Things Early, Things Late

learnedI‘ve compiled 2 lists; one of lessons I learned early, and the other of lessons I learned later in life. In the future I intend elaborate on each point in separate posts, linking to each post from the points in this post. Feel free to add comments on this post as they will influence my elaborations.

Things I Learned Early

  1. Speak the truth and accept the consequences

    Lying, even if intended to protect the feelings of others, seldom outperforms a commitment to conveying the truth, though brutal it may be.
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  2. Do what you love and make career incidental

    Conventional concepts of success have misled many to miserable existences from which they now find it difficult to extract themselves.
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  3. Ignore money

    No, really. Adopt a lifestyle far enough beneath your income that you don’t need to count pennies at the end of every month.
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  4. Rather than learning a few things perfectly, learn many things well

    Unfettered focus can result in a mono-dimensional identity. Constantly move yourself into unexplored domains of knowledge.
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  5. Take calculated risks

    A life of fear nearly always ends in regret. Accept your mortality and fallibility. Then fail. Develop a resilience through those failures.
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  6. The best sex is with someone you love

    Sex within genuine affection far exceeds anything casual. Don’t trade in your standards in for a quick fix that will leave you empty tomorrow.
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  7. Never feel guilty for living contrary to others’ expectations

    Many will attempt to conscript you into their own existential games as a form of self-validation. You have no obligation to play by their rules.
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Things I’ve Learned Late

  1. Don’t hide yourself

    You’re taking yourself too seriously if you demand full control of your image. Allow others to wrongly disparage you without response.
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  2. Assessing the tool of assessment is the first step of assessment

    The brain is everything. Explore it inside and out. Identify its weaknesses. Only then attempt to use it to assess your reality and identity.
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  3. Default to skepticism in response to affirmations

    Uncritical acceptance of any alleged authority sets the stage for gullibility and subsequent pain. It is often that an authority does not has your best interests in mind.
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  4. Apply scientific reasoning to everything

    Scientific reasoning will not answer everything, but it is clearly the only warranted starting point as shown by its real-world successes.
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  5. Experience life both objectively and subjectively

    Never confuse the two. Live both passionately. Passionately pursue dispassionate truth, and build an impassioned subjective reality upon this objective truth.

  6. Productive knowledge is hierarchical

    Not all knowledge is equal. There are fundamentals that are requisite to much deeper truths. Constructing a faulty foundation is subsequently debilitating.

  7. Learn logic, statistics and probabilities well

    These are foundational. Teasing the truth out of the agenda-laden media will require much training in the use of these tools.

  8. Knowledge acquisition is largely linear over life

    It need not end with formal education. Technology and media competition has placed enormous amounts of knowledge at our fingertips.

  9. Fear nothing and have no real vested interests

    Maintain mobility, both geographical and intellectual. Then take appropriate risks when you discover an unexplored life awaiting.

  10. Create an enduring subjective meaning

    Identify sustainable principles from which you can build subjective meaning. These will probably include a healthy altruism and an acute curiosity about life.

  11. Focus on cultivating internal happiness

    From time-to-time, intentionally position yourself in an impoverished physical and financial environment. Remain there until you’ve rediscovered happiness.

  12. Avoid a static identity and plan to live several lives

    Life may be short, but it’s usually long enough to have lived several lives of different hues. A monochromatic life is commonly regretted.

  13. Expect to have many genuine lovers

    Few experiences surpass the surrendering of yourself to a guileless intimacy. Life will probably provide you with many such opportunities.

  14. Laugh at self, and laugh a lot

    It’s tragic to see humans take themselves too seriously. Learn your objective insignificance before playing the subjective games of significance.

  15. Everyone is insecure, and all deserve compassion

    Humans have much more in common that what is sometimes supposed. We all hurt. A hallmark of strength is an eagerness to assist weaker others.


5 thoughts on “Things Early, Things Late

  1. sam says:

    Hi Phil,

    I will re-read the list once more later to get into it a little more
    For start I would like to ask you something about the point 6 from the first list and 13 on the second: is there an evolution here or it is just a change in your views?
    I probably need you to explain them a bit more so I can get the picture.


    • Hi Sam,

      I was a virgin when I was married at age 23, so I began as an idealist, and have not entirely departed from that position. I’ve been in several relationships since my divorce, and have been happy and “in love” to a great degree in all of them. I don’t feel I’ve lowered my standards for a partner, but I also have not lowered my expectations for myself which includes avoiding a 2nd marriage for the moment. So I often end the relationship if it becomes apparent that the girl is intent on marriage. I’ll write more on this later, but when I meet a girl I like, I normally tell her that I’ll never marry again. If she accepts this, then I feel comfortable in focusing my full affection and passion on her. So number 6 is a constant in that I feel I have high standards, yet I’ve realized that I may never find a single “soulmate” that I will be with forever. However, that does not stop me from loving deeply the girls I carefully select. My relationships are just shorter these days.

      You may find it interesting that I nearly always stay on good terms with my exes. One night in Tokyo, I went out with 4 ex-girlfriends, plus a new girl I was interested in. Since I don’t want a girl who is the least bit jealous, introducing them to my exes is a filter. This may not work for everyone, but it seem to have worked for me quite well. There was one time, however, I introduced a new girl to an ex-girlfriend, and they ended up liking each other too much and took a vacation together the next month…without me!

      Here is a link to a video of 2 girls in my life about 4 years ago. The taller one was my current girlfriend with whom I stayed for 2 and 1/2 years.

  2. sam says:

    It’s hard to beat your argument here as it is from a hedonistic point of view.

    I am with you on the first phrase (I married at 23) and it stops there I’m afraid.
    I would develop the subject a bit more going to the point were you would need to give me the girls’ opinion on their relationships with you but this would be a too complicated story altogether to talk about.

    I am with you on the point 15 (and almost all the rest) which redeems yourself just fine.
    I hope you don’t mind my boldness here. :)


    • Yes, I might add that, because of the age gap between myself and most of the girls, and because I do have children, my role becomes paternal. I tend to act like a father who encourages them to explore life which is a major theme in this blog. So even after the breakup they come back for advice and reassurances.

      I’m hoping to meet a girl with whom a can have more of an equal interaction with; perhaps a girl who is heavily into philosophy, but I may have to wait until I go back to school again.

  3. […] Epistemology/Ontology, Subjectivity/Objectivity) This post is an elaboration of #4 from a list of things I’ve learned late in life. When I was young, I believed to a great degree that truth would feel […]

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