April 23, 2013

April 22

We child travellers, ones who crossing the seas and went to foreign countries as children, experience everything–unusual things–as normal. We saw so much when we were so young. I feel like I have much greater awareness and tolerance of and love for diversity because of my travels as a child.

We child travellers take lots of luxuries for granted. Even if, like me, we traveled second (or “tourist”) class.

I think the character Sherlock Holmes is a psychic Aspie. I love this character. The new movies with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are great. And now I’m watching BBC TV episodes with Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson and some gorgeous, amazing guy as Sherlock.

Wikipedia:

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. Six episodes, broadcast since 2010, have been produced, with three further episodes in production since March 2013.

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Caffeine gives me high blood pressure! Damn. I just love it! Oh, well, I also love tea.

These lice are bothering me. What if people see them crawling around in my hair? Ah, the worries! Every wild animal (i.e., animals living outdoors) must be beset by bugs all the time. I want to experience what they feel, but it’s not easy for me.

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April 23

Reading a wonderful book by Daniel Klein (age 73) Travels With Epicurus. James (from Massachusetts) goes to the Greek island of Hydra to learn about growing old. He accepts old age and doesn’t want to pursue staying “forever young.” I agree and just LOVE this book. Some quotes:

First and foremost, Klein advocates self-interest and the pursuit of pleasure. He is not alone in saying this. Epicurus also said this. Epicurus’ pleasures did not include rich, expensive meals; he preferred simplicity (a plate of lentils).

William James (in Klein, p. 116): “Sobriety diminishes, discriminates and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes.”

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Camus, in “The Myth of Sisyphus,” “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide” (p. 112 in Klein).

“(Soren) Kierkegaard pulled no punches when he challenged us to take philosophical and spiritual risks; he famously wrote, ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.’ ”

After I tried (seriously, not a “cry for help”) to commit suicide on Oct. 6, 1975, I was put into a state mental institution (Napa State Hospital) for 8 weeks. I have since read the transcript of my intake meeting at the Hospital. I was totally out-of-it, completely “insane.”

Looking back on that period, I realize that my TOTAL DISORIENTATION was one of the most positive experiences of my life. It was the daring Kierkegaard describes: I had totally lost my footing. Usually, keeping my footing–staying sane, or, at least, appearing sane–is the main focus of my life. Accidentally (not intentionally), I lost my grip. The best possible accident! Sanity is highly over-rated (who said that?).

“The best remedy for anger is delay.” ~Seneca (p. 119 in Klein)

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Leave behind politics and commerce (p. 16). Epicurus: “We must free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics”–Epicurus advocates not “dedicating our lives to business,” but rather embracing his “brand of existential freedom–…absolutely necessary for a happy life” (p. 17).

Epicurus believed in self-interest. “Some Athenians saw Epicurus and his ideas as a threat to social stability. A philosophy that set personal pleasure as life’s highest goal and that openly advocated self-interest could dissolve the glue that held the republic together: altruism” (p. 11).”But Epicurus and his followers could not have cared less what these detractors thought.”

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“…Epicurus much preferred tranquil pleasures to wild ones” (p. 12). He had prostitutes and market women at his Garden parties “where they were treated as equals in philosophical discussions.”

“…Epicureanism espoused and practiced a radical egalitarianism of both gender and social class” (p. 12).

Eva Hoffman, in her book-length essay Time, “illustrates how the experience of time varies from culture to culture and from one period to another in a particular culture” (p. 42 in Klein).

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“In today’s terms, Epicurus would advocate a kind of sixties, getting-by-on-nothing lifestyle–one that, for better or for worse, few of us were willing to fully embrace to attain perfect freedom when we were younger” (p. 17).

“Epicurus would have us scale down and taste the sweetness of this freedom” (p. 27).

For Epicurus, “…the height of true friendship was to be accepted and loved for who one was, not what station in life one had achieved” (p. 31).

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“And Plato’s successor, that world champion of pleasure, Epicurus, believed in a simple yet elegant connection between learning and happiness: the entire purpose of education was to attune the mind and senses to the pleasures of life” (p. 54).

Plato wrote: “What, then, is the right way of living? Life must be lived as play” (p. 62).

“In his popular political essay ‘In Praise of Idleness,’ the twentieth century British philosopher Bertrand Russell chides us for failing to use our free time for, of all things, fun: ‘It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.’ ”

This (above) is so true! I began getting SSI (disability money from the government) when I was thirty-years-old. It took me about ten years to know how to live without people (parents, husband, teachers, bosses, and other “authority figures”) telling me what to do.

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My play is camping and travel.

I practice simplicity.

No striving–contentment–is what I learned during my 6-week mystical experience at age 51 “with” Jeremy Birkhead in Ventura.

Minimalism = peace, when one’s focus (Aspie) is details.

18th century German philosopher Johann Hamann said that “work is easy, but true idleness takes courage and fortitude” (p. 68).

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Jean-Paul Sartre used the word “authenticity” to describe in complete faithfulness to oneself (“to thine own self be true”) (p. 89).

Yesterday, I hitchhiked a ride back up to the East End from “David,” who thanked me when he let me out at the start of the Horn Canyon trail. “You are performing a service,” he said, “by letting people know about your unusual lifestyle.”

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Beautiful weather! 70s during the day; 50s at night. Warm, sunny weather makes me feel that life is good; it’s very life-affirming and self-affirming.

The Fool tarot card is best described through Joseph Campbell’s  statement: “Follow your bliss.” That’s what The Fool is doing.

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