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Garrett Gee Sold His Startup For $54 Million, Then Gave His Family a Gift of a Lifetime

By Benny Luo . Posted on December 16, 2015

What do you do when SnapChat buys your startup and you become a millionaire?

If you’re 25-year-old Garrett Gee, you pull out all the money in savings, sell everything you own, and take your family on an endless trip around the world.

Gee is the founder of Scan, a QR code-scanning mobile app he pitched on “Shark Tank” in 2013.

He appeared on the show wearing just a hoodie and flip flops, an ensemble he wears when pitching investors.

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“I wore them in every investor meeting before ‘Shark Tank,’ including my meetings with Facebook, Google, Menlo Ventures, Lady Gaga, and more,” he told NextShark in a 2013 interview

“Actually, they were part of a ‘uniform’ I put together while raising money for my company. To me, it was very important for potential investors to see me for who I really am.”

Although he failed to get a deal in the tank, Gee had already raised over $8 million in funding from various venture capital firms prior to getting on the show.

After launching his company in 2011, it was acquired by SnapChat in 2014 for a whopping $54 million, making Gee an instant millionaire.

Gee recalled:

“I kept looking at [my bank account], then looking away, then looking at it to make sure it was still there and that this was all real.

I took a screenshot for my journal — OK, I took like seven screenshots for my journal. I didn’t show my wife — not at first. We were just about to have our second child so I waited about one week until she was literally in labor.

Then, to take her mind off the pain, I pulled out my phone and showed her our bank account. It worked.”

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About a year after, Gee — now a father of two kids, Dorothy, 3, and Manilla, 1, with his wife Jessica, 29 — were trying to figure out what to do next. At that time he was still a student and captain of the soccer team at Brigham Young University.

“A new house and cars didn’t feel right,” Gee told People.

“We didn’t need that stuff. We were young, healthy and really didn’t need much of anything.

So we started joking about putting our money in savings, selling everything and using those funds to travel the world. Where would we go? What would we do? And as we began to add more plans to our bucket list, it just became real.”

After putting their newfound fortune in savings, the couple held a large garage sale and sold literally everything they had except journals, photos and Gee’s lucky sandals.

They made a total of $45,000 in the end, which would end up being the money they used to fund their travels.

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“We will travel until that runs out,” Gee told NextShark.

“We will see how long it lasts. Perhaps some of my entrepreneurial skills will come into play and I’ll figure out a way to make that money stretch further and further.

Or, if I’m really good, $45K will give me enough time to make our travels fuel themselves, or better yet, profitable. Anything is possible, right? Just keep intentions pure and attitudes positive”

On why the couple decided to travel, Gee explained: 

“We hope to learn more about life and become better people. We are excited about the memories that we will surely create together and the opportunities around the world that will help serve others.

Already it has become clear that the world is a big, open place with endless mindsets, cultures, and beliefs, none better than the others — just different.”

(What of people with less enviable passports? What kinds of plans can they fathom with that kind of saving?)

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The couple met in Russia in 2007 while they were serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have been married since 2009.

To make sure their $45,000 travel fund lasts as long as possible, the family is living as frugally as possible.

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“[Being frugal] just comes kind of natural to us. It makes us uncomfortable to be thoughtless with money,” Gee explained.

“We still buy the cheapest flight we can find, even if that means waking up at 4 a.m., and we still only drink water with our meals. I believe the best way to show gratitude for the blessings in life is humility, and one of the best ways to show humility is to live frugally.”

The family has spent the last four month traveling in the South Pacific, Australia, Thailand and New Zealand. They’re currently vacationing on the beaches in Bali, Indonesia.

“My personal favorite adventure thus far was back in Tonga. For over a year I had been researching and preparing to freedive in the waters of Tonga — with humpback whales! It was the most epic moment of my life.”

When it comes to his kids’ future education, Gee is a little hesitant in settling somewhere permanently.

“I’m very open-minded to the option of Not settling down,” he told NextShark.

“I’m open to non-traditional forms of education. I wasn’t a very good student. The typical education system actually made me feel stupid and bad about myself and gave me less confidence in my own ability to be creative and valuable.”

Nonetheless, I loved school for everything else. I loved the social life. I loved sports. I loved the challenges. So, it is kind of a toss-up.

I want the best of the best for my children so hopefully I’ll soon be able to figure out what that may be.”

On whether he credits his success to hard work or luck, he said: “If you were to ask me in person I would say, ‘Oh it’s all luck.’

But, that would be a lie just to get past the question. The truth is it’s all hard work.

There’s a ton of serendipitous and fortunate events where stars have aligned in order for everything to come together. But even each of those ‘lucky’ happenings can be traced back to extra efforts and hard work, extra efforts to network, extra late nights.

So the harder I work, the ‘luckier’ I get.”

Gee also shared three factors to success he believes in:

1) Be impressive: success doesn’t just grace anyone and everyone. It seeks out impressive people — hard-working, talented, sincere, good-hearted people. Basically, be deserving of any success that wishes to find you.

2) Be yourself: it’s fine to learn from others and look up to those deserving, but let it stop there. The Facebook formula worked for Facebook — probably not for you. The Garrett Gee way was kinda cool for him, but not that cool. Always be learning more about yourself and always let that light shine bright!

3) Be successful: realize what success really is. That way, on your pursuit to ‘financial success’ you can enjoy real success. You can enjoy your health, your family, and the things that really determine success.

The couple plans to travel to the Maldives and Switzerland in the coming months, and Gee says he already has a new company in the works that he says is “something like never before.”

He regularly blogs about his family’s adventures The Bucketlist Family

How can you hold Infinity in the palm of your hand?

William Blake

“Know what it is to be a child . . .
To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

And I say:  

Is life that chose me and made me survive all the hurdles and illnesses?

Are events that directed me in the alleys of life?

And guided me in the countless forks in my wandering?

Far away from the path that my parents wished me to take.

How many bends did I have to decide on?

Fact is they are the total strangers who came to the rescue

Strangers with plenty of pity to fellow man and living species.

Without their pity how could I have summoned the remaining energy

To move forward and leave an imprint on this chaotic earth?

Ease up your judgment on your fellow neighbor.

He might seems a tad luckier

He could look not so lucky in the opportunities he had in his life.

Both of you share this common characteristic:

You both had to struggle all the way

And try to grab the few moments of satisfaction, hope and happiness.

And what remains after we discard all these mythological craps?

Elias Kazan, the late famous movie director, published a book “Acts of Love”. I liked the story that is down to earth to ethnic idiosyncrasies, customs and way of life. this is about Greek islanders who immigrated to the USA and hanged on their “homeland” mythological habits of behaving in a fast changing society

This is a passage in the French translated version “Actes d’Amour”

“Finissons-en avec tout le fatras de mythologies et de ces conneries dont on entoure l’acte sexuel:

  1. L’amour et la sexualite’ sont deux emotions differentes. C’est une évidence que nous devons admettre sinon on accumule des problèmes de tension qui ne sont pas nécessaire a une vie heureuse et paisible.
  2. La nouveauté exerce toujours un attrait
  3. La conquête est un plaisir pour les deux sexes
  4. On a un besoin pressant de nous rassurer quant a la valeur sexuelle
  5. Que l’amour ne se conjugue pas au singulier
  6. Qu’une personne peut aimer plus d’une personne a la fois
  7. Qu’il n’y a aucun mal a coucher avec les amis
  8. La promiscuité est enrichissante
  9. Les femmes se marient pour l’argent facile
  10. Les hommes se marient par pure commodité
  11. Les mariés restent ensemblent pour ne pas avoir a mourire seules…”

Et Ethel de demander au psychologue Cambere:

“Dis-moi. Une fois qu’on laisse tomber toutes les conneries dont tu parlais, qu’est-ce-qui reste?

Cambere: “Quelque chose de tres bien”

Question: What is this great emotion that remains after we drop all these  mythological craps about sexuality and love?

Note 1: What should remain is this most powerful of emotion: Pity. Pity is the greatest of all true emotions, and it include all kinds of mammalian species:

  1. We need people to have pity on us and that is why we extend a bad connotation for pity and try to find alternative terms for it, like kindness, compassion, caring...
  2. We know deep inside us that we survive thanks to the hundreds of people who had pity on us during our harsh life. Most of these people are strangers to us, and many didn’t even wait for us to ask for aid.
  3. People extend their pity and do Not expect but that someone else will return the favor in kind (pity), when hard times tacke us.

Note 2: Elias Kazan is the famous movie director and he turned to writing novels after the movie industry sanctioned him for being forced to divulge to the “Maccarthy Commission” in 1965 the names of the supposed communists in the industry.

I don’t reflect: I am Haunted

Adult have no idea how they managed to learn anything in childhood.

And yet, they barely apply the best ways to learn and understand, the ways kids learn.

Fiction or the real false stories and events precedes our comprehension of reality: Fiction stories allow us to access reality.

Even the literary genres labelled “real stories” or autobiography are mostly fiction and the protagonists must have said: “What? In my wildest imagination I never contemplated that this will happen to me...”

Sleep dreams might have the job of “recomputing” the default values in your world vision.

Reading different literary genres preempt you to understand reality, and accept that you are a potential “Statistics”, a term that drives people to the wall and make them furious “What? Am I not that special?

But it is writing, drawing, painting, composing, playing musical instruments… that restructure and fine-tune your world view. 

Acts that don’t involve the fingers to record the acts are Not registered properly in the brain archives.

Children doodle and draw before they they learn to write.

They listen to stories, memorize stories and write characters before they learn to read.

The world vision of children is etched in graphics and colors before content in books are appreciated.

What we assimilated in artistic vision reflects the way we see nature. The more artistic our mind is developed the more structured and complex our vision of nature are.

Otherwise, nature and the environment are a bundle of colors and shapes left for the subconscious to navigate us through.

Art is never imitating nature: The artist is representing what he is looking at inside his world vision.

The mind first “see” before the eyes register what the mind has seen.

We see how our accumulated world view see the world, nature and reality  

And yet, we have no idea what is our world view. We might fathom what we “see” through observing and analyzing our actions and behaviors.

The content in articles, of political and scientific nature, is essential to get engaged with eyes wide open, assuming that the context has been clearly developed.

Without context, articles can be classified as “general”, regardless of how much you develop on the opinion and fake to provide details.

An opinion not backed by the context, even personal experience, is not worth publishing.

An opinion devoid of context smack of ignorance and the regurgitation of what the “common literature” is disseminated.

In all other topics, it is the form of the written style that grabs me most.

A single sentence can open up deeply hidden emotions that an entire volume will fail to do.

After all, everything has been said, if we can read in many languages (old and new) and read enough to last several life times.

I find myself furiously editing repost of articles so that the form matches my own style. I even edit “quotations” to suit my writing style. Why?

Eventually, I might have to re-read what I have posted, and I want to enjoy what I’m reading.

For example, I loath the journalistic style of splitting a quotation in order to insert “He said”, “sic”,”the author resumed”…

The sentence should flow smoothly to convey the emotion of the quoted person. Any insertion is a rational gimmick to preserve a semblance of objectivity, authenticity, neutrality…

I have no qualm in editing what the other have published, and the heck of what they say, and how their frustrated ego is mishandled… as long as the reader can access the original text and can do his due diligence

Very often I read “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure”… And I wonder: these expressions are excellent in verbal conversations, but they don’t fit in the written text.

Make sure you know before addressing your reader, otherwise, keep your opinions in your notebook until they germinate into a viable position

Send me a valid post within context in the preamble or in an after-note, and I’ll repost it: The audience of readers is varied and with multiple interests

The World: As seen by Albert Einstein

“School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam.

What I hated most was the competitive system there, and especially sports. Because of this, I wasn’t worth anything, and several times they suggested I leave.

I posted a dozen articles on Einstein, his world view, on theoretical physics, sciences, how he saw the USA, and on Zionism… You may read more from the links in the notes

Christopher Chase posted this Feb. 16, 2014:

Albert

“This was a Catholic School in Munich. I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers: grades were their only measurement. How can a teacher understand youth with such a system?

From the age of 12 I began to suspect authority and distrust teachers.

I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.

The more I read, the more puzzled I was by the order of the universe and the disorder of the human mind, by the scientists who didn’t agree on the how, the when, or the why of creation.

Then one day this student brought me Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

Reading Kant, I began to suspect everything I was taught. I no longer believed in the known God of the Bible, but rather in the mysterious God expressed in nature.

The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.

If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune,.

And the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.

Science is never finished because the human mind only uses a small portion of its capacity, and man’s exploration of his world is also limited.

Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you?

Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual.

Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible.

Behind each cause is still another cause, and the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found.

Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation.

If I hadn’t an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, I wouldn’t have tried for 30 years to express it in a mathematical formula.

It is only man’s consciousness of what he does with his mind that elevates him above the animals, and enables him to become aware of himself and his relationship to the universe.

I believe that I have cosmic religious feelings.

I never could grasp how one could satisfy these feelings by praying to limited objects.

The tree outside is life, a statue is dead. The whole of nature is life, and life, as I observe it, rejects a God resembling man.

Man has infinite dimensions and finds God in his conscience.

[A cosmic religion] has no dogma other than teaching man that the universe is rational and that his highest destiny is to ponder it and co-create with its laws.

I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified.

Our bodies are like prisons, and I look forward to be free, but I don’t speculate on what will happen to me.

I live here now, and my responsibility is in this world now.

I deal with natural laws. This is my work here on earth.

The world needs new moral impulses which, I’m afraid, won’t come from the churches, heavily compromised as they have been throughout the centuries.

Perhaps those impulses must come from scientists in the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and Newton.: In spite of failures and persecutions, these men devoted their lives to proving that the universe is a single entity, in which, I believe, a humanized God has no place.

The genuine scientist is not moved by praise or blame, nor does he preach. He unveils the universe and people come eagerly, without being pushed, to behold a new revelation: the order, the harmony, the magnificence of creation!

And as man becomes conscious of the stupendous laws that govern the universe in perfect harmony, he begins to realize how small he is. He sees the pettiness of human existence, with its ambitions and intrigues, its ‘I am better than thou’ creed.

This is the beginning of cosmic religion within him; fellowship and human service become his moral code. Without such moral foundations, we are hopelessly doomed.

If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done.

We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind.

Religion and science go together.

As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth.

Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is No God.

The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed.

Without religion there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.

I am not a mystic.

Trying to find out the laws of nature has nothing to do with mysticism. Though in the face of creation I feel very humble. It is as if a spirit is manifest infinitely superior to man’s spirit.

Through my pursuit in science I have known cosmic religious feelings. But I don’t care to be called a mystic.

I believe that we don’t need to worry about what happens after this life, as long as we do our duty here—to love and to serve.

I have faith in the universe, for it is rational.

Law underlies each happening.

And I have faith in my purpose here on earth.

I have faith in my intuition, the language of my conscience, but I have no faith in speculation about Heaven and Hell.

I’m concerned with this time—here and now.

Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction.

For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following a trodden path of thought.

Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. 

To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts.

Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge.

Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself.

Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life.

I do not need any promise of eternity to be happy. My eternity is now.

I have only one interest: to fulfill my purpose here where I am.

This purpose is not given me by my parents or my surroundings. It is induced by some unknown factors. These factors make me a part of eternity.”

~Albert Einstein

Text Source: Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983). From a series of meetings William Hermanns had with Einstein in 1930, 1943, 1948, and 1954

PBS TV Special- How Einstein Saw the World

Note 1: Read more on this topic https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/einstein-speaks-on-%E2%80%9Chow-i-see-the-world%E2%80%9D/

Note 2:  On Zionism https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/einstein-speaks-on-zionism/

The Art of Living:

How to Set Ourselves Free from the Chains of Our Culture.

Erich Fromm: from selfishness and egotism to solidarity and altruism.”

By Maria Popova

The Art of Living: The Great Humanistic Philosopher Erich Fromm on Having vs. Being and How to Set Ourselves Free from the Chains of Our Culture

A pioneer of what he called “radical-humanistic psychoanalysis,” the great German social psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900–March 18, 1980) was one of the most luminous minds of the twentieth century and a fountain of salve for the most abiding struggles of being human.

In the mid-1970s, twenty years after his influential treatise on the art of loving and four decades after legendary anthropologist Margaret Mead turned to him for difficult advice, Fromm became interested in the most basic, most challenging art of human life — the art of being.

At the height of a new era that had begun prioritizing products over people and consumption over creativity, Fromm penned a short, potent book titled To Have or To Be? — an inquiry into how the great promise of progress, seeded by the Industrial Revolution, failed us in our most elemental search for meaning and well-being.

But the question proved far too complex to tackle in a single volume, so Fromm left out a significant portion of his manuscript.

Those pages, in many ways even richer and more insightful than the original book, were later published as The Art of Being (public library) — a sort of field guide, all the timelier today, to how we can shift from the having mode of existence, which is systematically syphoning our happiness, to a being mode.

Fromm frames the inquiry:

The full humanization of man requires the breakthrough from the possession-centered to the activity-centered orientation, from selfishness and egotism to solidarity and altruism.

But any effort to outline the steps of this breakthrough, Fromm cautions, must begin with the foundational question of what the goal of living is — that is, what we consider the meaning of life to be, beyond its biological purpose. He writes:

It seems that nature — or the process of evolution — has endowed every living being with the wish to live, and whatever he believes to be his reasons are only secondary thoughts by which he rationalizes this biologically given impulse.

That we want to live, that we like to live, are facts that require no explanation. (Still, experiments to confirm this given is still needed in our current times)

But if we ask how we want to live — what we seek from life, what makes life meaningful for us — then indeed we deal with questions (and they are more or less identical) to which people will give many different answers.

Some will say they want love, others will choose power, others security, others sensuous pleasure and comfort, others fame.

But most would probably agree in the statement that what they want is happiness. This is also what most philosophers and theologians have declared to be the aim of human striving.

If happiness covers such different, and mostly mutually exclusive, contents as the ones just mentioned, it becomes an abstraction and thus rather useless. What matters is to examine what the term “happiness” means… (Happiness is a new invented term)

Most definitions of happiness, Fromm observes, converge at some version of having our needs met and our wishes fulfilled — but this raises the question of what it is we actually want. (As Milan Kundera memorably wrote, “we can never know what to want.”)

It’s essentially a question about human nature — or, rather, about the interplay of nature and nurture mediated by norms. Adding to the vocabulary of gardening as a metaphor for understanding happiness and making sense of mastery.

Fromm illustrates his point:

This is indeed well understood by any gardener. The aim of the life of a rosebush is to be all that is inherent as potentiality in the rosebush: that its leaves are well developed and that its flower is the most perfect rose that can grow out of this seed.

The gardener knows, then, in order to reach this aim he must follow certain norms that have been empirically found. The rosebush needs a specific kind of soil, of moisture, of temperature, of sun and shade.

It is up to the gardener to provide these things if he wants to have beautiful roses. But even without his help the rosebush tries to provide itself with the optimum of needs.

It can do nothing about moisture and soil, but it can do something about sun and temperature by growing “crooked,” in the direction of the sun, provided there is such an opportunity. Why would not the same hold true for the human species?

Even if we had no theoretical knowledge about the reasons for the norms that are conducive to man’s optimal growth and functioning, experience tells us just as much as it tells the gardener.

Therein lies the reason that all great teachers of man have arrived at essentially the same norms for living, the essence of these norms being that the overcoming of greed, illusions, and hate, and the attainment of love and compassion, are the conditions for attaining optimal being.

Drawing conclusions from empirical evidence, even if we cannot explain the evidence theoretically, is a perfectly sound and by no means “unscientific” method, although the scientists’ ideal will remain, to discover the laws behind the empirical evidence.

(Confusing: empirical means performing experiments, which is the basis of sciences)

He distills the basic principle of life’s ultimate aim:

The goal of living [is] to grow optimally according to the conditions of human existence and thus to become fully what one potentially is; to let reason or experience guide us to the understanding of what norms are conducive to well-being, given the nature of man that reason enables us to understand.

But one of the essential ingredients of well-being, Fromm notes, has been gruesomely warped by capitalist industrial society — the idea of freedom and its attainment by the individual:

Liberation has been exclusively applied to liberation from outside forces; by the middle class from feudalism, by the working class from capitalism, by the peoples in Africa and Asia from imperialism.

Such external liberation, Fromm argues, is essentially political liberation — an inherently limiting pseudo-liberation, which can obscure the emergence of various forms of imprisonment and entrapment within the political system. He writes:

This is the case in Western democracy, where political liberation hides the fact of dependency in many disguises… Man can be a slave even without being put in chains

The outer chains have simply been put inside of man. The desires and thoughts that the suggestion apparatus of society fills him with, chain him more thoroughly than outer chains.

This is so because man can at least be aware of outer chains but be unaware of inner chains, carrying them with the illusion that he is free.

He can try to overthrow the outer chains, but how can he rid himself of chains of whose existence he is unaware?

Any attempt to overcome the possibly fatal crisis of the industrialized part of the world, and perhaps of the human race, must begin with the understanding of the nature of both outer and inner chains; it must be based on the liberation of man in the classic, humanist sense as well as in the modern, political and social sense…

The only realistic aim is total liberation, a goal that may well be called radical (or revolutionary) humanism.

The two most pernicious chains keeping us from liberation, Fromm observes, are our culture’s property-driven materialism and our individual intrinsic tendencies toward narcissism. He writes:

If “well-being” — [defined as] functioning well as a person, not as an instrument — is the supreme goal of one’s efforts, two specific ways stand out that lead to the attainment of this goal: Breaking through one’s narcissism and breaking through the property structure of one’s existence.

He offers the crispest definition of narcissism I’ve encountered (something that took Kafka47-page letter to articulate):

Narcissism is an orientation in which all one’s interest and passion are directed to one’s own person: one’s body, mind, feelings, interests…

For the narcissistic person, only he and what concerns him are fully real; what is outside, what concerns others, is real only in a superficial sense of perception; that is to say, it is real for one’s senses and for one’s intellect. But it is not real in a deeper sense, for our feeling or understanding.

He is, in fact, aware only of what is outside, inasmuch as it affects him. Hence, he has no love, no compassion, no rational, objective judgment. The narcissistic person has built an invisible wall around himself. He is everything, the world is nothing. Or rather: He is the world.

But because narcissism can come in many guises, Fromm cautions, it can be particularly challenging to detect in oneself in order to then eradicate — and yet without doing so, “the further way to self-completion is blocked.”

A parallel peril to well-being comes from the egotism and selfishness seeded by our ownership-driven society, a culture that prioritizes having over being by making property its primary mode of existence. Fromm writes:

A person living in this mode is not necessarily very narcissistic. He may have broken through the shell of his narcissism, have an adequate appreciation of reality outside himself, not necessarily be “in love with himself”; he knows who he is and who the others are, and can well distinguish between subjective experience and reality.

Nevertheless, he wants everything for himself; has no pleasure in giving, in sharing, in solidarity, in cooperation, in love. He is a closed fortress, suspicious of others, eager to take and most reluctant to give.

Growth, he argues, requires a dual breakthrough — of narcissism and of property-driven existence.

Although the first steps toward this breaking from bondage are bound to be anxiety-producing, this initial discomfort is but a paltry price for the larger rewards of well-being awaiting us on the other side of the trying transformation:

If a person has the will and the determination to loosen the bars of his prison of narcissism and selfishness, when he has the courage to tolerate the intermittent anxiety, he experiences the first glimpses of joy and strength that he sometimes attains. And only then a decisive new factor enters into the dynamics of the process.

This new experience becomes the decisive motivation for going ahead and following the path he has charted… [An] experience of well-being — fleeting and small as it may be — … becomes the most powerful motivation for further progress…

Awareness, will, practice, tolerance of fear and of new experience, they are all necessary if transformation of the individual is to succeed.

At a certain point the energy and direction of inner forces have changed to the point where an individual’s sense of identity has changed, too. In the property mode of existence the motto is: “I am what I have.

After the breakthrough it is “I am what I do (in the sense of unalienated activity); or simply, “I am what I am.”

In the remainder of The Art of Being, Fromm explores the subtleties and practicalities of enacting this transformation.

Complement it with legendary social scientist John W. Gardner, a contemporary of Fromm’s, on the art of self-renewal, then revisit Fromm’s abiding wisdom on what is keeping us from mastering the art of love.

Avatar getting shielded by their Gods?

Puny avatar; why in the name of God?

 

Show me a single religion condemning

As blasphemy, the biggest sin of all,

Speaking in the name of its God.

 

Puny avatar;

Why in the name of God?

Allah, Jehovah, Krishna, Buddha

 

Show me a single religion

Not inaugurating a President

In the name of its God.

 

Not haranguing the troops

In the name of a God.

Not persecuting other religions

In the name of a God.

 

Puny avatar; why are you hiding your weaknesses

In the name of a God?

Are you scaring me with eternal fire?

Is a candle burn not bad enough?

 

Are you frightening me to obedience by eternal pain?

Millions are suffering constant pain in hospitals, tents, in open air;

Of curable diseases, famine, thirst,

 

No pain-killer powerful enough to let go in peace.

Isn’t a single case bad enough to you?

 

Are you enticing me for immortality?

Anything scarier than boring immortality?

 

Puny avatar; why are you heaping your ignorant arrogance on me

In the name of a God?

 

Is there a single religion with enough imagination?

A total silence preceding a major cataclysm as God.

A complete darkness, not a candle flickering.

 

A world devoid of the feeling of touch;

Not a single soft breeze, not a wet loving kiss.

A world odorless and tasteless as God

 

Any one of that kinds of Gods would scare the hell out of me

And you won’t have to preach in his Name.

 

Puny avatar; talk in the name of God

And stay a dwarf: petty, mean, and coward.

 

Mankind! Stand up.  Wake up.

Dare speak in the name of Man.

Take on your responsibilities in the name of mankind.

Embrace your countless limitations;

Develop your limitless potentials.

 

Pray your God in the solitude of your heart;

Give grace to your God in the many ways to enjoying life;

For the opportunity to working with passion and sweating labor.

 

Puny avatar you were and is

In the name of God.

Try speaking in the name of man

With respect and humility to your fellow co-survivors

 

Sharing the same boat, the toil, hardship, and labor.

Sharing the smiles, joy, laughter, and compassion

Sharing what earth has in reserve to us all.

 

Singing with birds, the breeze, the sea wind.

Avatar you are and will be

And puny no more.

 

What are your strongest Passions?

There are passions and passions: There are induced passions, cultured passions, strong individual passions…

There are the “power to be” kinds of strong passions, and there are abstract passions that ideologies, religions, and customs would like you to incarnate for a “homogeneous community stability“.

All those institutions want to select for you the kinds of passions that are appropriate to your well being and development.

Our individual strong passions might change with age, lack of opportunities, energy deficiencies, and unplanned decisions.

Our strong passions that are the trademark of our successes and passion for life might be buried under less powerful passions, to satisfy our need to fitting within a community.

Most probably, periods of depressions, feeling of failure, and a life wasted could be the consequences of unhealthy behaviors of supposedly tamed strong passions that we failed to take full advantage of their beneficial potency, or buried deep during childhood.

Individual strong passions  do not ask why they exist, you don’t need to answer why;.

Otherwise, it is not in the category of strong passions.

Passion asks how and what.

it is  NOT a general notion but a very specific want.  It is not “I want to make plenty of money” but how I want to generate plenty of money.

It is not “I want a villa” but what kind of a villa, the design of particular rooms, kitchen, or garden.

It is not “I want a car” but details of your dream car.

It is not “I want to buy things” but exactly the product that you dreamed to own.

A strong passion is feasible but hardly attainable:  there are particular details that always have to be taken care of, to be redesigned, to be changed.

It is not “I want to be an architect” but what I want that is different in this world, which is compatible with my outlook.

An individual strong passion is NOT an abstract concept of equality, freedom, or justice. It is my individual concept and detailed program to bring about those concepts.

It is not “I want to get married” but the special wedding dress I have in mind, the special ceremony I want to organize.

It is not “I want to have kids” but the special method for upbringing.

A strong passion is hard work that constantly re-designs the minute details that strongly fit my passion of the moment.

I believe that personal reflection is the best alternative for discovering a set of values (most compatible with our strongest passions) to guide our behavior.

However, there are many obstacles for any individual to access his own “ideology” of life.

First, the school system, family upbringing, community customs and traditions are as many diverse implicit ideologies that an individual has to comprehend and sort out.

Second, it presupposes that an individual has reached enough maturity to believe that his reflections can affect the course of events.

Third, it presupposes that the governing institutional systems care about individual opinions and demands, and are ready to examine them seriously.

Fourth, it presupposes that the individual has enough will, energy, education, and perseverance to discover his own set of values and ideological system.

In many moments in life we asked “what is the meaning and purpose in life?”

How about we start from the obvious?

We are a bunch of jumbled passions that drive our life and we ache to re-order our passions and discover the strongest passions that mean most to us.

We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits but as thinking reflecting persons that have distinct set of passions that we managed to prioritize.

We finally think that we know who we are and what drove our life. Just a wish belief, an illusion, but Not accurate

We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.

It is no business of anyone if I believe in a God: I reserve mine. All for myself

Have your Gods. One and only or multiple. 

Let the people who need to re-read the Old Books for stories, which are actually happening everyday and everywhere, do what they please: I prefer to read fresh versions, rooted in the current realities.

Truth , or the illusion of it, is uncovered by getting engaged in the reality, with all its miseries, injustices, indignities…

Let people who feel this urge to continually re-interpret the outdated and obsolete notions in Old Books, abstract notions that you’ll never be able to experiment with and that you’ll never comprehend, do what they please: I have this one life to experiment with and a rich reality to investigate, at my reach everyday

The live-forces in society have challenges to tackle, and difficulties to prosecute, while still healthy and full of energy and curiosity…

Fictional abstract notions of the after-life are for the weak-minded and those witnessing serious degradation in their health and mind power…

The live-forces in society need to:

1. Confront injustices on all fronts: Elite rich classes of exploiters, dictators and oligarchies, totalitarian regimes, absolute monarchies…

2. Demand and capture their rights, civil, political, and human dignity…Free preventive health care, retirements, educations, opportunities to all…

3. Shoulder their responsibilities to the common good of communities…

4. Keep practicing their talents and skills that they invested countless time and energy to acquire and enjoy…

5. Keep acquiring comprehensive knowledge in order to make sense of books and be able to write interesting books…

6. Get engaged in social and political laws processes and ensuring transitions to government systems that guarantee free speech, free expression of opinions, free gathering…All the requirements of a Renaissance Age…

This is a one-life shot, and I want to live it. And I want to live what I desire in the living.

Complications, complications…a long string of imaginary complications.

Life is so simple though.

You are born by the fluke of an impossible series of events.

You get to survive to be 5 year-old, a miracle 7 decades ago even in developed nations.

Your mother survived your birth, a miracle 6 decades ago in developed States, after giving birth to half a dozen of “unlucky” babies who didn’t make it among the living…

A couple of suckers of parents think they ought to sacrifice their lives to take care of this “happy happening“, way until he reaches over 50 years, on account that a baby is a baby as long as he looks chubby, roundish, and healthy.

And the parents die.

And you wait the long life expectancy statistics to come true.

And other persons, not your parents, are changing your diapers and cursing: “What’s this piece of shit they threw my way to tend to?

They are exploiting my energy and hard work for naught: For negative results in performance, degeneration by the day…” (Fortunately, you are almost deaf, and if you did hear anything, you are in no position to confront the nurse “argument”)

The result of medications that extend life and destroy its quality

Not an elegant return of the cycle to childhood, by any long shot, with the permanent infirmity you are in…

And ultimately, fodder to worms. And “dust to dust…” and ultimately to boson, this utra tiny particle?

And you say: “How could you be engaged in the common good, if your outlook to life is so down right gloomy?”

And I reply: “A pragmatic demonstration for my respect of other people’s opinions, contrary to mine, in the notion and possibilities in the after life…”?

People forget very quickly what good you have done?

No, nobody can forget the good deeds

Or they wish it is Not brought out?

Kind most of us would like to give the illusion they were always self-sufficient and independent?

Even if you hear a bad story about me, understand, there was a time I was good to those people too, but they won’t tell you that part.
No one should justify their bad behavior because of the good moments.
It won’t ever overlap the reality of how everything came to be. This is in reference with deceit and bullying.
People make mistakes, sure. Though, good times can’t mask a bad person. Being taken for granted when all you did was “good” is a whole other story.
Just because one person doesn’t seem to care for you, doesn’t mean you should forget about everyone else who does.
(Actually, we prefer to forget that if we survived so far, it is because of the hundred of “strangers’ who had pity on us and extended a helping hand)
People are only bad about others to feel good about themselves. Insecurity on their behalf.
Keeping others down to keep me up?
Leave these folk to their own devices, let karma to sort this out? No need to be that stupid and learn to select people and judge their characters
(Mind you that many are professional actors and they are Not aware of spending their life acting up)
Judging and condemning others before you know them isn’t my idea of nice, but I’m afraid it happens. I hear it every day. But I say don’t be horrid until you know that person yourself.. judge for yourself.
No need to trust who cannot laugh on himself and his many foibles, errors and mistakes

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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