There is a simple saying in Japanese that epitomizes the nature of striving for excellence, “Ue ni wa ue ga aru.” It translates literally as, “Above up, there is something even higher above up.
If you try to get respectability, it will always come at a price of softening the edges, modulating what you say. You want to always put substance over status.
If you just look at a page and drag things around and play with fonts, you think you’re a genius and you’re in full control of your world.
Curiosity in its turn is insubordination in its purest form.
If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we are up for grabs for the next charlatan—political or religious—who comes ambling along.
Günter Grass has died.
He said this:
The citizen’s first duty is not to keep quiet.
The times I laughed about trivial things have became precious moments. I thought living an ordinary life was the easiest thing, but I’ve realized it is the hardest thing.
The key to contentment is to live life to the fullest within the confines of your comfort zone. Stay in safe waters but plunge as deeply into them as possible. If you’re good at something, do it a lot. If you’re bad at something, just don’t do it. Celebrate it. Be the best noncook you can be…
Then there’s the Russian joke about the angel who appears to an old man, offering him anything he wants, with the caveat that his neighbour will get twice as much. He ponders, before replying, “I’d like to lose sight in one eye.”
These elegant new editions of Inoue’s work are in keeping with his masterfully understated prose. They are best read quietly, the better to hear what is left unsaid.
We humans are, in the end, stupid creatures who cannot help desiring that someone know us as we are.
Thich Nhat Hanh:
Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause; it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect and hope for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. The desire to understand ourselves and to understand life is a deep thirst. There’s also the deep thirst to be loved and to love. We are ready to love and be loved. It’s very natural. But because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. Sometimes we haven’t had the time to understand ourselves, yet we’ve already found the object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty. You want to find something, but you don’t know what to search for. In everyone there’s a continuous desire and expectation; deep inside, you still expect something better to happen. That is why you check your email many times a day!
… we never see the one truth that would help us begin to solve our ethical and political problems: that we are all more or less wrong, that we are all at fault, all limited and obstructed by our mixed motives, our self-deception, our greed, our self-righteousness and our tendency to aggressivity and hypocrisy.
…the greatest rock n’roll musicians are desperate men. You gotta have something bothering you, all the time.
I have always thought that if the Virgin Group were ever to adopt such a motto, then something along the lines of ‘Ipsum Sine Timore, Consectetur’ would look incredibly impressive on a scroll right below our familiar red Virgin logo.
Loosely translated from the Latin this means ‘Screw It, Let’s Do It’ and, as mission statements go, that’s about as real as it gets!
The presence of others can only inhibit this process (of creative thinking), since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.
Ask yourself what Stevie Nicks would do, and the answer will come to you: You can go your own way! You can ring like a bell through the night! You can rule your life like a fine skylark, and when the sky is starless!
Everything we are asked to look at is abrupt, bright, and loud in the visual sense of the word, especially the evening news. We are expected to react to it, not to consider it. It is addressed to our nervous systems, never to our minds.
I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young. There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I’d just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It’s disgusting. To have to sit next to grown men on the subway in the summer, and they’re wearing shorts? It’s repulsive. They look ridiculous, like children, and I can’t take them seriously.
Amazon, like most organizations, has lots of meetings. But at the important ones, alongside the chairs in which his executives, marketing mavens, and software jockeys take their places, Bezos includes one more chair that remains empty. It’s there to remind those assembled who’s really the most important person in the room: the customer.
The empty chair has become legendary in Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.