But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth, and people so rarely tell us the truth in this rise and fall here [indicates blackboard]. The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is. And if I die — God forbid — I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, ‘Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?’
~ Kurt Vonnegut
First, note that by “shapes” he literally means figures, graphs—drawings of the shape of the story.
Second, although I’m unsure wether or not I’m “old,” I am sure that I’m starting to get some perspective. A few posts back I was talking about there being a horizon-of-self: Once my experiences are far enough in the past, I lose any true sense of who that self was. Vonnegut’s point—to me anyway—drives home the fact that I don’t even truly know who I am right now.
You have the right to a purpose. If you do not have a purpose, one will be appointed for you.
~ David Cain
What a delightful riff on the standarized wording commonly known as the “Miranda rights”!
All of these desperate and depraved acts we see ‘bad people’ do, we are all ultimately capable of them too. Under different circumstances, with a different upbringing and different experiences, every one of us could be a killer. But if you got lucky, and that’s not the way it turned out, you might be inclined to put yourself on a distinctly higher plane.
~ David Cain
I’ve learned to use venom and outrage as indicators. When I taste venom… when I feel outraged… that’s when I redouble my efforts to use my brain and be rational.
I’m not convinced (one way or the other) as to wether it’s even possible to never feel outraged–or if that’s even a good end-goal.
But I am certain that–without exception–if ever I let my outrage direct my actions, I regret it later.
This type of view of the world — and like I said, I think it’s the prevailing view — stems from an ideal that many people have in their heads of what the world should be like. They might not realize they have that ideal, but it’s there. And the world will never reach this Platonic ideal, because it’s just this image of perfection that does not match reality. Reality and this ideal are incompatible.
~ Leo Babauta
This ties in with yesterday’s comments about the Beatles’ Let It Be. There’s certainly a peculier passion associated with youth. But there’s a much nicer circumspection of age. When things are going badly, relax for they will not last. Whent things are going well, relax for they will not last. The error is in not relaxing, not in the circumstances being observed.