I'm a big fan of books, and have hundreds scattered about my house. Many have affected or influenced me in one way or another, but probably none so much as these three. They have taught me how to live:
- The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle teaches how to separate yourself from your mind, from that constant roar of thoughts, from the regrets of yesterday and the worries about tomorrow. It shows how to be present.
- Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati, by Robert Anton Wilson. This book inspires me in many ways, but the central theme I've come away with is this: "Belief is the death of intelligence." As RAW writes in the preface, "Belief in the traditional sense, or certitude, or dogma, amounts to the grand delusion, 'My current model' — or grid, or map, or reality-tunnel — 'contains the whole universe and will never need to be revised.'"
- Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein. This classic work of fiction (it's science fiction, actually, but all the ray guns and spaceships are just a backdrop to the deeper meanings) teaches how to live and how to love: Courageously and unapologetically. The hero lives forever, repeatedly loving and then losing those who succumb to death. This book is the source of such thought-provoking quotations as:
- "Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly."
- "Of all the strange 'crimes' that human beings have legislated out of nothing, 'blasphemy' is the most amazing — with 'obscenity' and 'indecent exposure' fighting it out for second and third place."
- "Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as 'empty,' 'meaningless,' or 'dishonest,' and scorn to use them. No matter how 'pure' their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best."
- "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects!"
- "The more you love, the more you can love — and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had Time Enough, he could Love all of the majority who are decent and just."
- "When a ship lifts, all bills are paid. No regrets."
- "Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of — but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."
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