Most of the really important lessons in life have already been thought of and best expressed by other people. History, after all, goes back a long time, and a lot of those people were very smart.
So when I was asked by a prompt in a writing workshop to “say what needed to be said,” my first response was to think that, in fact, I had nothing that needed to be said in a broad, sweeping, “inform the world” kind of way. So far as wisdom goes, I am a secondary source.
But … but … the more I thought about it the more it occurred to me that there might be a few quirky lessons I had truly thought of, in the iron crucible of life, on my own. Not to say they weren’t thought of by someone before, but not to the point of being cultural tropes. So I wrote them down. They’re neither so poingant as “Blessed are the poor” nor so well expressed as “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses,” but they’re mine, and I hope you find them helpful.
Here we go:
1. Mastery is born of Truth
2. Whimsy is the first victim of tyranny
3. People who say they love you are far more likely to let you starve than are the people who work in a homeless shelter
4. Doing good in expectation of a reward will always break your heart. By nature, doing good is the act of taking on the troubles of the world on someone else’s behalf.
5. Loneliness and Wisdom are independent variables
6. Play is the secret to eternal youth, the gateway to salvation
7. Never attack what you love
8. Time is the solution in which symbolism dissolves
9. Reality has paradox for a heart
10. Free will vanishes when touched by wisdom.