Life is a Series of Inspired Follies

Here are the three best quotes I read today on the narrow-minded topic of “life”:

Samuel Butler: “Life is playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.”

The typical course is to hide from the embarrassment of “going public” with your life. But embracing the visibility, which includes your failures and vulnerabilities, makes you want to learn to get better as you go along. In reality, there is plenty of private practice time in life, but perhaps the biggest learning experiences occur when we learn in front of other people, when they are silently cheering us on to do something remarkable.

Jewish Theological Seminary: “A life is a single letter in the alphabet. It can be meaningless. Or it can be part of a great meaning.”

If I ‘m a single letter, I will need to combine with other letters to create meaning in my life. This social nature of life is part of the intersubjectivity of sign-making. Nobody makes a sign to nobody. And if we didn’t communicate any signs, what a meaningless life we would lead.

George Bernard Shaw: “Life is a series of inspired follies. The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn’t come every day.”

Instead of shying away from those “inspired follies” we are so afraid of, Shaw advises us to cherish them as rare treasures that liven up our otherwise dull lives.

The pictures of life as an alphabet and life as a musical performance point to the awesomeness of living a human life and provide a picture of the division of labor working its magic to make our lives meaningful in relation to other people. Forget about the false security it provides and embark on a “series of inspired follies” instead.

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