Wisdom Archive

Lessons from Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant

I’m currently reading Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant and absolutely loving it. This book is a goldmine of knowledge and wisdom. Here are a few of the gems I’ve taken from this book and found them incredibly powerful insights.

Lessons from Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant

“If the average man had had his way there would probably never have been any state. Even today he resents it, classes death with taxes, and yearns for that government which governs least. If he asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.”

“Shame is a child of custom rather than of nature.”

“No language has ever had a word for a virgin man.”

Because men are sex machines and women were property.

“There is hardly an absurdity of the past that cannot be found flourishing somewhere in the present. Underneath all civilization, ancient or modern, moved and still moves a sea of magic, superstition and sorcery. Perhaps they will remain when the works of our reason have passed away.”

“Civilizations are the generations of the racial soul. As family-rearing, and then writing, bound the generations together, handing down the lore of the dying to the young, so print and commerce and a thousand ways of communication may bind the civilizations together, and preserve for future cultures all that is of value for them in our own. Let us, before we die, gather up our heritage, and offer it to our children.”

“The worst conceivable government would be by philosophers; they botch every natural process with theory; their ability to make speeches and multiply ideas is precisely the sign of their incapacity for action.”

“There are not many things finer in our murderous species than this noble curiosity, this restless and reckless passion to understand.”

This is an awesome library of books to add to your collection. Find it here:

What Really Matters at the End of Life

Today’s post is short, but the video is long (19m) and well worth the watch. I spent most of the long 4th of July weekend with my girlfriend and family roasting on a lakeside beach of New Hampshire. We ate lots of ice cream, laughed, drank, read, flew a kite, played games, swam, and slept a lot. I have a good sunburn and sand stuck between my toes to prove it. I squeezed in a little writing today on Ascending Shadows – Book 6 of the Age of Dawn.

I leave you with this video for some food for thought:

Top 10 Quotes from The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant

I recently read The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. The book is amazing. Here are just a few of my favorite gems from the book.

1. “But a tornado can ruin in an hour the city that took a century to build; an iceberg can overturn or bisect the floating palace and send a thousand merrymakers gurgling to the Great Certainty.”

2. “Generations of men establish a growing mastery over the earth, but they are destined to become fossils in its soil.”

3. “The startled animals scurry away at our coming; the birds scatter; the fish disperse in the brook. Suddenly we perceive to what a perilous minority we belong on this impartial planet, and for a moment we feel, as these varied denizens clearly do, that we are passing interlopers in their natural habitat. Then all the chronicles and achievements of man fall humbly into the history and perspective of polymorphous life; all our economic competition, our strife for mates, our hunger and love and grief and war, are akin to the seeking, mating, striving, and suffering that hide under these fallen trees or leaves, or in the waters, or on the boughs.”

4. “Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law.”

5. “Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization.”

6. “Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way.”

7. “If the human brood is too numerous for the food supply, Nature has three agents for restoring the balance: famine, pestilence, and war.”

8. “In every age men have been dishonest and governments have been corrupt; probably less now than generally before.”

9. “We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written (peccavimus) is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting— because it is exceptional.”

10. “Laws which were once presented as the decrees of a god-given king are now frankly the confused commands of fallible men.”

Buy the book! It’s short and jam packed with more stuff like this. You won’t regret it.

I wear my scars as roses of courage

Here is a really awesome poem I wanted to share with you by Paramahansa Yogananda, most notable for his book Autobiography of a Yogi. I don’t really consider myself a religious or spiritual person, but I do like to read a lot of stuff. I signed up for the self-realization fellowship lessons to learn more about the innards of some Eastern style spiritual teachings. If you have any interest, I would recommend singing up for them. The most valuable things I’ve learned from the self-realization fellowship is how to properly meditate and focus my mind. This practice has massive carryover into other cognitively demanding activities.  Here’s the poem:

I wear my scars as roses of courage

I have bled for Thy Name; and for Thy Name’s sake I am willing ever to bleed.  Like a mighty warrior, with gory limbs, injured body, wounded honor, and a thorn crown of derision, undismayed I fight on. My scars I wear as roses of courage, of inspiration to persevere in the battle against evil.

I may continue to suffer blows on my arms outstretched to help others, and receive persecution instead of love. But my soul shall ever bask in the sunshine of Thy blessings, O Lord! Thou dost guide Thy soldier’s campaigns that conquer for Thee the lands of human hearts now oppressed by sadness.

With the transfiguring sword of wisdom I smite the error foe. My army of freedom thoughts is disciplined by the divine martinet, Singlehearted Devotion to Thee. Blowing trumpets of Thy liberating Name, the battalions march into enemy occupied territory: maya-deluded minds.

May the legions of light banish the despot Darkness —  usurper in man’s kingdom of consciousness.

Oh, in my invasions of the continents of ignorance, Thou hast ever been Commander in Chief!
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Do you have any particular religious or spiritual practice? If so, what do you most like about it?
P.S. Want a good laugh? watch this youtube video:

The Wit of Sir Isaac Newton

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This is my copy, a little abused now 🙂

I like to read wide and a lot of varied books. Today I was reading Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger — I highly recommend buying this book, though it is expensive. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s written by a finance guy. Charlie Munger is Warren Buffet’s right hand man. This book is jam packed with wisdom, each page with gems you could spend days ruminating about. He often references the wisdom of those that came before him, one those people being Isaac Newton.

Here are some of his pithy quotes about life that I love:

“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy”

“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.”

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

“If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work.”

“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.”

“If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Who are your role models? What quotes do you love?  Leave a comment down below.