Thursday, November 26, 2020

Respect Begins with Yourself

It's impossible to overvalue the worth of genuine self-respect and integrity, particularly in a hostile and blindly unaware society that undermines them at every turn.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

More of This. Less of That

“We are constantly murmuring, muttering, scheming or wondering to ourselves under our breath,” wrote the Buddhist and Harvard-trained psychiatrist Mark Epstein. “I like this. I don’t like that. She hurt me. How can I get that? More of this, no more of that. Much of our inner dialogue is this constant reaction to experience by a selfish, childish protagonist. None of us has moved very far from the 7-year-old who vigilantly watches to see who got more.”

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Republicans

Why keep the stiletto of ridicule always handy up your sleeve? Because, as Euripides observed, “The laughter of one’s enemies is unendurable.”

Dan Harris: An Insight at Midnight

Lying in bed one night, reading a book by Eckhart Tolle for work, ABC reporter Dan Harris was shocked to find the self-help guru reading his mind.

Tolle’s insights about living in the present were startlingly relevant to Harris’ life.

“The ego is never satisfied,” Harris wrote in his book 10 Percent Happier. “No matter how much stuff we buy, no matter how many arguments we win or delicious meals we consume, the ego never feels complete. Did this not describe my bottomless appetite for airtime — or drugs? Is this what my friend Simon meant when he said I had the ‘soul of a junkie?’

“The ego is constantly comparing itself to others. It has us measuring our worth against the looks, wealth and social status of everyone else. Did this not explain some of my worrying at work?

“Perhaps the most powerful Tollean insight into the ego was that it is obsessed with the past and the future, at the expense of the present. We ‘live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation,’ he wrote…”

“Some of the only times I could recall being fully present were when I was in a war zone or on drugs. No wonder one begat the other.

“It finally hit me that I’d been sleepwalking through much of my life — swept along on a tide of automatic, habitual behavior. All of the things I was most ashamed of in recent years could be explained through the ego: chasing the thrill of war without contemplating the consequences, replacing the combat high with coke and ecstasy, reflexively and unfairly judging people of faith, getting carried away with anxiety about work, neglecting Bianca to tryst with my Blackberry, obsessing about my stupid hair.

“It was a little embarrassing to be reading a self-help writer and thinking, ‘This guy gets me.’ But it was in this moment, lying in bed late at night, that I first realized that the voice in my head — the running commentary that had dominated my field of consciousness since I could remember — was kind of an asshole.”

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Consumer Consumed

One of the most difficult lessons to learn in life, because it is counterintuitive, is that if some is good, more may well be worse, even much worse. The whole of the American consumer advertising industry is dedicated to helping us forget that lesson, if we were ever smart enough to learn it.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Behold the Boredom of the Gods

We have these godlike powers now — to instantly tap the sum total of human knowledge, to talk to anyone anywhere — and yet we’re bored. We use them for trivia.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Riding Across the River

“I have taken thousands of people across, and to all of them my river has been nothing but a hindrance to their journey. They have traveled for money and business, to weddings and on pilgrimages; the river has been in their way and the ferryman was there to take them quickly across the obstacle. However, amongst the thousands there have been a few, four or five, to whom the river was not an obstacle. They have heard its voice and listened to it, and the river has become holy to them, as it is to me.”

— The Ferryman and Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha