October 2013

* potting thought

"A jug that has been mended lasts two hundred years."


Why do we have imprecise and unreliable ideas? Perhaps we like to think that we can aquire ideas about how to live our lives without thinking too hard about it.

Socrates Compared thinking to potting. You can't make a good pot without following some pretty rigorous steps.

There are five distinct steps to have a good thought:

1) Look around you for statements that are common sense such as "the best jobs are the ones most highly paid" or "happiness comes from being married."

2) Try to find an exception to this. Could you ever be married and yet be unhappy? Could you be in a well paid job and be miserable?

3) If an exception is found, it must be that the common sense is false or imprecise.

4) Try to nuance the initial statement. "It's possible to be very unhappy in a very highly paid job, and miserable in a marriage."

5) Continue this process as long as possible. Keep finding exceptions until you find yourself at a point that is impossible to negate (I am everything).

If we follow these steps,
we can create trust-worthy
and water-tight thoughts
in the same way a
skilled potter makes trust
worthy and water-tight pots.



"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet."

"Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."

"Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each."

"The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself."

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

"Love is a serious mental disease."

"Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow."

"Those who tell the stories rule society."


"Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down."

"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."

"Death may be the greatest of all human blessings."

"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less."

"Envy is the ulcer of the soul."

"From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate."

"If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all."

"I pray Thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within."

"In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep."

"The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves."

"Through your rags I see your vanity."