Zuihitsu: 2021-07

Collecting these little ideas has become a major focus. Here’s this month’s installment.

  1. The interior of our skulls contains a portal to infinity.—Grant Morrison
  2. Personal density is proportional to temporal bandwidth.—Thomas Pynchon
  3. Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.—Salvador Dali
  4. Relationships come with no guarantees.
  5. The tears we cry moisturize the skin of life.
  6. Take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy.—Elvis Costello
  7. Getting married isn’t going to make you less alone.
  8. Acts demolish alternatives, that is the paradox.
  9. Individualism doesn’t scale.
  10. People who live in cities tend to collect neuroses.
  11. People become estranged from their former selves, their goals and dreams unless they continuously try to define and remember them.
  12. Life is stranger than even the strangest among us can suppose.— paraphrasing Terence McKenna paraphrasing J.D.S. Haldane
  13. Few theories work well when applied over two orders of magnitude.
  14. Let go of things not meant for you.
  15. Hold plans lightly.
  16. Action over thought.
  17. Limits usually have limits.
  18. Separate the real from the unreal.
  19. Create the job you want.
  20. The more you do what you want the less you want to compare.
  21. Most things take less time than you think.
  22. You can be the best X, and there are going to be people that hate Xs.
  23. Opportunity flows through people.
  24. Nobody knows what they are doing.
  25. Life is long.
  26. Our weakness can also be a strength.
  27. What we understand depends on how we think.
  28. Even unseen work has value.
  29. The offer of a generous spirit is not to be refused lightly.
  30. The best ideas are rarely discovered in isolation from practical implementation.
  31. To deny the past is to deny the future.
  32. When we crave power over life—endless wealth, unassailable safety, immortality—then desire becomes greed.
  33. Only one thing in this world can resist an evil-hearted man. And that is another man. A spirit capable of evil is also able to overcome it.
  34. Presume to punish and reward others, and you’ll enter into a master/slave relationship.
  35. Do nothing, unless it must be done and done that way.
  36. Save talking until you know something.
  37. The counsel of the dead is not for the living.
  38. To wield a weapon you do not understand is most likely to end with harm to self.
  39. Strange roads have strange guides.
  40. In innocence, there is no strength against evil.
  41. True power accepts and doesn’t take.
  42. A candle only looks bright in the dark.
  43. Truth varies with the man.
  44. Learn by going where you have to go.—Roethke
  45. Leave a little room for luck and chance to aid you.
  46. Nothing can be without becoming.
  47. There’s misery enough; you don’t have to go looking for it.
  48. Harm draws harm to it.
  49. Better shark than herring.
  50. Is wisdom all words?
  51. Grow in grace.
  52. Used goods can be had at less price and for more value.
  53. What cannot be mended must be transcended.
  54. Before you start, decide when quitting is the best choice.
  55. Hard times are like bad weather, they don’t last.
  56. Expression is compression.
  57. People make history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing.—paraphrase of Karl Marx
  58. Talent wins.
  59. Don’t get stuck on the details. 
  60. Bad times help you appreciate good times.
  61. Be a thread woven into the fabric of shared human experience.
  62. People in cities don’t mix, they sort.
  63. Mercy to the guilty is the only kind of mercy there is.—Eve Tushnet
  64. There are some things you just don’t want to know.—Zeckhauser
  65. If you focus on people’s shortcomings, you’ll always be disappointed.—Zeckhauser
  66. Practice asynchronous reciprocity.—Zeckhauser
  67. Pleasure is no enemy of discipline.—Virginia Woolf
  68. Habits form from enjoyment. Want to form a habit? Find a way to make it fun.
  69. The only advice one person can give another is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions.
  70. To be a happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily.—Bhutanese folk saying
  71. The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.”—William Hazlitt
  72. Some people are enlightened only on retreat.
  73. We live in a time when endless wants wreck us, and enough is a radical supposition.
  74. In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
  75. The institutionalization of values leads inevitably to physical pollution, social polarization, and psychological impotence: three dimensions in a process of global degradation and modernized misery.
  76. Useful things for useless people.
  77. Define a problem by its behavior, not by your preferred solution.
  78. Aim to enhance total systems properties, such as creativity, stability, diversity, resilience, and sustainability–whether they are easily measured or not.
  79. If something is unsustainable, it will end. You don’t have to end it.
  80. Small things often.
  81. I am not inclined to ruin myself for the sake of hurting my enemies.—Hermocrates
  82. Focus on the past is ego. Focus on the future is pride. Focus on the present is humility.
  83. It is dangerous to be right when the status quo is wrong.—paraphrase of Voltaire
  84. Personality is important in love but rarely outside of it.
  85. We squander our lives on trivia.
  86. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.—Oscar Wilde paraphrased
  87. Knowledge is acquired when we succeed in fitting a new experience into the system of concepts based upon our old experiences. Understanding comes when we liberate ourselves from the old and so make possible a direct, unmediated contact with the new, the mystery, moment by moment, of our existence.—Aldous Huxley
  88. Imitation is at the root of all behaviour.—René Girard
  89. Humour is a test of expertise.
  90. Technology is commodification, and words commodify knowledge.
  91. Social embeddedness is key to any communication medium.
  92. Good times will come, and hard times will come. If we are to endure, we must be principled and create value on solid foundations. 
  93. All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.—William Butler Yeats
  94. Early commitment leads to cost overruns.
  95. Self-sufficiency and money cannot co-exist because money implies dependency.
  96. …to resign oneself to accept the lesser of two evils is unworthy of the human spirit.—Jacques Maritain
  97. My idea of rich is that you can buy every book you ever want without looking at the price and you’re never around assholes. That’s the two things to really fight for in life.—John Waters
  98. Are you asking the right questions?
  99. When traveling, have a spare for what you wear.
  100. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.—Harry Potter