Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Ken Gaines talks about epitaphs

November 9, 2016

This was a Facebook post from a musical friend – I admire him for a lot of reasons, many of which involve his immense skills as a songwriter and singer, but mostly because he is a beautiful, thoughtful, peaceful and intelligent man. I felt I should preserve his post here for the record.


Your quote for the day: “Excuse my dust.” Dorothy Parker suggesting her epitaph.

Hi Folks,
What is it you would prefer to leave behind when you’re no longer here, kicking up the dust of the past? Wealth for your children… tangible works of art or construction… memories in those who knew you? All of these are wonderful. I’d love to leave behind some extra cash for the kids to make their lives a little easier. It probably won’t happen. I know I’ll be leaving behind songs, writings, and works of visual art most of you know nothing about. And I’ve had a hand in building a lot of structures, from fancy bars and cabinets to chicken coops.

Memories? I’d like to think that friends and family will have fond memories of me… as long as they themselves can remember. But, in the end, “it’s all gonna fade”.

What I’d really like to leave behind is love; the love that has been given to me, and that which I have to give, and pass on. I believe love is the one powerful, positive thing that lasts. It grows when you feed it and share it with those who, in turn, share it with others. It won’t buy you a beer. It won’t have your signature on it. You won’t be able to copyright it. But you’ll be a part of it as it flows along… forever.

So, excuse my dust. And, I love you. Pass it on. It’s free. And, there’s true freedom in it.


 

Thanks Ken!

(Anyone recognize the Paul Simon quote from “Still Crazy After All These Years?”)

 

But You’re Not!

September 13, 2016

I just thought I’d throw this up here for posterity so I don’t lose it. I read this in the Onion a few years back and it’s a peach! Thanks to Randy Auxier for sharing it with Happenstance on our trip to Illinois to play at Cousin Andy’s House Concert.

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Uncompliant Philosophy Student Drives Professor To Swearing
BOSTON, MA

37-year-old philosophy professor Hank Kirby was driven to swearing at one of his students in front of the rest of the class last Wednesday after the student persistently refused to recognize as meaningful the so-called ‘problem of other minds’. “He’s just an idiot!” said usually good-natured Hank, when interviewed later about the incident.

The class began amicably enough with Kirby introducing the topic in what he thought would be “an interesting and engaging” manner. His opening question, “How do you know that I’m not a robot?” was met with some enthusiasm by several of the students present, one of whom then suggested that this was “completely possible.”

Things started to go awry however when 17-year-old Benjamin Dupre joined in the conversation.

Dupre’s first interjection was apparently “But you’re not a robot” to which Kirby apparently replied “Well yes, I’m not saying that I actually am a robot but the question is, how can you be completely sure I’m not a robot? What are you basing your assumption that I’m not a robot on?” Dupre was then heard to reply once again “But you’re not.”

A complete record of how the conversation progressed after that is not available but a portion of it can be reconstructed from notes taken by another student, Kathy Mullyman:

KIRBY: Okay, so let’s just imagine for the sake of argument that I was at robot, designed in some robot factory or other and –

DUPRE: But you’re not.

KIRBY: No, okay. Well we’ve already established that I’m not actually a robot. But suppose, as a kind of thought experiment, that I was a robot and that every time it looked to you as though I were feeling some emotion or –

DUPRE: But you’re not.

KIRBY: No, no I’m not. I’m not saying that I am. I’m just saying that we could imagine that I was a robot and that if I was a robot you might not be able to tell the difference –

DUPRE: But you’re not.

KIRBY: No . . . but this is philosophy. The idea here is that we try to hypothesize. We try to imagine what it would be like if something were the case. We try to imagine what it would be like I were a robot.

DUPRE: But you’re not.

KIRBY: Jesus! Look – I’m not saying I’m a robot okay. Why don‘t you get it? I’m just saying that, even though it would be incredibly unlikely, just suppose I were –

DUPRE: But you’re not. (End of transcript)

Although the remainder of the conversation is unavailable several students report that Kirby’s last words before leaving the classroom were “You f*cking asswipe!” When asked by the Dean why he hadn’t just humoured Kirby and gone along with the idea that he might be a robot, Dupre replied, “But he isn’t.”

The Tao of Louis CK

July 11, 2015
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This is from an article by James Altucher  It was copied from:
https://medium.com/@jaltucher/the-tao-of-louis-ck-d31d2bb03cf9
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Before I give a talk, I listen to Louis CK. Before an interview. Before I write. Before I see my kids.

I first saw Louis CK perform in 1996. He was great. But sometime in the mid-00s he started to get more “honest”. I don’t know if that’s the right word. I don’t think he was ever dishonest.

But he had a routine that basically was,”My kids suck” and he would list all the reasons why.

I played it for my kids. They were SHOCKED! My youngest said, “did his kids hear this?” She was afraid for them.

I don’t know if they did. It was true and it was funny and the reason my kids were shocked was because they were afraid that if I listened to this then their secret mission to drive me insane was over.

Maybe it opened their eyes a tiny bit about how rotten little people can be. And guess what? Big people are pretty rotten also.

I listen to Louis CK not because he’s funny (although it helps) but because he’s right.

Life is hard, and things go wrong, and we constantly make mistakes and fool ourselves into thinking we have anything resembling common sense.

Louis CK is uncomfortable…and then he’s not. Which is why we laugh.

Laughter has been around since before language. Mammals would use laughter to convey that a situation that they first thought was dangerous, turned out not to be.

That rustle in the bushes? It was just a breeze. Not a lion.

He points it out. The contradictions in every day life. The contradictions I see in my life. The things that we’re uncomfortable about.

Guess what? We don’t have to be.

Here are some of his thoughts. And below are some of my interpretations.

1. “What happens after you die?” “Lot’s of things happen after you die — they just don’t involve you.”

One time I got scared. Will Claudia meet another guy if I die? Will she actually KISS another guy after I die!?

How selfish is that of me? I would be DEAD and I still wouldn’t want her to be happy.

Also, why think about death? We just don’t know. Nobody knows. Right now there’s people we can help today instead of sitting down thinking.

Ask at the end of the day, “Who did I help today?” instead of wondering about life after death.

That gives you a better life. Nothing will give you a better death.

2. “I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. You live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of.”

Take a walk. Read a book. Write down ideas. Ask someone you love what they are up to.

We now have non-stop entertainment. Unlike any other time in history. And my kids will still tell me they’re bored.

Heck, I get bored.

But then I take a walk. And breathe. When I was a kid I used to complain I was bored to my grandparents. I could’ve been more curious about then. Then they died.

I’m still alive.

3. “When you have bacon in your mouth, it doesn’t matter who’s president.”

Mmmmm. Bacon. I miss it. Claudia Azula Altucher has been trying to get me to be vegetarian and she does all the cooking.

But the reality is: no opinion matters when you’re eating bacon. No opinion matters when you’re in the bathroom. Or kissing someone you love. Or if you hold your breath for 20 seconds.

One time I was on a date and I actually told the date I was a big fan of Dan Quayle, only because she was a big fan.

Then when I tried to kiss her she pushed me away. So what good was my opinion?

People worry about oil and fracking. Guess what? A solar-powered plane just flew across the country.

Whatever opinion you have, just sit back and smile and rest a little bit. The problem you are worried about will get solved. Or it won’t. Chances are there’s nothing you can do either way. So enjoy the bacon.

4. “People say, “My phone sucks.” No, it doesn’t! The shittiest cellphone in the world is a miracle. Your life sucks. Around the phone.”

Blaming and complaining are draining. They never solve future problems and they only drain away energy from this moment.

We want that ugliness and fear that lives inside to be outside. We want to point the finger at it.

So we say, “He did it. He’s an idiot! This phone sucks! My house is too small! My hoss is a jerk!” and on and on.

Thoughts in our head can’t do anything. They are so invisible not even a microscope can see them.

Only forward motion works. A superhero doesn’t blame. A superhero flies through the sky and saves lives. Action!

5. ““Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important. You need to once in a while go ‘Uh, I’m kind of an asshole.” “

If you’re great at ideas, or great at execution, but you eat bad and are constantly sick, then you’ll be constantly sick and never get anything done.

We’re as good as our weakest link. Find the parts of your life where you can jump on the steepest learning curves and make that jump.

But many don’t want to look at those weaknesses. I had always been bad at saying “No” but then I would blame other people for asking too much of me. Or I would feel overwhelmed and then I would get sick and anxious.

Instead, saying, “Ok, I’m bad at telling people ‘No’” and then trying to improve it, made me a lot happier and more relaxed.

By the way, I’m still bad at saying ‘No’. The goal is not to wipe out all of your problems. You can’t. There’s no goals. There’s just growth.

6. “ It doesn’t have ANY effect on your life. What do you care?! People try to talk about it like it’s a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say, “How am I supposed to explain to my children that two men are getting married?… I dunno. It’s your shitty kid. You fuckin’ tell ’em. Why is that anyone else’s problem? Two guys are in love and they can’t get married because you don’t want to talk to your ugly child for five fuckin’ minutes?”

The key to the Tao of Louis CK is to not expend extra energy on things that don’t matter, things that you can’t change, things that you’re being stupid about, things that won’t be issues 1 billion years from now.

Instead, figure out the real issue: how do I talk to my kid, for instance. How do I talk to my wife. How do I avoid the people who are bringing me down. How do I stop wasting time thinking about these topics that are draining my energy.

Preserve energy for the people that need you. For the actions you can take that require all of that energy.

7. “Everything that’s difficult you should be able to laugh about.”

You always have two choices. Be anxious, or find joy in the situation in front of you.

Why waste any seconds of a preciously small life being anxious and afraid. Everything has joy.

When I wake up in the morning, I try to practice this first thing: I think of the things the day before that made me happy. I feel how my body feels.

I let that feeling soak into all the cracks, all the places where I might be anxious or nervous or afraid. Mmmmmm.

Then I begin my day. Usually by watching a Louis CK show. Or, this morning, Amy Schumer.

8. “Life’s too short to be an asshole.”

The universe spent 14 billion years to get us to this perfect point, exactly as it was supposed to be.

Who am I to say, “you should be different” or “I’m better than you so I want THIS”.

Because, in another flicker of time, we’re just gone. And everyone leftover will be happy about it.

9. “If a person is offended, then to them it is offensive. If someone else is not offended then to them it isn’t. They are both one hundred percent right. For them.”

It’s never my business what other people think.

If you ever want a lesson on this, look at any YouTube video and look at the comments.

Was it really worthwhile for those people to post hateful comments? Did they really change the world for the better by posting on a YouTube video among thousands of other comments?

Are they happy now?

10. “I don’t worry about how I’m doing, I just do what I’m doing.”

Doing my best in any situation is all I can do. If I worry about it while I’m doing it, I won’t do my best.

The next day I will do my best also. If it doesn’t work then ok, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn.

As Mac Lethal said to me the other day, “nobody remembers your bad stuff, just keep working at it and you’ll put out good stuff and that’s what they will see and remember.”


Why does Louis CK know so much? I don’t think he knows anything actually. And he doesn’t pretend he does. The man with nothing, has nothing to lose.

So that’s why I listen. I want to be the man with nothing to lose.


The author also wrote about the one trick for success that Louis CK and the Hare Krishnas used. Read more from the author… James Altucher, an entrepreneur, investor and best-selling author of “Choose Yourself” and “Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth”. He openly discusses the financial and emotional impact of making (and losing) money in his personal blog at JamesAltucher.com.

Words To Live By

November 28, 2011

These were shamelessly cut and pasted from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette on 11/28/11. They are from an article on the editorial page by Mike Masterson. I would have captured the whole article, but these are the words that should be preserved for posterity, in fact, the premise for his comments related to Facebook, and in my view that shouldn’t have anything to do with these truths!

  • Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
  • If you’re intelligent, you’re admired. If wealthy, you’re envied. If powerful, you’re feared. But if blessed with a good heart, you’re remembered.
  • Opposing a socialist agenda does not make you a racist. It makes you an American.
  • If you are afraid to speak against tyranny, then you already are a slave.
  • Give, but don’t allow yourself to be used. Love, but don’t allow your heart to be abused. Trust, but don’t be naive. Listen to others, but never lose your own voice.
  • The producers of zero percent of the things want to regulate 100 percent of the things others produce.
  • People ask why it is so hard to trust others when the real question is why is it so hard for people to tell the truth.
  • It’s only with the heart that one can see rightly.
  • The height of hypocrisy is to protest free enterprise and capitalism then invest your savings in a Wells Fargo Bank.
  • Some people think I say inappropriate things. I prefer to think of it as radical honesty.
  • Five simple rules for happiness:
  • Free your heart from hatred.
  • Free your mind from worries.
  • Live simply.
  • Give more.
  • Expect less.
  • Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you and misses you. Because one day you might awaken from your sleep and realize you lost the moon while counting the stars.
  • When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.
  • Unless you are willing to push, fail miserably and push even harder, success won’t happen.
  • Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll likely look back and realize they actually were the biggest things.
  • It’s in the toughest times that we discover the depth of our strengths.
  • A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today just the way you are.
  • Don’t try to understand everything because sometimes it’s not meant to be understood but to be accepted.
  • Never condemn someone based on a little something someone told you. There is always a lot more to the story.
  • Don’t live in the past thinking about mistakes or changes you made. Think of your life as a book. Move forward, close one chapter as you open another. Learn from your mistakes. Focus on your future, not on the past.
  • Judging someone else does not define who they are, but it does define who you are.
  • Only trust sees three things inside you: The sorrow behind your smile, the love behind your anger and the reason behind your silence.
  • Pilgrims didn’t come to America to get free health care. They came to get free.
  • People are made to be loved and things are made to be used. The confusion in this world arises because people are used and things are loved.
  • Never expect. Never assume. Never ask. Never demand. Just let it be because if it is meant to be, it will happen the way you want things to be.
  • The richest person isn’t the one with the most material wealth, but the one who needs it the least.
  • Don’t do something permanently stupid just because you’re temporarily upset.
  • The more anger toward the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the moment.
  • amen, Mike!

    more from 12-2711

    More Facebook wisdom

    Mike Masterson

    Several weeks back, I wrote about the quotations I see posted across Facebook every day.

    That particular column brought a surprising number of positive responses. Some even said they planned on clipping and saving it, or mailing it to others.

    So in this slow news period, here’s another offering of nuggets of wisdom as a New Year’s gift to each of you in hopes at least one might ring your bell.

    Perhaps they also will prompt a bit of reflection and personal resolution.

    I only wish I could remember and apply all of them in my own life.

  • A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you truly are.
  • People will change but forget to tell each other. If you do it right, no one remembers, and when you do it wrong, no one forgets. A true friend sees the pain in your eyes while others are believing your smile. We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added (especially to inflate a dependent voter base). You can’t make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest always is left to them. In three words and eight letters we can summarize everything we know about life: It goes on. The greatest barrier to success is fear of failure. Words easily lie, but actions tell you the truth. It’s most easy to judge the character of a person by how well he or she treats those who can do nothing for them. Blowing out another’s candle will never make you shine brighter. Only two others can really tell you the truth about yourself: An enemy who loses his temper and a friend who loves you dearly.
  • Don’t consider changing yourself to please someone else. However, they should be impressed that you don’t change to please others.
  • Sometimes you’ve just got to become your own hero because sometimes the people you can’t imagine living without can live without you. There is a story behind every person. There is a reason they are the way they are, so stop judging.
  • No matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back and it’s not the end of the world.
  • Your present circumstances don’t direct where you can go. They only direct where you begin.
  • Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up.
  • Respect the people who find time for you in their busy schedule. But love people who never look at their schedule when you need them. Everything happens for a reason. All things happen in God’s time, not ours. Remember that as one door closes, another will open.
  • To wish you were another is to waste the person you are.
  • Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong of spirit.
  • Always look first for hidden agendas when you see common sense is abandoned. Close your cuts, clear your heart, pray and let it go. When the heart and mind become confused, listen only to the heart. The mind knows everything. The heart knows only you. I’m responsible for what I say, not what you understand. If God brings you to it, he will pull you through it. Avoid criticism by saying, doing and being nothing. Every day we are given is a gift. And we should treat it that way. Only small minds desire to build cages for people. Love is giving everyone the freedom to be what they are, not what you want them to be. The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become and the stronger and happier you become. The most powerful relationship one ever will have is the relationship with one’s self.
  • Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
  • We too often discard genuine wisdom because we believe it comes from the “wrong” person or source, or because we happen to disagree with what’s presented and therefore with truth itself. You also are free to deny gravity until you leap headlong from a cliff in your disbelief.
  • And finally, all you who thrive on adding many others to your Facebook page: “He who hath many ‘friends’ hath none.”
  • “But you’re not!”

    March 27, 2011

    From “The Onion And Philosophy” – This little blurb is so good and representative of the problem of philosophy, I’ve just gotta post it for posterity…

    from Chapter 12 – Existential Times – by Paul Loader

    Uncompliant Philosophy Student Drives Professor To Swearing

    BOSTON, MA  –  37-year-old philosophy professor Hank Kirby was driven to swearing at one of his students in front of the rest of the class last Wednesday after the student persistently refused to recognize as meaningful the so-called ‘problem of other minds’.

    “He’s just an idiot!” said usually good-natured Hank, when interviewed later about the incident.

    The class began amicably enough with Kirby introducing the topic in what he thought would be “an interesting and engaging” manner. His opening question,“How do you know that I’m not a robot?” was met with some enthusiasm by several of the students present, one of whom even suggested that this was completely possible.”

    Things started to go awry however when 17-year-old Benjamin Dupre joined in the conversation.

    Dupre’s first interjection was apparently “But you’re not a robot” In which Kirby apparently replied “Well yes, I”m not saying that I actually am a robot but the question is, how can you be completely certain I’m not a robot? What are you basing your assumption that I’m not a robot on?” Dupre was then heard to reply once again “But you’re not.”

    A complete record of how the conversation progressed after that is not available, but a portion of it can be reconstructed from notes taken by another student, Kathy Mullyman:

    KIRBY: Okay, so let`s just imagine for the sake of argument that I was a robot. designed in some robot factory or other and…
    DUPRE: But you’re not.
    KIRBY: No, okay. Well we’ve already established that I’m not actually a robot. But suppose, as a kind of thought experiment that I was a robot and that every time it looked to you as though I was feeling some emotion or–
    DUPRE: But you’re not.
    KIRBY: No, no I’m not. I’m not saying that I am. I’m just saying that we could imagine that I was a robot and that if I was a robot you might not be able to tell the difference-
    DUPRE: But you’re not.
    KIRBY: No . . . but this is philosophy. The idea here is that we try to hypothesize. We try to imagine what it would be like if something were the case. We try to imagine what it would be like if I were a robot.
    DUPRE: But you’re not.
    KIRBY: Jesus! Look – I’m not saying I’m a robot okay. Why don‘t you get it? I’m just saying that, even though it would be incredibly unlikely, just suppose I were-
    DUPRE: But you’re not. (End of transcript)

    Although the remainder of the conversation is unavailable several students report that Kirby’s last words before leaving the classroom were “You f*cking asswipe”

    When asked by the Dean why he hadn’t just humoured Kirby and gone along with the idea that he might be a robot, Dupre replied, “But he isn’t.”

    Books to read? Derek Sivers’ reading list and blog

    October 14, 2010

    Here’s a book list from Derek Sivers with notes about each of the books… He’s read in the neighborhood of 100 books in the past 2 or 3 years. Here are the notes on one called “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” – by William Irvine – just one of the many I need to read, or maybe just read his notes. The notes are quite detailed and may eliminate the need of actually reading the book.

    He was the founder and owner of CDBaby and some other stuff. After building it into a multi-million dollar company he figured out that he wanted to give it away to charity and retire…. It’s quite a story. He has a blog that I think I could probably spend hours browsing and reading. One of the entries describes why he decided to give it all away. Pretty interesting!!