeply desired and valued. *The price we pay for that involvement is the inevitable creation of hierarchies of success, while the inevitable consequence is difference in outcome.* Absolute equality would therefore require the sacrifice of value itself-and then there would be nothing worth living for. We might instead note with gratitude that a complex, sophisticated culture allows for many games and many successful players, and that a well-structured culture allows the individuals that compose it to play and to win, in many different fashions. (Page 358)
I came to realize through such thoughts that what can be truly loved about a person is inseparable from their limitations. (Page 402)
Though thirty spokes may form the wheel, it is the hole within the hub which gives the wheel utility. It is not the clay the potter throws, which gives the pot its usefulness, but the space within the shape, from which the pot is made. Without a door, the room cannot be entered, and without its windows it is dark Such is the utility of non-existence. (Page 405)
Note: Lao-Tse, The Utility of Non-Existence
Set aside some time to talk and to think about the illness or other crisis and how it should be managed every đay. Do not talk or think about it otherwise. If you do not limit its effect, you will become exhausted, and everything will spiral into the ground. This is not helpful. Conserve your strength.
You're in a war, not a battle, and a war is composed of many battles. You must stay functional through all of them. When worries associated with the crisis arise at other times, remind yourself that you will think them through, during the scheduled period. This usually works. The parts of your brain that generate anxiety are more interested in the fact that there is a plan than in the details of the plan. Don't schedule your time to think in the evening or at night. Then you won't be able to sleep. If you can't sleep, then everything will go rapidly downhill. (Page 414)
If you pay careful attention, even on a bad day, you may be fortunate enough to be confronted with small opportunities of just that sort. Maybe you will see a little girl dancing on the street because she is all dressed up in a ballet costume. Maybe you will have a particularly good cup of coffee in a café that cares about their customers. Maybe you can steal ten or twenty minutes to do some little ridiculous thing that distracts you or reminds you that you can laugh at the absurdity of existence. Personally, I like to watch a Simpsons episode at 1.5 times regular speed: all the laughs; two-thirds the time. (Page 416)
It isn't precisely that people will fight for what they believe. They will fight, instead, to maintain the match between what they believe, what they expect, and what they desire. They will fight to maintain the match between what they expect and how everyone is acting. It is precisely the maintenance of that match that enables everyone to live together peacefully, predictably and productively. It reduces uncertainty and the chaotic mix of intolerable emotions that uncertainty inevitably produces.
Evolution works, in large part, through variation including gene-shuffling (to put it simply) and random mutation. Individuals vary within a species for such natural selection. Variation exists for many reasons, theory, as stated, appears to account for the continual alteration of life-forms over the eons. But there's an additional son. Nature chooses from among them, across time. That question lurking under the surface:
what exactly is the “nature" in "natural selection"? What exactly is “the environment" to which animals adapt? We make many assumptions about nature-about the environment-and these have consequences.
It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world-a handyman's dream, if ever there was one-is to fix yourself. (Page 433)
Life is hard enough when it is going well. But when it's going badly? And I have learned through painful experience that nothing is going so badly that it can't be made worse. (Page 433)
I proposed in Maps of Meaning that the great myths and religious stories of the past, particularly those derived from an earlier, oral tradition, were moral in their intent, rather than descriptive. Thus, they did not concern themselves with what the world was, as a scientist might have it, but with how a human being should act.
If we each live properly, we will collectively flourish.
What shall I do tomorrow?
The most good possible in the shortest period of time.
What shall I do next year?
Try to ensure that the good i do then will be exceeded only by the good I do the year after that.
What shall I do with my life?
Aim for Paradise, and concentrate on today.
What shall I do with my (wife/daughter/parents/son)?
Act such that your actions justify the suffering they endured.
What shall I do with the stranger?
Invite him into my house, and treat him like a brother, so that he may become one.
How shall I educate my people?
Share with them those things I regard as truly important.
What shall I do with a torn nation?
Stitch it back together with careful words of truth.
What shall I do for God my Father?
Sacrifice everything I hold dear to yet greater perfection.
What shall I do with a lying man?
Let him speak so that he may reveal himself.
What shall I do when I despise what I have?
Remember those who have nothing and strive to be grateful.
What shall I do when greed consumes me?
Remember that it is truly better to give than to receive.
What shall I do when my enemies succeeds?
Aim a little higher and be grateful for the lesson.
What shall I do when I'm tired and impatient?
Gratefully accept an outstretched helping hand.
What shall I do with the fact of aging?
Replace the potential of my youth with the accomplishment of my maturity.
What shall I do with my infant's death?
Hold my other loved ones and heal their pain.
What shall I do in the next dire moment?
Focus my attention on the next right move.
What shall I say to a faithless brother?
The King of the Damned is a poor judge of being. It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world—a handy-man's dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself.
What shall I do to strengthen my spirit?
Do not tell lies, or do what you despise.
What shall I do to ennoble my body?
Use it only in the service of my soul.
What shall I do with the most difficult of questions?
Consider them the gateway to the path of life.
What shall I do with the poor man's plight?
Strive through right example to lift his broken heart.
What shall I do when the great crowd beckons?
Stand tall and utter my broken truths.