The title of this post, live dangerously and you live right, comes from the great author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and he was ever so correct. The life of meek obedience is a sin against the self. It is a surrender of mind and passion. It’s a half life at best.
But unquestioning compliance is the easy way. It’s what the system is designed to extract from you. It’s what school trains you for, it’s what corporations expect of you, and it’s what government demands.
In the end, compliance is extorted from you by manipulation and violence. Everyone does it, so you’d better do it, and if you don’t, you’ll get in a lot of trouble. We’ve all experienced this, but we often fail to call it by its true name.
And yet Goethe is correct. If you want to live as an energized, expansive, open, and honest being, you have no choice but to live dangerously… because the system has made real living dangerous. Only what services the machine is “safe.”
And it wasn’t just Goethe who thought this. I want you to see the thoughts of other men and women on this subject:
The meaning of life is that it is to be lived, and it is not to be traded and conceptualized and squeezed into a pattern of systems.
– Bruce Lee
Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.
– Mark Twain
The tragedy of life is what dies in the hearts and souls of people while they live.
– Albert Einstein
Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.
– Anais Nin
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a [condition] and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
– Anais Nin
When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break your bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
– Patanjali (2nd century BC)
The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.
– Albert Einstein, Mein Weltbild
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
– Oscar Wilde
All theory is against the freedom of the will, all experience for it.
– Samuel Johnson
Conscience is deceived by the social.
– Simone Weil, The Great Beast
The secret is that only that which can destroy itself is truly alive.
– Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy
Obedience Is Boring
To obey is to turn away from your own thoughts and decisions. To obey is to live someone else’s life. To whatever extent we obey, we cease being.
But once you turn a deaf ear to the taskmaster, you turn on. Your life enlarges, expands, and becomes a force in the universe. Five years later you’ll look back and be amazed at the scales that fell from your eyes.
Fear is a brain hack. Fear is the great enemy.
To live by your own being is to open yourself to expansion, to deep satisfaction, and to love.
Please reread the quotes above. Turn and face the fear. Tell it to go to hell. Start living your way. Make your own mistakes. Repair them. Live and love.
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A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:
- I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
- Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
- There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
- Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.
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