I am by no means someone in a position to present truths, but over the years, there have been a few simple points I arrived at as they occurred to me, or as I read the brief literature across various disciplines.
As such, what I have here are largely aphorisms, (with extended descriptions where I think it helps) and are open to interpretations, and subjected to disapproval.
It’s a short collection, but each point has always been something for me to mull over, and I hope it gets one started on thinking a bit more.
Everyone, without exception, behaves in especially disturbing ways.
Our private lives and thoughts are often highly scandalous: we indulge our fantasies through erotica or more; we may take drugs or have an affair on the sly; or we may secretly be thinking about someone in ways we shouldn’t. Really, the list goes on.
We spend our lives fulfilling the expectations of others.
We live not for ourselves, but for others, that their opinions and ambitions should somehow have more weight.
People do get away with their crimes.
Though it’s comforting to think that evil will get its comeuppance, that little detail can only be found in movie scripts. Those who lie, cheat and subvert, do go on to live thoroughly fulfilling lives at the expense of others.
We behave in ways that deliberately inflict self-misery.
To improve a situation, we sometimes just need to forget a person we loved, study harder or have more realistic expectations. It’s easy on paper, impossible in most cases.
Lying, especially self-deception, is compulsory to cope with living.
It’s the only way we can pretend we had few regrets, or to justify otherwise morally questionable decisions.
Religion is mankind’s darkest shadow.
The purging of ‘heretics’, the perpetual conflict with science and rationalism, the belief that one does God’s work, have all have seen many, many intellectual sparks extinguished on the altar of faith.
Life is a series of perpetual comparisons.
Happiness only makes sense in the context of pain and suffering. Your success depends on others failing.
It’s impossible to fully understand one’s self.
Observers are more accurate at pinning down our personalities or spotting our errors.
We have a great deal of unconscious prejudice or bias towards a race, group or individual.
Neutrality doesn’t exist.
What we believe is right or wrong is all a product of culture and instinct. Few people sit down to justify their beliefs or positions. Mostly, they don’t have the time, or can’t be bothered.
Suicide (and consequently mental illness) is common.
Present statistics hold it at 16 per 100,000.
Pretending we are normal or trying to fit in is the most important and useless acting skill at our disposal.
The price you pay is individuality but most can’t handle being snubbed or judged.
News outlets focus on interesting topics, not necessary substance.
It’s why you rarely have opinion pieces on religious criticisms but plenty when Madonna adopts a stray dog.
Good listeners and great conversations are rare.
The person we can see ourselves talking to for several hours without pretensions or an exercise in caution is someone to hold on to. For life.
Romantic love is situational.
Who we fall in love with depends on what we are missing most of our lives, or what we badly want in the immediate moment. The more a person has the capacity to provide an intimate answer for these needs, the more likely love will transcend race, age and language barriers.
A good friendship necessitates effort.
Often, one person is doing most of the work.
Rationality will always take a backseat to emotions.
We were never fully rational to begin with, and where love, revenge and hate are concerned, they are especially gratifying because it’s a departure from playing by logical rules.
Too much of any good thing leaves one hopelessly wanting more.
There’s no need for envy.
So, have you thought about (HYTA) whether these aphorisms hold true for you?