Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hitchen on words of wisdom

After spending 54 years on this round blob orbiting the sun, (orbiting it, is far safer than reading it and less chance of getting burnt) there is one thing I can say for certain about people - they like giving advice. Not too many are willing to take it, but they will line up ready, willing and abl...(I will get to that last bit in a minute) to give it.

That's all well and good, but more often than not, they only tell you the easy bits.

"Be true to yourself." Beautiful isn't it? Definitely a prime candidate for The Hallmark Touchy-Feely Hall of Fame. Problem is, it's no bloody use at all unless you happen to know what your "self" is in the first place - and if you did, you probably wouldn't need advice anyway. Being true to yourself is easy. Working out what yourself actually is, needs a bit more thinking about and hard work than a few words from someone who was given a book of quotations as 13th birthday present.

"God helps them that help themselves" So God lets you do all the hard work first then steps in to take the credit. Perhaps Benjamin Franklin was thinking of Catholic Priests when he came up with that load of cobblers.

"Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." Aaw, makes you want to get out the Kleenex at its sheer beauty doesn't it. What Nathaniel Hawthorne doesn't tell you, is that if you spend your life sitting down quietly (1) the rest of the world will pass you by as you watch, (2) sure as eggs are eggs, life's pigeon will come along and crap on you

Henry Ford once said, "If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability." Why is it that so many wealthy people tell us that you don't need money to be happy or fulfilled?

The only words of wisdom to live by that I don't have too much trouble with is General Paton's statement, "May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I sure as hell won't."

But (my English teacher advised me never to begin a sentence with "but" but I'm earning a good living and she got knocked over by a car, so I'll back my judgment thank you very much) not only do people like giving advice, they like passing it on - especially if it is from the mouth or keyboard of someone famous - a guru or leader.

Just take a look at "retweets" on Twitter. If a celebrity guru tweets, "Turned out nice again Gladys" hordes of devoted followers will retweet his words as though they were some magic elixir to achieving fulfillment. Mostly the only thing fulfilled is the bank account of the aforesaid guru!

Right, that's it. I will leave you with this bit of advice -

Wherever you may be - be safe

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