I’m immensely grateful for all the emails and comments you’ve been sending in. I’d like to share an interesting response I got lately.
Before we get into it, let’s be abundantly clear about something. I’m not annoyed and I’m not doing this to make fun of people. Which is one reason I’ve kept the identity of the subscriber anonymous.
Here it goes:
I really enjoy your emails and tweets. I think you have a lot of great insights into optimizing life during the short time we are alive. They help me.
I did want to share an observation and maybe a topic to possibly focus your attention on for future emails.
What is the end game of all this optimization? It seems it is experiential/pleasure-oriented. My take is the real meat of life and on time-proven, Lindy style, truths, are not found in the focus on life optimization and pleasure focused. Pleasure is a pointer to something else, something better. It is not the wise thing itself to focus on.
So, real truth, real life, must be found outside the bounds of pleasure-seeking and life optimization.
Just a thought.
Thank you for writing.
If you think this is about optimization or if you expect someone else to give you the “endgame” to your own life, you have learnt nothing.
First, be reminded that pain and suffering are two very different things. Pain happens when someone stabs you with a filthy rusty knife. That’s pain. And it hurts a lot, especially if you’re not in shock.
Suffering happens when you think ABOUT the pain, when you think about the possibility of getting all sorts of ugly diseases from the rusty knife, when you think about bleeding to death etc. You can choose to let go of those thoughts – to stop identifying with them – and the suffering goes away.
Your friend, the pain, sticks around though, until the good doc with the morphine shows up.
I don’t say any of this “in theory”. I’ve been in excruciating fight-for-your-life pain and yet laughing much of the time because I chose to be Aware and let go of the suffering. Keeping my mind clear of that garbage also helped me get through the situation. The pain still hurt. A lot.
So be reminded of this:
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
I speak from experience and about experience because it’s the best way to keep myself honest – and useful. If it’s not practical or doesn’t somehow help your practice, I don’t care much for it. Leave the theory for the quackademics.
This “optimization” gives you the keys to avoiding the suffering and unlocking the Power of Mind. And I never call it optimization because it’s very individual and works nothing like the pseudoscientific optimization Taleb talks about.
You get to keep the pain, if you want. Pain helps you grow, and I’ve been using it since I was a kid, as I wrote in Blood in the Game. You get to lose the suffering, as it isn’t useful.
Now ask yourself some questions:
- When you speak of an endgame – and feel free to define that any way you like – would you rather not avoid a whole bunch of suffering on your way there? – I may be into some pretty kinky stuff, but I know I’d definitely want to skip those extras.
- What’s more Lindy than your brain and its chaotic dynamics, which have evolved over hundreds of millions of years? Taleb’s books? Plato? The pyramids?
- Wouldn’t you rather want to know what the options are before you decide on what you want to pursue? – Because there are SOME options in the Mind that you don’t even suspect are there, especially if you’ve been getting by on SAD (the Standard American Death-diet).
Some things you just have to see for yourself.
Let’s leave it at that for now.