Pay it forward

June 6, 2008

Yesterday, by accident, I watched the film “Pay it forward” based on the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It’s about Trevor, who in social studies class, has an assignment named “Think of an idea for world change, and put it into action”. Trevor’s idea is quite magnificent:

Trevor helps three persons with something really hard (e.g. helping Jerry off drugs, his social studies teacher into a relationship with Arlene, Trevor’s mother, and finally a classmate not getting beat-up – which unfortunately leads to Trevor being stabbed and killed), and instead of having them paying back the favour, they have to pay it forward to three people each. So far it has helped twelve persons. The nine persons are paying it forward as well. It evolves exponentially, and basically helps everyone.

In 2000, when the book (and film) was released, an actual movement began worldwide. The movement based on the philosophy ‘Pay it forward’, and today there’s a Pay It Forward Foundation promoting the philosophy. The idea is beautiful, and believes in the goodness in all people, which is the problem. Believing in the goodness of human beings has an frightening relation to suicide. I would love to believe in it, but it’s quite naïve. I’m being a critic here, so if anyone out there reading this – would you pay it forward? – please answer truthfully (anonymous if needed :P)

#5: Alan Watts

April 16, 2008

Alan Watts was a philosopher who died in the early seventies. When I discovered the world of Watts, I was simply amazed of how he could transform complex subjects into short satirical radio shows. I found him through Stumbling (StumbleUpon addon for Firefox), and this website has published animations made by the creators of South Park with Alan Watts talking in the background. My favourite is Life & Music. I tried writing it down, but I suggest that you see it for yourselves.

You can watch the rest of the animated pieces here: Freshminds:Alan Watts’ theater.

Alan Watts has a very fine point in Life & Music, a point that I intend to live by. As he suggests, many has missed everything. Luckily, I’m not. I have high expectations for myself, but I won’t let it overrule my wish to live to the fullest. Instead of dying with a bang – although it cool be a cool ending – I wish to explore, learn, experience and live, because I believe that’s what life is all about.

Many is wandering around asking themselves, what is life about? What is the purpose of humankind? It’s an easy question. I haven’t received any particular orders from any superstitional creature or deity, so I made my own purpose in life. However I don’t slack off. One can always fully enjoy freedom and life if one has worked hard to gain it.

Something I never knew until recently, is that the typical question about a certain chicken walking across the road is actually a template to categorize your philosophy, policy or spiritual belief. A child might think that this question is asked to pass the time, but for philosophers this is humour.

I was looking for philosophies when I found a list of notable people answering the question. I tend to believe that it isn’t actually the people themselves answering, but those who studied their philosophy of life, because Buddha is there too. I picked out my favourites, all some that I agree with.

Douglas Adams: Forty-two.
Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.
Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.
Jack Nicholson: ‘Cause it fucking wanted to. That’s the fucking reason.
The Sphinx: You tell me.
Mr. T: If you saw me coming you’d cross the road too!
Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

You can read the rest here.

Live without regret

February 3, 2008

A few years ago, I promised myself to live without regret. It turned out to be really hard to do, not regretting something later. Sometimes it’s because I just went with something without thinking it through, and ended up thinking that I went with the wrong thing. It makes me think, what is regret? But thinking that, what point does my promise have? What regret is has nothing to do with living the way I want to! Live without regret! If I don’t, I’ll probably regret it.

I have a cliche dream

January 31, 2008

It’s become a bit of a cliché to have a dream. Who haven’t been asked, “What do you want to be?”. I admire those who can answer such question without further thought. And yet, it bores me utterly. People always answer as if it was work related. They want to become astronauts or writers. Only in fictitious books and movies, the answer might change. Real peoples dreams are depict thoughtlessness and unimaginativeness. They’re small! At least too small for me.
It is all about whether you want a happy life or a life that has meaning. I strive to get both. Ernest Hemingway once said: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know”. If meaning equals intelligence, then you’re bound to be unhappy. Nonetheless, meaning is rarely fortunate. I wouldn’t call it a dream. Reaching both happiness and meaning in life. Though it’s my wish to comprehend and answer those questions I find in life. Knowledge gives me a feeling of victory.
But I’m going to end up unhappy anyway. Knowledge and understanding isn’t everything. Besides it’s hard work. Sometimes I wish I was stupid. It’s not easy realizing and living with all the harsh truths in life. It’s impossible to ignore and there’s still something I don’t quite understand yet.
Which is why I hate doing irrelevant things, such as studying stones and writing about them. My teachers call it practise, and it’s really not that hard. I just don’t want to know it. It might seem a little ridiculously, but then you’ve misunderstood me. I don’t want to answer just any question, I want to answer my question, which has no connection to stones.
In mathematics, there’s a very important law. I’d say it’s the most important of them all. It goes like this: 2 + 2 = 4. It’s quite simple and logical, just as irrelevant to me as stones. But in my world, the answer isn’t necessarily 4. Actually it’s 5. I don’t understand why, that’s what I want to know. Stones are stones, but what makes a stone equal to something beyond a stone? might think it’s a denial of science, but I love science. Yet to me, there’s a difference in science. There is ugly and beautiful science. Beautiful science is a result with meaning. 2 + 2 = 4 – and then what? While ugly science is just a result. It’s hard to understand, why two plus two equals five. The process of learning it makes me unhappy, which I am bound to be.