生きる

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.

— L.P. Jacks


You may not believe me now, but you are probably a whole lot smarter than many people, including the smart ones you cite, at something, perhaps many things. And once you put yourself on the shoulders of giants, including your own, you can geometrically catapult yourself into much higher spheres of measure, including “smartness”. But even then, so what?

It’s not how smart you are, how rich you are, or even how good you are, it’s what you can imagine doing with all those “assets” and how you can positively affect the lives of others. If you learn nothing else in college, I sincerely hope that you come away with this mindset.

edw519 @ news.yc


We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory….”

— Vicktor Frankl, A Man’s Search For Meaning

(Source: Wikipedia)


"This Is Water" by David Foster Wallace

Part 2 is here.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it JC or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you.

On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.

But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

And the so-called “real world” will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the “rat race,” the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.


Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

— Steve Jobs


Passivity is the worst submission.

Passivity is the worst submission because it is submission without individual intention to life itself. Of all the things I have learnt this was the most worthwhile, the most horrendous to learn and the hardest to clarify.

It’s importance to me means I don’t internalise it as a negative but as the positive:

Belief, Thought, Action

I live these three words. They may seem obvious but they are not: most people believe and think but don’t act, or believe and act but don’t think. That is dysfunction, it is partial passivity: humanity has the capacity for all three in unison.

They feed from each other and if left to frame your life improve it. Consider every successful action as proof of justified belief, and every failed action as a lesson. Action is information. There are two ways of learning: through the feedback of your actions and through others actions. The former gives greater opportunity so by cutting it out from you life you remove the best source of lessons and self-control.


Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

— The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich

(Source: lavirtute)


For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

— Steve Jobs

(Source: news.stanford.edu)


The causes lie deep and simply - the causes are a hunger in a stomach, multiplied a million times; a hunger in a single soul, hunger for joy and some security, multiplied a million times; muscles and mind aching to grow, to work, to create, multiplied a million times. The last clear definite function of man - muscles aching to work, mind aching to create beyond the single need - this is man. To build a wall, to build a house, a dam, and in the wall and house and dam to put something of Manself, and to Manself take back something of the wall, the house, the dam; to take hard muscles from the lifting, to take the clear lines and form from conceiving. For man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man - when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forwards, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market-place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-foward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live - for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died.

— The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck


This time he is close to her, he speaks to her. She welcomes him without surprise. They are without memories, without plans. Time builds itself painlessly around them. Their only landmarks are the flavour of the moment they are living and the markings on the walls.

Narrator, La Jetée (1962)


Matthew: I’m sorry. I lost my head. Maria: It’s okay.  Matthew: What are we going to do now? Maria: We could run..? Matthew: We’d never make it. Maria: I’ll tell them it was my fault. Matthew: They’d never believe you. Maria: I don’t care if they believe me or not. Matthew: …Why’ve you done this? Maria: Done what? Matthew: Why’ve you put up with me like this? Maria: Somebody had to. Matthew: But why you? Maria: I just happen to be here. View Larger

Matthew: I’m sorry. I lost my head.
Maria: It’s okay. 
Matthew: What are we going to do now?
Maria: We could run..?
Matthew: We’d never make it.
Maria: I’ll tell them it was my fault.
Matthew: They’d never believe you.
Maria: I don’t care if they believe me or not.
Matthew: …Why’ve you done this?
Maria: Done what?
Matthew: Why’ve you put up with me like this?
Maria: Somebody had to.
Matthew: But why you?
Maria: I just happen to be here.