I live moment by moment.
We live as long as our next breath. This is the harsh reality. Hence:
Live like there is no tomorrow but plan like I will live forever.
Life is as meaningful as the things we are doing now. But, if this is not going to be our last moment, we have to make sure that:
(a) what we do now do not have an adverse repercussion on ourselves and those around us in the next moment; and
(b) if possible, to make sure that what we do now have a favourable impact on ourselves and those around us in the next moment.
Monks and nuns who strive towards the void would do nothing so that there is no repercussions whatsoever on themselves now or in the future. But somebody got to feed them, though.
For us lesser mortals, we have to feed ourselves and our parents and our children.
Livelihood and Living
This is why for families that are used to reliance purely upon themselves and their own efforts, they have to fully aware of the economics of life and living.
There is a cost to everything, and every thing earned must be saved. The art of life becomes one of how to get by with very little in the midst of plenty, even in the midst of our own plentifulness. This is where I think the culture of honesty, hard work, humbleness and generosity comes from - the realisation of an uncertain future.
It is therefore drummed into children like ourselves that we have to study hard (for those of us lucky enough to study) and get a job - and we right away suffer from mid-life crisis the moment we have managed to pay off our mortgage. For after spent nearly a whole life preparing and working, we find ourselves without a purpose in life.
My solution to this little problem is to integrate my working life into my life. I do not differentiate the two. After all, one of the great masters of zen said: "A day without work is a day without eating." My work is my life - the way I work is the way I live.
It is only when we differentiate life from work that there is this thing called "retirement from work" so that we can have "leisure to do our own things."
It is because of this idea of retirement that we all strive to earn and save enough for retirement and in the process go to great length (to try) to amass great wealth and in the process learn to be less honest and less hard working and more greedy and more ruthless in our dealings with our fellow human beings.
I try to exercise a certain degree of autonomy in my life.
Armed with an academic qualification, I am an ordinary member of the workforce who has to get a job and live a life.
There is a decision to be made about one's employer. The employer is probably one of the most important entity that is going to influence our lives, so we better get a good one.
I was oblivious to pay at first, being keen to get into the areas I was interested in. From one institution, I went to the next one - with the purpose of learning and finding out the things I was very interested when I was studying the subject. I was (and am) devoted to my subject or object of study, and I have no allegiance to persons or ideas or institutions.
In the institution, my allegiance is to the institution and not the person I was reporting to. This is important for avoiding fraud, and shows the importance of choice of organisation especially its vision and mission. If I don't agree, I leave. Even when I was working in the midst of the so-called greatest casino in the world, I was still able to hang on by a thread to the sense of integrity and autonomy that I had in myself - by being very very good in what I did so that I could be useful to our clients by giving good advice.
At the end of the day, the one thing I have left after years of working is a house, my EPF and my sense of my place in this big wide world. No big titles, no grand assets.
But autonomy requires courage. We have to get round and then stand up to the authorities that are set up to govern us. We shape our own destiny, not the authorities. If we end up being a member of one of the authorities set up to govern ourselves and others, we have to have courage to change things if things are not right.
We are all caught up in the Matrix. The Great One teaches us how to get out of The Matrix. In the meantime, the only thing we can do is to make sure that, while we are in the Matrix, we are not sleeping on the conveyor belt - we try to find our way around it and out of it.
Creativity and Resourcefulness
Necessity is the mother of invention.
At the end of the day, the whole objective of life is to solve the problems of living. (Some suggest we solve the problems of living by solving the problem of life by self-annihilation and becoming non-self.)
Life's many problems are mundane. This is where the provision of goods and services in the economy try to solve. A good product is one that solves one or several of the problems of living, at a cost to be paid with cash or debt or one's life. A good product therefore provides a service to the consumer. The consumer buys a product and pays the sky for it because he or she thinks that it is going to bring him or her heaven on earth, a dream come true, a desire satisfied. Clever but greedy producers create not a product but an addiction. This is the Matrix we are all trained to create for ourselves by the great institutions that we have erected to give structure to this society we are enclosed ourselves in.
But the truest innovation solves all problems of living at zero cost.
This is the innovation that is given free to the world, that rids the world of the addiction.
The simplest way to get out of the Matrix is to live simply. Depend, if possible, on nothing, not even oneself.
When we stripped ourselves of our bare necessities, we have only: (a) our work which is our life, (b) ourselves and family, and (c) our friends and community.
The only thing we worry about is our contribution to society - how we can contribute, how to make life easier, how to remove drudgery.
Process of Creativity
In trying to achieve simplicity, there is a process from learning to understanding to realisation and to actualisation.
The fastest way to do things is to imitate. This is what all creatures do. But human beings try to be creative, to do different things.
In a world where poverty is the daily grind, the quickest path out of poverty is the corruption of the integrity of an ideal system that we are trying to create. When this happens, our system collapses to the lowest form of a dog-eat-dog world.
To rise above the ground zero, we have to seek an upward process.
Knowledge: To know what we are looking at
Understanding: To understand the thing that we are looking at
Realisation: To realise what the thing we are looking at is all about
Actualisation: To assimilate that knowledge, understanding and realisation in such a way that we are able to act accordingly to that realisation, such as by doing something that is completely different from what is being done or to achieve a level of being that is beyond mere satisfaction of human desires
Sometimes, the solution to many of our problems in life is close at hand. It could be just be in our own mind.
Volition and Responsibility
I live with volition - I decide what I want to do.
This is my attempt to live my life according to my own thinking and understanding and realisation and trying to actualise that realisation in my life so that I live a life that is fully integrated with my own thinking.
Life is very complex because our thoughts are all over the place, I try to keep my life simple with minimal thoughts but deep thoughts on a few key areas. In this way, I can live a simple but meaningful life - to myself.
For the few things I do, I take direct responsibility. For the many things I do not do, I take indirect responsibility.
I have to subject my sense of being to my conscience.
The Few Things I Do And Think About
I read everyday to understand what life is all about. To me, the most important are the religious texts which contain the most profound wisdom and insights into the human perception of life. Second are myths which record our sub-conscious interpretation of what is going on around us. Third is history which is instructive. Fourth is literature where people from all walks of life write of their responses to their circumstances which are infinitely varied. Last are the scientific texts as many are wrong, and only a handful true. Economics is one of the most difficult subjects to understand properly.
I listen to music to understand how people feel. We sing because we want to express our inner emotions. The most basic is the beat, the more irregular, the sadder. Harmony is a nicety enjoyed only by those with a narrow human experience.
It is too easy a trap to learn music learning to a hobby about hi-fi equipment which is more about having money to burn than about the integrity music. A large chunk of the integrity of music is in the mind.
I try to play music seriously(well, the electric guitar now) in order to find a way to express myself, and hence to understand my inner feelings. I find it all theory. Without a full understanding of the theory, I play the same old song. With some understanding, I plagiarize and play other people's song. I need to play my own music.
I try to take photography seriously in order to learn to look at the world as it is. An excuse to look up from my desk and my book or away from the wall. I have the picture in my mind first before I take the photography. I have to understand the mechanics first before I can configure to get what I want.
Beer is better than wine or hard liquor. I drink because I am happy. I drink to be out of control from reason. I drink to get away from logic. I drink to cool down. I drink because I do not take life seriously. I drink for the conversations.
I do not work, I think. My job is to think and solve other people's problem. I do not think about my job.