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Life is defined by struggle.

Overcoming obstacles and conquering challenges makes us feel fulfilled and “happy,” not because we have conquered, but because we are conquering.

Happiness isn’t a destination or a state of being, it’s a journey, it’s kinetic. Nor is it something we choose, it’s something we strive after and work toward. Our Founding Fathers understood this; they didn’t say that we had an inalienable right to Life, Liberty and Happiness; rather, they said we have an inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the “pursuit” of Happiness. It’s all about the pursuit.

If you’re unhappy, maybe your life is just too easy, too good. Take on a new challenge; don’t fear failure or risk. Be willing to throw everything away and start anew. That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep” – Prospero, The Tempest

It’s amazing how many ideas/beliefs/books/theories/dogmas/opinions are based upon facts that are out-of-date or that have been replaced or disproven. There is far too much permanence of ideas. Most ideas are so firmly established that even when an important building block is removed, the idea still stands.

This happens in every aspect of life. As a person continues with the entrenched narrative, it’s easy to not notice that the fact set has become different.

How many Bible scholars realize that it is no longer believed that the gospels were written in Hebrew/Aramaic? How many arguments and assumptions still exist that were invented based upon this belief?

How many Obstetricians in 1981 believed that alcohol could stop preterm labor? How many believe that magnesium does today?

We must deconstruct every belief carefully and analyze its core components; we must analyze every card that makes up a house of cards. When two people firmly believe opposite things, one or both of them are likely wrong about something that they don’t even realize they are wrong about, some obscure fact that long ago helped establish a false narrative.

It takes courage to deconstruct your core beliefs.

Imagine a president like this:

Despite all of this, he continued to be loved by his adoring fans and his wife, whom he once had committed to a mental hospital for electroshock therapy after she found out about an affair, also played her part, standing by her man.

Yes, of course, I am talking about President John F. Kennedy. Who else?

What’s the difference between light and darkness?

You cannot shine darkness. Darkness cannot penetrate, it cannot drown out, it cannot overwhelm. You can only shine light. Light displaces darkness. Darkness doesn’t exist unless the light is covered. Light does not fear darkness because darkness doesn’t exist in its presence. Light doesn’t know darkness as long as it shines. Light must quench or be quenched for darkness to exist.

The end never justifies the means. This idea is intellectually lazy, cowardly, self-justifying, and immoral.

If the end you have in mind requires an unethical or immoral means to achieve it, then that end is unethical and immoral.

Just because the other guy is wrong doesn’t mean that you are right.

Being wrong is not a unique trait. Don’t worry about proving others wrong, worry about trying to prove yourself wrong. That’s real intellectualism. Assume that you’re the idiot – and try to to prove it! That’s the scientific method.

Most people today don’t know the difference between virtue and virtue signaling; between rational and rationalization; between fact and narrative; between improbable and impossible; between natural and nature; between God and Science; between religion and philosophy; between the physical and the metaphysical; between reality and perception; between doing good and wanting to do good; between critique and criticism; between skepticism and nihilism; between thought and thoughtfulness; between leading and being in charge; between progress and change; between movement and motion, between being right and firmly believing that you’re right; between being moral and acting moral.

Being treated differently is not the same as being treated inferiorly. Being treated differently celebrates different talents, different strengths – it celebrates our differences. If it feels like inferior treatment to you, it might be because you don’t appreciate your individuality and haven’t learned to celebrate your uniqueness and your individual abilities. It might be because someone has told you that we are all the same.

We are not.

Animals live authentic lives. They are honest and without pretense. They live for the moment. They tend to their needs first and foremost, before taking care of others (if they even do). They live like there is no tomorrow. They eat every meal like it might be their last. They don’t worry about what others think of them.

And thus they are animals.

Are you a bigot? Probably.

If you’re like most people, your beliefs are unshakable, unquestionable, and probably wrong. You talk about being open-minded (a lot), but only when it comes to exploring new music or maybe new food. When it comes to religion, politics, economics, science, brand of bottled water – or most other beliefs which actually define you as a person, those beliefs which are integral to your sense of self and your identity – you’d sooner die than change your mind (regardless of facts, evidence, logic, or anything really).

You are a bigot.

You talk to people not to listen to their ideas, not to understand, but to tell them about the supremacy of your ideas, to signal your virtue, and to secretly make yourself feel smarter, more powerful, and more special than some dumb rube. The next time you see one your fellow bigots, you scoff at the rube’s ignorance and close-mindedness (the irony) and tell stories of their impenetrable beliefs that were resistant to your hateful axioms, your ad hominems, your shouting down, and your eye-rolling.

You can tell a lot about a community by its used bookstores. Its general views on religion, politics, and a thousand other issues are immediately available. Some stores are just romance novels and cheap pulp; others are full of pseudointellectual tomes that imagine unrealistic societies incompatible with human nature. College towns are long on theory and short on life. But I do wonder, sometimes, if people don’t trade in or sell back the good books?


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