After a bit, I finished this book. I didn’t read the first book that long ago but I felt sometimes it is was difficult to digest this one when he was very “technical”. I don’t remember that from the first.
One of my favourite things is the “Overture” where he gives you a bit of a summary about what has been ongoing with his own health and family health problems. Quite impressive. Then you still have a book.
Still I find quite impressive how much knowledge he can find from Religion (Old testament, New testament, etc), Harry Potter and other fairy tales.
There are rules that look common sense but you realized how easily you skip, ignore or dont notice them. I think it is a good guideline for Living.
1- Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or creative achievement:
People depend on constant communication with others to keep their minds organized. We mostly think by talking. We need to talk both to remember and to forget. We outsource the problem of sanity. People remain mentally healthy not merely because of the integrity of their own minds, but because they are constantly being reminded how to think, act and speak by those around them.
I struggled to understand the title and although I highlight some lines. My take is that socializing is critical for our sanity. And that the social structures we have built during the last couple of millennia has help us to advance and keep sane. So institution is not just a physical building but our social rules
2- Imagine who you could be, and then aim singlemindedly at that:
Everybody requires a story to structure their perceptions and actions in what would be otherwise the overwhelming chaos of being. Every story needs a starting point that is not good enough and an ending that is better. Spirit eternally transcends dogma, truth transcends presupposition, creativity updates society. Those who break the rules ethically are those who have mastered them first and disciplined themselves to understand the necessity of those rules, and break them in keeping with the spirit rather than the letter of the law. The soul willing to transform is the most effective enemy of the demonics of ideology and totalitarianism, in their personal and social forms. Pick the best target you can currently conceptualize, stumble toward it. Somethinig profund, noble and lofty. If you can find a better path along the way, once you have started moving forwards, then switch course. Be careful, with giving up, if the new path appears more challenging, then you are not betraying yourself when changing your mind. You will zigzag forwards (amen), not efficient, but there is no alternative as the goals will change, as you learn what you need to learn while you are disciplining yourself. With will and luck, you will find a story that is meaningful and productive, improves itself with time and provides you with moments of satisfaction.
3- Do not hide unwanted things in the fog:
Do not pretend you are happy with something if you are not, and if a reasonable solution might, in principle, be negotiated, have the damn fight. Unpleasant in the moment, but it is one less straw on the camel’s back. Life is what repeats, and it is worth getting what repeats right. if you keep small things unresolved, as any compound interest, in the long run, it will be a disaster. Even if you try, you can fail. But if you dont try, for sure, you will fail. It is better to see the problems than keeping in the fog, because you can at least sometimes avoid the danger that you are willing to see.
Clean your room, and if possible, beautify it.
It is difficult to win an argument, or begin one, if you have not carefully articulated what you want (or do not) and need (or do not)
4- Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated:
If you want to be invaluable in a workspace, just do the useful things no one else is doing. Learn more about the business and competition.
Difficult is necessary: It is a strange and paradoxical fact that there is a reciprocal relationship between the worth of something and the difficulty of achieving it.
By taking responsability, we can find a meaningful path, improve our personal lot psychologically and make what is intolerably wrong, better.
If you mistep while doing something, you can learn from it. You must risk something that matters.
You must sacrifice something of your manifold potential in exchange for something real in life. Aim at something. Discipline yourself or suffer the consequence = all suffering of life, with none of the meaning = better description of hell.
The voluntary confrontation with a feared, hated or despised obstacle is curative. We become stronger by voluntarily facing what stops our progress.
It is probable, inevitable, that the adventure of your life will frustrate, disappoint and unsettle you, but that is where the deep meaning that orients you and shelters you is to be found. That is where the life what is worth living is to be eternally found. (if only you are willing)
5- Do not do what you hate:
Part of moving Beyond Order is understanding that your conscience has a primary claim on your action, which supersedes your conventional social duty. If you device to stand up and refuse a command or do something of which others disapprove but your firmly believe to be correct, you must be in a position to trust yourself.
6- Abandon ideology:
Ideology is dead (like God as Nietzsche said).We should address and consider smaller, better defined problems. Start small so you can solve them (and not blaming somebody else), then get to bigger ones. Scale. Take it personally and take responsibility of the outcome.
Have some humility. Clean up your room. Take care of your family. Follow your conscience. Straighten up your life. Find something productive and interesting to do and commit. Rinse and repeat.
7- Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens
The inability to decide among ten (ie) things, even desirable, is equivalent to torment by all of them. Clear goals limit and simplify the world, as well, reducing uncertainty, anxiety, shame and stress.
To move forwards with resolve, it is necessary to be organized – to be directed toward something singular and identifiable.
Aim. Point. All this is part of maturation and discipline, and something to be properly valued. if you aim at nothing, you become plagued by everything. If you aim at nothing, you have nowhere to go, nothing to do and nothing of high value in your life, as value requires the ranking of options and sacrifice of the lower to the higher.
Commitments with enduring value: character, love, family, friendship and career.
People who do not choose a job or a career commonly become unmoored and drift. The same for not committing to a single romantic partner or being loyal to friends.
If you work as hard as you can on one thing, you will change. You will become one instead of a multitude.
8- Try to make one room in your home as beautiful as possible.
Cleaning your room is not enough. Making something beautiful is difficult. If you do one thing beautiful in your life, then you can expand to other elements of your life and world. That is a reconnection with the immortality of childhood. Find one that speaks to you and make the purchase. Art is the bedrock of culture of itself. That unites psychologically and establish productive peace with others. “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). I always say that I just need bread and water… (and then I say to myself, I need/want company) When we become adults , we see the work differently: we want efficiency, accomplishment and order. A child is focus in the present and gets fascinated by that.
Artists are always transforming chaos into order. That happens a lot in cities where they relocated to rough areas and they transform them to nice places. Then the capitalism throws them away to a new place. Start again. They are the initial civilizing agents.
You are very creative when you are dreaming. Beauty leads back to what you have lost.
9- If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely
Learn from the past. Or repeat its horrors forever. And for that, you need to understand it, and one of the best ways it is to write it down: reduces existential uncertainty, anxiety, improves mental health and boosts immunological function.
Your refusal or even inability to come to terms with the errors of the past expands the source of such error. So you must confess, repent and change (when wrong). You must humbly ask, and knock, and seek.
What is traumatic but remains inexplicable indicates that our “maps” world is insufficient in some vital manner. It is our destiny to transform chaos into order. If the past has not been ordered, the chaos is still haunts us.
10- Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationship
You need a strategy and that depends of a negotiation. You and your partner must know what the other wants/needs and you both need the will to discuss it. If you dont communicate, the other has to guess: recipe for disaster. Romance requires trust and that is based on truth. Still there will be bad times (and not short in time). So for that reason to you need to have that communication. In the bad moments, you have to past the tears to have a real conversation. Do not foolishly confuse “nice” with “good”. Dedicate team each week to talk to your partner purely about practical and personal matters. Dont skip it and make it count.
Assumptions that are not true: 1) there is somebody out there that is perfect and 2) there is somebody out there that is perfect for you.
The myth of spontaneity (I love this one). You are adults, both have (demanding) jobs, (demanding) family and other (demanding) duties. And you have to sleep, eat, commute, etc. Where do you fit that in that life schedule? And you dont settle for anything less than spontaneity??? Good luck.
Arrange some dates and practice. Negotiate and practice. Bloody communicate.
11- Do not allow yourself to become resentful, deceitful or arrogant
It is difficult to learn (X), because there is no story associated with it. If someone is telling you a story, it attracts your attention immediately (ie periodic table)
Malevolence exists in our hearts, mastering it constitutes the greatest and unlikeliest of individual achievements.
We are built, neurologically, to interpret the world in a dramatic manner due to the hypothalamus, our ancient/reptile brain. It is in charge of self-preservation and exploration. So the hypothalamic story is: drink, eat, reproduce (sex), watch out for monsters and explore to be able to the the beginning. We are driven to explore.
Sacrifice: discovery of the future. abandon impulse gratification (present), obtain something valuable in the long run (future)
Deal with problems is part of living. If you isolate from evil, you will end like the Disney movies. And like Buddha, he escaped a “perfect” life because it was not natural. And in Matrix whole crops of humans were lost because we can’t live in a perfect world…. That avoids resentment because you dont feel like a victim anymore.
We must listen to people who differ from us because they have the ability to see and react to what we can’t see/detect.
Encouragement (see the problems, analyze, divide, make a plan) makes people to face the problems head-on. That is voluntary. You become braver, stronger and more courageous. We have more of that than we think.
The alternative is resentment and that doesn’t make any good.
If you take your turn at the difficult tasks, people learn to trust you, you learn to trust yourself, and you get better at doing difficult things. You can’t get away with avoiding your responsibilities (problem with your partner, at work, etc). This is connected to with disbelief in our own capabilities (Adam blamed Eva for eating the apple….)
The right attitude to the horror of existence (the alternative to resentment, deceit and arrogance) is the assumption that there is enough of you, society and the world to justify existence.
12- Be grateful in spite of your suffering
You can’t be really grateful or thankful for what good you have and what bad hasn’t hit you until you encounter the darkness of living. You look in dark places to protect/prepare yourself, because they will come. Human race has been dealing with death forever. We are the descendants of those who managed it. So that is in all of us. You are morally obligated to manifest strength in the face of adversity to indicate to yourself (and whoever is around) that there is something in you enough to face the worst throw to you and still prevail. That can make a bad situation much less dreadful that it might be. And that’s something.
Gratitude is therefore the process of consciously and courageously attempting thankfulness in the face of catastrophe in life (this is something in which you can discover part of the antidote to the abyss and the darkness)