Tag Archives: Mental Hygiene

10 Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol. 2.0)

Here are ten articles that I want to share with you. These articles deal with the following themes among other things: work, play, society, living, writing, poetry, language, effort, dance, spirituality, imagination, mindfulness, education and learning.

I hope that you will find something of value.

1. Alan Watts: Work as Play
2. Georg Simmel: The Stranger
3. Bill Knott: Path out of View
4. Neojaponisme: Missives on Outlander Japanese
5. Elbert Hubbard: A Message to Garcia
6. Kenneth Goldsmith (editor): Publishing the Unpublishable
7. Rudolf Steiner: On Eurythmy
8. Simone Weil: 5 Flashes of Weil
9. Thich Nhat Hanh: Mindfulness of Ourselves, Mindfulness of Others
10. Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society

Here is the first in this series: 10 Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol 1.0)


On the Margin of Our Graspable Self: Epigrams and Aphorisms

It is possible, that the gust of a new life bursts into your zone of the expected, thus tearing all of your fragmentary accomplishments to bits.

At home, too long, with words and words, piling up like some kind of garbage heap – yet, you throw yourself all too willingly into the heap, hoping to irk out some kind of angle, some kind of chirping opinion.

To those on the periphery, to those whose step-by-step leads them to trip over their own tail and lie down in early hours on a painful pillow.

Waking up and opening the window to the sounds of the familiar. Having put oneself in this place, it is hard to shout obscenities at anyone but one’s yesterday-self.

The silence of a room can draw us near to the decisions that we have made: the mistakes of yesterday, the hopes and how they transpired – how we have edited our choices.

Where has my golden strength gone at this hour of the day? To what pleasure do I owe the arrival of this new friend: confusion.

Seeing past this moment, we can see what we can see. But, what of what we can’t see? How will that affect us?

A remainder of those whose words we read, trickle down inside us, to that invisible area on the margin of our graspable self.


Learning: Becoming an Integrated Person

Yesterday, I posted an article featuring “five quotations for your learning pleasure.” Today, I would like to look into and “open up” one particular quotation, which is by Warren Bennis. The quotation, from his book On Becoming a Leader, is, “Taking charge of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person.”

What Bennis means by this is that “learning” should not be something that is wholly dictated to you by certain others: teachers, parents, friends, and so on (although there is always the excuse to blame others if you don’t learn what you needed or wanted to learn). Learning is the process by which you grow competencies, which enable you to mind the world in new ways. That is, new things learned produce new thoughts or new angles on old thoughts. Thoughts change with what you learn and how you use what you learn.

This kind of active learning demands curiosity and discipline – necessity. Or, sometimes learning is as easy as “tuning in” to the world happening around you and minding your habits of participation and interpretation. Moreover, who you talk and listen to, the people you spend time with whether through books, the television or in “real life,” also form the limits of what you can learn.

For Bennis, self-learning, that is, learning that is driven by you, builds you and shapes your ways of minding the world. I am tempted to say that, what you actively and passionately learn will change the you that you currently are. If you use computers a lot, yet find yourself stuck in your use of new applications, then, taking the time to learn about those applications and how to use them efficiently will alter the situation from helplessness to a sense of control over the situation. In this way, you are integrating yourself more fully into your life situation. How are you doing with what you have learned?


If your life “feels” broken and you want to pick up the pieces, pay attention to those broken areas and focus on doing what it takes to mend those broken areas. If you don’t know how to fix them, learn how and set about fixing them the best ways you know how.

If there are things that you would love to learn about or do, then why aren’t you doing them? Simply keeping them may not be moving you toward them. Probably, as humans, we are always in a state of learning as we take things in moment by moment. Persistently directing your attention and efforts to the things that you want or need to learn (i.e. doing what needs to be done to learn them), is a step in consciously moving your life where you think it should go.

What you do with what you learn is what other can know about you.

More information about something does not always mean you have learned more about that something. What is meant by this?

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Five Quotations for Your Learning Pleasure (Selected by Your Humble Editor on a Rainy Tuesday Evening)

You will see throughout this blog, quotations from a handful of thinkers that I admire and learn from. The following are five selected quotations for your learning pleasure.

Perhaps, one or more of these quotations will help you along with your day or stick with you and re-emerge when the time is right or ripe. More importantly, though, I hope that you will use these words and do something with them. That is, these quotations are seedlings, waiting to be realized by the right person. I don’t know how you will interpret them or what you will do with them. That depends on you and where you are “coming from” with your ways of how you have become mindful of the world. Thank you for your attention.


“Taking charge of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person” – Warren Bennis from On Becoming a Leader

“Live your life skillfully, with grace.
Dance life so that your expertise appears effortless.
To develop such skill, immerse yourself in life.
Pay attention to life’s details.
Then see how the details fit together as a whole.
Then put your experiential understanding into further practice.
Keep upgrading your life.” – David K. Reynolds from Reflections on the Chuang Tzu

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett from Westward Ho

“The ideal personality for the opening age is a balanced personality: not the specialist but the whole man. Such a personality must be in dynamic interaction with every part of his environment and every part of his heritage.” – Lewis Mumford from The Condition of Man

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.” – Henry David Thoreau from Walden and Civil Disobedience

For more information on the authors quoted here, please visit:

David K. Reynolds: Reflections on the Chuang Tzu
Warren Bennis’s Qualities of a Leader
Samuel Beckett On-line Resources
Lewis Mumford: Megathinker and Master of the Metaphor
Henry David Thoreau: American Transcendentalism Web

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10 (+) Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol. 1.0)


A list of ten articles dealing with topics such as: leading, following, awareness, mindfulness, constructive living, esoteric thought, greatness, media ecology, critical thinking, and existence.

1. Lee Thayer: There is Only One Way to Achieve Greatness
2. Mindfulness: Finding Our Own Paths: Entering Awareness
3. RAWilson: Robert Anton Wilson: Thoughts
4. Lee Thayer: Excerpt from “The Elusive Laws of Communication”
5. Lance Strate: The Creative Power of Media Ecology
6. Copyblogger: How Good are your Critical Thinking Skills?
7. Constructive Living: Constructive Living Basics
8. Walker Percy: Walker Percy WikiQuote
9. Dr. Zoltan: Dr. Zoltan’s Ideas on Creative Career
10. Mindfulness: The Leader is a Virtuoso Question Asker

What articles or blogs do you recommend for improving mental hygiene? I look forward to learning from you.


11. Dr. Corey Anton: Freedom, Thought, World

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Jose Ortega Y Gasset on “Decisions”

Our lives are continually affected and altered by the decisions that we make, the paths we choose to move within and about, the paths we choose to realize. As you already know, you can’t not decide and therein lies the difficulty – the difficulty of choice. It is a perpetual “trip” through the choices that we make or choose not to make that shape our lives. Any way we cut the cake, we move through these situations in spite of and with respect of the consequences of what kind of life we have chosen to live.

Ortega Y Gasset, in his Man and People says, “But life is nothing except man’s being; so that here we have the most extraordinary, extravagant, dramatic, and paradoxical thing about the human condition – namely, that man is the only reality that does not simply consist in being but must choose its own being. For if we analyze the commonplace thing that is going to occur in a little while – the fact that each of us will have to choose and decide the direction of the street he is going to take – you will see that the choice of such a seemingly simple act will be made only with the intervention of the entire choice that you have already made, the choice that at this moment, as you sit here, you carry secretly in your inmost selves, in your most hidden depths: the choice of a type of humanity, of a way of being man, that you seek to realize in your living.” (44)

What this means for us is that each of us carries and lives-through the ability to become, while acting out the stories that we imagine ourselves as experiencing. Our humanity is caught up in the decisions that we make and, more than that, is embedded in the decisions that we have already made. I am reminded here of a CL adage of, “if you want to change who you are, change what you do.” We live our life in terms of what we do and, more importantly, in how we (and the others around us) interpret what we do. The life that you want to have starts with your moving toward that kind of life with the tools and competencies you have at hand in the context of the life that you currently are a part of.

Thank you for deciding to read this article. DO your best and CHOOSE wisely.

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