My favorite activities, in serial order, consist of: ‘Increasing my value as a person’, through meaningful work or study, and engaging in relationships. I do not enjoy relationships if I do not believe I have any value to bring to them. My relationships are most enjoyable when I believe I am positively contributing some of my own value to them. I am most fulfilled when I am studying, accreting new experiences, or achieving some worthwhile purpose or aim.
These are random thoughts- know that I’m a humanists, not a male chauvinist, and that I believe in equal rights and conceptions between men and women:
In The Republic Plato wrote that literature is feminizing and that combat is masculinizing. I’ve wrote about this before, but I think that education, on a certain level, is feminizing because it requires the passive consumption of information. This is why, I think, there are more women in school and, on average, they do better than their male counterparts. Men as not passive, on a whole, but more active. They challenge and are not as receptive to authority. In this way men are creative and more apt to spread their influence and dominate through their own authority. Even though there are more women in the education system and even though they do better than males on average, it is not often that they contribute to higher knowledge in a profound and paradigm shattering way. If you look at Nobel Prize winners, the vast majority are men. This may be because we live in a gender biased world. However, it seems that men are more apt to create and dominate and challenge accepted views and authority more often then women. This may be attributed to the common notion that men are, on a general whole, not passive consumers but active creators. More later.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” -Buddah
Although it’s been coined in different ways by different people throughout the ages, the message is the same. We are what we think. We become what we think. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. A man is what he thinks about all day long.
The first step I took in personal development was fully recognizing the significance of these aforementioned words. It’s not enough to read them or understand the base meaning of them. You need to get meta. Their power is contained in reflection. ‘We are what we think’ implies that you have a degree of control over what you think about, and how you think about things. You must look at your thoughts as if they are not you. They have been following you your whole life, attached to the proper name that you are: Michael. All those thoughts that follow you are not you.
You can change what you think about by changing your actions. We are a product of our environment. This means our thoughts are influenced by the things we are surrounded with, be it the geography, the people, the culture, the religion, the media, the education, etc.
Changing your thoughts means exposing yourself to new knowledge, new experience, new environments. One of the first and best ways I came across for exposing myself to this knowledge was through books. Books offer insights that men took a lifetime to glean from their life experiences. In many cases, the collective lifetimes of several men. They contain gems of knowledge.
I recently took to reading some of the best Literature and Philosophy that has ever been written. These books have inspired genius, started cultural revolutions, and elevated the consciousness of men since their inception. Here are some works that immediately come to mind:
The Brothers Karamazov
East of Eden
Brave New World
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Walking on Water
Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Genealogy of Morals
The Will to Believe
Civilization and It’s Discontents
Plato’s Five Dialogues
Meditations on First Philosophy
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
Truth and Lies in the Non-Moral Sense
The Gay Science
The Social Contract
In Defense of Anarchism
Man’s Search for Meaning
I admit, I feel a bit of shame for not including more. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I’ll have to supplement, revise and refine this list later.