The Happy Pill: Would You Take It?

If the government were to offer you a free daily Happy Pill, would you take it?

A pill that would
remove all your worries,
relieve all your pain,
eliminate any possible suffering?

Would you take it?

And would you call yourself a happy person while on that pill?

If you are like most healthy people, you have an instinctive reaction against the idea of a Happy Pill.


Is it because you feel:

— Like you’re being controlled?

— That you are losing something valuable and essential?

— You’re somehow no longer a real human being if you take it?

— That your life would be more that of an animal or plant than a human being?

Many people look at all the pain and suffering in the world, and they want it to stop. They want everyone to be happy. And they believe everyone should be happy; otherwise, life is not fair.

Therefore, the Happy Pill would be a good thing, right?

No more pain, no more suffering.

The idea of a Happy Pill assumes something significant:

— That pain and suffering have no purpose, no value.

— That pain and suffering have nothing to contribute to a happy life.

— That a world without pain and suffering would be a better world.

Think about such a Happy-Pill world:

  • No one would find anything painful.
  • No one would know they made a mistake.
  • No one would know when they took a false step.
  • No one would feel the need to empathize with the pain of others, since no one would be in pain.
  • No one would need to grow or change.
  • No one would need to feel compassion for anyone else.
  • Everyone would be equal. Everyone would feel the same happiness.

Everyone would be in their
own little happy world
with other people all equally
in their own little happy worlds.

And we all know how important it is for all people to be equal, right?

Does this Happy Pill world sound like a real life to you?

Is this really the kind of world you want to live in?

From Sex and Romance

3. Sex and Romance thumb

The Three Kinds of Friendship

In his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguishes roughly three kinds of friendship:

1) Those based on pleasure.

2) Those based on usefulness.

3) Those based on themselves.

1) We all have experienced friendships based on pleasure.

These are the friends that are fun to hang with. We go to parties with these kinds of friends. We play fun games with these kinds of friends. We enjoy sex with these kinds of friends.

These are the partiers, the gamers, the friends with benefits. And we also know a critical truth about these kinds of friendships:

For friendships based on pleasure,
once the pleasure ends,
the friendship ends.

When we no longer party in the same way, or play the same games, or we lose interest in the sex, more often than not, these friendships end.


Because the primary purpose of the friendship has ended—its pleasure.

These friendships are not necessarily bad. They can help people learn and grow, and pass the time. But rightly or wrongly:

Friendships based on pleasure
are means to an end,
not an end in themselves.

2) We all have also experienced friendships based on usefulness.

These are the friends we have at the office or at work. These are the friends at school. These are friends who show up at our political rallies. These are friends at the club or the association or the church where we go.

They are our coworkers, our classmates, our political allies, and our fellow club members. They are useful friendships. As long as we have common goals, related to work or politics or mutual aims, the friendship endures.

And we also know a critical truth about these kinds of friendships:

Friendships based on usefulness
are means to an end,
not an end in themselves.

Once the usefulness ends, the friendship ends.

Once we change our job or political party or religion, we may say we want to keep in touch. Perhaps we do occasionally meet and have lunch together.

But more often than not, the friendship ends.


Because the primary purpose of this friendship has ended—its usefulness.

3) Then there is the third kind of friendship, the friendship based on itself.

Some people can go their whole lives without experiencing this kind of friendship. These friendships are rare. These are the friends who, if you have them, you usually can count the number of them on one hand.

These are the friends who you just enjoy being with, and they enjoy being with you. It does not matter what you are doing, nor how pleasurable or useful it is to be together. You just feel good being with them.

These are the friends who, sometimes, you don’t see for years. And then when you are together again, it’s like no time has passed. You are right there together again.

Nothing useful or specifically pleasurable comes out of these kinds of friendships. They promise no previous obligation or future benefit.

They just are.

Friendships based on themselves
are not means to an end,
They are ends in themselves.

These are the friends that are never lost with changing jobs, locations, pleasures, or pains.

These friendships are timeless.


From Sex and Romance

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The Creating Your Life Checklist

The Creating Your Life Checklist

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.
Henry David Thoreau

Take charge of your thoughts

__ Imagination is the tool with which you architect your life.

__ What you think, say, and feel creates your life.

__ Don’t focus on the rocks in your life; aim for the ways around the rocks.

__ Let go of negative, angry, sarcastic, cynical, and self-negating thoughts.

__ Think of the end result without being concerned how you will get there.

__ Aim your arrows, relax, let go, and trust they will hit the target better than you can imagine.

__ Exercise choice: Choose your state of consciousness.

Inventory your potential blind spots

__ Pay attention to what makes you emotionally reactive and twitchy.

__ Think about those things you automatically reject as “crazy” or “insane,” especially if you see these things in otherwise sane friends.

__ Note what others seem to see that you can’t see: in religion, politics, business, science, and personal relationships.

Get in the habit of doing affirmations daily

__ Start right now: make your first affirmation “I love writing my affirmations every day.”

__ Write every day, and apply imagination exercises.

__ Remember the Change Formula: Imagining Vividly with Feeling results in Change.

__ Try affirmations for 100 days: Give them a chance to work…if they don’t, you have lost only time…if they do, you will have entered a completely new world.

Download a printable PDF of the 100-Day Imagination Exercise Workbook at MarkAndreAlexander.Com.

__ Focus on the present and write what you are aiming for (not the rocks).

__ Trust that even if what you are trying to change grasps you harder, it will let go and you will be free.

Embrace change and flexibility

__ It’s time to allow your dreams to enter into your life.

__ It’s time to see yourself as worthy of your dreams.

__ Set goals that stretch yourself: Be realistic but challenge yourself.

__ Be the creator; no need anymore to allow others to create your life for their benefit.

__ Every day your goals become a reality.

__ Be an empowering wizard who builds up everyone you meet.

Your success and happiness lies in you.
Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form
an invincible host against difficulties.
Helen Keller

Go to MarkAndreAlexander.Com to access a free 36-day course on Creating Your Life.


from the book Creating Your Life

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The First Rule of Romance

Romance is when someone you like walks into a room and they take your breath away.
Romance is when two people are dancing and they fit together perfectly.
Romance is when two people are walking next to each other
and all of a sudden they find themselves holding hands,
and they don’t know how that happened.
John C. Moffi

Romance is the lover at play.

An acquaintance of mine told me how he had asked his live-in partner to marry him.

He and his partner had lived together for several years. He had been married before and had grown children.

The kitchen faucet started acting up, so she got under the sink and began working on it. He was watching her work and was moved by how much he loved this remarkable person.

So he decided in that moment to ask her to marry him.

Her response?

“You ask me this…NOW?”

My acquaintance unknowingly violated the first rule of romance:

Always make sure your partner has a great story to tell.

Here’s how I asked my wife to marry me:

I had the ring, and I called up our best friends, two couples, Ed and Diane, and Paula and Bernard.

I explained that I was going to pop the question at an especially nice, upscale restaurant in Palo Alto, on a Sunday evening. The restaurant was in on it, and they had prepared two tables, one for me and my future wife, and a separate one that we would move to, set for six.

I wanted our friends to pick up six dozen sunflowers and six dozen roses that I had ready for them at a florist. Sunflowers were her favorite flower, and roses were for our love.

They would arrive at a predetermined time, about 15 minutes after we had sat down at the table. I would be positioned where I could see past her when they arrived with the flowers.

I played it cool that evening. I had told her we had reservations for dinner.

As the time approached, with her having worked that day (self-employed), she mentioned that she was not sure it was worth our dressing up.

I agreed that it might not be worth the effort, but I knew her. This restaurant was upscale just enough that business casual would work. But it was also a place where evening gowns and a coat and tie were appropriate.

After a while, she came back and said, “Why not dress up? It’s a nice restaurant.”

And, smiling inside, I agreed.

We arrived on time, the restaurant workers expectant, careful not to give anything away.

We relaxed and ordered drinks. Just on time, I saw our friends arrive carrying armfuls of flowers. She looked wide-eyed as they walked up smiling, holding the flowers in their arms.

Just then, I got up, dropped to one knee, held up a ring case, and opened it to reveal the ring.

A restaurant full of patrons and workers applauded.

The rest is history. And a darn good story.

Romance is about storytelling. Great and surprising stories. Unexpected stories.

All you need to do to be romantic
is to create for your partner
a great, living, unexpected, surprising story.

The wonderful thing about such stories is that the good ones get better in the telling. You will find that over time, as the story gets told over and over to others, that love is rekindled and romance stays in the air.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the male in a relationship should be the prime story creator. Females have just as much an obligation to create stories for the men in their lives; stories you want them to tell their friends.

Never forget that your prime obligation in romance is very simple:

Create a great story.

From Sex and Romance

3. Sex and Romance thumb

The Four Marriage Questions

Many people marry for the wrong reasons and end up single, often with obligations, and holding a cynical view of love and relationships. But a short, simple test can help guide you toward what a successful marriage may look like.

If you and your potential spouse can both answer “yes” to most or all four of these questions, then you may end up with a great marriage. Of course, there are no guarantees. Life always has a way of surprising us.

Ask yourself each question. Can you say yes to each?

1) If this person stays just as he or she is for the rest of his or her life, would that be OK?

2) Would you like to become more like this person?

3) If you were to have a child with someone, would you want to have a child with this person?

4) If the child grew up to be exactly like this person, would that be OK?

I once got a call from my wife. She was at the home of a friend whose daughter was going to be married in one week to her high school sweetheart. She was visiting her mother, crying and upset, unsure whether the marriage was a good idea.

Four weeks before, he had called off the wedding. She was devastated and gave back the ring. He had come back to her the next day, sobbing, begging her to come back and get married. They travelled to Las Vegas, but did not get married. When they returned, she had called off the wedding. Her friends gave her mixed messages about whether marrying him was a good idea.

She told her mother that she had felt like she had to go through with it because her parents had spent so much money. But she learned they didn’t care about that.

My wife called me and asked, “What are those four marriage questions again?”

I gave them to her, and she asked the daughter each question.

The daughter answered “no” to all four.

She cancelled the wedding, and in two years she married a wonderful man. And they now have three beautiful children.

The four marriage questions may help you recognize that a potential partner may not be the best fit. They hint at what is required of your character.

From Sex and Romance

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A short missive on “Whom”

To Who It May Concern

I am not a violent man. But I have had it up to here!

I can’t stand it anymore. I want to invite every reader to join me in a conspiracy to commit murder.

It has insinuated itself into our lives. Eating away at our brains. Putting us on the defensive, chipping away at our self-esteem, confusing us into pointless pauses, enslaving us into just trying to get it right.

And to what purpose?

Admit it. You were looking at the salutation of this post and thinking about it, weren’t you?

I speak of whom.

Why, why, why, why, why, why?

Who grew up speaking it without special education? Who comes upon it naturally in daily speech? Who did this to us?

Let’s face it. The quadratic equation is rare but particularizes something useful. Hegemony is a rare word but distinguishes something useful. The Pythagorean Comma is rare but occasionally it’s useful, for a few specialists.

What use is whom? What real difference has it ever made? Yeah, yeah, it distinguishes the object from the subject in a sentence, but who friggin’ cares?

When has there been a real lack of clarity when it’s missing in common usage?

Sure, you can construct an example sentence to show a possible ambiguity, but who would say such a thing? By who would it be said?

Let’s murder it now, together, and bury it in the backyard, wrapped in lime and dissolved in acid. No more whom. No more pauses in deciding what the proper form of who is. No more pauses each time we come across it, trying to decide if it was used correctly. No more “Oh, by the way, that should be whom.”

Let’s be assassins. Let’s stake this grammatical vampire in its academic black heart.

Die, die, die, die, die, haunted thing that should have decayed centuries ago.


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Why Is Shakespeare Great?

Imagine that you have entered, a little late, the classroom of a crotchety, old, dinosaur professor at a major university. You find a seat in the back and look around.

The professor is lecturing from behind a podium using lecture notes and does not look up when you enter. Only half the seats are taken. He wears a worn gray tweed jacket, faded blue shirt, and a darker blue, thin tie. His mottled gray-white hair is splayed out in a classic Einstein.

The students look like first-year university students. Bored, fidgety, a couple actually sleeping. One handsome young woman with short black hair, milk chocolate skin, wearing a black dress and black lipstick, has her hand raised, arm waving slightly, supporting it with her other hand. She looks like she has been waiting awhile.

“…presents the reader with many challenges, not the least of which is Elizabethan diction and Shakespeare’s poetic compression. But every reader willing to take the time will discover a bounty of humanistic treasures.” The professor stops and looks at her over his silver reading glasses. “Yes?” One word conveys his lack of good cheer. Questions are not encouraged.

“I’m sorry, professor, but I just don’t get it,” she says, exuding the sweet arrogance and mimicry of intellectual youth. “Shakespeare represents the view of the classic white-male eurocentric patriarchy, one that’s hundreds of years old, in a dated vocabulary that’s hard to understand. What’s his relevance today? I mean, what could Shakespeare possibly have to say to me?”

As she speaks, the professor’s eyes glaze and his head lowers slowly until he is staring down at his podium. He gives every appearance of being an old man in constant mental and physical pain. Several students murmur at least partial agreement. The professor stands silent for almost a full minute before turning to the blackboard. He picks up the chalk with a trembling hand and writes two words on the board—chair and stool. He turns and stares at her. He speaks softly.

“Would you say, Miss…..”

“Ms. Powers.”

“Would you say, Ms. Powers, that the words chair and stool distinguish two similar things?”

“Uh, I think…yes, of course.”

“And do you think, Ms. Powers, that these represent a distinction worth preserving? For example, if I were to ask you to bring me a chair and you brought me a stool, would we have reason to believe there existed between us some failure of communication?”

“Yes,” she said confidently.

“What would be the nature of the failure?”

“Uhh…a chair normally has a back for support while a stool does not.”

“Good. So you concede, Ms. Powers, that vocabulary helps us more clearly distinguish the specific differences between like things?”


“Is it a good thing to distinguish more clearly the specific differences between like things?”

“I suppose.”

“And that it would be better to possess a mind with a larger vocabulary than a mind with a smaller one?” Although he still speaks softly, the air begins to thicken.

“But just because someone has a better vocabulary doesn’t mean that they are a better person.” She speaks less confidently now.

“Ms. Powers,” he said a little bit louder. “If we are going to understand each other, it is best that you respond to what I actually say rather than what you think I am saying. I did not say anything about a better vocabulary or anything to do with being a better person. I asked if you thought it better to possess a mind with a larger vocabulary rather than a mind with a smaller vocabulary. Especially since you have already conceded that it is a good thing to more clearly distinguish the specific differences between like things. Or do you see another way of distinguishing specific differences in ways other than a versatile and specific vocabulary?”


“Ms. Powers, suppose you and I walked into a garden, and while I was a novice in gardening, you were an expert gardener who had a command of the technical language and knowledge of botany and gardening. Would our experience of a particular garden be any different?”

“Uh….” She is beginning to sense the trap being set for her. She tries to avoid it. “Yes, a little. We would both see the same thing, but I would probably be more knowledgeable about it if you asked me questions.”

“No, Ms. Powers,” he says preparing to close the trap. His face is reddening. His voice gets louder. “I’m afraid you are entirely mistaken. We would not be seeing the same garden at all. I would merely see pretty flowers, maybe some trees and grass. I may be able to tell the difference between a rose and a tulip, but that is all. I would see the mere surface of the garden. It’s mere appearance. But you, Ms. Powers…You would see an entirely different garden. You would be able to penetrate its depths. You would be able to recognize not only the different flowers—the carnations and snap dragons and pansies and hyacinths and lilies—you would also recognize the relative health of each of those flowers. You would recognize any pests or diseased plants. You would be able to spot where each plant and flower was in its life cycle. By their arrangement and care, you would know their past. In some cases, whether or not they were recently planted. You would know how much the person who tends the garden knows about his or her occupation. You would also know the difference between annuals and perennials. And this knowledge would allow you to see not only the present garden, but the future of that garden. You could predict its course and suggest actions to alter that course. No, Ms. Powers, you and I would not see the same garden at all. Because a true and rich vocabulary opens one to higher levels of perceptual and conceptual awareness. A specific vocabulary rewards you with a greater awareness, and the possibility of a deep causal awareness. The ability to distinguish true causes and their array of effects. And, were you so inclined, you would naturally begin seeing the world in terms of the garden. You would begin constructing metaphors and similes, perhaps even analogies, connecting life to that garden through an array of subtle similarities.”

He pauses and surveys the room. Here is the theater and the time is now for his signature solo performance that builds in power. Ms. Powers has lost the desire to respond.

“Do you know the number of distinct words in the average person’s vocabulary, Ms. Powers? About three thousand words, assuming that all forms of a word—like run, ran, running—counted as one. Three thousand words, enough to get an average person through the day, and through their lifetime. Do you know how many distinct words are in the King James Version of the Bible? Around four thousand three hundred, not counting names. That means that all of the history and philosophy and meaning, all of the variety of ideas expressed in the Bible, can be transmitted in a vocabulary of forty-three hundred words. Enough to challenge the average reader. Soon we will get to John Milton’s Paradise Lost. John Milton commanded an incredible vocabulary. He mastered several languages, including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, and French. He wrote not only epic poetry but many rigorous political tracts. Some of his sentences are so powerful and complex in their vocabulary, grammar, and meaning that they contain several dozen clauses. John Milton was a genius who mastered and crafted meaning out of a vocabulary of almost eight thousand words, more than almost all living writers.”

He pauses, and looks out through slitted eyes.

“But Shakespeare,” he says and chuckles. “Shakespeare exists in his own genus. When a rhetorician reads Shakespeare, she,” he glares the sarcastic concession at Ms. Powers, “points out that Shakespeare was a master rhetorician, who knew not only all the technical terms, ancient and modern, but was a master practitioner who applied that knowledge throughout his poems and plays, in ways that have stood as examples for generations to follow. When a gardener reads Shakespeare, she says that Shakespeare must have been a gardener, because he not only displays the technical terminology of botany and gardening and herbology, he demonstrates the kind of knowledge that comes from working in or studying closely a sophisticated English garden. When a lawyer reads Shakespeare, she tells us that Shakespeare must have had a legal education because he not only displays an astonishing range and accuracy with his use of legal terms, be he also commands an understanding of the history and philosophy of law. And you can point to other professions: actor, soldier, physician, courtier, historian, politician.”

He pauses, taking a breath, and when he begins again, the tempo and volume increases.

“But that’s not all. In his plays, he explores the range and depth of human emotions and experience. He explores love, but not just the young romantic love of Romeo and Juliet. He explores love between siblings, and parent and child, and comrades in arms, young love, middle-aged love, old love. Love between the low and the low, the low and the high, the high and the high, false love, true love, jaded love, betrayed love, self-love, love of good and love of indulgence. Like turning a diamond in the light, he explores every facet of love and hate and envy and greed and lust and jealousy and innocence and sweetness and revenge, and a hundred subtle emotional and intellectual states of which you have yet to take conscious stock. His capacious mind wandered everywhere, and in almost every way he has arrived there before you have, articulating it with a mastery that leaves later writers sick with wondering what territory of the human heart, human intellect, and human action is left to explore. He seems to have experienced the full range and depth of common human experience and encapsulated that experience more beautifully than any other. Shakespeare, Ms. Powers, displays a vocabulary of over twenty-two thousand words, almost three times Milton’s vocabulary, and you wonder why you find reading him challenging, and you dare to wonder if Shakespeare has anything to teach you?”

She sits frozen, unable to respond to the blast that has everyone stunned. In the spacious silence, the professor begins speaking softly again, with a sardonic smile.

“May I suggest to you, Ms. Powers, that you have a choice. You can continue to dwell on the surface of life, holding up external appearances as if they were everything, parroting the rhymes and rhythms of a fast-food consciousness, flaccid and without true self-animation, smug in the knowledge that you have comfortably given yourself over to a group numbness, submitting to mere external authority—or maybe, just maybe, with personal effort, a healthy skepticism, and a sense of individual exploration, you may become your own authority, by expanding your mind in a constant effort to comprehend Shakespeare’s. May I suggest that until you are well along into that journey, your mind and emotions will remain susceptible to every sophistic thought that knocks on your door, seeking to enslave you with its mere appearance of originality. It’s time, Ms. Powers, that you begin feeding on Shakespeare rather than on that damned fast food.”

He pauses.

“That’s all for today.”


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Evil Dictionaries

The genuine purpose of a dictionary is to preserve distinctions despite public misuse.

A good dictionary functions as a ruler, as a constant unit of measurement for meanings to help people acquire a flexibility and subtlety of language and thought, for deeper and common communications and expressions.

A good dictionary warns against such misuse.

An evil dictionary, on the other hand, will descend to affirming popular misuses, even to the point of deleting the original, correct usages. By evil, I mean that which breaks down structures and hierarchies that lead to greater freedom of thought, expression, and awareness.

Which word is correct usage for the following sentence?

“We expect his continual/continuous presence in class this month.”

“Continual” means repeated at intervals while “continuous” means non-stop. Therefore, continuous presence would mean he never goes home, night or day. This is a distinction worth preserving, but evil dictionaries will blur the distinction, calling them synonyms.

Evil dictionaries allow misuse to flourish and blur distinctions that are freeing. We live in an age that throws out hierarchies just for being hierarchies. Thus, many liberating structures are being reduced to rubble.

Manipulators of power want to blur the language, to keep people from using language specifically, clearly, and effectively because such people are easy to control. Clear and distinct definitions clarify reality, while unclear and ambiguous usage and misuse blur reality and keep people from seeing what is really going on. (“It depends on what the meaning of is is.”)

In other words, if I can get a blurred meaning into your imagination, you will not see past that implanted meaning. I can then get away with misdirection in reality, while you are blinded by the implant.

Let me give a politically manipulative example that you can use to immediately classify your dictionary. Look up the word inflation in its economic sense. If the definition given is only that inflation is “a general rise in prices,” then you have an evil dictionary. If your dictionary defines inflation as “an increase in the supply of currency (money or credit) that causes prices to rise”, then you have a good dictionary.

If your dictionary supplies both without warning you that the first usage is a popular misuse, then you have a partially evil dictionary. You see, there is a profound difference between the two definitions. Inflation is not “rising prices.” Inflation causes prices to rise.

There are people who want you to believe that inflation is merely rising prices in order to disguise the fact that it is the government or its appointed designees who “inflate the currency supply” (i.e., inject more money or credit into the economy making the value of all money to go down and thus prices to rise).

If you never knew that governments cause rising prices by printing up more money or providing more credit (to finance wars, foreign aid, parties), then congratulations. You have been taken in by a con game that has been going on as long as there have been governments.

Study Roman history to see how the Caesars did it. Have you ever wondered why so many old coins have holes in them? Once the treasury got low with all the big parties, Caligula, say, would require that the money (gold and silver coins) have their centers punched out so that the metal could be melted down and more coins could be made. And then a law would be passed requiring citizens to use the holed coins as if they still contained the full value of silver or gold of those without holes.

Of course, such laws failed, since the holed coins would immediately be devalued by merchants who raised their prices to account for the difference. One of the reasons why Greek and Roman history and the Greek and Latin languages are being removed from high school and college curriculums is that fewer students will stumble upon such truths. A deep study of Greek and Roman history and politics reveals starkly uncomfortable truths.

Of course, a good dictionary should supply the technical definitions as well as the popular reductions or alterations, but it should also make clear when there is a possible problem or potential confusion. That’s one reason I like the Oxford English Dictionary (which gives the complete history of usage) and the Oxford American Dictionary (which for example warns one not to confuse Continual with Continuous). (Of course, as you have seen with the link above, you can’t trust AskOxford.Com, a terrible irony.)

But the main point I am making is that a dictionary’s primary purpose should be to preserve real distinctions so that everyone has access to those distinctions. As you know, any elite group wishing to alienate the majority and consolidate power construct a technical language that allows them to talk above the heads of the majority.


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16 Golden Rules of Financial Safety

For the basic investor, one who does not have detailed knowledge of investments and cannot afford an experienced financial adviser, Harry Browne offers the best advice. You can get the details in his book Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes.

You can get a preview of his 16 Golden Rules for Financial Safety. Here are the headlines.

Rule #1: Your career provides your wealth.
Rule #2: Don’t assume you can replace your wealth.
Rule #3: Recognize the difference between investing and speculating.
Rule #4: No one can predict the future.
Rule #5: No one can move you in and out of investments consistently with precise and profitable timing.
Rule #6: No trading system will work as well in the future as it did in the past.
Rule #7: Don’t use leverage.
Rule #8: Don’t let anyone make your decisions.
Rule #9: Don’t ever do anything you don’t understand.
Rule #10: Don’t depend on any one investment, institution, or person for your safety.
Rule #11: Create a bulletproof portfolio for protection.
Rule #12: Speculate only with money you can afford to lose.
Rule #13: Keep some assets outside the country in which you live.
Rule #14: Beware of tax-avoidance schemes.
Rule #15: Enjoy yourself with a budget for pleasure.
Rule #16: Whenever you’re in doubt about a course of action, it is always better to err on the side of safety.

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from Money and Wealth

2. Money and Wealth thumb

Goddard on Poetry

One of the great reads on Shakespeare is Harold C. Goddard’s The Meaning of Shakespeare, Volume 1. My God, what a teacher this man must have been! (Head of the English Dept. at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in the 1930s and 40s.)

Here are a few passages on poetry from Chapter 1:

Poetry is not something that exists in printed words on the page. It is not even something that exists in nature, in sunshine or in moonlight. Nor on the other hand is it something that exists just in the human heart or mind. It is rather the spark that leaps across when something within is brought close to something without, or something without to something within. The poetry is the spark. Or, if you will, it is what the spark gives birth to, something as different from either its inner or its outer constituent as water is from the oxygen or the hydrogen that electricity combines…

Imagination is neither the language of nature nor the language of man, but both at once, the medium of communion between the two–as if the birds, unable to understand the speech of man, and man, unable to understand the songs of birds, yet longing to communicate, were to agree on a tongue made up of sounds they both could comprehend–the voice of running water perhaps or the wind in the trees. Imagination is the elemental speech in all senses, the first and the last, of primitive man and of the poets…

Poetry, the elemental speech, is the like the elements. Its primary function is not to convey thought, but to reflect life. It shows man his soul, as a looking glass does his face. There hangs the mirror on the wall, a definite object, the same for all. Yet whoever looks into it sees not the mirror but himself. We all live in the same world, but what different worlds we see in it and make out of it: Caesar’s, Jesus’, Machiavelli’s, Mozart’s–yours and mine…

To our age anything Delphic is anathema. We want the definite. As certainly as ours is a time of the expert and the technician, we are living under a dynasty of the intellect, and the aim of the intellect is not to wonder and love and grow wise about life, but to control it…

Art is given us to redeem us. All we are in the habit of asking or expecting of it today is that it should please or teach–whereas it ought to captivate us, carry us out of ourselves, make us over into something more nearly in its own image…

“King Lear is a miracle,” wrote a young woman who had just come under its incomparable spell. “There is nothing in the whole world that is not in this play. It says everything, and if this is the last and final judgment on the world we live in, then it is a miraculous world. This is a miracle play.”


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