- Trauma is worse if you feel you were betrayed
- Raped when campus was negligent is harder to overcome
- Any questioning of the experience counts as invalidation
- “You’ll get over it.”
- “It’s not a big deal.”
- Tepidness sounds worse – you can’t hide
- Dwelling the badness makes it worse
- It’s not too late to be good again
The point is to write as much as you know as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, while I am undertaking these tasks I will refrain from indulging in such remarks as “Shit,” “Goddamn sonofabitch,” and similar vulgarities, as such language is nerve-wracking to have around the house when nothing more drastic is taking place than the facing of Necessity.
I’d like to develop as a writer, but who’s got the bar-bells and the gymnasium?
“No,” Hellers says, “because I have something this man will never have.”
“I know when I have enough.”
Whenever you are aware of a nice moment, even a small one like having a glass of lemonade under a tree, you say to yourself, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”
I am so tired of people who examine their pasts and find nothing but mortal woundings….
There is a snide saying: “The big dreams go to New York the little dreams stay home.” The biggest dreams, in fact, stay home. They build cities like this one with hospitals and universities and libraries and theaters and concert halls and supremely civilized gathering places like the Athenaeum. I say to all stay-at-homes, “Congratulations.”
Dream on, dream on!
These, of course, are the kinds of vows young people feel comfortable making when they have no idea what life has in store for them.
Sam hated being told to “fight,” as if sickness were a character failing. Illness could not be defeated, no matter how hard you fought, and pain, once it had you in its grasp, was transformational.
Long relationships might be richer, but relatively brief, relatively uncomplicated encounters with interesting people could be lovely as well. Every person you knew, every person you loved even, did not have to consume you for the time to have been worthwhile.
It is to acknowledge that love is both a constant and a variable at the same time.
You couldn’t be old and still be wrong about as many things as she’d been wrong about, and it was a kind of immaturity to call yourself old before you were.
Alexis de Tocqueville:
submitted to complete isolation; but this absolute solitude, if nothing interrupts it, is beyond the strength of man; it destroys the criminal without intermission and without pity; it does not reform, it kills
The entirety of hell is contained in one word: solitude.
Oh, you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it; you may be sure that the highest moment of his happiness was, perhaps, exactly three days before the discovery of the New World, when the mutinous crew in their despair almost the ship back to Europe, right around! The New World is not the point here, it can just as well perish … The point is in life, in life alone – in discovering it, constantly and eternally, and not at all in the discovery itself!
- “What do you think of the service here?”
- “Do you usually find rooms to be so noisy?”
- “Why do you want to work here?”
- “What are ten words your spouse or partner or friend would use to describe you?”
- “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done?”
- “If you joined and then in three to six months you were no longer here, why would that be?” (Ask the same question about five years as well, and see how the two answers differ.)
- “How did you prepare for this interview?”
- “What did you like to do as a child?”
- “Did you feel appreciated at your last job? What was the biggest way in which you did not feel appreciated?”
- “Who are our competitors?”
- “What are the open tabs on your browser right now?”
- “What have you achieved that is unusual for your peer group?”
- “What is one view held by the mainstream or as a consensus that you wholeheartedly agree with?”
- “Which of your beliefs are you least rational about?” (Or maybe better yet: “What views do you hold religiously, almost irrationally?”)
- “Which of your beliefs are you most likely wrong about?”
- “How do you think this interview is going?”
- “How successful do you want to be?” (A variant is: “How ambitious are you?”)
- “What would you be willing to trade to achieve your career goals?” Or “How do you think about the trade-offs that might be required to achieve your career goals?”
- “In the context of the workplace, what does the concept of ‘sin’ really mean? And how does it differ from a mere mistake? Can you illustrate this from the experience of one of your co-workers?”
- “In which ways might a Skype or Zoom call be more informative than a person-to-person interaction?”
- “In what ways are you not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get]?”
- “Is this person so good that you would happily work for them?”
- “Can this person get you where you need to be way faster than any reasonable person could?”
- ‘When this person disagrees with you, do you think it will be as likely you are wrong as they are wrong?”
- “How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on X? … And why is that rating the right number for you?”
- Something about revealed preferences in their past lifetime.
Lonely people tend rather to be lonely because they decline to bear the emotional costs associated with being around other humans.
Now, seeming unwatched in front of a TV camera is a genuine art. Take a look at how civilians act when a TV camera is pointed at them: they simply spaz out, or else go all rigor mortis. Even PR people and politicians are, camera-wise, civilians. And we love to laugh at how stiff and false non-professionals appear, on television. How unnatural. But if you’ve ever once been the object of that terrible blank rpound glass stare, you know all too well how self-consious it makes you. A haried guy with earphones and a clipboard tells you to “act natural” as your face begins to leap around on your skull, struggling got a seemingly unwatched expression that feels impossible because “stemming unwatched” is, like the “act natural” which fathered it, oxymoronic. Try driving a golf ball as someone asks yo y whether you in- or exhale on your backswing, to getting promised lavish rewards if you van avoid thinking of a rhinoceros for ten seconds, and you’ll get some idea of the truly heroic contortions of body and mind that must be required for Don Johnson to act unwatched as he’s watched by a lens that’s an overwhkemniung emlbelm of what Emerson, years before TV, called “the gaze of millions.”
It’s a beautiful thing about youth. There’s a weightlessness that permeates everything because mo damning voices have been made, no paths committed to, and the road forking out ahead is pure, unlimited potential.
What a miracle it is to have people to come home to every day. To be loved. To be expected.
As I moved on from my stroke, as I went through the clinical trials, as I gritted my teeth and commanded my occasionally screaming brain to quiet itself, I was unprepared for how private and invisible all of this was and by how quickly almost everyone around me forgot what had happened to me. Stupidly, I hadn’t foreseen that one of the fruits of coping reasonably well was that people didn’t spot your efforts to do just that.
One was the repurposing of trauma or upset as a badge of honor, the turning of the statement “I can’t believe what I’m going through” from a complaint to a boast, from “I can’t believe what I’m being put through” to “I can’t believe what I’m managing to get through.”
It was never, ever the right time, and that’s because we were being spoiled and foolish and cavalier about time itself, which is neither predictable nor elastic nor infinite. Putting off experiences often means never having them.
My philosophy is live each day the best that you can. one day my meds might be off or I wake up super stiff or it just sucks in general for whatever reason. The day will pass. Everyone – diseased or not – has days that suck.
As our physical muscles grow weaker, our emotional muscles grow stronger, and we’re better at seeing the comedy in the tragedy, the advance in the setback, the good in the bad.
Is that all there is?
- Mill: “Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not a s a means, but as itself an ideal end.
- Rule # 1 preventing midlife crisis: care about something other than yourself. If nothing matters to you but your own well-being, nothing much will make you happy.
- Instrumental value: the value something has a means to an end, like the value of making money or visiting the dentist.
- The paradox of altruism is that if nothing is important but that which has an effect on others, everything is instrumental; value is perpetually deferred and ends in nonsense since nobody can do anything of value unless it positively affects others, but that continues until there are no people left.
- W.H. Auden: “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for, I don’t know.”
- Activities of practical virtue – fighting wars, engaging in politics, working for social reform – are sustained by struggle and privation. Their worth depends on the existence of problems, difficulties, needs, which these activities aim to solve. In an ideal world, there would be no use for them. That is why it would be insane to make enemies of friends in order to create the opportunity for courage in battle.
- All these values are called into question because it would be better to have a world where such actions were unnecessary
- Aristotle’s answer is contemplation. “Final without qualification. Desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else.” You would want to contemplate in any type of world. It is non-instrumental.
- Arthur Schopenhauer: “Work, worry, toil, and trouble are indeed the lot of almost all men their whole life long. ANd yet if every desire were satisfied as soon as it arose how would men occupy their lives, how would they pass the time.” Life can’t only be ameliorative.
- Existential activities – art, swimming, whatever – may respond to difficulties in life, but each can be “a source of inward joy” unconnected with struggle and imperfection; a perennial ground of happiness when “the greater evils of life shall have been removed.”