I feel like I’m confronting the challenges of existence pretty effectively, with the following exceptions: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation, and meaninglessness.
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Life
ife is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink. — Shunryu Suzuki
You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that a some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone ‘Give me the gun,’ etc. Then you start secondary school and suddenly everyone’s asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals, and by goals they don’t mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg — that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you’d imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor tiles is actually largely what people mean when they speak of ‘life.’ Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN or FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until the weeks go by and the doors — GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE — keep closing, you begin to hear the sound as a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn’t necessarily need to be closed . . .
I wonder what the world would be like if we all took responsibility for what we were contributing or not contributing to it.
I control the rhythm and length of my strides: a half second for each step, a step and a half for each yard, eighty yards a minute. Of my own free will I am walking toward an inevitable and perfect future.
It’s lonely at the top. It’s lonely at the bottom too. It’s lonely in the middle . . .
From The Possibilities of Organization by Barry Oshry (with very slight modification):
Possibility I. Internal Warfare
We can misunderstand one another’s worlds; we can misinterpret one another’s behavior; we can see malice, insensitivity and incompetence behind one another’s actions; we can see ourselves as the well-intentioned, blameless, helpless victims of other people and of circumstances; we can act accordingly and go to war with one another.
Possibility II. Understanding and Accommodation
We can see into, comprehend, accept and adjust to one another’s worlds; we can accommodate to others, acting in ways that make it possible, easy even, for them to do what we need them to do in order for us to move ahead with our work; we can see the “stuff” that comes at us from others as the behavior of people struggling to cope with and survive in the unique conditions of their worlds; we can choose NOT to get hooked on that stuff; we can stay in the Center Ring and not get drawn off into the drama of the Side Show; we can accomplish our goals by easing the conditions of others.
Possibility III. Transformation
We can refuse to accept and accommodate to the familiar realities; we can say NO to the predictable responses to the common conditions of life; we can create new responses and new, more powerful realities in which we are not burdened, we are not oppressed, and we are not torn. We can become central to creating what out lives will be.
I’m a student of life. Not an A+ student of life. More of a C- student of life.
That not only am I set to meet all opposition, I am actively seeking it out.
I live in fear of my own inadequacy. True story.
So many of us are sitting on the sidelines…waiting for the invitation that’s not on the way. — Leslie Stein
I work a lot and live far less than I could, but the moon is beautiful and there are blue stars . . . . I live the chaste song of my heart.
I’m just doing what I wanted to and what feels right and not settling for bullshit and it worked. How can they be mad at that?
We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness. — Schopenhauer
Regarding Brittany Maynard:
Suicide is not a good thing. It is a bad thing because it is saying no to life and to everything it means with respect to our mission in the world and toward those around us.
Huh? If you said the Monsignor, you are correct . . .
You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discovered it happened 100 years ago to Dostoevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.
I decided to get off meds for a while . . .
Things That Are the Same
- I start every morning thinking about how great it would be to just stay in bed the rest of the day. Repeatedly hitting the snooze alarm — does life get any better than that?
- I live in fear of negative judgment.
- I dread being around other people. (May be just a restatement of #2).
Things That Are Different
- I don’t feel like I’m in as much of a fog all the time.
- I feel sadder, angrier, happier, more scared, more alive for better or worse.
“You should live every minute of your life as though it’s your last.”
“You’d spend the last minute of your life giving other people dopey advice?”
If I had to single out one piece of advice that’s guided me through life, most likely it would be from my grandmother, Nellie Molonson. She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail.
Here’s how she put it: “Sonny, I don’t care who you are. Some day you’re going to have to sit on your own bottom.” After more than half a century in the energy business, her advice has proven itself to be spot-on time and time again. My failures? I never have any doubt whom they can be traced back to. My successes? Most likely the same guy.
A leaf flattened itself against the window beside his head and leaped away into the darkness, and a feeling of profound despair came over him because everything he had done was useless. All that he believed in and had attempted to prove seemed meager, all of his life was wasted.