Zuihitsu: 2021-10

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

  1. Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.—Josephine Hart
  2. Life is a perpetual act of self-authorization.
  3. What cannot be summarized can only be experienced.
  4. Attempts to escape the physical world find it stubbornly persists.
  5. Instead of lightening our burdens, make them heavier. You might decide to put it down.
  6. Suffering is believing there is an escape.
  7. Ought implies can. Are you able?
  8. Get on with what counts most and let the other chips fall where they may.
  9. Lower the stakes.
  10. The best work is work we aren’t sure we can do.
  11. Writer’s block is a reluctance to write poorly.
  12. Hoist an unwanted confidence on someone today.
  13. A genius in the one most like himself.—Theolonious Monk
  14. Make a list of what you want to say. What comes first? What’s last?
  15. Write down what you see.
  16. Ask again.
  17. You can close your eyes, but you can’t close your ears.
  18. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.—Carl Jung
  19. You cannot change people or organizations. They can only be made anew.
  20. Find balance between building capacity vs. getting things done.
  21. Don’t confuse motion with progress.
  22. Little is learned from comfort.
  23. Thinking about anything that is not happening in the moment comes with an emotional cost.
  24. The question is not what you look at, but what you see.—H.D. Thoreau
  25. Nostalgia is slow repetition.
  26. Never stay stationary. Repeat, vary, evolve.
  27. Society evolves one funeral at a time.
  28. Patience and commitment are the keys to perseverance.
  29. All advice is contextual, yet it is rarely delivered with any context.
  30. Everyone is scarred by past experience.
  31. Sharpening is a prelude, not a substitute, for cutting.
  32. Just because someone doesn’t share their opinions doesn’t mean they don’t have any.
  33. Everything that is important is explainable.
  34. Everyone wants you to tell them their $0.02.
  35. Data is computation in a trench coat.
  36. Opacity has its purposes.
  37. Artists are the antenna of civilization.—Ezra Pound
  38. New selves first emerge in simulacrum.
  39. Make things you want to see and put on your own shows.
  40. This world values children, not childhood—Bioshock Infinite, Burial at Sea
  41. There are only personal apocalypses. Nothing is a cliche when it’s happening to you.—Max Payne
  42. I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.—Joshua Graham, Fallout New Vegas
  43. The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.–G-Man, Half Life 2
  44. A man chooses, a slave obeys.
  45. Surviving is winning, Franklin, everything else is bullshit.— Michael from GTA V
  46. [H]uman beings define their reality through suffering and misery.—Agent Smith, The Matrix
  47. The point of travel is to experience things you haven’t.—Freddie deBoer
  48. Resist optimization culture.—Freddie deBoer
  49. Don’t cling to the nurse out of fear of something worse.
  50. Nothing is easier than to become subhuman.
  51. Love for the wrong person will destroy you.
  52. Do you want truth or comfort?
  53. Even tainted knowledge can point the discerning to truth.
  54. Not all families last.
  55. Even gods want mysteries.
  56. Risky odds are better than none.
  57. People that serve everyone can be trusted by no one.
  58. Pleasure is often used as a weapon.
  59. Meaning lies everywhere around us and within us.
  60. We live many lives, die many deaths. But in each of these lives and deaths all the others are present, and we can hear their echo.—paraphrased Roberto Calasso
  61. Always show up and keep showing up.
  62. Nothing is safe but what we put at risk.
  63. Report to the heavens the true features of the human story.
  64. Being early is the same as being wrong.
  65. The desire for consistency is a source for poor decision-making.
  66. Optimize for variance.
  67. Look for unrecognized value.
  68. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.—Oscar Wilde
  69. Put yourself in the path of discovery. Discover something new every day.
  70. Mental models tend to be grounded in experiences in a material world. 
  71. Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.—Frank Herbert, Dune
  72. Everything is more beautiful when you’re doomed.
  73. The purpose of death is release of love.—Laurie Anderson
  74. Create the reality you want to live in.
  75. Are you thinking or rearranging your prejudices?
  76. Mass media homogenizes minds.
  77. Wanting to do it is almost always enough qualification.
  78. All publicity works upon anxiety.—John Berger
  79. It is not a war, but it’s a fight.—Annick Girardin
  80. You are free to do whatever you want. You need only face the consequences.—Sheldon Kopp
  81. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.—Sheldon Kopp
  82. All important decisions must be made with incomplete information, and yet, we are still responsible.
  83. Heroes imply diminishment.
  84. You’re not going to get everything you want.
  85. The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.—Rilke
  86. Disillusion can be positive.
  87. The key to doing anything well is preparation.
  88. Self-discipline, self-control and the ability to work when we’d rather not is more important than intelligence.
  89. The triumph of culture is to overpower nationality.– Ralph Waldo Emerson. Corollary: Nationalism triumphs when culture is weak.
  90. Being known by strangers, and, even more dangerously, seeking their approval, is an existential trap.
  91. Too much money breeds arrogance, bad behavior, and jealousy, and society just loves to take it down.
  92. Sometimes not quitting is avoiding the harder thing, confronting the uncertainty of change.
  93. Everybody’s battling something at the gym, the bigger people are deeper into the struggle.