On the way back to New York as I was sitting in the Phoenix airport, they announced that the flight to Vegas was full.
The airline was looking for volunteers to give up their seats.
In exchange, they'd give you a $100 voucher for your next flight and a first class seat in the plane leaving an hour later. About eight people ran up to the counter to take advantage of the offer.
About 15 seconds later all eight of those people sat down grumpily as the lady behind the ticket counter said, "If there is anyone else OTHER than the flight crew who'd like to volunteer, please step forward..."
A college senior took his new girlfriend to a football game. The young couple found seats in the crowded stadium and were watching the action. A substitute was put into the game, and as he was running onto the field to take his position, the boy said to his girlfriend, "Take a good look at that fellow. I expect him to be our best man next year."
His girlfriend snuggled closer to him and said, "That's the strangest way I ever heard of for a fellow to propose to a girl.
Regardless of how you said it, I accept!"
THE PACIFIC OCEAN – Steaming through an estimated 700,000 square kilometers of filth, United States Navy warships laid territorial claim today to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a big strategic win for the Red, White, and Blue, according to U.S. government officials.
Emphasizing America’s profound cultural ties with garbage and refuse of all kinds, a Navy spokesperson aboard the destroyer USS Milius trumpeted the acquisition as an “emotional homecoming” for the billion-some plastic water bottle caps, knotted trash bags, and used tampon applicators that constitute the Texas-sized mass.
Garbage Island marks the first addition to the United States’ list of territories since the Northern Mariana Islands in 1978. While responses in the West have been overwhelmingly positive, the move has sparked controversy with heads of state in Beijing who assert equal claim to the island.
“For decades, we Chinese have demonstrated a profound and steadfast commitment to the destruction of global ecosystems,” said one official, going on to explain the “almost-spiritual” connection he feels with Garbage Island. “Besides, most of that junk was ‘Made in China’ in the first place.”
At press time, Chinese warships were en route to the garbage patch, while diplomats in Washington and Beijing scheduled hasty, high-level consultations to determine which nation is rightfully entitled to all that shit.
I recently had a medical exam, and all the doctor could find wrong with me, was that I was overweight.
"I'm prescribing these pills for you," my doctor told me. "I don't want you to swallow them. Just spill them on the floor twice a day and pick them up, one at a time."
Issue of the Times;
The Value Of Self-Knowledge by C.Contrary
So long as the sun rises, human misery abounds. The self-help and psychiatry industries are therefore thriving, for trite books and yuppie dope now stand in for religion, the earnest practice of which is too demanding for most 21st century team members. (It’s not as if there’s a great lack of belief here in the US.)
Yet to be sure, that one person should turn to another for guidance is not in itself a bad thing. I glance at my library, for example, and behold the magnificent works of hundreds of Great Dead White European (and American) Males: Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Seneca, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Pascal, Spinoza, Samuel Johnson, Burke, Hume, Schopenhauer, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Freud, Carlyle, Ruskin, Emerson, Thoreau, William James, and many more.
How much I have learned from them! Most men define themselves by doing things that any number of other men can do. That can’t be said for the greatest minds and writers. They teach, or reveal, what we would not know without them. I would be much more ignorant of human life if it wasn’t for these immortal names on my shelves.
All of the men in my list, in their various ways, were concerned with that timeless and incomparably difficult question: How should I live? It is a question that, if it matters to me, only I can answer for me. For however much I may learn from the great dead, or even from some of the living here in our glittering dark age, I am still a unique person, with his own history, his own problems, his own anguish. I alone have access to the content of my consciousness.
Thus it is certain that no one can look into me as penetratingly as I myself can, provided that I am up to the task. It is certain that no one can understand me as well as I myself can, provided I try to know myself. What I must do is to ponder myself and the world around me, while I am instructed by the works of the great minds of the past who did the same, and then apply what I find to the strange and difficult endeavor of living.
Not everyone does this today. In love with convenience, and in deeper love with delusion, many people now turn to watered-down wisdom and to the often problematic medications of psychiatrists. Is there not something very sad about so many of us turning to others (and their drugs) in order to know how to live? Have most of us looked deeply enough into ourselves?
Perhaps not. For self-knowledge is a test of character. It takes a certain fearlessness to be utterly honest with yourself. We are, all of us, subject to terrible thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. We sometimes have quite immoral motives. And it is painful to see these aspects of our nature. As with the sight of a rotting corpse, we’d rather look away.
Most people, when told they have done something wrong, react, at least at first, by putting a kind of convenient spin on things: they didn’t really do this or that, we are told; or, whatever happened didn’t happen quite like that; the point here being to shirk responsibility. And yet, human beings owe each other criticism. A friend or family member who is living in such a way as to harm himself or others deserves to be reproached.
And so it is with ourselves. If we have any sense of dignity—if, in other words, we value ourselves—then we need to be exacting and unsparing in our self-analysis. But, just as many people, in their relations with others, distort the truth in order to avoid the pain of it, so too they are not unflinching when it comes to looking into themselves: their view is only partial, their bad aspects ignored.
We must employ discriminating caution in our efforts to acquire self-knowledge. It is true that the mind, in its inclination to avoid pain, has a way of steering us toward rationalization and away from truth. And while we must be vigilant in guarding against this awful tendency, we must also not go so far as to become cruel perfectionists. Sincere self-examination which brings to light our culpability must be followed by self-forgiveness. Otherwise we avoid the common extreme while falling into the other, which is indeed torturous.
Though often hard, and sometimes even terrifying, self-knowledge is empowering. Having come to know myself in a deep sense, I find that I do not need any self-help book—I have already studied the book of my life. So too with anti-depressant medications. While for many people these are undoubtedly useful or even necessary in times of crisis, what I must do in any event is to take control of my life, insofar as I can.
That will often mean changing my life, and to that end, myself; in particular, my flaws. This is hard work, of course, but again, it is empowering: I achieve power over myself, where others may have no choice but to be subject to the power (say, the bad advice or prescription) of others.
To be serious about having good character, or improving our character, is to be serious about self-knowledge. If I want to live a decent life, or a better one, then clearly I cannot be ignorant of myself, of how I am living or should live. I must rather be steadfast in examining my motives and intentions.
What is the reason for Socrates’ famous remark that the unexamined life is not worth living? It is that without examining my life I cannot value it: any sense of value depends on knowledge; in order to live a worthy life, we must have a sense, borne out by experience, of just what makes it so.
It is no wonder that the greatest teachers of humankind were characterized by immense self-knowledge. A person who knows much about his complex nature—and all human beings are complex—may for that very reason be well-equipped to instruct others. You may not be Montaigne or Emerson. Even so, the fruits of your self-examination can afford you insight into others, who, after all, are not so different from you; you may indeed aid other people in walking a more illumined path.
“Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed,” said the great sage Samuel Johnson. I believe that every student of himself, having asked himself how he should live, should eventually come to a set of beliefs which are rather homely, in the sense that many thoughtful minds have been there before, so that the truth is no mystery.
It has long been thought, and rightly, that we human beings require a balance of satisfying intellectual and physical activities, interests, hobbies. These, along with meaningful relationships, are what make a life happy, or at least tolerable, for these make for an ongoing sense of vitality. If one of the purposes of your self-knowledge is to determine how you should live—as of course it should be—then you need not expect your conclusions to be so far from what many thoughtful travelers on the way arrived at before you.
Life is an endeavor in which we get to know ourselves. How strange is that notion, the notion of a self that does not know itself, as if to exist is to be a kind of stranger even to yourself. For life is a kind of ineffable unfolding. During its course, we find we are ever-changing, growing, moving between contradictions.
Indeed, while we may, if we are successful, arrive at more or less the same conclusions with respect to how we should live, we shall all find our distinct phenomenological experience—what we essentially ARE—to be endlessly unique, and frequently surprising. You are a self, and the self that you are contains innumerable surprises. That is dream-like, and beautifully strange.
Quote of the Times;
“If it is reasonable to hold Christians today responsible for the actions of other Christians during the Crusades nearly one thousand years ago, how is it unreasonable to hold Muslims today responsible for the action of other Muslims yesterday?”
Link of the Times;
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