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Monday, June 19, 2006

A window: Rob Brezsny and "Pronoia"


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It’s easy to be pessimistic about the world and its woes. It takes courage to be optimistic.

Rob Brezsny believes the whole world is conspiring to shower us with blessings. After all, think about all the things that went RIGHT for you since you got up this morning! (That’s his book there on the table at the Crazy Wisdom bookstore I visited with friends Friday in Ann Arbor. Played hookie, oh joy.)

Here are some quotes from Rob Brezsny:

“Here’s what I say: We will ignore the cult of doom and gloom and embrace the cause of zoom and boom. We will laugh at the stupidity of evil and hate, and summon the brilliance of praise and create. . . Life is crazily in love with us—wildly and innocently in love with us. The universe always gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.”

“I’m allergic to dogma. I thrive on riddles. Any idea I believe, I reserve the right to disbelieve as well.”

“’The secret of life,” said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, ‘is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is—it must be something you cannot possibly do.’”

“Refuse to dehumanize anyone, even those who dehumanize you.”

“Artistic geniuses who in days past might have been van Goghs or Rembrandts now create gorgeous propaganda for the advertising industry.”

“Working with your dreams can help you stop colluding with the global genocide of the imagination.”

“In the New World, it won’t be your material wealth that will win you the most bragging points. Nor will it be the important people you know or the deals you’ve swung or the knowledge you’ve amassed or your mate’s attractiveness. What will bring you most prestige and praise in the civilization to come will be your success in transmuting lead into gold—how thoroughly you have integrated your shadow and tapped into its resources.”

You get the idea.

Dare I move forward with Brezsny, join the divine wow and greet the world with a kiss?

12 comments:

rachel said...

I completely and thoroughly enjoyed his wisdom, except one tiny point- Van Gogh wouldn't have painted billboards- that's why he never made a buck- he refused to conform for the sake of money. He remained true to himself until the end.

If I could just figure out what that one thing is I want to dedicate my entire life to... hmmmm... that's the question of my life. Perhaps I will forever pour my energy into answering this question: What are my options?

Ruth said...

I'll bet you're right, Rachel, about Vincent.

Maybe your "one thing" needs to be bigger than the specifics. Maybe it's just something like: make people happy (which you do, but is also impossible, because people make themselves happy).

Rauf said...

Rachel is right Ruth, highly imaginative people stay away from advertising. That doesn't mean advertising field is filled with dimwits. these people talk very well and know the art of convincing clients.

I am allergic to wisdom and intelligence Ruth. I just go out and do it. sometimes its good sometimes its bad, not much thinking goes in to my work, no planning. not a right way to do your work. that could be the reason why I am still struggling.

As an individual you are directly connected to the universe, at the same time we cannot insulate ourselves from what is happening around us. there are obstacles in dedicating the entire life in one direction. Only those who insulate themselves and completely insensitive can do it. Fighting the obstacles is a way of life Ruth, way of learning.

Ginnie said...

That sounds like a book I'd swallow in one big gulp and then go back and eat piece-meal! I went to your link and especially liked this quote:

"On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means 'not at all satisfied with my life' and 7 means 'completely satisfied,' the people on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans average 5.8--the same as the Inuit people in Greenland and the cattle-herding Masai of Kenya, who live in dung huts with no electricity or running water. Calcutta's slum dwellers score only a little lower, at 4.6."

Ruth said...

Rauf and Rachel, what I like about Brezsny is not any specific thing he says, but the wild and irreverant approach he takes to the world. Who knows what van Gogh would think? Who knows if we should do ONE thing our whole life? None of these things really matters. What matters is that WE get to decide! Brezsny says one thing one minute and contradicts it the next. That's wonderful! I don't ever want to be locked in to any one way of thinking or any absolutes. That's what I like about this guy. I don't take him too seriously, just like I don't take anything or anyone too seriously.

Ruth said...

Ginnie, I had a feeling he would resonate with you. He shakes me up, gets me out of boring ways of thinking. I need that.

rachel said...

I certainly could use being shaken up, and I completely agree with you about not taking anything too seriously. Swede and I have been talking a lot about that lately. An example is saying that the benefit of the majority outweighs the benefit of the minority. So, in the case of one girl being tortured by one man for his pleasure, that is bad. However, if that one woman is tortured by 50 men, the pleasure of the 50 men outweighs the torture of that one woman. So, anything is right, as long as it creates a beneficial situation. This is not morality. This is pragmatism.

Ruth said...

Rachel, yes! It is important to continually monitor our thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, to see if we are falling into ruts of ease or degeneration. What do I really believe at any given moment? Every day is new, every question is new, and if it isn't, it should be!

Ginnie said...

One of my biggest pet peeves is if/when someone says to me, "But that's not what you said [yesterday]!" (Fill in the blank.) Okay! Maybe that's NOT what I said yesterday but please give me the ability/possibility of changing my mind! :) Actually, I think it's our responsibility to change our minds, whenever necessary!!

Ruth said...

Amen!

Peter said...

Aunt Bootsie, someone needs to tell Bush it's his responsibility to change his mind.

Mom, great post! I really like the quote about the secret of life.

Ruth said...

Pete, me too. I don't really know what it means, but I like that it seems to say we don't need to worry about arriving, just keep pressing on toward a goal. It keeps us humble.