Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Things.  §

© CTW / 1980
  • There is no better indication of where we are as a culture than the reduction of Sesame Street to a half-hour HBO program devoid of human characters.
  • Steve Jobs’ biography is only usefully instructive if you are young. If you have reached middle age and have children and a particular life trajectory already, it is unable to help you.
  • At some point, even the most patient person must face the fact that time is no longer on their side.
  • Cultural differences are like riptides—massive, but subtle and invisible until you have given up caution. It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of complacency until you are drowning without any hope of rescue.
  • There is a reason for all of the advice that the old give to the young. Nearly everyone will eventually learn this. Those that don’t mistake their having won the lottery for wisdom.
  • As a child, an hour is forever. As a teenager, a week is forever. As a young adult, a year is forever. As a middle-aged person, a decade is forever. In your final years, only forever is forever; everything else is literally instantaneous, as durable only as a fleeting flash of memory.
  • I cannot think as clearly, as acutely, or as rapidly as I used to. By the time you reach forty, you can sense the decline of your faculties.
  • I still long for the day when I will be free to say what I think on every occasion without fear. It may never come. That may be the meaning of the admonition that “Happiness is being able to tell the truth without ever hurting anyone.”
  • Despite what I said above, the very young have a wisdom all their own, unclouded by self-serving sentimentality and rationalization. It is probably closer to truth. The problem is that mere humans do in fact have to live life, and this is all but impossible over the long term without self-serving sentimentality and rationalization.
  • As teenagers, everyone thinks they’re “different.” Young adults realize that no-one is actually different and have to make their peace with it. Then, a few arrive at middle age and have to make their peace all over again, this time over the fact that they really are “different” after all—and that far from being a happy thing, it is a cross that will be borne alone for the rest of their years.
  • Voltaire’s admonition to tend one’s own garden may be noble in a way, but it turns out that nobility is not inspiring.
  • Talk is cheap. Action is also cheap. Humans are cheap. Everything seems so consequential because we are so inconsequential. Yes, this is a variation on a common theme.
  • Indignation is the most powerful force known to humankind. Unjustified indignation is the most needlessly destructive one. Justified indignation is the most impotent one. Neither can be measured by the person experiencing them, and in no way does it matter.
  • My grandfather was right. There is only one calling that matters. The calling of the poet, in the classical sense. The rest is all children petulantly throwing rocks at the gods.
  • Christianity is the bedrock of Western civilization, its analog that interestingly replaces the body of Christ with the body of society the bedrock of Eastern civilization. Lose either of these and civilization goes. Despite having access to both, we are on the verge of losing both.
  • Love and hate are certainly not two sides of the same coin, and neither has much to do with the other at all. The fact that people mistakenly believe this silly assertion has everything to do with the fact that in our society, we have lost any knowledge of true love, much to the detriment of all. The psychologists are wrong because they have never seen the genuine article either.
  • There is nothing more abhorrent to the narcissist than the accusation that he or she is a narcissist. They are upset by such an accusation not because of its personal nature, but in fact because of what they find to be its impersonal nature.
  • Childhood ends at the precise moment when evil and danger become objective, rather than subjective, forces and presences in the world.
  • There is no such thing as a happy J. Not an NJ, not an SJ, not an EJ, not an IJ. Js are never happy. Es are rarely happy, ES types even less so. Best to be an IP, where you are not at all dependent on bending others to your own curious will to try to find meaning of some kind in life.
  • People are afraid of people that appear different to them, not just at the level of culture, but at the level of individual personality. They are afraid because this difference shatters the lie that people are all the same “underneath it all.” They are afraid because the reality of difference undermines their alibi.
  • The greatest people I’ve ever known were people who were “marked” in day to day life. They failed at all the little things, but were in tune with truth at a deeper level. People who are focused entirely on the little things of culture (this is, in fact, most of the world’s population) expend much energy maintaining what doesn’t matter in the end, and have nothing left for much that does.

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