When we were young,
We learned that One plus One equals Two.
As we grow older,
We learn that One plus One does not equal Two,
One plus One equals One.
There is even a word for that,
It’s called Love
(From the TV series “Life”)
The going rate of divorce nowadays is roughly one out of every two married couples. I often wonder whether divorced couples did marry for love. With some exceptions, it is probably safe to assume that a majority were deeply in love when they tied the knot, yet, somewhere along the way love flew out of the window and gone forever. The best minds in the field of sociology and psychology are still struggling to grapple with this reality as to find a “cure” since divorce is the leading cause of poverty in the United-States.
Isn’t it a heart-wrenching revelation that love could actually die? A poet once said, “The saddest thing in life is when love goes away.” Isn’t it appalling?… Unconceivable?… That love could die?… What about True Love that conquers all?… For better, for worse until death…? Doesn’t it make you want to jump up and scream: “How can that be possible???….” It is indeed a rude awakening to the realization that love is necessary but not sufficient to sustain long-term relationship. How did love die? What killed our love?
"If a tree falls down in the forrest and there is no one there, does it make a sound?"
This proverbial question had kept me puzzled for many years in my early childhood. One day, I finally came up with this answer: “It does not make any difference whether a sound was made or not since no one is there to hear.” Incidentally, this article is about Listening.
It has been said, then popularized, and then repeated over and over again in popular culture that the essential key ingredient for a happy relationship is Listening skill. Pop Psychology/Self-Help literature has spilled so much ink in the process of turning this topic into a commercial franchise without accomplishing an observable improvement in the lives of their readers who are earnest in their quest to strengthen the bond of their relationship.
We have finally completed the “In Pursuit of Beauty”, a celebration of beautiful writings series, I hope everyone has been delighted by the beauty of the selected works. Artists and Designers often talk about Form and Content when evaluating an artwork: Content refers to the ideas and messages embodied in the work while Form represents the way Content is conveyed. For examples, a story would be the Content and how it is told and the writing style are its Form.
In retrospective, the beauty of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is definitely in the language of its writing. While Gilbran’s “The Prophet” excels in both of its form and content: his take on the nature of work is simply revolutionary and inspiring while his verses are minimalistic, yet, filled with imagery and emotions ranging from love, to serenity and wonder. Lastly, Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince” also shines on both accounts: the witty dialogue between the fox and the little prince is imbued with an innocent sense of wonder that speaks of Friendship in simple terms that young children could understand while reminding adult about the essence of life that often got lost in its whirlwinds.
The third instalment of this series is an excerpt from “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a French pilot during the First Word-War. Anyone who has taken French in school is likely to have come across this novel that tells the story of a young prince from another planet and his adventures on earth. Interestingly, this is a children’s book dedicated to adults.
French culture greatly values Friendship to the extent of brother and sisterhood. In this excerpt, the little prince, on his adventures, came to meet a fox who taught him the value of having good friends, and an unique approach to building lasting friendship. The beauty of this story is in its refreshing insight, its witty dialogue, and an endearing outlook on life from the encumbered perspective of a child, which, more often than not, embodies great wisdom for adults.
May you walk a way from this reading, carrying with you in your heart this tender little token of truth:
"It is the time you have wasted for your rose
that makes your rose so important.”
"Work is Love made visible"
Above is a quote taken from Kahlil Gilbran’s book: “The Prophet”, a classic title known for its spiritual message and poetic style. Written in verse, each chapter of the book is a discourse on an aspect of life: Work, Marriage, Children, Death, etc…. This article includes an excerpt on the nature of Work.
In your reading, you will find yourself in awe of the magic of its eloquent poetry that can express profound insights and touch your heart with just a few simple words. And writing style aside, in this excerpt, Gibran also went far and beyond that of bringing rainbow and poetry to the dreary world of work; he offered an earth-shattering concept that Work and Love are indeed one-single-entity in the Grand Scheme of Life. By removing the last two words from the opening quote at the beginning of this article, and we are left with the essence of his message: “Work is Love…”
I trust everyone will reach the end of this article with love and wonders fill up their heart, and will walk away with a renewed perspective on life.
Every year during the Christmas Holiday season, million of children are introduced for the first time, to Charles Dickens classic novella, “A Christmas Carol.” Dickens is one of my favourite writers who has had a great influence on my writing skill, I would like to re-introduce the adult audience to the magic of his writing.
You will find below my favourite excerpt from ”A Christmas Carol” that struck me with its poignancy and the tenderness in its beautiful dialogue that showcases Dickens’ masterful command of the English language. In this scene, the main character, Scrooge, is going through a breakup with his girlfriend. In your reading, I urge everyone to pay attention to the style and the choice of words spoken by Scrooge’s girlfriend.
It is interesting to observe a nonexistent culture of aesthetic in North-American society. Somewhere along the way this European heritage got lost in its ocean crossing, or in the shuffle of time, or replaced by the pursuit of efficiency. In recent history, aesthetic was reserved for a small exclusive club composed of artists, poets, designers, and architects. And then one day, Steve Jobs came along and championed the culture of Beauty as an essential part of everyday life. Over night, the engineering and business communities step up to embrace beautiful design as an integral component of the computer industry.
"The best time to plant a tree is twenty five years ago.
The second best time to plant a tree is today.”
- Chinese proverb -
Change is intrinsic to human nature: a manifestation of evolution. It has been said that one meaning of life is to help moving humanity forward, and each person contributes to this grand scheme with their own personal evolution—drawing a parallel to Thich-Nhat-Hanh’s teaching: “One way to achieve World Peace is for each person to achieve inner peace.”
Many of us want to change, or improve some aspect of our lives such as fitness, or relationship, or career, …, it is an ongoing process of our personal evolution. And while some succeed in attaining their goal, others feel increasingly exasperated and helpless from repeated attempts; then arises the pervasive sense of being stuck in a rut with no way out. Well, this article attempts to shine some light in this dark tunnel that does not turn out to be the headlight of a train coming right at you. Are you ready for this Secret Art of Change? — “Continuous Learning."
Over the Christmas holidays I managed to finish reading Steve Jobs’ biography, it reminded me of Victor Frankl’s classic book: “Man in Search of Meaning.” Victor Frankl was an Austrian psychologist who championed the concept that people have a deep emotional need to find meaning out of their life, it is the source of fulfillment and satisfaction that makes all the efforts and hardship of the journey feel worthwhile.
Steve Jobs rephrased this concept in a different way in his 2005 Commencement speech at Stanford university: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
To paraphrase Steve: “Don’t do what you like, or dislike! Do what you think is really important to the world and to yourself! Do the work you Love and Care Deeply, it will bring Meaning to your life.” If you are unsure whether the work you are doing is meaningful, a sure indication is when you are on a personal life Mission.