Little to say for myself

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I'm here

I feel amazing. I've already got several people worried - they think I've been brainwashed, I'm so different. Well, this is me from now on, so they'd better get over it.

I can't possibly explain here what the experience was like, and there'd be no point. Besides the fact that I'm bound by confidentiality, you don't know me as a person, so I can't explain it with reference to what you already "know" about me. And because you don't know me, anything I say will sound like some pushy born-again zealot trying to foist his own brand of weirdness on you.

Suffice it to say that I have learnt the following about myself:
  • I am always desperate to be right about things, making other people wrong.
  • I am always desperate to look good - not just physically, but in every respect - and whenever I don't look as good as I want to, I lie to make myself look better. The effect of this is that I "know" secretly that I'm not as good as I appear, even on the odd occasion when I am.
Well, all that stuff's still going to be there until I die - it's part of who I am - but now I know it, and I can relax about it. I can also make sure that nothing I say to other people comes from that.

I used to think (as most people do) that the way I am is a result of where I've come from - i.e. that I am the outcome of my past. Simple cause and effect. Something happens, followed by the result of that thing happening. A whole sequence of nearly 46 years of things happening have resulted in the way I am now. That's not how I see it any more - at least not as far as my state of being is concerned. Let me give you an example:
You're sitting in your workplace, and your boss has just unfairly accused you of some failure and told you you're going to have to put in lots of extra hours to make up for it. Rain is beating against the windows. You reach into your bag for a paracetamol and see the ticket for your three-week tropical island holiday, which starts tomorrow. How do you feel when you see the ticket?

Now it's three weeks later. You're sitting on the porch of your beach cabin, watching the shadows of the palm trees lengthening on the white sand as the sun heads for the horizon. You've had the most restful three weeks of your life in the most beautiful place you've ever seen. You reach over for your cocktail, see the ticket for your return flight the next day, and remember the job waiting for you when you get back. How do you feel at that moment?
In both those instances, the way you are has nothing to do with the recent past. It has nothing to do with where you are in the present. It has everything to do with where you are headed. In other words, the way you are is a direct outcome of your future.

This is such a powerful idea. If you think you're a product of your past, you're stuck. You can't change your past. If you think you're a product of your future, you have choices.

My aim now is to create the future that I want to live into.

posted by Plig | 14:12 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
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