I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.
To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).
When you have something to say, silence is a lie.
You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.
You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.
If you can’t understand why someone is doing something, look at the consequences of their actions, whatever they might be, and then infer the motivations from their consequences.
For example if someone is making everyone around them miserable and you’d like to know why, their motive may simply be to make everyone around them miserable including themselves.
And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.
If you don’t say what you think then you kill your unborn self.
What is your friend: the things you know, or the things you don’t know. First of all, there’s a lot more things you don’t know. And second, the things you don’t know is the birthplace of all your new knowledge! So if you make the things you don’t know your friend, rather than the things you know, well then you’re always on a quest in a sense. You’re always looking for new information in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with you will tell you something you couldn’t have figured out on your own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated.
If you fulfill your obligations everyday you don’t need to worry about the future.
It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.
No tree can grow to Heaven,” adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.
Women select men. That makes them nature, because nature is what selects. And you can say “Well it’s only symbolic that women are nature”, it’s like no, it’s not just symbolic. The woman is the gatekeeper to reproductive success. And you can’t get more like nature than that, in fact it’s the very definition of nature.
Intolerance of others’ views (no matter how ignorant or incoherent they may be) is not simply wrong; in a world where there is no right or wrong, it is worse: it is a sign you are embarrassingly unsophisticated or, possibly, dangerous.
To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause: that is Hell.
Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities. Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your Being. As the great nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche so brilliantly noted, “He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.
So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.
The purpose of life, as far as I can tell… is to find a mode of being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.
Perhaps you are overvaluing what you don’t have and undervaluing what you do.
Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.
You must determine where you are going in your life, because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with (and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse).
If you are not willing to be a fool, you can’t become a master.
Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
In the West, we have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.
Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth—or, perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives—they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past. Such people don’t believe that they deserve any better—so they don’t go looking for it. Or, perhaps, they don’t want the trouble of better. Freud called this a “repetition compulsion.” He thought of it as an unconscious drive to repeat the horrors of the past—sometimes, perhaps, to formulate those horrors more precisely, sometimes to attempt more active mastery and sometimes, perhaps, because no alternatives beckon. People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it. It’s partly fate. It’s partly inability. It’s partly … unwillingness to learn? Refusal to learn? Motivated refusal to learn?
In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive.
We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may therefore have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being—and fair enough. But every person is deeply flawed. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. If that stark fact meant, however, that we had no responsibility to care, for ourselves as much as others, everyone would be brutally punished all the time. That would not be good. That would make the shortcomings of the world, which can make everyone who thinks honestly question the very propriety of the world, worse in every way. That simply cannot be the proper path forward.
If you have a comprehensive explanation for everything then it decreases uncertainty and anxiety and reduces your cognitive load. And if you can use that simplifying algorithm to put yourself on the side of moral virtue then you’re constantly a good person with a minimum of effort.
The better ambitions have to do with the development of character and ability, rather than status and power. Status you can lose. You carry character with you wherever you go, and it allows you to prevail against adversity.
You cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you, but if you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for transformation, then you aare always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten you.
Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged. That is where there is something new to master and some way that you can be improved. That is where meaning is to be found.
The successful among us delay gratification. The successful among us bargain with the future.
Nietzsche said that a man’s worth was determined by how much truth he could tolerate.
You don’t get to choose not to pay a price, you only get to choose which price you pay.
Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better. Sometimes such deaths virtually destroy us.
Always place your becoming above your current being.
Of course, my socialist colleagues and I weren’t out to hurt anyone – quite the reverse. We were out to improve things – but we were going to start with other people. I came to see the temptation in this logic, the obvious flaw, the danger – but could also see that it did not exclusively characterize socialism. Anyone who was out to change the world by changing others was to be regarded with suspicion. The temptations of such a position were too great to be resisted.
So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom.
People organize their brains with conversation. If they don’t have anyone to tell their story to, they lose their minds. Like hoarders, they cannot unclutter themselves.
There are some games you don’t get to play unless you are all in.
Stop saying those things that make you weak and ashamed. Say only those things that make you strong. Do only those things that you could speak of with honour.
It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world—a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself.
If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. In Paradise, everyone speaks the truth. That is what makes it Paradise. Tell the truth. Or, at least, don’t lie.
We require routine and tradition. That’s order. Order can become excessive, and that’s not good, but chaos can swamp us, so we drown— and that is also not good. We need to stay on the straight and narrow path.
Rejection of the unknown is tantamount to “identification with the devil,” the mythological counterpart and eternal adversary of the world-creating exploratory hero. Such rejection and identification is a consequence of Luciferian pride, which states: all that I know is all that is necessary to know. This pride is totalitarian assumption of omniscience – is adoption of “God’s place” by “reason” – is something that inevitably generates a state of personal and social being indistinguishable from hell. This hell develops because creative exploration – impossible, without (humble) acknowledgment of the unknown – constitutes the process that constructs and maintains the protective adaptive structure that gives life much of its acceptable meaning.
The secret to your existence is right in front of you. It manifests itself as all those things you know you should do, but are avoiding.
If you cannot understand why someone did something, look at the consequences—and infer the motivation.
What you aim at determines what you see.
Don’t ever underestimate the destructive power of sins of omission.
The things that pose the greatest threats to your survival are the most real things.
We believe that in reducing the scope and importance of our errors, we are properly humble; in truth, we are merely unwilling to bear the weight of our true responsibility.
Consciousness is a mystery that faces the mystery of potential and transforms it into actuality. We do that with every choice we make. Our choices determine the destiny of the world. By making a choice, you alter the structure of reality.
If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character.
Sometimes it seems the only people willing to give advice in a relativistic society are those with the least to offer.
You are by no means only what you already know. You are also all that which you could know, if you only would. Thus, you should never sacrifice what you could be for what you are. You should never give up the better that resides within for the security you already have—and certainly not when you have already caught a glimpse, an undeniable glimpse, of something beyond.
Don’t use language instrumentally.
There’s a class of things to be afraid of: it’s “those things that you should be afraid of”. Those are the things that go bump in the night, right? You’re always exposed to them when you go to horror movies, especially if they’re not the gore type of horror movie. They’re always hinting at something that’s going on outside of your perceptual sphere, and they frighten you because you don’t know what’s out there. For that the Blair Witch Project was a really good example, because nothing ever happens in that movie but it’s frightenting and not gory. It plays on the fact tht you do have a category of Those Things Of Which You Should Be Afraid. So it’s a category, frightening things. And only things capable of abstraction can come up with something like the caregory of frightenting things.
And so Kali is like an embodied representation of the category of frightening things. And then you might ask yourself, well once you come up with the concept of the category of frightening things, maybe you can come up with the concept of what to do in the face of frightening things. Which is not the same as “what do you do when you encounter a lion”, or “what do you do when you encounter someone angry”. It’s a meta question, right?
But then you could say, at a philosophical level: “You will encounter elements of the category of all those things which can frighten and undermine you during your life. Is there something that you can do as a category that would help you deal with that.” And the answer is yeah, there is in fact. And that’s what a lot of religious stories and symbolic stories are trying to propose to you, is the solution to that. One is, approach it voluntarily. Carefully, but voluntarily. Don’t freeze and run away. Explore, instead. You expose yourself to risk but you gain knowledge.
And you wouldn’t have a cortex which, you know, is ridiculously disproportionate, if as a species we hadn’t decided that exploration trumps escape or freezing. We explore. That can make you the master of a situation, so you can be the master of something like fire without being terrified of it.
One of the things that the Hindus do in relationship to Kali, is offer sacrifices. So you can say, well why would you offer sacrifices to something you’re afraid of. And it’s because that is what you do, that’s always what you do. You offer up sacrifices to the unknown in the hope that good things will happen to you.
One example is that you’re worried about your future. Maybe you’re worried about your job, or who you’re going to marry, or your family, there’s a whole category of things to be worried about, so you’re worried about your future. SO what’re you doing in university? And the answer is you’re sacrificing your free time in the present, to the cosmos so to speak, in the hope that if you offer up that sacrifice properly, the future will smile upon you. And that’s one of the fundamental discoveries of the human race. And it’s a big deal, that discovery: by changing what you cling to in the present, you can alter the future.
Worthlessness is the default condition.