Category Archives: Longer Quotes

Don’t wait to retire

Retire now

This is one of the biggest cons going: the notion of putting off fun and adventure for decades until you can financially kiss the working world goodbye.

Whatever you do, don’t go down that road.

Each moment, each season of your life is important; not just after you’ve accumulated enough to stop working for a living.

Commit yourself to lifelong semi-retirement. And that doesn’t necessarily mean working part-time, though it could.

When you are out of the rat race, when you no longer try to “get places” statuswise, you are semi-retired. When you live in the present, when you are happy with your station in life, you are semi-retired–even if you work fulltime!

No, this isn’t a plea for laziness or lack of ambition. Rather, it’s a suggestion to make the present all it can be, and to do that throughout life.
I have no idea where I got this from. Doesn’t seem to be online anymore.

The Carrot

It is very difficult to be absolutely nobody, just as it is to be someone very special. By “be”, I mean to become consciously, with your own will. I’m not sure how this is possible, or what exactly it means to “be” nobody. Avoiding to become famous, isn’t what I mean, because “avoid” implies that you have a potential to be famous, and that you are pursuing something that can potentially make you famous, or that you are aware of this potential.

What makes it difficult is our ego. It is very difficult to be nobody and not feel bad about it. Our egos are constantly driving us to be better, and if we don’t succeed, our egos would punish us by making us feel guilty or depressed. This is a vicious cycle. It goes on forever. Nothing is ever good enough for our egos. It is like a carrot dangled in front of a donkey. If we don’t go for it, then we become depressed by the presence of the carrot in front of us. Even if we go for it, we never catch it. The only way out of it is to be indifferent about the carrot. Whether you run towards the carrot or not, if you can’t be indifferent about the carrot, you will forever be trapped in the vicious cycle. Whether what you want to “be” is somebody or nobody, in this sense, becomes a secondary issue.

But how does one “become” indifferent? Indifference is not something one achieves by will. You are simply indifferent, or you are not. Your will has no choice in the matter. How indifferent you are to the carrot is almost predestined. Some people crave the carrot while others don’t at all. Some people are afraid of the carrot and try to stay away from it, because they know deep down how much they want it. Some people criticize others who gave up on running towards the carrot, while others criticize those who are constantly chasing the carrot. Some people try to control their desire for the carrot by suppressing it. Some try to run towards it as fast as they can and burn themselves out. Our relationships to the carrot manifest in a variety of ways.

I am fascinated by those who are indifferent to the carrot. These people are very rare. Many people pretend that they are indifferent, and these pretenders can sometimes really fool you. Truly indifferent people are seldom found, and when I do find them, I’m mesmerized by them. I think to myself, “How do they do it?”, knowing very well that they don’t “do” anything.

The carrot, in a way, is the bane of our existence. Our relationships to the carrot largely dictate what we do in our lives, and how we live our lives. As our relationship to it changes, the perspective of our lives changes along with it. Our sense of value is based on our relationship to the carrot as well.

I used to hate the fact that the carrot was hanging right in front of me. I saw it as a cruel joke played by God. Now I have surrendered to him, and I play along with his joke. I don’t pretend or try to be indifferent. It is simply impossible. I’m careful, though, not to fall victim of his joke. The key here is not to take the carrot too seriously. As long as you are aware that what is important is not the carrot itself, but your relationship to it, then you know where to draw the line.

Government CAUSES crime

First of all, the police do not exist to protect you: the police exist to protect the Government from you. The police don’t actually directly protect anybody except politicians and maybe movie stars, as well as themselves. For the rest of us they’re just highly paid garbage collectors who show up after the damage is already done to collect evidence. In fact it is simply physically impossible for police to personally protect anyone unless they are there with them. Unless you have a police officer or bodyguard at your side, then only You can protect You. Indeed, the police aren’t even legally required to lift a finger to help you if you are being raped to death on the side of a street–even if they are at your side (see Warren v. District of Columbia, D.C. App., 444 A. 2d 1 [1981]).

Indeed, it is not even in the Government’s interest to reduce “crime”: its incentive and actual practice is to increase “crime.” More “crime” means more demands from the populace for Government to reduce this problem that it is largely responsible for causing (and hence willingness to further empower Government). If “crime” were ever to dramatically drop, this would be catastrophic from the viewpoint of Government, for so also would Government’s whole rational for existing diminish. Government’s true incentive is to protect real criminals from you: by disarming you and making it essentially illegal for you to effectively defend your property or yourself–and this includes the criminals in Government especially. Government is actually responsible for causing far more crime than it “prevents” (assuming it actually prevents any, which it doesn’t, it merely gets in the way of those who could have done the job better). Obviously there’s a point at which the crime that Government causes reaches such a level that people revolt, but that’s magnitudes of orders higher than what the crime level would be if it were not for the Government protecting the criminals from their victims and causing the crime.

Take riots for example. Riots are a complete product of Government. If property owners were allowed to kill rioters there would exist no such thing as a “riot.” But as it is, the Government protects the rioters from their victims. And so it is likewise with all real crime (i.e., actions involving aggression against another’s person or property). The businesses that were unharmed in the 1992 L.A. riots were the ones defended by the Korean vigilante-anarchists armed with semiautomatic rifles. Ironically, USA Today reported that many of the people rushing to gun stores during the L.A. riots were “lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they’d never need”–and they were outraged to discover they had to wait 15 days to buy a gun for self-defense (Jonathan T. Lovitt, “Survival for the armed,” USA Today, 4 May 1992).

If it weren’t for the Government’s police so-called “protecting” us, we would be able to protect ourselves just fine. What they actually do is protect the real criminals FROM us.

The only reason anyone need fear a rapist, for example, is because those same cops that “protect” us will brutally attack us and likely kill us if we attempt to effectively defend ourselves against such a criminal (see what happens if you start regularly carrying a gun on yourself without their permission). The only reason 99.9% percent of such (non-Governmental) criminals can even exist is because the Government protects them from their potential victims. This is the reason why the real crime and murder rates are the highest in places where the Government completely disarms the victims, like in Washington D.C., New York city, etc., and is virtually nonexistent in American towns that require gun ownership and in Switzerland where gun ownership is also required. As Prof. Lot and others have repeatedly shown, there is a 1:1 correlation between how well armed a population is and the real crime rate (i.e., “real crime” is aggressions made against another’s just property, including the property of everyone own body).

As well, the Government’s War on Drugs has turned what once was an individual problem into a social problem by inventing new make-believe “crimes” that aggress against no one, while spawning a whole true crime industry associated with it (just like during Prohibition). The effect of libertarian legalization would be to make drugs an individual problem again instead of the grave social problem that it is today. As they say, we don’t have a drug problem, we have a drug-problem problem. Were it not for the Government’s War on Drugs, the gang turf-wars, theft, and other various true crimes that are associated with the distribution of drugs and the procurement of money in which to support habituations to drugs of which the price has been artificially inflated would not exist.

How many liquor stores have shoot-outs between each other? Yet when alcohol was illegal the black-market distributors of alcohol found it necessary to have shoot-outs and murders between each other on a regular basis. This was because, being that their business was illegal, they did not have access to the courts in which to settle their disputes; as well, because their business was illegal, this raised the stakes of doing business, for if they got caught then they would go to prison–thus it became profitable to resort to murder in order to solve problems which would otherwise lead to prison. And how many tobacco smokers resort to theft and prostitution in order to support their habit? Yet clinical studies have shown that tobacco is more habit forming than heroin. The reason you don’t see tobacco smokers doing such things is because tobacco addicts can afford to support their habit. When Russia experienced an artificial shortage of cigarets over a decade ago do to its socialist economy, tobacco smokers took to the streets en mass rioting–requiring emergency shipments of Marlboros and other cigaret brands from the U.S. in order for it to cease. If heroin or crack were legal it would cost no more (and probably less) than a tobacco habit, and so heroin and crack addicts would be able to support their habit by working at a regular job instead of resorting to theft and prostitution.

by James Redford (First Appeared at

How NOT to make people believe in something

Yes, it’s back to my typical anti-fundamentalist rantings. You know why? Because I hate religious coercion by parents toward their children. It is ineffective and will definitely pull your child AWAY from your faith, not towards it. To give you a little backstory: I am nearly 20 years old. My family have been fundamentalist Christians since I was twelve. Since the age of twelve, I have had bible-reading, church attendance and adherence to Christian social mores pushed on me. I was surrounded by Christian literature, Christian music and Christian friends, and I lived in predominantly Christian areas. All that would make me a good Christian girl, right? NOT!

By the age of seventeen I had become a full-fledged atheist and had started coming out as gay. After all those prayers for me to be ’straight’ and all those ‘demons’ being rebuked out of me, guess what? I STILL LIKE GIRLS! How do you like that now? At 19, I’ve realised that I am gender-variant. Even after the demon-rebukings, I still feel more masculine! Guess Beelzebub didn’t cause it, right? You got it. That’s who I am and that’s how I’m going to be. It wasn’t my choice for me to be this way. However, I am no problems with being who I am and I’m ready to deal with it.

Guess what? The coercion didn’t work! Look, how many people get so angry at their family that they’ve unofficially changed their surnames out of symbolic reasons (and plan on doing it officially), despise Bible reading of any sort and don’t want anything to do with most of Christian culture because of the emotional scarring? All that religious coercion EVER did was make me angry and bitter towards them. It didn’t bring me closer to God. I’m a naturally sceptical person in the first place; I don’t believe anything at face value, usually. I tend to try to learn as much about something as possible. Fundamentalism doesn’t square well with me in the first place. But having it force-fed was even more torturous for me. I actually still have to deal with it to this day.

To all fundamentalist parents: You may be fundamentalists, but your kids might not be. Let your children discover their own paths in life. If you don’t, you might end up with kids like me! *grin*

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,”hi”
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
This is all over the place. I’ve probably gotten it emailed to me more than once by now.

No such thing as “normal”

People from the (rapidly splintering) “mainstream” of society in Europe and the United States today take a peculiar pleasure in considering themselves “normal” in comparison to legal offenders, political radicals, and other members of social “outgroups.” They treat this “normalcy” as if it is an indication of mental health and moral righteousness, regarding the “others” with a mixture of pity and disgust. But if we consult history, we can see that the conditions and patterns of human life have changed so much in the past two centuries that it is impossible to speak of any lifestyle available to human beings today as being normal in the natural sense, as being the lifestyle for which human beings have adapted over many generations. Of the lifestyles from which a young woman growing up in western civilization today can choose, none are anything like the one for which our ancestors were prepared by centuries of natural selection and evolution.

It is more likely that the “normalcy” that these people hold so dear is rather the feelings of normalcy that result from conformity to a standard. Being surrounded by others who behave the same way, who are conditioned to the same routines and expectations, is comforting because it reinforces the idea that one is pursuing the right course: if a great many people make the same decisions and live according to the same customs, then these decisions and customs must be the right ones.

But the mere fact that a number of people live and act in a certain way does not make it any more likely that this way of living is the one that will bring them the most happiness. Besides, the lifestyles associated with the American and European mainstream were not exactly consciously chosen as the best possible ones by those who pursue them; rather, they came to be suddenly, as the results of technological and cultural upheavals. Once the peoples of Europe, the United States, and the world realize that there is nothing necessarily “normal” about their “normal life,” they can begin to ask themselves the first and most important question of the next century:

Are there ways of thinking, acting, and living that might be more satisfying and exciting than the ways we think, act, and live today?

Purpose in life

Some people have no purpose

The beginning of this post is actually about The Alchemist. I left that bit out though.

There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this:

“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.”

But what if you only had one penny? Bread or lily? Bread and survive, or lily and die. Which one? If I knew that I would only get bread and never any lily for the rest of my life, it seems pointless to survive for the sake of surviving. There isn’t any logical answer to this, although many Christians would probably give a moral answer: the former, because the latter constitutes suicide, a sin.

“How is it that one knows this is what I’m put on the planet to do?” Questions like this assume the existence of “Personal Legend”, the purpose of life. I have met many people who apparently have their own Personal Legends, but to claim that absolutely all of us are born with one is rather presumptuous.

I have met some people who, at no apparent fault of their own, had no passion for anything. I believe that many are born that way. Most kids are interested in everything, but there are some who are not interested in anything. We are tempted to assume that there is something wrong with them, but I do not agree that this is necessarily the case. If we project problems onto them, they will end up with a complex, an unnecessary feeling of guilt for not feeling passionate. “The Alchemist” was written by someone who had the passion, “Personal Legend,” but it would be a stretch to claim that absolutely everyone is born with one. How would he know?

I find those who live like a floating cork in the ocean to be very peaceful and pleasant. No pursuit, no goal, no purpose. Eat when hungry, sleep when sleepy. Goals and purpose in life tend to cause internal conflicts, which explains why many successful people I know are some of the most miserable people, and those who do not have any goals, are most peaceful with themselves. When you are concerned about your immediate survival, the question of the meaning of life does not come into your mind. The purpose becomes self-evident. You don’t “have” a purpose; it’s just there.

In my mid-twenties, when I was trying to figure out the meaning of life in my own way, I approached the problem in the exact opposite way from “The Alchemist.” I challenged myself to give up everything. Soon I found that it was much harder and more painful to give up goals, purposes, and ideals than to pursue them. I spent all my spare time sitting on a park bench, or sitting at home staring at a wall. I had no TV. I gave away all my CDs. At one point, I didn’t even allow myself to read. I wanted to know if I could do nothing and have no conflict within myself. If this could be accomplished, anything I do should be a joy, I figured. Nothing would be taken for granted. I wouldn’t have to have a nice apartment, car, girlfriend, fun job, good food, or vacation. I would not need a feeling of accomplishment, success, pride, confidence, fame, or talent. I wanted to attain nothingness and be peaceful with it. But eventually I was faced with a paradox of having the goal of not having one. So, to be consciously purposeless was a matter of impossibility. I realized that it had to lie outside of my consciousness.

For those who are logically inclined, Ludwig Wittgenstein in his “Tractatus” dealt with the riddle of life in the most profound way:

When the answer cannot be put into words, neither can the question be put into words.

The riddle does not exist.

If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer it.

We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer.

The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem. (Is not this the reason why those who have found after a long period of doubt that the sense of life became clear to them have then been unable to say what constituted that sense?)

The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: to say nothing except what can be said.

From his perspective, the purpose of life cannot be put into words, not even whether it exists or not. I feel that this is the most rational answer. Why assume for others what one happens to have for oneself? For me, Wittgenstein was a true alchemist.


The joy of boredom

Perhaps understandably, boredom has never caught the attention of the psychological world. Emotions like anxiety, fear, or anger have been subjected to a much more thorough examination than merely feeling drab, according to Richard Ralley, a lecturer in psychology at Edge Hill University in England.

“What’s gone wrong with the psychology of emotion is that the ones that are easy to do are the ones that have been researched: fear, threat, fear, threat, again and again and again,” Ralley said. “A lot of other emotions that really make us human — pride, for instance, we kind of avoid.”

So, Ralley set out to examine boredom more closely, with the idea that the feeling must have a purpose. Just looking around, it was evident that children quell boredom quite naturally, with creativity — even to the point of taking the packaging around a gift and playing with it for hours. But as people get older, anxious parents and cranky children demand more and more specific stimuli, whether it is a video game or a hot new phone.

As Ralley studied boredom, it came to make a kind of sense: If people are slogging away at an activity with little reward, they get annoyed and find themselves feeling bored. If something more engaging comes along, they move on. If nothing does, they may be motivated enough to think of something new themselves. The most creative people, he said, are known to have the greatest toleration for long periods of uncertainty and boredom.

Boredom at school

I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers didn’t seem to know much about their subjects and clearly weren’t interested in learning more. And the kids were right: their teachers were every bit as bored as they were.

Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers, and anyone who has spent time in a teachers’ lounge can vouch for the low energy, the whining, the dispirited attitudes, to be found there. When asked why they feel bored, the teachers tend to blame the kids, as you might expect. Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? If even that. Of course, teachers are themselves products of the same twelve-year compulsory school programs that so thoroughly bore their students, and as school personnel they are trapped inside structures even more rigid than those imposed upon the children. Who, then, is to blame?

We all are. My grandfather taught me that. One afternoon when I was seven I complained to him of boredom, and he batted me hard on the head. He told me that I was never to use that term in his presence again, that if I was bored it was my fault and no one else’s. The obligation to amuse and instruct myself was entirely my own, and people who didn’t know that were childish people, to be avoided if possible. Certainty not to be trusted. That episode cured me of boredom forever, and here and there over the years I was able to pass on the lesson to some remarkable student. For the most part, however, I found it futile to challenge the official notion that boredom and childishness were the natural state of affairs in the classroom. Often I had to defy custom, and even bend the law, to help kids break out of this trap.

See also


Intelligence is not separate from love

Modern education, in developing the intellect, offers more and more theories and facts, without bringing about the understanding of the total process of human existence. We are highly intellectual; we have developed cunning minds, and are caught up in explanations. The intellect is satisfied with theories and explanations, but intelligence is not; and for the understanding of the total process of existence, there must be an integration of the mind and heart in action. Intelligence is not separate from love.

For most of us, to accomplish this inward revolution is extremely arduous. We know how to meditate, how to play the piano, how to write, but we have no knowledge of the meditator, the player, the writer. We are not creators, for we have filled our hearts and minds with knowledge, information and arrogance; we are full of quotations from what others have thought or said. But experiencing comes first, not the way of experiencing. There must be love before there can be the expression of love. (p. 64, 65) … Information, the knowledge of facts, though ever increasing, is by its very nature limited. Wisdom is infinite, it includes knowledge and the way of action; but we take hold of a branch and think it is the whole tree. Through the knowledge of the part, we can never realize the joy of the whole. Intellect can never lead to the whole, for it is only a segment, a part.

We have separated intellect from feeling, and have developed intellect at the expanse of feeling. We are like a three-legged object with one leg much longer than the others, and we have no balance. We are trained to be intellectual; our education cultivates the intellect to be sharp, cunning, acquisitive, and so it plays the most important rôle in our life. Intelligence is much greater than intellect, for it is the integration of reason and love; but there can be intelligence only when there is self-knowledge, the deep understanding of the total process of oneself.

What is essential for man, whether young or old, is to live fully, integrally, and that is why our major problem is the cultivation of that intelligence which brings integration. Undue emphasis on any part of our total make-up gives a partial and therefore distorted view of life, and it is this distortion which is causing most of our difficulties. Any partial development of our whole temperament is bound to be disastrous both for ourselves and for society, and so it is really very important that we approach our human problems with an integrated point of view.

To be an integrated human being is to understand the entire process of one’s own consciousness, both the hidden and the open. This is not possible if we give due emphasis to the intellect. We attach great importance to the cultivation of the mind, but inwardly we are insufficient, poor and confused. This living in the intellect is the way of disintegration; for ideas, like beliefs, can never bring people together except in conflicting groups.

As long as we depend on thought as a means of integration, there must be disintegration; and to understand the disintegrating action of thought is to be aware of the ways of the self, the ways of one’s own desire. We must be aware of our conditioning and its responses, both collective and personal. It is only when one is fully aware of the activities of the self with its contradictory desires and pursuits, its hopes and fears, that there is a possibility of going beyond the self.

Only love and right thinking will bring about true revolution, the revolution within ourselves. But how are we to have love? Not through the pursuit of the ideal of love, but only when there is no hatred, when there is no greed, when the sense of self, which is the cause of antagonism, comes to an end. A man who is caught up in the pursuits of exploitation, of greed, of envy, can never love.

Without love and right thinking, oppression and cruelty will ever be on the increase. The problem of man’s antagonism to man can be solved, not by pursuing the ideal of peace, but by understanding the causes of war which lie in our attitude towards life, towards our fellow-beings; and this understanding can come about only through the right kind of education. Without a change of heart, without goodwill, without the inward transformation which is born of self-awareness, there can be no peace, no happiness for men.

Education and the significance of Life, Jiddu Krishnamurti, (p. 66-68)

See also

Depression and Pain

It hurts when you put your hand on a hot plate… so does that mean you take painkillers and keep your hand on the hot plate, because it’s your hand’s own fault for feeling pain?


Your human emotions serve as your feedback mechanism on your life’s journey. They’re like the dashboard display on your car. When your dashboard indicates a problem, it means you need to fix something with the car. It doesn’t mean the dashboard is broken.

If your car can’t move forward because you’ve run it into a tree, and your speedometer indicates 0mph despite your flooring the accelerator, is that the car’s fault? Do you exclaim, “Damn this stupid car! I hate my car!” because it can’t barrel through the tree? People would think you’re crazy. But that’s exactly what so many of us do with our lives. Maybe getting stuck was your fault and maybe it wasn’t, but remember you’re still the driver. You aren’t going to get unstuck by blaming the car; that will only perpetuate your stuckness.

When you’re not enjoying life, that’s a message you need to listen to. Feeling bad about your life doesn’t mean you have emotional problems or that you’re psychologically damaged in some way. Your feedback mechanism is doing its job just fine. You’re supposed to feel bad when your life is out of whack. You just need to interpret the message properly and then take action to correct the situation.

For example, if you’re feeling chronically apathetic, depressed, or bored to tears with your life, perhaps the message is this: Your life sucks!

That is to say… your current life situation is not at all what you want. You don’t want to keep experiencing what you’re experiencing.

Now upon receiving this feedback, many people, for one reason or another, respond as if the emotional feedback was itself the problem. Maybe we need therapy or drugs or escapism to fix those pesky negative emotions. That’s like blaming your car for running out of gas. It’s supposed to eventually run out of gas. That means it’s working properly. Likewise you’re supposed to experience these negative emotional states when you’re veering off course from what you want. That means your emotional feedback is working properly. Be thankful when this happens because this feedback is extremely valuable.


[Treating others who were insensitive to pain] dramatically reinforced what we had already learned from leprosy patients: pain is not the enemy, but the loyal scout announcing the enemy. And yet–here is the central paradox of my life–after spending a lifetime among people who destroy themselves for lack of pain, I still find it difficult to communicate an appreciation for pain to people who have no such defect. Pain is truly the gift that nobody wants…

In the modern view pain is the enemy, a sinister invader that must be expelled. And if Product X removes pain thirty seconds faster, all the better. This approach has a crucial, dangerous flaw: once regarded as an enemy, not a warning signal, pain loses all its power to instruct. Silencing pain without considering its message is like disconnecting a ringing fire alarm to avoid receiving bad news.

…People who view pain as the enemy, I have noted, instinctively respond with vengeance or bitterness–Why my? I don’t deserve this! It’s not fair!–which has the vicious-circle effect of making their pain even worse. “Think of the pain as a speech your body is delivering about a subject of vital importance to you,” I tell my patients. “From the very first twinge, pause and listen to the pain and, yes, try to be grateful. The body is using the language of pain because that’s the most effective way to get your attention.” I call this approach “befriending” pain: to take what is ordinarily seen as an enemy and to disarm it and then welcome it.

From Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants (by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey)