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3/20/13 questions and discussion

From: Jon A.
Sent on: Sunday, March 24, 2013 8:36 AM
3/20/13 questions and discussion

1-what does the statement "life has a hole in it" mean?4
2-should we force citizens to purchase health care?4
3-how would we live life on earth if we all were certain an asteroid would collide and destroy Earth in 25 years?5
4-what is more important: experience or memory?3
5-what are the most hard-earned lessons we've learned just by living?8


what are the most hard-earned lessons we've learned just by living?

Tor: assume we don't learn unless we understand the reactions around us. In Norway -- where people don't talk -- secrets can survive. Not here! The most harrowing lesson is that we discover good things too late in life. Then there is the issue of regrets, what we didn't do. The biggest is from discovering what one's real gift is, either too late or not pursuing it. If not used, one's ability to change the world is lost. The movie Harvey, wherein Jimmy Stewart plays a man with an "imaginary" 6' tall rabbit for a friend, people felt sorry for him in spite of his legal brilliance. Finally someone confronts him. He response is to say he's discovered that there's always someone smarter than him but not many who were nicer, the most important quality a person can possess. The rabbit is his better self, his nice self. 

Jon: have one example of a tough lesson you've learned?

Tor: I came here on a scholarship. It fell through. I had little money, slept in a car. I was too proud to call home. I thought, this will be interesting to see if I can survive. All the things that came of it were so good. Things that I would never have gained had I gotten that scholarship. I later lived in a hut on campus, and worked in an apple orchard.

Rachel: one lesson is knowing I won't agree with everyone but it's ok to disagree when working together with others. The other is when one hits roadblocks the best in other people comes out. In China I took the wrong bus, ended up in an industrial area, where no english was spoken. Found an internet cafe, found the name of where I wanted to go and the cafe worker wrote it down for me to give to a taxi driver.

Eric: there is constant searching. Maybe there's pleasure in searching,but also despair. The notion of "finding oneself", what does that mean? "Wherever we go there we are." Quite often when we get want we want we're actually not content. [God punishes us by giving us what we want]. I've had several years of depression and am getting out of it now, I don't know why. I have learned how to spot what's upsetting me and understanding how some of what I thought I was doing really wasn't helping. Just coping isn't the answer. I have learned I think I'm nice. There's risk in niceness when people seek to take advantage of us.

Jon: can nice and gullible go together?

Eric: being nice encourages the support of others who'll "have my back."

Jon: can someone who's just coping be at peace?

Tor: those are the only people who can!

Jon: I'm thinking more about psychological coping. Living in violent or dangerous places. Living where one's prospects for success or happiness are slight.

Eric: base line happiness is different for all of us. Dali Llama said Buddhism isn't the absence of desire. That without desire one would never seek to know what the Buddha knew.

Art: I've always been optimistic. I've known I'm insignificant, the universe is vast. I've had a lot of hard-earned lessons. But none of it changes my optimism.

Mike: 1 in 3 people die with dementia. Does anyone here know the source for the  "elephant in the room" phrase? A very celebrated comedy movie with Jimmy Durante had him leading an elephant down the street, the police said "What are you doing with that elephant?" He said "What elephant?" I once severely broke my leg, then got drafted into Vietnam. I had a peer named Lloyd in school whom I admired. We went down to the test, he got in, my broken leg's severity kept me from being accepted. Six months later he was dead. I wanted to serve (mine was a Navy family). Life is not only unfair, it's cruel. Some people make it their life's work to harm others. Lloyd's death seemed and still seems needless. Ought I try to fix it, ought I accept and let go? I vacillate. The only cure is to become a Republican! 

Jon: the hard lessons of feminism or the inspirations behind that movement seem now somewhat forgotten. We just had a serious candidate for US Senate claim women's bodies can reject a rapist's semen! Another candidate argued that because it's god's will, rape victims who become pregnant ought not be allowed to get an abortion. Back in the 70s no serious politician would say these things about women. It's like a delayed reaction.

Rachel: those fights aren't as clear now as they were then.

Adam: our limitations need to be honored, feared, taken seriously. Setting my mind to it can bring hurt. Trying hard too hard isn't good.

Rachel: self-imposed or societal limitations?

Adam: mostly internal. Trying everything once is fine, but sometimes we don't know when  to stop.

Christine: not having the right or being told not to do things has me thinking about idiot-savants. What if we told someone who is only good at one thing that they couldn't do it? My life might have gone that way. It could have been luck. Also I kept thinking talking about women's rights; a lot of women don't get the chance to find out what they're good at.

Jon: can being denied access to one's gift ever be accidental?

Christine: I see two things: not exploring it or having external forces prevent it.

Rachel: what if one doesn't know better?

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