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Jerry Seinfeld on Marriage

“You don’t do what’s right. You do what makes the other person feel good.”

Jerry Seinfeld


The next line is, of course, “and the first step of that is lying.” This is a real good summary of marriage, though, and a thing I’d do well to improve on in my own marriage.

Depression’s Insights & Laughter’s Forgiveness

“I would call this condition clarity, not depression; humor and depression are two different, but not mutually exclusive, responses to it. I know we’re told to regard depression as a disease, its victims no different from people who succumb to cancer or diabetes. But because it’s a disease whose symptoms take the shape of ideas, it can get hard to parse out pathology from worldview. The Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert once told me that ‘there are people who have no delusions; they’re called clinically depressed.’ Depression’s insights aren’t necessarily invalid; they’re just not helpful. Depression uses clarity as an instrument of torture; humor uses it as a setup. Comedy tells us, ‘But wait – that’s not the good part.’ Depression condemns the world, and us, as hateful; laughter is a way of forgiving it, and ourselves, for being so.”

Tim Kreider via Kleon

Slomo on the Most Absurd, Stupid Way to go Through a Life

“I reckon what I’m talking about is my experience in the middle part of life. The large part is a grinding affair, working away, having a family, making the whole thing happen and, at the end of it, most people are pretty worn out. They don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in anything beyond this ephemeral existence that we’re in now, their attitudes are cynical. They’re what we call “assholes.” And I was one of them.

It occurred to me one time when I was driving to work — I had a lot of reports to dictate that day — that I was still shoveling shit. Which had been the way I started my life on the dairy farm. If I look back on it, I’m just thinking, “this is the most absurd, stupid way to go through a life that a person could ever dream up.” But we’re all being pushed on to do this. And then I had the opportunity to stop.”

Slomo


Sensational video. Don’t know how they make it hit so well, but it does. Go. Watch!

Frederick Buechner on The Fearsome Blessing of Hard Times

“The fearsome blessing of that hard time continues to work itself out in my life in the same way we’re told the universe is still hurtling through outer space under impact of the great cosmic explosion that brought it into being in the first place. I think grace sometimes explodes into our lives like that—sending our pain, terror, astonishment hurtling through inner space until by grace they become Orion, Cassiopeia, Polaris, to give us our bearings, to bring us into something like full being at last.”

Frederick Buechner

Maya Anglou on Legacy

Oprah: What will my legacy be?

Maya Angelou: You don’t get to decide what your legacy is. That’s not up to you. So do your work.

Recounted by Tom Shadyack

David Foster Wallace on the Value of Education

“[…] this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out.”

David Foster Wallace

Joie de vivre: a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit. […] may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life.”

Wikipedia

And more from an excerpt in Carl Rogers’ book On Becoming a Person:

Mrs. Oak illustrates this trend rather nicely in her thirty-third interview. Is it significant that this follows by ten days the interview where she could for the first time admit to herself that the therapist cared? Whatever our speculations on this point, this fragment in-dicates very well the quiet joy in being one’s self, together with the apologetic attitude which, in our culture, one feels it is necessary to take toward such an experience. In the last few minutes of the inter-view, knowing her time is nearly up she says:

C: One thing worries me and I’ll hurry because I can always go back to it – a feeling that occasionally I can’t turn out. A feeling of being quite pleased with myself. Again the Q technique, I walked out of here one time, and impulsively I threw my first card, “I am an attractive personality”; looked at it sort of aghast but left it there, I mean, because honestly, I mean, that is exactly how it felt – a well, that bothered me and I catch that now.

Carl Rogers in On Becoming a Person, emphasis mine

Maya Angelou on Anger + Bitterness

“You should be angry. But you must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”

Maya Angelou (to Dave Chappell)

If you haven’t seen the Maya Angelou and Dave Chappell episode of Iconoclasts, schedule time for it. A light cocktail and 3-4pm tomorrow would be perfect for you. It’s wonderful.

Here’s another couple quotes I liked:


This is why it’s dangerous to make any person seem larger than life. Because a young person coming up sees this larger than life figure, this outrageously gigantic personality, and has to say, “I can never do that. I can never be that.” You see? When the truth is those men and those women were in the right place at the right time and got hold of something and something caught hold of them.


It’s important if not, in fact, imperative that each knows that there is a line beyond which you will not go. When lots of money is dangled in front of people’s eyes, many times they will tell you ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no!’ Because it’s dangling before their eyes. And they will say, ‘Damn, jack, I’m giving this up? I’m not making this money now because you aren’t.’

But the thing is that you have some place that nobody, kith nor kin, can take you beyond. Somewhere in the bend of your elbow. Nobody.

Aldous Huxley on the Brain’s Primary Function (Maybe)

“… that the primary function of the brain may be eliminative: Its purpose may be to prevent a transpersonal dimension of mind from flooding consciousness, thereby allowing apes like ourselves to make their way in the world without being dazzled at every step by visionary phenomena that are irrelevant to their physical survival. Huxley thought of the brain as a kind of ‘reducing valve’ for ‘Mind at Large.’ In fact, the idea that the brain is a filter rather than the origin of mind goes back at least as far as Henri Bergson and William James. In Huxley’s view, this would explain the efficacy of psychedelics: They may simply be a material means of opening the tap.

[…]

It is one thing to be awestruck by the sight of a giant redwood and amazed at the details of its history and underlying biology. It is quite another to spend an apparent eternity in egoless communion with it.”

Sam Harris

Joseph Campbell & All the Answers

Geez Louise. Took me about 3 days to watch this video. This is one I will come back to again and again. Below I’ve copied some lines that stood out to me. There were more things that stood out to me than I anticipated.


  • Where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god.
  • And where we had thought to slay another we shall find ourselves.
  • And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence.
  • And where we thought to be alone, we will be with the whole world.

…because that’s what’s worth writing about: someone who’s given his life to something bigger than himself.


That is the basic motif of the hero journey: leaving one condition, finding the source of life to bring you forth in a richer condition.


On ego

The real problem is of primarily thinking about yourself, thinking about your self protection, losing yourself, giving yourself to another that’s what a trial is in itself.

What all of us have to deal with is a transformation of consciousness — that you’re thinking in THIS way and you have now to think in THAT way.

How is the transformation performed? By trials and illuminating revelations. Trials and revelations are what it’s all about.


On the whale & consciousness

The belly of the whale is the descent into the dark. The whale represents, is the personification of you might say, all the things in the subconscious. Water is the unconscious. The creature in the water is the dynamism of the unconscious, which is dangerous and powerful and has to be controlled by consciousness.

The first stage in a hero’s adventure is leaving the realm of light, which he controls and knows about, and moving towards the threshold. And it’s at the threshold that the monster of the abyss comes to meet him.

And then there are 2 or 3 results: 1. the hero is cut to pieces and descends into the abyss in fragments to be resurrected. 2. He may kill the dragon power, as Sigfried does when he kills the dragon. But then he tastes the dragon blood and assimilates its power. Now he hears the song of nature, he has transcended his humanity, re-associated himself with the powers of nature, which are the powers of our life, from which our mind removes us.

You see our mind, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ, a secondary organ of a total human being and it must NOT put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body. When it does assert it’s control you get this man who has gone over to the intellectual side. (Darth Vader reaching to Luke: “Come with me and I will complete your training.”)


It’s the edge, the interface between what can be known and what is never to be discovered because it is a mystery transcendent of all human research… the source of life. What is it? Nobody knows.


On character

Our life evokes our character, you find out more about yourself as you go on. And it is very nice to put yourself in situations that evoke your higher character rather than your lower.


It’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery. It gives life a new zest, balance, harmony to do this.

… erase anxieties, get into accord with the inevitabilities of your life, see the positive values in the negative and the negative aspects of the positive…

… She thought she was alone, you see? But she had friends. This is killing the dragon…


On Dragons

The european dragon represents greed. He guards things in his cave, heaps of gold and virgins. He can’t make use of either of them, he just guards. […] Psychologically, the dragon is one’s own binding of oneself to one’s ego, and you’re captured in your own dragon cage.

The real dragon is in you, it’s your ego holding you in. Your ego is: what I want, what I believe, what I can do, what I think i love, what I regard as the aim of my life and so forth. It might be too small, it might be that which pins you down. And if it’s simply that of doing what the environment tells you to do (your system) it certainly IS too small. And so the environment is your dragon and it reflects within yourself.

How do you slay your dragon? Follow your bliss, find where it is… do not be afraid to follow it. If the work that you’re doing is the work you chose because you enjoy it, then you’ve found it. But if you think, “oh I couldn’t do that…” That’s your dragon locking you in. “Oh no, I couldn’t be a writer, I couldn’t do what so and so is doing.”


Do we save ourselves or the world? You save the world by saving yourself. A vital person revitalizes the world. The world is a wasteland.

Do I have to do it alone? If you have someone who can help you, that’s fine too. But, ultimately, the last trick has to be done by you.


On the place to find

What is the place to find? Buddha’s nirvana, etc… what is that place? It’s a place in yourself of rest. Nirvana is a psychological state of mind. It’s not a place like heaven, not something that’s not here. It IS here in the middle of the turmoil, the whirlpool of life’s condition. Nirvana is the condition that comes when you are not compelled by desire or by fear or by social commitments. When you hold your center and act out of there.


On levels of consciousness

The way a flower turns it’s head to face the sun, heliotropism, is a kind of consciousness. There is a plant consciousness. There’s an animal consciousness. And we share all of these things. You eat foods and the bile of your stomach knows if there’s something there to work on… this whole thing is consciousness. I begin to feel more and more that the whole world is conscious. If we see ourselves as coming out of the earth rather than plopped here from somewhere else, we are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth, these are the eyes of the earth, this is the voice of the earth, what else!?

How do we elevate our consciousness? Meditation. All of life is a meditation, most of it unintentional. A lot of people spend most of their meditating on where their money’s coming from and where it’s going to go, but that’s a level of meditation. Or if you have a family to bring up, you’re concerned for the family. These are all certainly very important concerns, but they have to do with physical conditions mostly. How are you going to communicate spiritual consciousness to the children if you don’t have it yourself, so how do you get that? The myths. What the myths are for is to bring us into a level of consciousness which is spiritual.

… this is simply a lower level of that…


… when he’s talking about the old cathedral man… “want to see my room?” I got nervous for him.

My own note: myths, maybe, are not the stories themselves, certainly not the historical facts of the events. Rather they a myth is the way it changes our civilization over time. A myth is never finished in this sense. A myth is not the events, not the story nor the moral, but it’s the way all the things of the myth interact with our consciousness over years and years… not as individuals but as a human organism, a civilization. A myth is the way that myth causes us to change the way we live over hundreds of years.


On what informs society

You can tell what’s informing society by which buildings are the tallest. When you approach a medieval town, the cathedral is the tallest in the place. 17th century, it’s the political palace that’s the tallest in the place. And when you approach a modern city, it’s the office buildings and dwellings that are the tallest in the place. That’s the history of western civilization, from the gothic through the princely periods of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, to this economic world that we’re in now.


3 requirements of myths

All myths have talked about (1) the maturation of the individual: the pedagogical way to follow from dependency, through adulthood, through maturity and then to the exit and how to do it. And then (2) how to relate to this society and (3) how to relate this society to the world of nature and the cosmos.

“What I left behind: that old way of living, where pushing and controlling and multi-tasking chokes out love and kindness and presence. I left behind exhaustion as a way of life, and as a status symbol. I left behind work as identity and scooped up as much love and hospitality as I could, cramming it into my worn-out heart, bringing it home, bringing it into a life I’m still remaking from the inside out.”

Shauna Niequist


I was on this trip with Shauna. The experience is fk’n with me… in a good way. Hospitality as a lifestyle…

“We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different”

Kurt Vonnegut

“When I catch myself wishing for more than incremental progress that’s directionally correct, I remind myself of the companionship I’ve discovered in this murky, mucky place, down and to the left. I belong to this place, for this is the place where, as David Whyte writes, ‘I ask my friends to come, this is where I want to love all the things it has taken me so long to learn to love.’ Me and my broken-hearted friends, we belong here.

Jerry Colonna


An excellent, short post from a man who’s walked the big entrepreneurial paths before and keeps coming back in to the the center of things.