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A counterintuitive approach to living a good life...

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A counterintuitive approach to living a good life...
Hi Chris.

I thought about putting this in the Literature Forum, but it seems that is where topics go to die. And besides that, I wanted to discuss the notion of this approach and not so much the book by Mark Manson.

I am just beginning it, but it is a quick read when I can get to it. Just finished the first chapter.

In a nutshell so far:

"The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience."

This is most definitely an interesting book and I am going to encourage my children to read it, but especially my son-in-law.

It is an "off-colorful" book, if that is a word, and the language is coarse. I am hoping it continues in the same vein...not the language so much...but the slap-your-face reality check.

Thanks for recommending it. Maybe we can discuss it in this topic. Who knows? Someone out there might be reading it, too.

I don't think anyone has to read it in order to discuss the ideas put forward, as to anyone with half a brain, the "counterintuitive" seems like common sense, especially to people who remember history and culture from a generation or two ago. How is it that many of us have forgotten? How is it that so many of our young people never knew? Simple reasons, I know, that slap us older folks in the face, but to which most youth are seemingly oblivious.

That is why I started this topic; to discuss the notions offered as I go through the book. I am not expecting much in the way of replies, but it occupies my time and is something new in the feed.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
jeanne53: Hi

Christine and I have both enjoyed reading the book. She found the language distracting but appreciated its reason for being there. Both of us were impressed with the author's directness and apparent ability to get a fairly profound concept across with few words and some unusual analogies. Particularly we like his take on Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy when you get there.

"The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience."

Or put another way:

"Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." Luke 17:33.

The more we strive for happiness, the further it will go from our grasp, the less we grasp at happiness the more we can savor and enjoy the moment.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Feb 7, 2018, 4:20 PM
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Re: [rdrcofe] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
Hi Chris.

Not comfortable with that quote as a "put another way", since it can be taken as actually "losing" one's life, that is dying. But...

Romeo and Juliet! I have railed against that play as suitable for young people for my whole life. What idiots! My kids appreciate The Bard, but have always considered those two as prime "stupid-heads."

Good grief, I can hardly wait to get to that chapter and might jump ahead.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
jeanne53: Hi

Not comfortable with that quote as a "put another way", since it can be taken as actually "losing" one's life, that is dying. But...

Well though, it IS a metaphor, is it not?

We think our 'life' is to be 'gained' or 'enhanced' in the pursuit of happiness, which constantly emphasizes our discontentment . Where as in fact it is to be 'found' in contentment with what we already have and gratitude for whatever we might gain beyond it.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [rdrcofe] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
Hi Chris.

If you say it is a metaphor, then it is. Not all would agree with you.

I did read the R&J bit. Not much more, though...life is never dull around here, but recently life is near chaos.

Our daughter and son-in-law are altering their half of our home, the two story addition behind the original single story rancher, and the workers are in high gear in all but the two bed rooms upstairs, where they can sleep. Carpenters, plumbers, painters, electricians...everything is being completely altered. So Brenna and Rylan, who is 16 months old, are spending most of the time with us in our half. He is the cherry on top of this Hot Chaos Sundae. Laugh

Joyful chaos... and I have not been this worn out at the end of day in a long time. Laugh

I'll pick this up when I get some more reading done.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [rdrcofe] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
Hi Chris.

The further I get into the book, the less it seems to apply to me. I adopted long ago a quote from a cartoon, entitled "Rose Is Rose" wherein the title character is gazing out her window at birds splashing in her birdbath, her husband cutting the lawn and her child playing in his sandbox (or something very similar) and she takes a deep breath of fresh Spring air while thinking, "mediocrity is vastly under-rated."

I do think it will appeal to the younger generation and those of my generation who have sought to keep up with the Joneses for most of their lives.

I have just never cared that much about getting ahead, about myself or about acquiring more than is necessary to feather my nest...mostly because the feathers are hand-me-downs from previous generations and more precious to me than the "brand-new, super-duper" whatevers.

The sweet breeze across our land, a tiny treasure given me by toddling grandchildren, holding my husband's hand, turning over fresh warm soil to plant the seeds that will make food for the pantry, planting radishes just for the lovely lavender flowers that the butterflies enjoy, even though I don't like radishes, the rows of zinnias that Virgil transplants from all the volunteers each Spring because he loves the butterflies that come to his flowers and can't bear to turn under the volunteers when he prepares the garden.

What do I want out of life the author asks. A warm place to curl up in my mom's chair, a cup of Earl Grey, a good book. A baby to snuggle with, a toddler's hand to hold, people I love to cook for, laughing with my kids..or better...dancing with my kids, a quiet evening totally absorbed in a movie with Virgil. I have done a few things that were important to me.

Don't try. Just allow each day to present itself to you. Roll with the punches. Be grateful for hot water. Don't take yourself too seriously. Accept the hard times and be aware of the good times. Neve expect things to stay the same. Always be willing to allow yourself to welcome home any strays. Never be afraid to cut your own hair. Allow yourself to forget. Plan for the future, but live in the present. Make someone smile when you see them.

I find this author to have been a mess and to have gotten himself fairly straightened out. I do not feel that it is necessary to do more than merely live if that is what makes you happy and satisfied, while he seems still to feel stretching out beyond mediocrity is necessary to fulfill something of a fully lived life.

I don't care that much. Maybe that is my problem or maybe that is my saving grace. I was once told by a counselor specializing in human relations that he had never met someone who seemed not to have an ego, until he had me in his class of interpersonal communications. Hmmm, I thought...I never noticed. Smile

As I still have a few chapters to go, I will check in again when finished. As you stated, an interesting book.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
jeanne: Hi

Yes, it was a good read and helpful in respect of providing insight into what is really important about two way relationships. I, like yourself, found the basic assumption that materialism is a major cause of relationship problems via too much value being placed on position, things and the relentless pursuit of happiness, did not overly apply to my 72 year old attitude to 'all that stuff'.

The book was helpful though in helping one to evaluate more effectively and therefore decide better what to give a .... about most in life. It seems that you have already assembled a very 'Christ and Buddha approved' set of values to live by and rejected many of the useless glittering baubles of the 'American Dream of happiness', so often mistakenly based upon the quicksand of 'the relentless accumulation of material wealth and supposed success'.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Feb 12, 2018, 3:21 AM
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Re: [rdrcofe] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
Hi Chris.

Just picked up the book this morning and read about his St. Petersburg time, which leads into the Romeo and Juliet bit. I agree that brutal living yields brutal emotions, such as he found in Russia and it reveals something about ourselves when we choose to live honestly, but to be honest in all situations is I doubt the way he finally chose to live his own life.

All situations are not equal and while the freedom found with brutal honesty might be temporarily exhilarating, such living does not make for long term relationships. We lie to each other because we don't want to be brutal or live in a brutal situation.

We compromise or we live alone.

And...here is the age influence; "to truly appreciated something, you must confine yourself to it....you cannot achieve those decades of investment without rejecting the alternatives."

"We are defined by what we choose to reject. If we reject nothing...we essentially have no identity at all."

Again, perhaps here is the age influence; I rejected much when I was very young and was, I suppose, considered nice but odd, an outsider, maybe a girl who thought she was "too good" to follow the herd. I don't know what my peers or elders actually thought of me or my actions. Manson seems to have rejected nothing until he experienced nearly everything and then started making choices about his life. It is a good thing he has done to write about his experiences in order to help others avoid falling into that trap or to help them crawl out of the hole in which they have dug themselves.

And..what does it all seem to come down to? It still seems to be your family life, your parents and how they reared you, the guidance you took and what guidance you rejected and why you made that choice. But of course, it is not that simple, because how they behave and what they have chosen was affected by their parents and so on.

Live is complicated. Change comes when we cut through all the BS and examine ourselves like this young man did throughout his many life experiences, which perhaps is what many of the younger generations are going through themselves. Whether they have the backbone to examine their lives and cut the BS is anybody's guess, but Manson's book and website should be helpful.

Baby Boomers have the notorious reputation for self indulgence. I am right at the end of that group, but honestly, I see the trend more in family rather than in a particular group. I still think in the end it is all about what values your family instilled in you and unless you are dealing with mental illness, you tend to walk the path they set you upon.

One of the things I rejected was deity belief. Yet, the primary ethics represented in most deity beliefs, absolutely influenced my character and they have influenced my children's character, even though religiosity was not a strong point of even my grandparents lives. I did not reject the ethics, I rejected the existence of deities.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
Hi Chris.

I finished the book this morning. I have mixed feelings about it only because this comes from a still young man, who felt driven to do it all after his friend's death. And, while he "improved" from his 19 year-old self in many ways, he lived a hedonistic life during that improvement time. Until...he what? What was his turning point? Did I miss it?

I guess that he became bored; he mentions that. Did it all and there wasn't any more that stimulated him? So he switched gears and went for traditional?

He is still only in his early to mid 30s. I don't know what I think about his sudden urge to change spots and make a living advising others.

Will this traditional life get boring, as well? I hope he finds that it does not, but he has a long time ahead of him and has already shifted gears twice. I wish him luck.

I was struck by the idea that he believes that once we accept the fact that we are going to die, we have nothing else to fear.

That was the immediate overwhelming condition to my finally declaring out loud that I did not believe in God; I was no longer afraid. Interesting that.

But...there is still plenty to fear. Losing a child to a predator. Being helplessly bound and tortured to death. Watching your spouse decay slowly from cancers. Another world war. Thermonuclear war. Don't go political on me, please.

I guess at the end, I feel he is still naive.

What did you think? Is this still a relatable book for younger folk?

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
jeanne53: Hi.

I guess at the end, I feel he is still naive.

What did you think? Is this still a relatable book for younger folk?


Where the rubber meets the road is whether there is anything in the book that can improve the attitudes of those who read it. I guess that those who already think all their attitudes are pretty well OK as far as they are concerned, will get nothing from the book.

Those who suspect there might be something wrong with their 'metrics' or their 'values' will perhaps begin to question their 'behaviour'. That would lead them at least in a 'direction' if not necessarily a positive one.

Those who already understand there was and possibly still is at least some thing inherently wrong with their metrics and value systems will have probably not needed to have read the book at all.

Any book is only as effective as the reader is willing to apply the advice they read, (after evaluating whether it was good or bad advice).

Rubber meeting road again, I'm afraid. Whether a book is relateable or not depends as much on the reader as it does on the author, perhaps.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [rdrcofe] A counterintuitive approach to living a good life... In reply to
Hi Chris.

As per usual, you are correct.

I was a tad harsh in my final analysis of the author, but I hope that his life continues along this new path he has set for himself. I don't know why my usual "Pollyanna" attitude became cynical last evening.

Maybe it is because I have witnessed too many, who fall back into their old life patterns and some close to home. Maybe I see his new life making him a living and wonder if he isn't just using this as long as it works for some fame and fortune.

But...my attitude is my problem and not Manson's. Best of luck to him.

Hope all is well with you and Christine.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."