A nurse, having noticed how many visitors Parfit had had, exclaimed, “Jesus Christ had only 12 disciples – but look at you! You’re clearly a very important man. What do you do?” “I work,” Parfit replied with a smile, “on what matters.”
For the whole of his life, he devoted his mornings to activities that could not make money – to study and quiet thought.
I ask Kato how he assesses himself as the top gun. “Well,” he says slowly, “the core point is that I am No. 1 in terms of kindness…
But my primary goal is kindness. If I focus on making money or being the best, it makes for dangerous and selfish driving.”
Robbins embraced a philosophy of limits and absences: the holes that climbers didn’t drill into the stone; the traces they didn’t leave behind; the quiet spaces of the mind they explored in airy solitude.
As a creative person, I am conscious of how I habitually (and still quite uncomfortably) try out new things as the only method by which I truly learn.
If a heroin addict sees on the news that a user or two has died from an overly strong batch of heroin in some housing project somewhere, his first thought is, “Where is that? That’s the stuff I want.”
There is this Stoic exercise where you break apart something sacred into its most basic parts. When you see how unromantic it really is, the object loses all power over you – you maintain the sovereignty of self. Marcus does this throughout Meditations: sex is rubbing and semen, the cloak of the Emperor differs only in color, death is but the end of feeling.