Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Guinea Pig I

I like Gandhi's autobiography for two reasons:
one: he's very truthful and doesn't conceal his shortcomings very much.
two: he talks about how he had made his whole life an experiment. He didn't just believe one thing or another, he heard of a way of doing things, and then he tried it and saw how it worked.
three: it's a story about someone who was fairly successful as a person, and I'm always interested in what it is that makes people successful. Though my researches have shown that it is only half controllable: you need certain characteristics, and you need dumb luck.

and yes, I am aware that in general 3 does not = 2. but it can. For instance, two sticks of butter might = three cups of butter. Or two people might equal three people eventually, if they get their giggy on.

The main point I'm thinking about now though, is point two; making your life an experiment. That seems like the thing to do. Another famous person who did that (not movie-star famous. this person actually did something useful for his fame) is Buckminster Fuller. He said many times that after his eye-opening spiritual experience that kept him from committing suicide, he decided to make his life an experiment, to see what one man could do for the world... lets see if I can find the exact quote.

... not so far, except for the tidbit that he gave himself the nickname, "Guinea Pig B" to signify that his life was his experiment. But did find some awesome other ones:

"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."

"The Things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done — that no one else has told you to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed by others on the individual."

"I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe."

OK, here it is:

...I set about fifty-five years ago (1927) to see what a penniless, unknown human individual with a dependent wife and newborn child might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity in realistically developing such an alternative program. Being human, I made all the mistakes there were to be made, but I learned to learn by realistic recognition of the constituent facts of the mistake-making and attempted to understand what the uncovered truths were trying to teach me."

I translate that as: he made his life an experiment, to see if even someone in as unpromising conditions as him could make a difference. He made a lot of mistakes, but he learned from them.
a few more I liked:

"Dare to be naïve."

"I think it's absolutely touch-and-go whether we're going to make it. But the point is, for me to tell you that you have an option is not to be optimistic... Time and again, of course I am running into millions who don't know we have the option, because it's invisible, and I feel I have tremendous responsibility. So when people ask me to come and talk to them, I do my best to let them know they do have the option. Of course they're pessimistic, not knowing that."

"The courage to cooperate or initiate are based entirely on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as the divine mind within you tells you the truth is. It really does require a courage and a self-disciplining to go along with that truth."

"I never try to tell anybody else what to do, number one. And number two, I think that's what the individual is all about. Each one of us has something to contribute. This really depends on each one doing their own thinking, but not following any kind of rule that I can give out, any command. We're all on the frontier, we're all in a great mystery — incredibly mysterious. Each one possesses exactly what each one is working out, and what each one works out relates to their particular set of circumstances of any one day, or any one place around the world."

"I have to say, I think that we are in some kind of final examination as to whether human beings now, with this capability to acquire information and to communicate, whether we're really qualified to take on the responsibility we're designed to be entrusted with. And this is not a matter of an examination of the types of governments, nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with economic systems. It has to do with the individual. Does the individual have the courage to really go along with the truth?"

"Integrity of the individual is what we're being judged for and if we are not passing that examination, we don't really have the guts, we'll blow ourselves up. It will be all over. I think it's all the difference in the world."

"The question of integrity will get finer and finer and more delicate and more beautiful."

"Every child has an enormous drive to demonstrate competence. If humans are not required to earn a living to be provided survival needs, many are going to want very much to be productive, but not at those tasks they did not choose to do but were forced to accept in order to earn money. Instead, humans will spontaneously take upon themselves those tasks that world society really needs to have done."

this is all taken from wiki-quotes. so it may be misattributed, may be plagiarized, whatever. but regardless, it's good stuff.

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