“Time passes so quickly. Minutes are like seconds. Hours fly by in a wink. Responsibilities are inherited, expanded. Your self-image pushes you forward to embrace the challenge. Thinking becomes a luxury. Quick fixes and band-aid solutions become the norm. There is always something to do, somewhere to go, something to be acquired.
Adapt. It becomes increasingly important to be concise. To be clear. To avoid trivialities. However you cannot lose who you are. What motivated you to go where you have gone, and to be who you are today? It likely makes no difference, since who we are, and the motivations that drive us change with us every day. What is important, in fact the only thing that is important, is that you continue to try to be a better you.
There is no better critic of your personal character than you. You think about it. Don’t lie to yourself. It does bother you to see people suffering in one part of the world, while corporations bask in wasteful ignorance in another. It does bother you that most of society is locked into a dependant relationship with such corporations. But the cure for the world’s pain can only come from awareness and education. No one is different from anyone else. Aggression breeds aggression. Tolerance breeds tolerance. Empathy breeds empathy.
Simple things can make a big difference under just the right circumstances. Never give up, but don’t be hard on yourself for not going as far as you would have liked, as fast as you would have liked. Time passes so quickly.”
It always surprises me when people share a bit more about themselves than they realize, especially those who think themselves fairly reserved, quiet, or “better than thou”.
I find this occurs when a big change has happened (or is happening) in that person’s life; a life-changing change. Sometimes these are the only moments when you get any kind of real insight into how that person thinks and reacts under pressure, or how they truly feel about the people and the issues in the world around them.
Ever feel like you’re in a position to make a decision where there can be no reasonably useful or positive outcome? Ever feel like the the choice in front of you will simply lead to misery (or at very least, be anti-climactic), regardless of the path you take?
We are all selfish in our own little (or not so little) ways. We have all said, done, and been involved with things in the past that has shaped us into the individuals we are today. Everyone at some point will regret some of the decisions they’ve made. At the same time we understand that, in most cases, we would not have acquired the wisdom of experience gained by making those decisions in the first place. Wisdom aside, we may never again have the opportunity to engage experiences we have always quietly longed for.
I, of course, am not a God fearing man by any means. I don’t believe that chosing whether or not to consume pork or beef will have any major karmic consequence (aside from what can naturally occur health-wise if proper diet isn’t maintained). I believe that whatever happens to us in our lives is the result of either a) the decisions we have made in the past, b) the decisions that others have made which happen to affect us by consequence, or c) cascading events over time, including genetics and environmental changes. Any moral conflicts which stir in my mind are the result of my own experiences and what I’ve come to see as good, bad, or taboo.
Having said that, “let your conscience be your guide” becomes a double-edged sword. Taking your own feelings into account is just as important as taking into account the feelings and wishes of others (isn’t it?). One day you may find that the very thing you’ve avoided in order to “do the right thing” – to be the best model of a good person that you can be (from the perspective of your current society/environment), could very well end up being your biggest regret.
There is of course a significant portion of our population that, by default, will put their own feelings first, before the feelings of others. Lets call this group the “me first” group. This type of person will consider the feelings of others as an after-thought, and usually in a reactive manner, should their general lack of consideration put them in an uncomfortable situation.
I am not one to be inconsiderate of the feelings of others.. for the most part.
On the flip-side, there are those who feel that their desires and feelings should always be considered first, in any situation. I guess these people also fall squarely into the “me first” group. Many of these people have a knack for twisting culture, tradition and social norms to support their “me first” mind-set.
But isn’t making your own feelings an equal or greater priority over the feelings of others place you in the “me first” group as well? It depends.
It’s all about patterns – how often do you do it? How regularly does it occur? To what extent? I would imagine that the “me first” group are “me first” people most, if not all of the time. Whereas, those who have to consciously think about putting their own feelings first – who generally put others first, and themselves second (or last) don’t necessarily get lumped into the “me first” group. Of course, a single selfish action can cause you to be labelled one way or the other. I suppose also, over time, people can shift in and out of the “me first” group depending on their current life situation.
But anyone capable of using the space between their ears can understand the difference between an intermittent, irregular behavior, and that of behavior which is regular, recurring, and often predictable.
So.. does a selfish act committed by a generally un-selfish person, make that person generally selfish? Everyone is selfish to some degree. Understood. However there are extremes that need to be taken into account, extremes that most people cannot (or will not) acknowledge. Practical wisdom to the rescue.
I have just finished reading The Book.. On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It comes as close as I can imagine to a book that helps its reader truly understand the concept of existence, our world, and our “purpose in it”.
I must admit that I have had an affair with such ideas and philosophies for a very long time – and this perhaps makes the content and context of the book easier for me to grok than it would others – but it is worth the effort. If there is anything worth doing in this world, I would image that understanding who you are, and understanding why you have the experiences and knowledge that you do, in contrast to the experiences and knowledge of others around you, to be of utmost significance and importance.
I have written a few articles under various pseudonyms over the years that explore the very concepts explained in this book, but have never really come across a published work that summarized these thoughts as clearly and succinctly as I would have liked, until now.
If you have any capacity or motivation to understand the world you live in, and you are able to free yourself (your mind) from the conditioning of your environment and your up-bringing, even for a moment, then I suggest you take the time read this book.
If you are not very familiar with Eastern or Western philosophy to begin with, then the ideas in this book may be difficult to grasp. Nevertheless, once you’ve had a chance to explore the basics of such ideas in other writings, you would do well to circle ’round and come back to this marvelous treasure.
I’m sure that not everyone has this ability. It takes a sense of rhythm, the ability to identify and follow a pattern. The ability, is that which allows you to listen to music and have it somehow tell an epic story in the depths of your imagination. If you’ve ever done this, then you know precisely what I’m talking about. I would argue that it is one of the most creative things a human being can do – create a visual story based on sound. It’s like our ability to draw three dimensional objects on 2 dimensional surfaces, these are very special abilities – very rare gifts indeed.
It’s around that time again for me, July 19th; the day the marks the end of another year of my life. Many thoughts roll around in my head on my birthday of course; some good, some not so good, some psychotic (very very few). In general though, I think it is a time for reflection on the experiences I’ve had over the past year, and (if for some reason no other time seemed right) a time to be humble and pleasant to the people and situations that surround me.
I don’t think birthdays should be all about gifts and birthday bashes involving large groups of people you don’t know. Not that these things are bad, but they are but small and relatively unimportant parts of a birthday. I do think it should be a time where you can allow yourself to be unconditionally open to positive energy and attitudes. Negative attitudes should be brushed off like dust on an old book; a minor annoyance on the surface, but only a superficial obstacle compared to the vast meaning and knowledge held within the pages of the book itself.
To all who share a birthday around this time, I implore you to take this time as gift to yourself, and use it to show the world your capacity for kindness, tolerance, and patience.
Have a wonderful, easy-going, peaceful and happy birthday.. if only in your own mind!
After a long and unscheduled hiatus, I am slowly influencing myself to re-engage the personal website and blogging scene. Yay!
It’s been a while since I’ve last maintained a personal website regularly. Since I joined VMware, I’ve kept myself quite busy with what I like to call “money work”. “Money work” or “work work” is work done purely for the acquisition of money in order to maintain (or increase) a standard of living. This is of course in contrast to “mind work”, “love work”, “curiosity work” or “my work” which I would collectively define as work which is done purely for its own intrinsic joy. Continue reading Re-embracing The Blog Scene
I recently had an interesting discussion about the difference between living in a city like Toronto, verses living in a city like Montreal. I was speaking to a woman who had been living in Montreal for over twenty-five years, and had come to Toronto in order to find work. She had three kids, was a single parent, and basically had the impression that Toronto was where she could make a living to support her kids.
However, after living in Toronto for four years, having to work three jobs, she has decided that she would rather be back in Montreal. Why? Well it seems her impression is that Toronto is “more about money” than Montreal is. On the other hand, Montreal, in her opinion, runs at a slower pace, has a lower cost of living, and generally is a much friendlier place to live. I like the sound of that, so I’m going to do a bit of personal research on Montreal to find out what other people think the differences between these two cities really are.
So I haven’t really been able to code anything lately as we’ve been quite busy at work for the past few weeks. Right now some of the big issues we’ve had with clients are e-mail issues. We’re still dealing with the remnants of the MyDoom virus (and it’s derivatives) causing problems with Exchange servers. I’m so glad I’m in the Linux camp, because Exchange is just not something I want to deal with regularly. I mean, come on, what kind of mail server has SMTP as an “option”?