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You, Piece of Work

September 26, 2008 — 6 Comments

I forgot where I found it, but there was this conversation between a therapist and a father who was there trying to deal with something about his son. You want to get over this and get better right?, the therapist said. And the father said of course. So the therapist asked, then why do you only come here once a month?

I realized I didn’t want to be so angry. I have trouble with empathy and I use being busy as a crutch. I’ve tried to understand that some of the things I’m dealing with are just over my head. I’m closer to being able to admit that I just may be the source of some of the things I don’t like about myself and that happens to disqualify me from being able to handle them alone. So since June, I’ve had an appointment every two weeks to deal with it.

It allows you to think and talk about things until the words become works. You can make notes doing the week and say “I really don’t want to do that anymore.” My health insurance covered it at first but I’ve been paying for it myself now and it’s the best thing I could possibly spend my money on.

I’m not saying that this the only path you can take or that it’s even the right one for me. But I am saying that there isn’t a single part of your life that isn’t work – a part of you that in order to improve doesn’t take honesty, investment and effort. Only the lazy and the broken believe otherwise. And it’s not enough to understand that intellectually. Carrying around baggage isn’t proof of strength. There’s nothing admirable about being able to articulate where your weaknesses lie if you refuse to actively address them. For me, that meant identifying where my control ended and habit began and taking the steps necessary to wedge in a mediator. It meant doing something about it.

What I’m Reading

September 25, 2008 — 9 Comments

We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee (interesting)

The Gulf War Did Not Take Place by Jean Baudrillard (this book is the inspiration for Wag the Dog. ridiculous at times but an insightful dissection of the incentives faced by generals and politicians. you should read this)

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas (doesn’t have the conclusion the book deserves but a good, easy read on addiction and (female) youth culture)

The Man on Whom Nothing Was Lost: The Grand Strategy of Charles Hill by Molly Worthen (apparently Yale has a Grand Strategy class; unfortunately, the writer is not quite talented enough to pull this book or its subject off. Charlie on the other hand is fascinating.)

The Poverty of Historicism by Karl Popper (I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one if anyone can help)

Wikipedia’s philosophy on rules is a good way to think about your life

Damien Hirst cuts out the middleman of the art industry (NYT)

Manifest Destiny Bullshit

September 22, 2008 — 26 Comments

“When we renounce our dreams we find peace and enjoy a brief period of tranquility, but the dead dreams begin to rot inside us and infect the whole atmosphere in which we live.

What we hoped to avoid in the Good Fight – disappointment and defeat- become the sole legacy of our cowardice.

In love lies the seed of our growth. The more we love, the closer we are to the spiritual experience

The warrior of light

knows that intuition is God’s alphabet

and so he continues listening to the wind

and talking to the stars”. – Paulo Coelho

I liked The Achemist but there is nothing more masturbatory, more pseudo-intellectual or more disingenuous than a good Paulo Coelho quote.

What happens is that in trying to create this grand self-narrative, people ignore the reality of their senses and the life that’s right there next to them. What they end up creating is a simulacrum, an inferior, false world that only they inhabit. It’s sad too because it feels like you’re doing something special. There’s a reason all those quotes blurred together, because it’s not special. It is a joke.

Delusion doesn’t inspire me. Neither does the same recycled fortune cookie philosophy posted around by people who’ve yet to stop and think: Does sticking feathers up my butt really make me a chicken?

The reality of it all is less lofty but tangible and achievable and honest. Do what you enjoy and be a good person. It’s not that hard, most people won’t notice and that means you’re doing it right.

A Choice

September 15, 2008 — 15 Comments

Is this the person you want to be? Or do you want to be humble and credible and self-aware?

guyland.jpg

What I’m Reading

September 12, 2008 — 3 Comments

Radical Reconstruction by Lebbeus Woods (this book is stunning and mind-blowing way of looking at architecture. his ideas for rebuilding Kosovo seem…human but aspirational at the same time. Great NYT article on Lebbeus)

Built for Show: Four Body-Changing Workouts for Looking Good Enough to Hook Up by Nate Green (first book I’ve been asked to blurb)

The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove (decent, mainly cliche anecdotes)

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

How Judges Think by Richard Posner (frankly, this book was disappointing. i put it in my strategy section because it ultimately had a few redeeming parts)

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel (Kimmel was the only gender sociologist i remembered respecting in college – decent so far, like a male Unhooked. )

Five Ways to Use Social Media to Reach People Who Don’t Use Social Media (I can’t say enough how important the thinking behind this post is. I used it last week for something that ended up directly touching the mayor, a government agency and hopefully a few thousand employees who deserved some results)

Some ridiculous article about the illegal tiger trade

BBC: Cattle align North/South (proof that we have such a small understanding of even the most basic things)