Philosopical Pheedback

Earlier this month I asked you this question:

"Indicate some of the fundamental beliefs, concepts, philosophy of life or articles of faith which help carry you along, tide you over rough spots or guide you in the every day conduct of your life."

Today I want to give you a synopsis of the responses I received and perhaps add a few thoughts of my own. I deleted all names and email references from the emails and comments and then scrambled them. I didn't want any hint of: "Bob said that" or "Barry is a joker" to taint my reactions to your submissions. Here are some hi-lights with commentary.

I read your blog but have never communicated with you, we don't know each other in real life; your view on things makes me calmer about my life. You make me more thoughtful and more hopeful, even when you drift into what I assume was some earlier period of cynicism in your life. I think it is because you don't despair and you say things are basically right with the world. I need to hear that, which leads to my axiom: "Look for the good and listen for it too." I guess I should add: "and read for it too." Thanks.

I was a bit shocked by that response, but upon reflection -- calm is something I do. Oh, and thanks for the compliments, it fuels the blog fires. On the other side of the chasm, there were several offerings that contemplated the end:

Life Sucks and then you die.. I am really looking forward to that last part.

Life is just to die. Lou Reed

He not busy being born is busy dying. Bob Dylan

For death, I believe we are in a circle of life -- in a sense this is one life -- you don't go forward until you've learned the lessons you need to in this life.

There was also recognition that answers and paths are often elusive:

What does around comes around, so do the right thing; of course, figuring that out at times can be a challenge.

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do. John XXIII

Lately it occurs to me, what a long strange trip its been. Grateful Dead

Surrender to the flow but don't be confuse it with the inevitable flush.

There was a lot of hope put in ourselves.

At the end of the day you go home with yourself, you need to be good with yourself and your actions.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children... to leave the world a better place... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. Ralph Waldo Emerson

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. Tao Te Ching

I really like that quote from the Tao, even though I cannot bear personal witness to any of those precepts. I are a poor Taoist. However, there were several submissions that mirrored my feelings about life.

I no longer follow a religion, instead I try to live by a quote from my favorite movie: "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it." Ferris Bueller

John Lennon offered a similar observation: "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

My favorite such comment, often found on lapel buttons: Enjoy life, this is not a dress rehearsal.

A buddhist view of life was offered from Thich Nhat Hanh: We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. 

My favorite quote in that area comes from William James: Our normal waking consciousness is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all around it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there life potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence, but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness.  

"To give freely of oneself and serve others" was offered by one reader. I like to have friends with knowledge and talents I do not have. I often say: Don't bother to learn that, I already know it; learn more about what you know that I don't. You don't have to be all that you can be, you can have friends to round out your philosophy, which is why I asked in the first place.

Finally, one of my favorite views on life, I have heard uttered by it's creator. The quote was submitted by two of you, so we jointly offer it was a motto for getting along in this life.

"Don't be a dick." Wil Wheaton