“Where books are burned, in the end people will burn”.
19th Century German author and literary critic, Heinrich Heine, spoke these words, and they were more than just a well sounding maxim. Totalitarian regimes thrive wherever ideas contrary to their own are suppressed. They thrive when books are burned.
Harvard literary professor Duncan White echoed these sentiments, penning a piece for the New York Times called The Authoritarian’s Worst Fear? A Book. He referenced authoritarian regimes around the world — those of China, Hungary, Brazil, the Philippines, North Korea — and their attempts to curb the internet and censor books. …
Human beings are wired to move forward — to get better, faster, stronger, and evolve.
One can learn from their own life experience, or, if they’re looking for a fast track, seek counsel from coaches, mentors, podcasts and books.
Self-help books are supposed to help us stand on the shoulders of giants, but the thing about self-help books is that they inherently suggest that we need help and therefore, that something is wrong with us.
They are full of ideals to aspire to, and ideals that ultimately leave us with internal conflict when we compare them with how we’re living our own lives. …
‘F*ck you money’ is defined by UrbanDictionary as ‘the exact amount of money required in order to tell an individual or organization to go f*ck themselves without facing repercussions’. But most people take ‘fuck you money’ to mean extreme amounts of wealth — you know, yachts, private jets, penthouse apartments — and they never see themselves in a position of having such money.
And in today’s material world, people are forever seeking more.
A fatter salary. A nicer house. A faster car. A hotter girlfriend.
Thanks to our innate negativity bias, we’re predisposed to asking “what’s wrong with this picture?” or “what could be better?”, and ”how is this person’s life better than mine?” (which social media’s intensely selective posting does a terrible job at answering, by the way). …
Hagakure (‘in the shadow of leaves’) is a book of thoughts and sayings that capture the essence of the Bushido — the Way of the Samurai warrior. These thoughts and sayings were narrated by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, (1659–1719) a samurai of the Saga Domain in Hizen Province, who devoted his life to his master, Nabeshima Mitsushige.
As one might expect, Hagakure contains many useful life lessons, but also many passages pertaining to beheadings, and some of what I hope my readers won’t find useful such as the following:
If you cut a face lengthwise, and urinate on it, and trample on it with straw sandals, it is said that the skin will come off. …
I was only seven years old when I was indoctrinated into my first political tribe.
The year was 1991, and the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia was on the brink of a civil war that would devastate its Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian population and leave 140,000 people dead.
My parents hailed from the then Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, but left the country in 1970 in pursuit of a better life in Australia. Surprisingly, the Republic of Macedonia managed to declare its independence from Yugoslavia in September of 1991 without being pulled into yet another bloody balkan war.
But the country would not slip seamlessly into independence. Protestations erupted out of its southern neighbour, Greece, around the name ‘Macedonia’ — something Greece claimed infringed upon its own history and territorial sovereignty. The country introduced a debilitating trade embargo on its landlocked northern neighbour, and stoked the flames of nationalism amongst both Macedonians and Greeks in Australia. …
50 Cent was recently accused of no longer being Black by ex-girlfriend Chelsea Handler because of his vocal support for Donald Trump. This was just the latest in a long line of alleged progressive genetics befalling prominent celebrities.
In 2016, billionaire tech entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, was labeled as no longer gay by an LGBT publication because of his own support for Trump.
Apparently, if you are Black, Hispanic, gay, transgender, or a woman, you must vote Democrat, or rescind your membership to your respective group(s). At least, that’s the common narrative coming out of the far left.
Well, if this is the case, then the United States currently finds itself with almost five million less Black and Hispanic people. …
Johnny Depp — the iconic star of films such as Donnie Brasco, Edward Scissorhands and Finding Neverland — has become the latest victim of cancel culture.
Warner Bros has asked him to resign from the Harry Potter prequel franchise, Fantastic Beasts, whilst he has reportedly been fired from The Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise, where he played the unmistakable role of Jack Sparrow.
This comes on the back of his failed libel case against Britain’s Sun newspaper. The Sun had claimed that Depp was abusive towards his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard (34), something Depp contested. Despite the evidence to the contrary in a 129-page ruling, Depp argued that he was not abusive and rather, that he was abused by Heard. …
In the days leading up to the 2020 US Election, Kamala Harris released a video dubbed Equality v Equity.
In it, she depicted two men — one white, the other Black — climbing up a mountain. The white man has access to a rope, whereas the Black man also has a rope but it is out of reach. As a result, the white man reaches the summit whilst the Black man stays at the foot of the mountain.
In the video, narrated by Harris, she says that “it’s about giving people the resources and support they need so that everyone can be on equal footing, and then compete on equal footing”, which in and of itself is an admirable world view, albeit not a very realistic one. …
Friedrich Nietzsche said that human beings fool themselves to orient towards the future.
We tend to rationalize our sub-optimal choices in order to keep debilitating emotions at bay, and move forward with our lives.
“My children were meant to be born” utters one woman with an otherwise unhappy marriage.
“It pays well” utters another with a grossly unsatisfying job.
“If <undesirable event> didn’t happen, then I wouldn’t be who I am today”, says another.
Of course, things are for the most part, never perfect, and perhaps there is some utility in the deterministic world view that life happens to you, and by accepting this rather than fighting it, we can align expectations with reality and be more content. …
Roman statesman and philosopher, Seneca the Younger, once wrote that ““People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
He was only half right.
We might be frugal in guarding our financial assets and tangible property, but not so when it comes to our mental real estate — our mindshare.
Several years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with squatters who had taken up residence at an investment property of mine. The law in Australia dictated that I couldn’t forcibly remove the squatters, nor could the Police. The balance of power rested with the squatters (despite the fact that I was the one servicing the mortgage), and so, to retain access and control over my property, I had to lodge an application with my local civil administrative tribunal. Several months of forfeited rent, headaches and sleepless nights later, the squatters were served with an eviction notice by the State and were promptly removed from the property. …