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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beyond Goodness


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Here are some musings from Rob Brezsny this morning:

"I used to have superpowers," the bumper sticker says, "but my therapist took them away." Does that describe you? Have you been overly normalized by the bland conventions of what constitutes psychological health? Has your spunk been sapped by the pressure to behave yourself in a civilized manner?

If so, I'll offer you three pieces of advice. They may have a sickening effect if you apply them too liberally, but they'll be a tonic if you use them in small doses.

Here is the first, courtesy of Henry David Thoreau: "Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something."

Here's the second, from Isaac Asimov: "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."

Here's another, formulated by William Irwin Thompson: "An overdose of an antidote becomes a poison in itself."

- Rob Brezsny, Pronoia, Frog Ltd., Berkeley, CA, p. 60

18 comments:

Don said...

Three interesting thoughts! You are a very good person Ruth, but I think Mae West was right, "When you're bad, you're better."

Mrs. M. said...

Isn't the secret to a healthy life everything in moderation?

Ruth said...

Wow, Don. Thanks, I think. :)

Ruth said...

Mrs. M., yep, I agree. I try not to get too wrapped up in absolutes.

Ginnie said...

The more I see stuff from that book (Pronoia), the more I want to make sure I get it some day.

It's funny, I read on a blog yesterday about a lady who went on an 8-hour tour in Austria and had the opportunity to drink wine from a vineyard they visited but because it was before noon, and she has scrupples about drinking alcohol before noon, she didn't. I told her that amused me (it didn't fit what I have virtually learned of her personality) and that if I had been there, I would have coaxed her to have the wine and then we could have giggled together the rest of the tour. And wouldn't THAT have been a memory!

Case-in-point well taken, in other words :)

rachel said...

Rules were made to be broken!

Ruth said...

Ginnie, I wonder if she'd stayed up all night and had a drink at 10am if it would be ok? :)

Rachel, amen!

traveller one said...

I'm here because Ginnie showed me the way :)
I'm the lady who didn't drink the wine because it was before noon-- well!! I'll not be so scrupulous again tht's for certain! LOL Thank you Ginnie for opening my eyes!
And Ginnie also noticed my Mae West quote on my post today- what synchronicity don't you think?

Hugs from afar,
Kim
ps I'm adding your wonderful blog to my blogroll!

Ruth said...

Traveller One, I've seen you many times on Ginnie's blog! Welcome! That is such a funny story, and I'm glad you're going along with it all! I also believe it's ok to have scruples that are for our own reasons that make sense to us. But we get to change our minds any time we wish! I'll visit your blogs. Cool about the Mae West quote! I'll check it out.

Heather said...

Ruth, I love this post. I have a real problem with "therapy" culture. One of my students told me the other day that his five year-old sees a therapist. I held my tongue and did not say "WTF! Why does your five year-old need to see a therapist?" He then told me that the therapist suggests that parents use television and dvd players to help calm kids down.

I'm in agreement with Don and Mae West. Bad can be pretty darn good.

Ruth said...

Heather, heaven help us all.

lesleyanne said...

i really like all of these thoughts
and really like even more that it was you who introduced them to me.

Ruth said...

Les, you're a wonder.

Mrs. M. said...

My initial thought to Bootsie's story about not drinking before noon was "it's noon somewhere!"

Ruth said...

Excellent point, Mrs. M.!

Ginnie said...

Hahaha, Mrs. M/Shari. Good point indeed :) Traveller One will never forget that.

Rauf said...

OMG Ruth, you are really helping me with my crusade against the saints, We have saints and saints and saints, I am sick and tired of saints, have written a couple of posts on this subject. I'll try to locate them. so difficult to see normal bad people

Sorry for the delay in posting this as my niece was in the hospotal undergoing minor sinus surgery.

Ruth said...

Rauf, I want to read what you wrote about saints!

I'm sorry about your niece, and I hope she will recover quickly. These surgeries can make such a difference for people who suffer from sinus infections, allergies, etc. I hope she will feel better.