“I don’t ask for perfection. All I ask for is goose pimples.”
“Now, all I hear is the technology in the music, as opposed to the soul of it.”
“I’ve got a theory that what you hear influences – maybe even determines – what you see.”
-– Paul Theroux, in one of the best train literature novels The Great Railway Bazaar
“The music you travel with helps you to create your own internal weather.”
— Teju Cole, in his new book Known and Strange Things: Essays
“When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float’ and that ‘insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.”
— Alan Watts on the ‘law of reversed effort’, also known as the ‘backwards law’ when doing what’s right make things wrong (as featured in The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking)
Is it better to be told what to do and ride around the racetrack of life or remain goalless, floating with the tide?
“We do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES…we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal.”
To pick a goal is to assume that there’s an end. But we are always developing. Our perspective today is different than it was a decade ago, and so forth. Experience and knowledge change us.
Instead of searching for goals, Thompson implores, “look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.”
All believing is betting. But God rewards the courageous. Almost always the assured outcome is the unique path we take ourselves.
“No one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.”
“After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.” ―George Bernard Shaw
To put it another way, the road is better than the end.
We don’t need art. We don’t need Instagram. We don’t need bottled water.
These are styles and preferences that enrich the satisfaction of our lives but aren’t things we need to live. They are products we consume when we don’t have to starve, which the vast bulk of people did before the 19th century Industrial Revolution.
We have to eat. We have to clothe ourselves and move. Everything else: our food preference, type of clothes, and our favorite photography apps are all examples of stylization.
“Anyone can escape into sleep, we are all geniuses when we dream, the butcher’s the poet’s equal there.”
— Emil Cioran, The Temptation to Exist
“Success blurs. It rounds off the rough edges.”