Archive for the ‘Common illusions’ category


April 2, 2012

It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.–Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Good Omens)

Good and bad are labels, they are judgements. Fudamentally they are both ways of dismissing people. We label them and then we don’t have to think about them anymore. There’s no need to be present when we deal with them, we know exactly how to treat them.


April 1, 2012

I don’t always know what I’m talking about but I know I’m right.–Muhammad Ali

We always think we are right about everything. In our hearts we know that we are unlikely to be right about everything, but we ignore that fact. Instead we look at things one at a time thinking: but surely I’m right about this one. And we apply that thinking to each of our thoughts and beliefs. We fall into the fallacy of composition.


March 29, 2012

In my shop I handle all kinds of merchandise. If someone comes looking for rat shit I’ll sell him rat shit. If someone comes looking for gold I’ll sell him pure gold.–Zen Master Yang-shan

As it turns out, the price for pure gold is high, very high indeed. Even the downpayment is steep, you must give up all of you illusions. Ind the end you must give up all that you have and all that you think you are even your very self.


March 28, 2012

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.–Mahatma Gandhi

The “forgiveness” of the weak is not real forgiveness. Rather is is a way for the weak to feel superior to the strong. True forgiveness means taking responsibility for our feelings, and our lives. It does not mean saying that our oppressors are okay it means recoognizing that while our oppressors can cause us pain, they cannot cause us to suffer unless we let them. Only the strong can do that.


March 27, 2012

Cynic: A disillusioned idealist who regularly passes judgement on the world for failing to live up to his high standards/–me

Normally we think of a cynic as a pessimist with a sour view of reality. This is not the case. A cynic is someone who thinks the world is not as it should be, as it would be if he were in charge. The payoff for this view is the feeling of superiority they get because they are the only one who knows just how things should be. They are the ones who could fix things if only the fools running things would get out of the way.


March 26, 2012

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.–Lewis Carroll

It really doesn’t work backwards all that well either. Memories are the stories we made up about what happened, not what actually happened. Some of us make up more accurate stories, but they are stories nonetheless.


March 22, 2012

All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.–K. Vonnegut (Cat’s Cradle)

We don’t actually have direct acces to reality. Everything we percieve is filtered through our unconscious beliefs and expectations before it reaches us. This is only the first step in the process in which our minds make up a story about what is happening and what it means. As a result, all the true things we “know” are conclusions we’ve drawn about the story we made up in our minds. If they happen to be actually true that’s pretty much a coincidence.