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Yeah, that's the downside.

"Having Your Own Ethics is Lonely" is one of those posts that's been prompting people to comment long after it was written back in October of last year. Yesterday there was a very reflective comment from a reader who largely built out his own ethics, but is starting to realize it can kind of alienate you from other people to some extent. He was reflecting on what he ought to do going forwards. Here's my reply -

There’s no easy answer to this, unfortunately. The more if you differ from mainstream ethics and viewpoints, the more it’s easy to lose touch with how other people think and thus it becomes harder to connect with people. There’s ways to counter-balance this to some extent, but there is a definite tradeoff you’re making. You might consider checking out Plato’s Allegory of the Cave if you’ve never seen it before – if you show someone that their view of the world is wrong and stunted, you’re going to get some serious backlash.

That said, it depends on where you’re at. There are ambitious, enterprising, free-thinking people in the world. They’re rare and they tend to be very busy, but with persistence and outreach and time, you’ll be able to meet and connect with a lot of people like that.

One last thought -

“You just want everyone to be perfect according to your own definitions about things.”

How to Live (book review)

On Mike Dariano

How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford.

I picked this up at the library because the title sounded wise and the dog on the cover epitomized what I was expecting. How to Live would be the story about the collected wisdom of old people. In reading it, I would be fast-tracking my chance at wisdom too. I imagined sitting down to talk with my daughter in ten or twenty years and drawing on the gems of enlightenment from when I read this book as a young man. All I really learned though, was that I was wrong.

There are no secrets from old people. My hope for a nicely wrapped package topped with a bow was delivered like a cardboard box affixed with a piece of string tied in a harried and hurried manner. That's not to say this book isn't good.

There is no archetype of wisdom in this book but Alford does find a slew of characters that fill out what wisdom is. It's a bit like a basketball team, only instead of a great player like Lebron James, there's a bunch of decent players with their own unique skills. One of which is Alford's mother.

Somehow, during the writing of this book, his mother goes through a divorce and moves from the northeast to a retirement community in the Carolinas. Both of these things don't seem so much as things wise people do as much as what old people do. As I read about her experiences I hoped that she would share nuggets of wisdom about life since she's had so much time to find them. There were no nuggets of gold, but maybe a few flakes along the way. Alford's mother sits on the floor and that makes her seem young. For whatever reason I liked this. She's always moving in the story, physically and emotionally. I liked this too. Hers is the best story from the collection of interviews in the book.

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