Our lives are performed in dramatic arcs that intersect and reflect and repulse and reflex: Are we divinely predestined or merely reflexive? The other day, I was thinking back on when I was a young child and, feeling alone and frustrated, I would climb a cherry tree in our backyard to get away from all the noise and hubbub of earthly living. From my vantage point 20 feet in the air, I could smell the wind and get a sense of a horizon that was far and above my current station.
Today is the third day in a row I’m writing about the death of the great author and teacher, Dr. Howard Stein, because I just can’t get his life out of my mind. Every time we’d meet or speak on the phone, I would take copious notes because I didn’t want to forget anything he told me.
Every conversation was ripe and ready for memorialization in a blog post or in a future thinking endeavor. Howard Stein was always teaching, and when you had his attention, you were the most important person in the world to him. He was staunchly rational and fearless almost up to the end; and I say “almost” because during the last few months of his life, he confessed to me that, at night, he would get scared.
There are many things that children say when they are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Children will say that they want to be an astronaut, or that they want to be the president of the United States. (The fact that an over two hundred year life of the United States have yielded but 44 presidents does not seem to hinder teachers in grade school from telling large groups of children that they could be president if they wanted to be president.) No child, as far as I am aware, has ever said that they hope one day to live their life in prison.
Twitter has done a lot of things in the last six years since it launched from giving everyone the ability to tweet about their daily tinkle routines to social revolution, but the one thing that it seems to prove is that people do not seem to ever learn that if you put something out on Twitter it is not that different from yelling it from a rooftop.
For one, a good number of people have been outright fired or otherwise lost their jobs because of posts they have made on Twitter. I would never imagine anybody other than someone who didn’t care about their employment status going onto a rooftop to announce to the world that they were going to get a job that they hated but would get a big paycheck for it.
I have always believed we must live our lives and make decisions based on insufficient evidence we have in hand and then live with the consequences of those uninformed responses. I do not believe in regret. Regret is poison. Regret is emotional and intellectual suicide that decays the body from within. Reflecting on a reflexive life is different than regret. We must reflect in order to know what not to do in the future.
A couple of days ago, the Cambridge University Press sent me a fresh copy of their latest book by Steve Stewart-Williams: Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew.
Do we want to regulate artificial life? Or should we simply let new lifeforms evolve as they must and come into being as they want to join us, destroy us, or find their end with us?
How easy is it to waste your life? We work. We ponder. We rarely live. We prefer complaining over action. We want tears of understanding stead of a hand up out of a pit.
J. D. Salinger, John Hughes, Greta Garbo, and Thomas Pynchon. Writer, director, actress, and another writer — but what do they have in common? Simply put, they all are, or were, seekers of intensive privacy even though they live(d) public lives. They all sought to create Art and then chose to retreat back into their own private world to enjoy their lives without the intrusion of cameras or interviewers.
Breathless, stumbling — she looked back and saw regret chasing yearning.
Many non-theatre students who take an acting class think two things: It will be an easy class and acting is pretending to be something you are not. They are always fearful to learn how wrong they are on both counts. The good students overcome their overweening to discover new niches of existence and broader planes of self discovery.