Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans:

My thoughts on the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death. You don't need me to tell you he was a genius; he was. (So was Paul, but John was better). You don't need a music degree (I have one) to learn that this genius is something you (probably) can't teach. You can teach folks to sing/play well. And to write tunes that "work." Work in the sense of hitting the right notes with the right chords at the right time that make sense to the ear, played in the background of a mall or elevator.

But you can't teach folks to be the next Lennon or Dylan or Young.

Lennon had some ideas too. Not all of them good. I agree with about 1/2 of those in Imagine (I certainly disagree with "imagine no possessions.")

But that little line from Beautiful Boy might just be the wisest thing John Lennon ever wrote.

A certain degree of planning is necessary in life. However, over-planning is unnecessary, could be counter productive and psychologically unhealthy. As with everything in life, it's best to do things from an emotionally unattached state (if you are having a hard time getting to this state, meditate like the Beatles did and Paul and Ringo still do). As such, it's better to be responsibly informed about things in a "general" sense so that you can make spontaneous decisions -- just in time -- when the moment is right.

Of late, I've been thinking about Eastern philosophy and how Western New Age types sell these ideas (and often distort and water them down). Some/many self help guys give valuable advice; but almost all have something about them that I think they get wrong. One guy in particular -- I won't name him -- taught something I think is way off (I heard it on one of his cassette tapes years ago): If you combine meticulous planning with positive thinking, that outcome will occur. You mean if I keep telling myself I'm as good as John Lennon, I'll be the next John Lennon? Dream on.

What surprised me about this guy is that he's a conservative capitalist self help guru (many of them are; they are not all political lefties). He's actually made quite a bit of money in business (I've heard). But the modern lesson of capitalism has been top down central planning doesn't work as well as spontaneous, unplanned market forces.

As such the spontaneous, unplanned, going with the moment and reacting to things as they happen, perfectly resonates with the Hayekian idea of a spontaneous, decentralized, unplanned economic order, and not with heavy government economic planning.

I'm not sure how well folks actually understand what I'm about to tell. Understanding it seems so elementary; but many (perhaps younger, but some older) folks don't seem to get this: Life throws everybody unplanned, undesired curve balls. The key to attaining optimal happiness is accepting this truth and doing your best to deal with it.

The best way to deal with one of those curve balls is to hit it out of the park. But sometimes you have to accept a swing and a miss or even taking it on the chin.

But whatever it is you think you can plan, those curve balls are spontaneous.

No comments: