The one certainty in life

“Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling:

You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow.

The class will certainly follow the syllabus.

There will certainly be a test.

If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year.

If you do well on the other test, you’ll certainly get to go to a famous college.

After you repeat these steps obediently for more than ten years, there will be a placement office, where there will certainly be a job ready for you, with fixed hours and a career path.

People telling you what to do, and when you respond by reciting the notes you took, people rewarding you.


We’ve trained people to be certain for years, and then launch them into a culture and an economy where relying on certainty does us almost no good at all.

Broken-field running, free range kids, the passionate desire to pick yourself—that seems like a more robust and resilient way to prepare, doesn’t it? Who’s teaching you what to do when the certain thing doesn’t happen?”

From Seth Godin’s Teaching Certainty.

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I’m mad

Some of us are happy being unhappy
Our default is discomfort and worry.
Solutions are temporary
Because there’s always something else to be unhappy about.

But the ideal state never comes
Unless we find it inside ourselves.
And even then, it comes and goes.

Managing your own suffering
That’s hard enough
Without taking on the world’s suffering.

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The message, for men only

Han Solo…the independent-minded male, going his own way:  Shameless, risk-taking, action-oriented. A strong masculine identity. Where did he get this personality?

As an orphan, he had no nurturing family. But he developed toughness from the pirates who raised him to be self-reliant…by stealing from others.  

When Han grew up, he realized there was a better way. He became a businessman, but it was an anti-authority life, as a smuggler. Han didn’t have the feminine influence in his upbringing to play by the rules and cooperate. But this served him well in the rebellion when the evil Empire and their authoritarian rules took over.

Han was solo at first (pun intended). No lasting loyalty to any group, taking things from others. He didn’t recognize his place in the greater community. Having no feminine entity in his upbringing, it’s easy to see his lack of emotional connection to others.

But he finally realized his place, joining the rebellion for a greater cause. He’d built his skills as a pilot and problem-solver, and the time had come for him to step into his responsibility as a man: To sacrifice for the greater good, by becoming a protector, helping those who were having their resources taken and way of life violated by the Empire.

Han is a good model for the maturing of a male. Alone we can find our way, but as a group of men, our way is more clear. With a trusted tribe of peers and mentors, our learning is accelerated, and maybe more important, our distractions are minimized. We are taught the value of empowering others, instead of consuming, hording, and constant accumulation.

We learn that we have a brotherhood of responsibility.

We learn that we are not on our own.

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Some good intentions aren’t virtuous

Democracy works only when people act with virtue.

The check on lapses of virtue
Is the diversity of the Republic:

The Republic: A collection of mostly autonomous states
Any bad decisions that may arise
Can stay within the particular state.

The alternative is allowing bad decisions to concentrate at high levels,
where they cascade down from a national government
Through standardized programs
A one-size-fits-all ideology.

Because leaders with great power
Naturally want to help everyone they can.

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My moralism is best

Some people feel it so strongly
They believe there is a right way to live.
They will judge you and want to regulate your behavior
to have you fit into the moral of the story they learned,
probably in childhood.

Liberate these people if you see them,
whether they’re speaking from a religious camp or a political camp.
Call them out. Nicely.
They’ll thank you later.

And if you find yourself wanting to force others into the moral of your story,
or you’re suffering to fit into your own version of morality,
then it’s time to start being radically honest

And liberate yourself.

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What’s in your foundation?

We need a purpose.

What we put in the foundation of our purpose makes the purpose relevant. The foundation is where we choose our principles.

My first founding principle is that I don’t need to do anything.

My second principle is that every action is sacred and profound. I strive to live every moment appreciating the miracle of life.

Only after realizing these principles, do I determine my purpose.

What’s in your foundation?

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My education failure

As long as you are afraid of anyone or anything, there can be no happiness. There can be no happiness as long as you are afraid of your parents, your teachers, afraid of not passing examinations, afraid of not making progress, of not getting nearer to the Master, nearer to truth, or of not being approved of, patted on the back.

But if you are really not afraid of anything, then you will find – when you wake up of a morning, or when you are walking alone – that suddenly a strange thing happens: uninvited, unsolicited, unlooked for, that which may be called love, truth, happiness, is suddenly there.

That is why it is so important for you to be educated rightly while you are young. What we now call education is not education at all, because nobody talks to you about all these things. Your teachers prepare you to pass examinations, but they do not talk to you about living, which is most important; because very few know how to live.

Most of us merely survive, we somehow drag along, and therefore life becomes a dreadful thing. Really to live requires a great deal of love, a great feeling for silence, a great simplicity with an abundance of experience; it requires a mind that is capable of thinking very clearly, that is not bound by prejudice or superstition, by hope or fear.

All this is life, and if you are not being educated to live, then education has no meaning. You may learn to be very tidy, have good manners, and you may pass all your examinations; but, to give primary importance to these superficial things when the whole structure of society is crumbling, is like cleaning and polishing your fingernails while the house is burning down.

Excerpt from: Think on These Things, by Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Bendable rules

Progress is a winding path
Involving many steps
for the individual
And for society.
But it follows principles.

Anyone who claims to know the right principles for you
Is deluding himself…and you.

This is why America works
And why so many immigrate here
Legally and millions illegally.

The American principle is simple:
It allows you to have your own principles
But only if your principles don’t steal from others.

But we are losing the way
As our federal leaders bloat the system
With the Department of This
And the Agency of That.
Pushing us into monumental debt.

Hard to blame a government with a printing press of money.
They offer sweet deals
To both corporations and the public
Which keeps politicians in office.

Our progress has left the path
The path of American principles.
The principles of the Constitution
These rules have become bendable and loosely applied.

And it needs to stop.

The best morality to live by

Who said that you, a man, can always perceive justice?

Who said that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence?

What you are talking about is common sense, not justice.

Justice is higher and not as easy to understand – until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far above our understanding.

But we can sometimes feel its presence.

Excerpt from A Winter’s Tale.

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