Category: Meaning of life

During my daily walks through the countryside, I come across natural wonders which catch my attention. Sometimes the object results in a fleeting thought or a mental distraction, and other times I become frozen in time philosophizing about the this and the that.

Take for example that small stone at the side of the road. Until now it has been enjoying a relatively peaceful existence minding its own business. As I approach the small inanimate object, I wonder if I should let it continue lying there motionless for years to come with no will of its own, or better yet release my free will in such a manner as to disrupt the future as it could have been.

From one instant to the next, I decide to express my will power and disrupt time. With a perfectly placed kick of my toe, I send the small stone sliding across the pavement where it hits a slight upramp of the road at the edge of the canal, whereupon the rock is launched into the air, flies several meters and splashes in the exact middle of the water. A miniature splash sends it its way to the depths of the canal, settling to the bottom to remain there for the next thousands of years.

All of this was triggered by some random thoughts in my mind and the laws of nature took over. Here we are, again.

I was making my way to the gym today, when I suddenly heard a faint voice calling in my direction. "Mister, mister, can you please help me?" On the other side of a street stood an elderly lady bent over her walker. "Please help me, it is very important."

I crossed the street and approached her. She looked about eighty years old but could have been older. "I need to mail these letters, but I am out of breath I can't make it any further." She reached into her purse and pulled out two envelopes with handwritten addresses on them. "Would you be so kind as to mail them for me?"

It really touched me that she was trusting some total stranger. At the same time, I felt blessed to have become the chosen one who fate had decided to put there. It was a fortunate twist of the elements. I could have been any uninterested passerby who'd just end up throwing the letters into the ditch not wanting to be hassled.

So here is what I did. Although my destination was in the opposite direction, I made the detour to the nearest mailbox, and when the time came I lovingly pushed the two envelopes into the mailbox. Indeed, they would reach their destination in a day or two. Thanks to me, and no one would ever know it.

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This is what I learned about life on this planet. We are a tight-knit society of randomly placed human beings, and we depend on one another to do the right things. In times of need, we should not be afraid to reach out to the random passerby for help. It is a complicated fabric of society which holds us together, and what makes it strong and durable is our trust and love of each other.

Forget about the past, and forget about the future. Live life fully in the present and make the best of it as each second ticks by.

By following these simple guidelines, the demons of the past will eventually fade away into nothingness, and the future will in the end take care of itself. Or so that is what the wise philosophers of the past have promised us.

It is up to each and every one of us to decide our self whether or not we should pursue this path. Our reckoning will be the day of our death when the final conscious thoughts reveal if we have taken the correct decisions and followed the proper path.

Spoiler alert: the answer will always be yes.

I had just crossed the bridge next to the hockey field, turning left on my last leg of the journey back home. That's when a white hockey ball flew right past my head missing it by only a couple of inches.

On the other side of the wire fence about ten yards away stood a husky twelve year old girl leaning nonchalantly on her hockey stick. She had severely misjudged the height of the goal and had launched the hockey ball over the net, over the fence, through the highest tree branches, and at an obtuse angle onto the asphalt path leading back to the bridge.

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The hockey ball is a good bit larger than a baseball, weighs about 5.5 ounces and has a diameter of nearly 3 inches. It is harder than hard. At that velocity, it easily qualifies as a deadly projectile. It slammed into the wooden bridge with a loud thud, ricocheted off of the metal railing, took another bounce in the opposite direction and then splashed into the water. Forever lost to the depths of non-existence.

The young girl seemed completely oblivious to the fact that she had nearly killed an innocent bystander. Then she broke her posed stance and continued running around as if nothing had happened. I can imagine that she felt pretty embarrassed about making such a bad shot and didn't want any of her fellow team players to notice her gaff. Indeed, peer pressure can be pretty bad these days, especially at that tender age, when even near death episodes are irrelevant.

How ironic it is nowadays when everyone is so completely preoccupied by the dangers of catching and dying from the corona virus. Little do they realize that an other completely random event could just as swiftly end your life right here and now.

If I had been walking a fraction faster or had tilted my head a bit more to the left, I would not have made it back home in time to write this interesting and philosophical blog entry. Thanks God for saving my life.

Every challenge can show you who you are and what you're capable of. The good and the bad.

Not all challenges are desirable, but not all are optional either. Many of them are forced upon us. When they are, we can choose to learn from them.

by Dan Pedersen

Please be warned that the following provocative video will really get you to think more deeply about your ultimate future and the true meaning of life.

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But don't forget how you continue to live in other people even if they won't remember you.

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Say goodbye to yet another beard. After struggling ten days battling the incessant itch, I had finally grown a pretty impressive beard. I could have let it grown even longer, but my wife found it too ugly to bear. Oh well, there goes another beard.

Thanks to this inspirational quote by Dan Pedersen, I feel much better today:

"When we feel like we're not good enough--not worthy, it's the result of comparing ourselves to what we're not. We want to be more than what we are, so we can impress other people. We fear rejection.

From the moment we're born we are vulnerable and dependent on other people. Rejection threatens our security--both our physical survival and our emotional survival.

We fear not being protected and not being loved. So we compare how we think others currently perceive us, with how they could potentially perceive us if we were to change.

We think about all the times we've been criticized, judged, ridiculed, rejected, abandoned, compared to others, etc. and we imagine that this is how most people think of us currently and will continue to think of us unless we change into what we think they will admire.

The truth is that most people are wrong about you and you are wrong about how most people perceive you.

Another way to think about all this is to imagine that you're the last person on Earth. In other words, imagine there's no one around to impress and there never will be again. How would that change what you think about yourself? Would you still feel unworthy? Would you still feel like you're not good enough? Not good enough for what?

This whole feeling of not being good enough is an illusion we create. When there's no one to compare ourselves to the illusion goes away."

Taken from his website Living with Confidence.

You know that you are getting older when you completely forget that it is your wedding anniversary.

By arrangement it was also the very same day we first lay eyes on each other.

Thea and I met each other for the first time in Balestrand, Norway exactly thirty-nine years ago to the day.

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Hard to believe but true.

Lately, things seem to be slipping out of my grip more often, mostly without major consequences. This time around, however, the result was not what I had been hoping for.

While preparing my daily peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch, I inadvertently let slip the jam and it fell to the floor in one swift swoop. It landed bottom first and exploded upon contact, shards of glass and blobs of jam flying every which way. It made a muffled sound when it hit the ground, and the splatters thudded on surfaces in a five meter radius from ground zero.

Amazingly, I thought nothing of this tremendous mess. Calmly I spent the following half hour vacuuming up the glass which had flown to every distant corner of the house, cleaning the cabinets and walls of the reddish stuff, and then mopping the floor until it glowed.

You would have never guessed that only moments earlier a natural disaster had nearly knocked over the place.

With age one gets less stressed out and accepts change with open arms, it's all a new adventure in learning.

As things turn out this time around, I have to admit that it's not that bad at all turning 61 years old, although thirty years ago I might have thought otherwise. To have been able to be a part of everything is something for which I can be thankful for the rest of my life.

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In this modern era of mobile phones, computers and keyboards, it's nice to reach out for old-fashioned pencil and paper and jot down spontaneously those thoughts which come to mind.

To be honest, feeling the graphite tip of the pencil press down on the paper surface and etch out words and figures makes me feel more like a real human being.

Back to the roots of existence in order to get in touch with the past and feel inspired.

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Modern society is making it more and more difficult for older folks to find employment deserving of their experience and competence.

This is not only very sad, but it doesn't make much sense either. From an economic point of view, there's a large workforce void out there waiting to be filled by eager, enthusiastic and qualified people.

Sure it might cost a bit more than hiring younger folks, but with a slightly increased payroll comes a huge benefit which more than compensates any disadvantages. More often than not, a single older person not only counts for two or more equivalent young bucks. Through a structured sense of seniority, he or she also inspires the surroundings to become more orderly and efficient.

In general older people are a gentle folk, wise and creative, not to be afraid of. Eager to avoid fading away in some dark corner, rather to pursue an active and meaningful life, the slightly older person will be inspired to be more eager and productive.

He or she will also challenge and inspire the younger generation, making them more productive as well, which is great for the company.

So what's the big deal? Let's make society a better place by getting these people back on board where they belong.

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Taken from the blog article: Where to find God.

"You don't need a book, or a course, or a church, or anything else to find God. You can find God right where you are, with nothing at all. It's simply a matter of surrendering. Simple doesn't mean easy though. It's not easy to surrender to God. We're stubborn. But there's no substitute for the peace we seek. Let go, and keep letting go every time you notice yourself resisting. We are our own enemy. There's no devil, it's just us."

See Living with Confidence by Dan Pedersen.

Taken from the blog article: Beware of Extreme Rationality.

"All of us are irrational at times. Sometimes a lot of us become irrational together and this leads to extreme group behavior. What would be nice to see is a contagion of rationality. But it has to be rationality tempered by empathy and compassion. Otherwise, even rationality can cause extreme negative behavior. Extreme rationality is itself irrational."

See Living with Confidence by Dan Pedersen.

"We need to recognise the legitimate and necessary role of failure, allow ourselves to do things quite imperfectly for a very long time - as a price we cannot avoid paying for an opportunity one day, in many decades, to do something that others will consider a spontaneous success."

Taken from The Perfectionist Trap.

"At our death beds, we will inevitably know that much didn't work out, that there were dreams that didn't come to pass and loves that were rejected, friendships that could never be repaired, and catastrophes and hurts we never overcame. But we will also know that there were threads of value that sustained us, that there was a higher logic we sometimes followed, that despite the agonies, our lives were not mere sound and fury; that in our own way, at select moments at least, we did properly draw benefit from, and understand, the meaning of life."

Taken from The Meaning of Life which is just one of many wonderful chapters which can be found on The Book of Life.

Today's word of the day is digression, an act or instance of digressing from a main subject in speech or writing. Pretty appropriate term on my 59th birthday. Indeed in many ways I feel I have reached the age of digression and look forward to the exploring the interesting results of following this path.

Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
  On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated--so:
"Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges--
  "Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!"

- Explorer, Rudyard Kipling

I have serious concerns that the so-called modern society is becoming overly protective when it comes to raising our children and fostering a perfect society which isn't so perfect.

Parents, friends, family and society tend to think that it's best to preserve at all costs a "pristine moral world" in order that our fragile future leaders are not put into harms way.

After all, we do NOT want to scar them psychologically for life and end up breeding drug addicts, wife-beaters and serial murderers.

The TRUTH of the matter is that REAL life is not a bed of roses. The earlier we realize this and learn to cope with disappointments and seemingly harmful experiences the better.

Goofing off and inadvertently doing stupid things is a freedom that youth should be able to enjoy fully. Parents are there only to correct and guide, provide a solid example, and certainly NOT to enforce with draconian rules and regulations.

Especially not to the degree of making a religious crusade out of it, because that is very hypocritical when you look in the mirror and realize that the imperfections of your earlier life are exactly what have made you the person you are today.

That is something each and every one of us can be proud of.

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We were the "Raiders of the Night"

"The motivations of man, because he sacrifices his health
in order to make money, then he sacrifices money to
recuperate his health, and then he is so anxious about the
future that he does not enjoy the present the result being
that he does not live in the present nor the future, rather
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then eventually
he dies, having never really lived."

- Dalai Lama

Hey it's the last day of two thousand and thirteen. Tomorrow it will be two thousand and fourteen. When I was a kid, the future seemed to be eons away. Once just for fun I calculated how old I would be on new year's day in the year two thousand. I'd be an ancient forty-two years old, can you believe that?! We would all communicate using these Dick Tracey walkie-talkie watches. Traveling would be a snap in flying machines just like on The Jetsons, and everyone would have their own personal robot assistant to do menial chores, like cleaning up the house and doing the shopping for you. Only slightly disappointed in progress, past that magical two thousand mark, thirteen years on and more than half a lifetime further, life goes on as usual.

When I look back on my life up to now, I can see that it has progressed through three very distinct and different phases of learning:

  • 0 - 30 years old: I am great at pretty much everything I try and am successful in whatever I do. My goal in life is to be the best at everything (and also believe that I am the best).
  • 30 - 50 years old: I meet failure once in a while, but most of the things I try I still succeed at. My goal in life is to avoid failure as much as possible (and still deny that I might not be the best).
  • 50+ years old: Most of what I try goes wrong one way or the other and only very occasionally am I able to succeed at something. My goal is to carry on the best I can with the balancing act and avoid too much damage, where an occasional success comes as a reward (and accept that I am by far not the best).

Just the other day, we sat down next to the fireplace so that we could think about things past and work it all out. There was still much to deal with, but people were a bit afraid to confront things and be honest about it. Let's all work on it, we told each other. Not that we hoped it was possible, but what the heck.

Young and innocent with all kinds of wonderful ideas to change the world. That's how we were back then. Today we look in the mirror and are confronted with the differences between back then and now. Keep on going and see what happens.

At first we fell silent and there was not much to say. We could all feel it inside, but resisted the temptation. Who would like to start? Not me. Just get started and see what happens, could be interesting.

Let's be polite and see what happens. There is a whole evening ahead, so there is no need to rush things. Or even better, be honest and confrontational, just to get things moving a bit. Back in the old days we would drink and get high, but not any more we are too old for that.

Looking at the fireplace again. The flames took the precedence and pretty much dictated what we were expected to tell each other. Not a nice picture, painful to say the least, but that is the way things go sometimes. Sometimes at least.

When the evening was over, we felt like we had accomplished a lot but not quite enough. Next time we would organize things better, if that is possible. Stop looking at things past and live now.

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Stanford, 1975

So who is this guy and what is he trying to prove? He may give you the impression that he has everything under control, but he doesn't. At least not back then. There is still a lot to learn in life, many more years ahead to experience new and interesting things. Pretty naive and unwilling to accept responsibility, things will change shortly. As if you've got the whole world in your hands, the decision is yours, and then you discover that you don't have much control at all. Time to recover your balance and re-think how things should have become. It's never too late to recover from past mistakes. Better now then never.

I've been raised in a traditional family environment in which I have been taught that I am soley responsible for what I do. I must face up to all the consequences of my actions or what I might say.

But what does this mean exactly? How far can one justify this when there are so many unpredictable factors and indirect effects of which we cannot be held responsible?

If you truly believe that you are responsible for everything and the world around you, then if this world confronts you with unexpected and undesirable things, then logically you have no one else to blame but yourself.

A tremendous feeling of guilt overcomes you and you cannot understand what it is that you are doing wrong and why you should be suffering. By fighting it and resisting reality, you become frustrated and depressed.

A much better belief is that most external motions and actions are beyond your control, and the most you can do is influence them ever so slightly and never enough. Feeling good about yourself is important, and remaining as positive as possible in a world of suffering is the best way to proceed.

Your influence is strongest on the inner spiritual world, followed by your own body, following by your immediate surrounding, and the farther you get from the center of your being the less powerful your influence.

Concentrate most of your energies where it counts and where you can exert the most influence, and realize your limitations. You cannot change everything, only the things that you were originally meant to change.

One year ago and a day was my last day at Navteq Frankfurt, I remember the long drive back home very well. At that time my future seemed bleak at best, and I was very worried where I was headed, what life had in store for me.

I never gave up. In the end I got pretty lucky and found yet another new and interesting challenge in life. Another page is turned in the history book of our souls.

The music keeps blaring from the radio and I can hear it as the car passes by in the rain.

Ever notice how everyone is in such a hurry and always decides to choose to take the quickest route from A to B? How about if one were to develop a new state of the art technology that allowed people to take the longest route instead?

Who knows, maybe in the future some kind of paradigm shift could take place which would make people think differently, e.g. no need to rush, remain relaxed, etc. I wonder if such a product could ever become popular and would sell very well in the end.

I better put a patent on this clever idea before it's too late. In the meantime, don't tell anyone.

Remember the good old days when the word 'urgent' really meant something? When an occasional exclamation mark or two could raise one's attention level like a good kick in the rear?

You would see that word and jump, it was truly an eye-catcher. Got to do something right away, or else! Had it appeared on an envelope falling through your mail slot, you could not do anything else before that important letter had been opened and read very carefully.

Nowadays the word appears everywhere, usually formatted as large bold text, more often than not followed by a series of giant exclamation marks. In order to cast a hook into your eyeball in case you don't notice.

URGENT !!!!!!!!

I don't know about other people or the average human being, but I've become so numbed by word 'urgent' that I'm embarrassed to admit that I do not notice it anymore.

I should be careful. A life or a fortune could be lost in the not so distant future, just because I do not notice how urgent something really is.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2432 entries and as many as 1877 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

Started Gishtech 04-25-2016 ago.