"...he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
"Get a stuffed animal. Maybe get a few. A dozen or so. Then arrange them into an approximate class on your bed or in a study room (or classroom, if you can) and teach them the subject you're learning ... Teach a few classes to your stuffed menagerie, and then (and this is the really important part) get some f*cking sleep."
“If you want to build a bridge it’s going to take a long time and it might be hard because your employees might not be as interested in building the bridge as you are. You have to think about what kind of bridge you want to make. One type of bridge is a suspension bridge and another type of bridge is an arch bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension bridge and it was built by John Roebling and his family and that’s all I remember from second grade. And the bridge has to be strong because the water can rise and push up the bridge. I’d maybe like to build a bridge in Wisconsin because there are a lot of people in Wisconsin who might not have bridges but I don’t really know where Wisconsin is.”
"Here is a little perspective on how I view my life.
When we start counting our age, we count up, right? We start counting at 0 when we're born and we count up. It has this built-in assumption that it's never going to end; life
goes on and on and on.... And you keep counting up.
But - there are statistical realities: one day, you are going to die. And you're going to die at some statistical average age. If you stay in shape and eat well, you'll probably live until you're around 85. You can probably be an active, productive member of society in some shape or form until the age of 70/75... And then you fully retire.
So when is comes to my age (which is currently 25) I never think about me being 25 years old. I think of it as, I have 60 years left to do something good in this world! I have 60 years left to achieve what I want to achieve in my lifetime. I have 60 years left to make a difference in my life and in the life of others. So what I do is that I count DOWN. It might sound depressing, but it's absolutely not. It gives me a kick in the ass! A kick in the ass to do something today that my future self will thank me for. To do something today so I can be better than the day before. To realize that I only have a limited amount of time on this earth.
So use every single day. Every single hour. Every single minute. Every single second. ...because it all counts. Once the day is over, you can't get it back."
Americans on talent shows always talk about their dreams. Fine, if you have something that you’ve always dreamed of, like, in your heart, go for it! After all, it’s something to do with your time… chasing a dream. And if it’s a big enough one, it’ll take you most of your life to achieve, so by the time you get to it and are staring into the abyss of the meaninglessness of your achievement, you’ll be almost dead so it won’t matter.
I never really had one of these big dreams. And so I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up. Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye. Right? Good. Advice. Metaphor. Look at me go!
Don't forget - it's lots about just luck!
You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born, and incredibly lucky to be brought up by a nice family that helped you get educated and encouraged you to go to Uni. Or if you were born into a horrible family, that’s unlucky and you have my sympathy… but you were still lucky: lucky that you happened to be made of the sort of DNA that made the sort of brain which – when placed in a horrible childhood environment – would make decisions that meant you ended up, eventually, graduating Uni. Well done you, for dragging yourself up by the shoelaces, but you were lucky. You didn’t create the bit of you that dragged you up. They’re not even your shoelaces.
I suppose I worked hard to achieve whatever dubious achievements I’ve achieved … but I didn’t make the bit of me that works hard, any more than I made the bit of me that ate too many burgers instead of going to lectures while I was here at UWA.
Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.
Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually.
Don’t rush in life..
You don’t need to already know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. I’m not saying sit around smoking cones all day, but also, don’t panic. Most people I know who were sure of their career path at 20 are having midlife crises now.
...and don’t seek happiness.
Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy, and you might find you get some as a side effect. We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. Contented Australophithecus Afarensis got eaten before passing on their genes.
"Arts degrees are awesome! And they help you find meaning where there is none. And let me assure you, there is none. Don’t go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook: you won’t find it and you’ll bugger up your soufflé.
I said at the beginning of this ramble that life is meaningless. It was not a flippant assertion. I think it’s absurd: the idea of seeking “meaning” in the set of circumstances that happens to exist after 13.8 billion years worth of unguided events. Leave it to humans to think the universe has a purpose for them. However, I am no nihilist. I am not even a cynic. I am, actually, rather romantic. And here’s my idea of romance:
You will soon be dead! Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be old.
And then you’ll be dead!
There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: fill it. Not fillet. Fill. It.
And in my opinion (until I change it), life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running, being enthusiastic. And then there’s love, and travel, and wine, and sex, and art, and kids, and giving, and mountain climbing … but you know all that stuff already.
It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck!"
I don't even remember how old I was the first time I called someone gay. But I had to have been in elementary school. One day, my dad was picking me up and right before we pulled out of the parking lot, a girl waved at us with a smile like a vine. Even though she was the orchard that everyone picked on, she was still sweet and loved to be alive.
When my dad asked me why I didn't wave back, I told him it was because she was gay. He looked at me with one of those religious stares, and every bit of Buddhism in his brow raised the question, "What does that even mean?"
We all crack under peer pressure, but once you see that their earthquakes are coming from your faults, you realize how deep trembles are felt beneath the surface where things are left and forgotten. See, this was before poetry became my world. I noticed that words have gravity. I've seen them crush people from a first-person perspective. I felt a phrase fall out of my mouth like an atom bomb without the knowing the effects will radiate for years.
I've loved a language that hates people, cracking jokes trying to shadow their mirrors just because I wasn't confident in my own reflection. I hated myself for the shape of my eyes so I became a bully. Because we all want to feel like American sometimes, and we all want straight spines. We all want straight spines to stand for something we believe in, but it's funny how flags and people have the same knack for politely waving at the ones they have forgotten. See, as early as elementary school, my parents planted a seed, and the lotus of Buddhism began to blossom in my brain. We had a pond in the backyard, and the flat water taught me of equality, that life is the one thing we all share.
I was also taught how to pray. I've been memorizing mantras, enchanting sukhas out loud before the pledge of allegiance ever molested my lips. I was taught of cause and effect, how good is the ultimate truth that everything relies on, how the thought will turn to word as quickly as fuel becomes fire whether it's for burning down a house or for keeping a lover warm. The spark of an idea will always match the fuming language we decide to pull out of our mouth.
But I forgot that the voice does the work of the Buddha, so why would I ever call someone gay before calling them beautiful? Why would I not praise the person that drinks the same water as me? Why would I lift my voice just to put someone else down? You see, us humans, we have a habit of overpowering and taking what doesn't belong to us. But I pray that we are making our way towards the moment when our tongues are the only thing left for us to conquer. And if there's one thing that I've learned being a poet is that it's not about what you have to say in your poem.
It's about what you have to say when your poem is done."
"All the world was gone in curls of weightless sound and light. The air was thick with the soundless falling of the leaves, so much so that the soft brilliant shade of green tinted all around, broken suddenly everywhere by the flight of tiny birds. A million sparrows flushed heavenward. A million finches soared, the brilliant sun flitting on their tiny outstretched wings.
"Forever, ongoing, always in every cell and every atom," I prayed.
"The Incarnation," I said. My words rang out again as if a roof covered us,
a roof that could echo my song, though our roof was now the roofless sky alone."
“I was the youngest in the family. I went to Israel first, and the rest of the family was supposed to join me. Nobody made it. We sent letters to each other for the first few years. The last letter I got from Poland came in 1941. It was from my mother. It asked me to send food. Then the letters stopped.
I knew that the Germans had occupied Poland, and I heard rumors about the things that were happening. I never learned the specifics of what happened to my family. I never wanted to.”
"I met him in a youth movement when I was 15. In the old days things moved very slow.
We took a long time to fall in love mentally. Then one night we decided to go see a movie, and there was a blackout in the theater. And because nobody could see... we held hands. Oh man, that was a very big deal back then! Then a few weeks later, he brought me an orange. Oranges were very rare! There were no oranges anywhere. That's when he got his kiss."
"There have been very good parts and very bad parts, but in the end, I love life.
Every night before I sleep, I ask God for three more years, so that I can make it an even one hundred. Then I recite a blessing that my mother gave me when I left her in Poland. It was the last time I saw her. The blessing is much more powerful in Hebrew, but it says:
‘Wherever you go, may people always recognize that you have a beautiful heart."
from the way we define success in our everyday existence?
No matter how much a person spends his or her life burning the candle at both ends, chasing a toxic definition of success and generally missing out on life, the eulogy is always about the other stuff: what they gave, how they connected, how much they meant to the lives of the real people around them, small kindnesses, lifelong passions and what made them laugh.
So the question is:
Why do we spend so much time on what our eulogy is not going to be?"
"I need a new word for
„love“. This one doesn’t begin to cover all that I want to say.
It feels raw and
overused. It rings back slightly hollow. And I want to say something so tender
it almost breaks your heart, and something so strong that would make you
physically shake, and something so timeless that you would learn to know
everyhting that ever existed and then forget all about it again with a blink of
an eye... I need something that would squeeze you like hugs and make you feel
safe, and burn you like desperate kisses of a last goodbye... something that
would drift you away, somewhere where you would find me, always..until the end
of time, we’d have a place for us.
...but, for now, we have the word for it. Love. The secret
code of all lovers who have vowed the word to each other countless times, since the beginning of all beginnings. The word which
has promised so much, to so many. The word which embodies all hopes and dreams.
The word. The word which wouldn’t have any meaning, if there wasn’t anybody who
could fill those four letters with all the happiness of the universe.
We do share the code. But it’s not in the word.
It’s in what we see when we are together, and in what
we feel when the whole world around us
"In the area of design we still don't understand how to attach devices to the body mechanically. It's extrordinary that in this day and age one of the oldest, mature technologies in human timeline - the shoe - still gives us blisters! How can this be? We have no idea how to attach things to our bodies!
Imagine if our clothes and shoes were not designed and manufactured using artists and strategy, but rather data driven quantitative framefronts - in that future our shoes would no longer give us blisters. If we designed our clothing to be stiff and soft whereever needed, whenever needed, our clothing would be not only aesthetic covering but would support our abilitites and disabilities. We're beginning an age in which machines attached to our bodies will make us stronger and faster and more efficient. Imagine if what you wore could mirror YOUR body tissue perfectly - you would never feel dicomfort again. And that would be only the beginning."
Beauty is everchanging. There is no one answer to defining beauty. It's inifinte. It's unreachable. And just when we have started to believe that we have the answer to it - it slips from our fingers. Beauty is a tease. It laughs at you playfully as you admire and desire it from afar, mesmerized, trying to grasp it, to own it. Beauty is rare, yet it's everywhere. You can never get used to it - or it loses it's essence. Beauty needs to stay mysterious. It has a life of it's own, always one step ahead of us.
The standard of beauty has been defined differently throughout history - from Willendorf's lushy Venus, to small-chested delicate ladies of early renaissance, to pin-up boom of the last century. Beauty has been made a question of fashion. Not a quality that shines from within, rather a social standard that we must keep up with.
Everybody wants to be accepted, everybody want to be admired, everybody wants to be desired. It's basic human nature to follow the social conducts created before us - after all people are social creatures. But something is essentially wrong here. We, normal people, are pushed to an endless chase of an illusion. When the standards of beauty come from outside of us, we can never reach "there". We are always going to be chasing, always going to be trying, making our best effort to match our selves with the standard of the collective illusion... As social creatures we do need this form of communication that our bodies as physical image allows and enables, but it's absurdly misleading how much stress we put on it.
"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness;
and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."
Audrey said that.
She's still considered to be among the most beautiful women in our history.
And, yet, she was on to something. Something that should echo much louder in our consumption centered cosmo culture. It is a cliche to repeat that..
"Beauty comes from within"
..but until we have failed to realize the real meaning of these words,
I think it's worth mentioning again. And again. ..And.. again!
Not to say that the physical side is not important, because it it - it is fun and aesthetically pleasing and informatively functioning. But putting too much attention and pressure into it, we are living in a society with a limping foot, a box with a pretty wraping and hollow insides.
We can catch beauty if we create it from inside out.