When you get good at lying to others, you get especially good at lying to yourself. The former will hurt you; the latter will kill you. We don't lie to ourselves without fooling ourselves about the nature of a lie. Our skill at self-deception is prodigious. We lie by degrees, and so it becomes impossible to tell where the lie begins and where the lie ends. This process produces not an error but a condition. And this condition strips us of more than truth; it strips us of our true identity. We cannot see ourselves and so we cannot see anything else.
A story is, essentially, character plus action. Its atomic unit is the sentence — subject plus predicate. Predication brings the story into time. It powers the forward motion or, more accurately, it characterizes the forward motion. Story is a microcosm. Its ending is not necessarily culmination. In fact, the nature of the ending, the measure of its character’s success, is not so dependent on the general structure as it is on the specific timing. There are stories where the character’s death is the tale’s terminus. But outcomes outlast particular characters. Endings bound meaning. In my own story, it is either satisfactory or unsatisfactory, depending on where you position the climax.
It may be better to pursue wisdom before truth. Without wisdom, one could not recognize the Truth (capitalization intended) even if one encountered it. One may argue that wisdom is a form of truth, yet I use the word “wisdom” to represent a (dynamic) means. And I use the word “Truth” to represent a (static) end — a sort of ultimate designation. The latter may not be possible, but the former may be just possible. In some sense, wisdom could enable a man to function “well” in spite of his inability to obtain (ultimate) Truth.
There is a fine line between the improbable and the impossible. Great leaders know where that line is, but the greatest of leaders move the line.
The day a leader stops the relentless progression towards the new and the better is the day the leader stops leading and starts holding. Companies need leaders not holders.
Often in my life I have developed series of propositions that seemed original. On some of these, now, I look back and smile. As a child, I worked out a theory that I thought was my own. Its essence was an understanding of existence. I wrote the words, "I think, and so I exist." I could not know, at that point, that my seemingly original thought was little more than a rework of Descartes.
As a boy I found a copy of Spinoza. I read it through and, for the most part, disagreed. Tragically, I was more disappointed in his thought structure than I was in his theory. At first, his work promised to organize my inner chaos. It did not. Nothing in philosophy has been able to tame my churnings.
At times, though, I'll reach out and touch a truth that seems profound enough to at least medicate my condition. Invariably, I discover it somewhere else. This morning I read in the works of Pyrrho of Elis, a series of insights that relates to some of my earlier thinking. I'm not disappointed to find this work. I'm not surprised anymore.
Now, as thoughts occur to me that seem new or profound, I experience them as satire. Who knows? If there be any consolation, it is only this: experiencing an insight from within — before experiencing it from without — produces a different effect in my soul. Sometimes the dark liquor of a new discovery gives me temporary relief.
Avenging a fool is a waste of time. You don’t have to worry; you don’t have to get even. Life does it for you.
There is a competitive advantage in simplicity, but there may be a greater advantage in complexity. Simplicity of vision is different than complexity of execution. This calls for a shift in thinking. A simple vision often requires an (especially) complex execution. This complexity can be a significant competitive barrier. It also serves as a trap wherein those competitors seduced by the idea’s simplicity underestimate its complexity.
In discussing art, I have said to my daughter “Every story is a song, every song is a painting, and every painting is a story.” When you distill the essence of any one of these art forms, you extract a becoming, and that becoming is the force of all great art. The becoming cries out to be revealed.
Do not take a person’s art lightly. Either do not take it at all, or take it seriously. Taking it seriously does not mean liking it, but you must respect the effort. It is better to have no opinion than a weak opinion.