Kaufmann on a life of intensity

running-feet_2Walter Kaufmann believed that there is an urgency in life and expressing oneself or, at least, there should be. The full significance of this urgency is captured is the following excerpt:

 

     Let people who do not know what to do with themselves in this life, but fritter away their time hope for eternal life. If one lives intensely, the time comes when sleep seems bliss. If one loves intensely, the time comes when death seems bliss… The life I want is a life I could not endure in eternity. It is a life of love and intensity, suffering and creation… As one deserves a good night’s sleep, one also deserves to die. Why should I hope to wake again? To do what I have not done in the time I’ve had? All of us have so much more time than we use well… Lives are spoiled and made rotten by the sense that death is distant and irrelevant… But it makes for a better life if one has a rendezvous with death… There is nothing morbid about thinking and speaking of death. Those who disparage honesty do not know its joy.

– from The Faith of a Heretic, by Walter Kaufmann.

 

In his book Socrates Café, Chris Phillips describes the impact this passage had on his life quest.

 

     Kaufmann’s words made me realize not how short and precious life is, but how unbearably long and meaningless much of my life had seemed to me. And they made me realize how inexcusable it was for me to have allowed my life to take on such soporific dimensions by abandoning my search for meaning.

 

Chris Phillips is an American writer and modern day philosopher, author of the best-sellers Socrates Café and Six Questions of Socrates. For anyone wishing to dive deep into the questions of being and self-expression, these provocative books are a #must_read

 

Walter Kaufmann (1921 – 1980) is a German philosopher, primarily known for his scholarly works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Goethe’s Faust.

 

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

7 Harsh Realities to Face Today

By George recently read an advice column for millennials which can easily apply to most people today who find themselves hiding comfortably within the herd mentality of political correctness. Tyler Durden wrote 7 Harsh Realities Of Life Millennials Need To Understand. His lead taunted the youth of today:

It’s time millennials understood these 7 harsh realities of life so we don’t end up with a generation of gutless adult babies running the show.

However, his advice can be instructive for many Canadians and By George offers this excerpt from the original column to prompt a re-think of all those things many now take for granted or are accepting as truth.

 

1. Your Feelings Are Largely Irrelevant

Given feelings are entirely subjective in nature, it’s completely unreasonable to demand everyone tip-toe around you to prevent yours from being hurt. The reality is that people will offend you and hurt your feelings, and they won’t stop to mop up your tears because they shouldn’t have to. Learning to accept criticism, alternative viewpoints, and even outright insults will make you happier in the long run than routinely playing the victim card.

 

2. You Cannot Be Whatever You Want To Be

This is a comforting lie parents have started telling their children to boost their morale in school. Unfortunately, millennials are now convinced it’s true,

 

3. Gender Studies Is A Waste Of Money

While some millennials taking useless degrees will claim they’re beneficial for teaching or research positions, the reality is that they just put themselves several thousands dollars in debt to learn how to be a professional victim.

 

4. If You Live In America, You’re Already In The 1%

 

5. You Don’t Have A Right To It Just Because You Exist

Just because you’re here and breathing doesn’t mean society owes you anything. Like the billions of people who lived before you, working hard is a better guarantor of wealth and the ability to comfortably take care of yourself than begging society or the government to do it for you.

 

6. You DO Have The Right To Live As You Please — But Not To Demand People Accept It

You don’t have the right to demand people keep their opinions about your lifestyle to themselves, especially if you’re open and public about it. I have as much of a right to comment on the way you live your life as you do to actually live it. Your feelings are not a protected right, but my speech is.

 

7. The Only Safe Space Is Your Home

No matter where you go in life, someone will be there to offend you. Maybe it’s a joke you overheard on vacation, a spat at the office, or a difference of opinion with someone in line at the grocery store. Inevitably, someone will offend you and your values. If you cannot handle that without losing control of your emotions and reverting back to your “safe space” away from the harmful words of others, then you’re best to just stay put at home.

 

Read Tyler Durden’s full column in Zero Hedge news.

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Writers Pick Top-10 Books of All Time

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The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books is a readers’ collection of dream lists.

It is the ultimate guide to the world’s greatest books – as picked by writers such as Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Margaret Drabble, Michael Chabon and Peter Carey. The Top Ten includes summaries of 544 books-each of which is considered to be among the ten greatest books ever written by at least one leading writer. You can get this treasure from Amazon (where else?!)

Here are three intriguing lists from that book.

 

TOP TEN WORKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY

  1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  4. Ulysses by James Joyce
  5. Dubliners by James Joyce
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  8. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  9. The complete stories of Flannery O’Connor
  10. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

 

TOP TEN WORKS OF THE 19th CENTURY

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  5. The stories of Anton Chekhov
  6. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  10. Emma by Jane Austen

 

TOP TEN AUTHORS BY NUMBER OF BOOKS SELECTED

  1. William Shakespeare — 11
  2. William Faulkner — 6
  3. Henry James — 6
  4. Jane Austen — 5
  5. Charles Dickens — 5
  6. Fyodor Dostoevsky — 5
  7. Ernest Hemingway — 5
  8. Franz Kafka — 5
  9. (tie) James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf — 4

 

Read more about this book at Brian Pickings.

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What ISIS Really Wants

Here is a must-read magazine feature by Graeme Wood, which appeared in the March 2015 issue of The Atlantic.

What ISIS Really Wants

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

Here are 10 key excerpts, as selected by By George, that are remarkably insightful.

  • The Islamic State “rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.”
  • The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy…. it looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.
  • The Islamic State requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)
  • The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic… the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.
  • …the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”
  • Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims.
  • Islamic State operates as policies of mercy rather than of brutality. He told me the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies—a holy order to scare the shit out of them with beheadings and crucifixions and enslavement of women and children, because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict.
  • One way to un-cast the Islamic State’s spell over its adherents would be to overpower it militarily and occupy the parts of Syria and Iraq now under caliphate rule. Al Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding.
  • Given everything we know about the Islamic State, continuing to slowly bleed it, through air strikes and proxy warfare, appears the best of bad military options….with every month that it fails to expand, it resembles less the conquering state of the Prophet Muhammad than yet another Middle Eastern government failing to bring prosperity to its people.
  • the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited…

 

Read the full article here: What ISIS Really Wants

Hat’s off to the wise fool

Roger von Oech is an author, inventor, and consultant on stimulating creativity in business. His blog http://blog.creativethink.com/ featured an intriguing post: “Think Like a Wise Fool.”

Von Oech writes:

Carrying the strategy of “looking at things differently” to extremes brings us to the realm of the Wise Fool, the being for whom everyday ways of understanding have little meaning.

It’s the wise fool’s job to extol the trivial, trifle with the exalted, and parody the common perception of a situation. In doing so, the fool makes us conscious of the habits we take for granted and rarely question. A good fool needs to be part actor and part poet, part philosopher and part psychologist.

And throughout history, the wise fool has been consulted by Egyptian pharaohs and Babylonian kings, Chinese emperors, Greeks tyrants, and Hopi Indian chiefs.

Here’s what a wise fool can accomplish by making us re-look and re-think our work:

  • reverse our standard assumptions
  • notes things that other people overlook
  • be irreverent
  • be cryptic
  • be absurd
  • challenge viewpoints by taking the contrary position

von Oech concludes his post by pointing out: “The great benefit of the wise fool’s antics and observations is that they stimulate our thinking. They jolt us in the same way that a splash of cold water awakens us when we are drowsy.”

By George recommends this post and the blog for those who wish to place assumptions in question and refocus their thinking.