On May 6th, 2013, I learned that I lost a thing forever. Due to my self-righteous anger, my forever alert of other people’s problems, and my own poisonous wishes — I wished for the bad things to happen and they did. I asked for it. Then I felt heart wrenched and cried silently in the car. There is now an emptiness in my heart and a regret in my life that is impossible to be filled and remedied.
Be careful what you wish for.
There are certain levels of retribution in our life. The easiest one is not having the blessings in life that other people have and you are not even aware of it. You don’t even know there is such a wonderful blessing in the world.
Secondary to it is another type of retribution: you see such blessings but it is impossible for you to have. And you are left permanently yearning for the things that you could never reach. Sometimes you simply console yourself that maybe it is written, it is your fate.
The third level is taking away what you have taken for granted, sometimes forever, to deliver to you a wakening blow to realize that what a valuable object you have lost, and you will never able to retrieve it, ever. In many cases, the valuable thing is lavishly given to you is ruined by your own hand. After you realize what you have squandered, you are left with a feeling that a chip of your life is forever gone and it is you who chopped it down.
If you could still make up for what you have lost, then you are at the fourth level of pain. Fate just taught you a lesson and you can still get back what you want — if you truly want it.
Today, I know, I lost that thing forever. I can cheat myself by saying that it is fate that makes a joke an takes away what does not belong to me, but deep inside, I know I ruined it. Now there is an empty spot in my soul which is never going to be remedied.
Why do tenants have to sign a whole year’s lease instead of at shorter intervals, such a three months and half a year?
Isn’t it the tyranny of capitalism when the weaker side has to accept what the rich side dictates? With the burden of financial pressure, freedom and democracy becomes a convenient tool to become freedom of exploitation and dominance of plutocracy.
If you are an Indian caught in the westward expansion of the white people, beware of the overwhelming force;
If you are a Jew caught in the Nazi Germany, beware of the overwhelming force;
If you are a worker caught in the globalized capitalism, beware of the overwhelming force;
Do you surrender to the futility of struggle or you fight to death.
Or it does not even matter as the gust in the autumn will clear away the withered leaves anyway.
What is your choice if you are caught in the blind overwhelming force?
When reading a book, how to balance between speed and quality of reading? There are numerous books to read and there is certainly not enough time to read. Besides, life is too wonderful to be just spent in reading and consuming the mass produced words on pages.
As one historian eloquently puts, the increase of knowledge in history may risk the the actual understanding of the materials. The voluminous pages of names, dates and events, were forced upon readers, in a “buy and large” manner, typical of a society overbearing for more consumption.
As a result, wise reader need to choose wisely what to read and stop consuming whatever is conveniently accessible to him, either by deliberate information tracking or peer recommendation. There are always ways to do things differently and reading is one important factor. Books are products, and the majority of the products would be gone into oblivion within the next hundred years, into the trash of the historical dustbin, so to speak. Any reader without a discerning mind is feeding the braining with future trash.
Food for the brain should be planned and arranged as carefully as food for the stomach. Actively planning the personal diet results in a healthy body, so does selective reading. There are numerous marketing tricks which make us choose certain products, believing it is our personal choice. There are also numerous authors who write not to share information but to deliberately obfuscate the our understanding of the world — for seamy purposes such as pecuniary or political gains.
Allow me to go back to the topic about two ways of consuming books. One is reading and the other is studying. The later is the most time consuming but also should be very rewarding. Some portions of a book needs to be studied and cross-examined, and other portions to be read. I say this because I tend to consecrate books and afraid of fully committing to a book with the self-imposed obligation of finishing it from cover to cover. Bear in mind that today few books are written to enlighten; they are written to be consumed.
Today I went to a Jazz concert. It is the first live concert of Jazz I ever attended and the performance was wonderful.
When listening, my body can’ help shaking and dancing tot he rhythms of the music. The melody of Jazz sounds casual and informal, as spontaneous expression of emotions.
Jazz connects directly to the audience, and the instruments speaks directly to the audience. It is a hippy and cool, and I like the trumpeter whose music really talked into my minds.
Write down the thinking immediately or least once a day, let them accumulate and ferment.
Don’t sabotage oneself, and you know it when you are doing it. So just avoid it.
I have to admit that I erred on the side of being very disorganized. What’s ironical is that I spend more time trying to organizing things rather than focusing on the things to be done.
Today I make a decision to invent my own ‘chaos management method’, which means this:
Taking the state of chaos as the normal circumstance of things. Then focus on one thing and do it with consistence, and feel comfortable to leave other things disorganized and chaotic. Gradually, that one thing, presumably the most important thing to do for a period of time, will drag chaotic matters into its orbit, forming a stable planetary system around the common core.
This may sound abstract, so let me give you an example:
When organizing numerous types of files in a computer, I used to put them into different categories and created an individual folder for them. The time spent on examining and organizing them are considerable, but the result is not satisfactory. Very soon, I will create a lot of folders with all kinds of names and initial purpose of organizing them is defeated.
Now, I will do this: throw all the files into a portable drive, and only keep the documents that is absolutely necessary for the current project in the computer disk drive. When the current project is finished or suspended, immediately move them to the portable drive. The only thing to keep in mind is that care should be taken to give the files recognizable names so that they can be easily searched and located in case they are resurfaced to attention.
Executive files should not be bothered with any form of organization. Photos should be named with their occasion and the date. For the Office files and informational files, make sure they are synchronized across the computers and backed up automatically. The idea is: rather than managing several chaotic universes, I would just throw all objects into one universe, and find the things I need in that big universe.
I am a non-linear person and this is my method of chaotic management.
On Sunday, my son and I went to the library. My son rode his Huffy bicycle which was recently bought from a thrifty shop for $24 dollars. He enjoyed riding it very much, because it had pedal brakes and two pegs in the rear wheel, two things he didn’t have in all the bikes he owned previously. Besides, the pedal brakes make it easier to do ‘drifting’, which further delighted my son.
Against repeated advice of my wife, we didn’t have any intention to lock it. I theorized to my son that nobody in the US would steal a kid’s bike, because it would appear so despicable and low-life to do so. It can’t happen in America!
However, my romanticism about USA was shattered when we stepped out of the library and noticed that the bike was gone for good. The immediate lesson I drew is: things can happen in the US and any notion to idealize it is bound to be shattered by the hard realities and dark side of human nature. If there is an opportunity for an immediate profit with impunity, many people will do that, including stealing a kid’s bike.
Today we went to the library and reported this to the security service. To our surprise, the security person said they probably had the thief on tape because there is a security camera directing at the bike rack. The library security service filled out a form and called the campus police. A policeman came within 2 or 3 minutes, and asked in thorough detail about what have happened and took detailed notes. I didn’t expect that for such a trivial matter, the policeman took it so seriously.
The officer promised to retrieve the security camera footage and got back to me. Hope the bike can be found, although the chances are very slim. Yet the police office did impressive me with his professionalism and attention to the case. I am sure my son is also impressed.
I came up with idea that one day I may write a book titled: the Origin of Losers.
Most of the modern self-help books err in their assumption that everyone is a pure slate and ready for the magic strokes of the life advice to paint beautiful pictures on it. But our life is not a pure slate. It is already tainted, formed or malformed. The assumption that one can always start from the state of zero and live a happy life after faithfully follow the guru’s words is deceiving.
Few books have dealt with the question: what if I have already fucked up? In hindsight, I know I should have read the book earlier and follow your golden advice, but I didn’t and I failed. Now what? If everyone know beforehand what to do with life, then this would become a perfect world, but it isn’t.
The fact that losers are so commonplace in modern society means the very failure of those life-guiding books: they are too good to be true and too promising for the most people to achieve. The book titled the Origin of Losers will answer one simple question: what to do after you mess up your life or someone messes it up for you. In order words, how to find the peace of mind in this imperfect world.
Remedies such as giving oneself to religion, finding consolation in Karma, taking drugs, resorting to extreme measures or coming back with elevated physical or spiritual strength are possible solutions, but is there one simple and powerful solution? Or we need to carry an arsenal of solutions for all sorts of thorns and headaches of our life?
I will leave the answer to my future self if I start to write this book. Or if you know any books which already have the answer, tell me.