"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people near us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstein

Things I Have Learned In Life

You (and you alone) make yourself happy.

Healthy relationships are about trust, accountability and mutual respect.

Respect yourself.

Have the respect to be honest with yourself.

Everyone has flaws. Learn your own and work to improve, harnessing their positive aspects.

There are two sides to every situation. Rarely are they mutually exclusive.

Not everything requires positive or negative evaluation. Some things just are.

Life has the meaning you give it.

Know your values. It will help you decide what is really important.

Do things for yourself, not other people.

Spiteful emotions do more harm to those who hold them. Forgiveness means letting go and healing.

Surround yourself with people who want the same things from life.

It’s okay to make mistakes - as long as you learn from them.

Truly being sorry for something means making every effort to never do it again.

If you have to lie about something, why are you doing it?

Intuition is a powerful instrument. Listen to it.

Accept the things you cannot change. Change the things you can.

Always choose to be. Take chances. You are far more likely to regret those things you never got to experience.

Words are merely symbols, and always inadequate.

The Human Experience (written Dec. 2010)

The human experience is a unique opportunity for us. While there are other living beings, humans alone have the means and capacity to truly understand and explore our existence. In the grand scheme of things, the human lifespan is but a flash, so why not try to make the most of our ephemeral existence, given our infinite potentiality?

In order to truly maximize what we may achieve, it seems to me we must first understand the world around us and our place in it. Now this is no easy task, and the conclusions drawn will be different for each individual, but it is important to make an attempt. For myself, I have tended towards the scientific path, searching out the inherent interconnectedness between all life, not only at a biological level, but even at the molecular or quantum level. Others may turn towards religion or spirituality, or perhaps history, culture, and anthropology. Whatever the means, in order to potentiate what we may achieve, we must understand what we are delving into and how our actions affect our selves and interact with the world around us.

Contrary to the ancient philosophers, I do not think there is one singular goal or “purpose” to the human experience, moreso that granted with this unique opportunity, one should try to experience as much as possible. The act of being in a moment, truly experiencing and processing any event, cannot be replicated by imagination. According to Hobbes, imagination is nothing but reverberations of “decaying sense” - glimpses of the things we have already experienced fading away. While I don’t necessarily agree with this statement - our capacity for creativity seems to be one of the things that makes our experience unique and valuable - there is something to be said for the idea that one cannot create something from nothing. In order to comprehend the spectrum of the human condition, it is important to experience as much of it as possible, so that even when confronted with unfamiliar circumstances, we may have enough “decaying sense” to piece together a more complete understanding.

The problem is that people tend to believe they know or understand more than they actually do. This is particularly evident when one has encountered misfortune of one sort or another. As children, most of us are taught to sympathize, but true empathy is rare indeed. To understand what another is going through, one must have enough life experience themselves.

So what do we do about this lack of experience? Live life. Actively. Understand risks, but don’t be afraid to take them. When presented with learning opportunities, use them! So many great thinkers and people have taken the time to share their experience - be it through books, lectures, or personal relationships.While it is important to question others’ beliefs and one may not necessarily agree with everything another has to offer, others can offer different ideas, viewpoints and experiences which may further complete one’s worldview. With the experience one does have, it is important to understand it’s implications and use that knowledge to make the most of future choices when they are presented. Lastly, recognize that one’s experience is limited. Be careful when making generalizations, and never make assumptions. Sometimes it is okay to not know the answer, but make the effort to find out.

As rational sentient beings, we are able to understand cause and effect - both internal and external - and rationalize the optimal choices to make. Why would one live an unexamined life, when examination of an active life can increase one’s potential satisfaction at the end of it? With such a brief opportunity to achieve all man can achieve, we must not only increase our experience, but our understanding of it, in order to make the most of it.