It is possible to define much that is essential to humanity’s flourishing with an inverse reading of this passage in Orwell’s 1984:
“There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
If you are indifferent to others’ opinions about you:
You don’t need to pretend or hide anything;
You don’t need to worry about impressions or what was said;
You don’t need to be conform to rigid or mistuned expectations;
You don’t need to be offended or hurt by words;
There is no need to show-off and chase false, empty priorities;
You break the addiction to the approval of others;
You break free from inhibitions;
You have freedom to be who you are.
It’s wrong to assume that a conversation is about what is said.
The verbal attacker desires to assert their ego over the other.
If you behave outside of current norms, people will often interpret this as either the high status of trendsetting and being above what is usually expected, or low status not fitting in.
Status sensitivity is social madness because every single person is in fact unusual.
Any person is much more than even a diverse array of influences.
So I’m really not into social twittery on twit-twat and faceblobber; my summary identity is a tortoise in hare’s clothing etc etc Twitter Twiddle Twaddle blah blah rhubarb. I am not a number, I am a blancmange, or something…
A satisfying aspect of being a monarch would have been to have resources instantly directed to your ideas whenever you wanted. Unfortunately it seems in all societies all around the world, these ideas were focused on who they were going to invade next.
Mistakes are lessons, only when the reasons are noticed; otherwise they are habits practiced each day.
The things you disparage others for are often the same things you do yourself.
Challenges are opportunities for insight – the harder the situation the higher the view.
If you are truly happy, it is impossible to be petty, self-absorbed or unkind. Happiness lives in a much better place.
Cats and dogs are similar, only in that they both like living with you. Cats are beautiful, elegant, magical; it feels like you are honoured if they grace you with their attention. Dogs love you – all they want is to run and play, sniff things, eat food, and most importantly: your affection.
If you choose to share in the happiness of others, rather than compulsively dwelling in negatives, then you have happiness for free.
Whenever you are talking about someone, assume they can hear every word. Hopefully this will remind you to be kinder.
My most effective thinking tool is sleep. I realise now the importance of the advice “sleep on it”.
A question seems obvious when you have seen the answer.
A skill seems easy when you have practiced its mastery.
Only the time has changed.
Paradox of the day:
It’s in my best interests not to be so self-interested.
Hateful behaviour provides lessons in how not to be.
Reading about Dostoevsky. There is certainly a trend in history that the most interesting thinkers and artists tended to be outsiders for defining periods; and sometimes the untamed spark that made them great was dampened when invited in from the wilderness. Dostoevsky’s spark seemed to ignite after the more eventful stages of his life – in particular after a death sentence for sedition was commuted at the last minute to hard labour in a Siberian gulag, writing four classic novels after this period.
If humans are around for billions of years, then we are currently the early originals.
Maybe we are at the stage where we are just starting to recognize some shapes.
Opportunity: Compounded improvements in the quality of life.
Threat: A downward spiral into oblivion.
Practical solution: Adopting a framework of good habits.
In good stories the brave hero courageously saves the lives of others; well these days it can just take a tap on a screen to save someone’s life. Anyone can be the hero.
One of the effects of the worldwide shut-down has been to hasten the widespread transition from offline real life to an online virtual life.
The analogue world often has more reverence, albeit less sheer efficiency than the online version; for instance finding a seminal work in the labyrinth of a dusty old library feels like discovering a bit of history, rather than scrolling past disposable data on a screen.
It is such a relief to encounter a person who exudes benevolence and well-being. They bring peace, calm and shelter from the turbulence.
Disagreement should be no indication of stupidity or the malign. A rule of thumb is that if the story you are telling yourself prevents you from flourishing with compassion or joy, then you are wrong. Well then sometimes I am mainly right and only partly wrong; and sometimes I am completely right, but only briefly.