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What if you weren’t confined to normal, safe, everyday ordinary thoughts? Maybe you’d be willing to take some risks and do something dangerous or something extraordinary.

Take Elon Musk: he spent $100 million dollars of his own money on developing rocket technology aimed at colonizing Mars in his lifetime. Better yet, he convinced his friends and the US government to pony up an additional $900 million to help build his new generation of SPACE-X rockets. Is Elon crazy? Yes. Will he get to Mars? Also yes.  There is no stopping Elon. Because to do something amazing, sometimes you have to leave all the usual dull Earthly rules and restrictions behind you and think like a Martian.

Sleep science is all the rage, along with bespoke mattress companies, open-cell, poly-foam pillow design, and the promise that melatonin will lure you gently into that good night, minus the hallucination and hangover of pharmaceuticals.  Yet your subconscious couldn’t care less about the new sleep sound machine you’ve configured to “relaxing rainforest.”

Once you start snoozing and the heavy REMs arrive, the dreams come forth in bunches.  Naturally, you’d prefer to be uncovering a treasure chest filled with gold doubloons, seducing the fairest of them all, and waving from an open convertible as the ticker tape alights on your shoulders along the Canyon of Heroes.

But think about it: waking up from pleasant dreams into the cold light of reality is much more difficult than bolting upright after experiencing a twisted nightmare. As you wipe the sweat from your temples and realize you haven’t actually lost a limb to a tiger shark, or been fondled by your father, you can be grateful that the day ahead won’t involve a flock of purple vultures feasting on your intestines.

So celebrate all dreams, especially the god-awful ones.  They can serve to give you a new lease on life.  After all, you’re not standing naked in front of your classmates from grade school minus the speech you were supposed to memorize.*

*This can actually happen if you don’t remember to dress properly in the morning. Please make sure you belt your trousers securely.

Bonus suggestion:  Don’t try to repress undesired thoughts before bedtime. They’re more likely to find their way into your dreams that night.  This according to a study at Goethe University, Frankfurt. 

Illustration: Dream interpretation of birth.

No one knows how much time they have on earth. We act as if we must take care of ourselves so we can live to be 100. But how many of us make it to that age? And do you really want to?

Maybe it’s time to wake up and reshuffle the deck. Starting with a piece of blueberry pie for breakfast. It’s not as deviant as you may think. Pie’s a pastry, after all. It’s meant for breakfast since it goes great with coffee. Plus wth breakfast pie, you have all day to burn off the calories. And what goes better with pie than ice cream? Add a dollop of vanilla with your pie; it’s no different than putting cream in your coffee.

“The pie is an English institution, which, planted on American soil, forthwith ran rampant and burst forth into an untold variety of genera and species. Not merely the old mince pie, but a thousand strictly American seedlings from that main stock, evinced the power of American housewives to adapt old institutions to new uses.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe 1869 novel “Oldtown Folks.”

Pie became so strongly identified with America by the 19th century that writers and journalists from both near and far declared Americans to be suffering a kind of pie madness. New Englanders, who were particularly prone to pie-eating, made good fodder for satire and good targets for scolding by increasingly health-conscious cookbook writers. As more Americans traveled abroad and became acquainted with European food culture, it became fashionable to condemn pie as food for the “rustic.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson found pie to be just such a pleasing medium, as his friend James Thayer recalled, describing a breakfast taken with Emerson and friends in the 1870s. Pie, Thayer reported, “at breakfast was one of Mr. Emerson’s weaknesses.” Emerson offered slices to his fellow diners, who one by one declined, prompting him to protest in humor, “but … what is pie for?”

The artist Paul Gauguin achieved his greatest success long after death, so who knows, maybe you will too.

At the beginning of 1903, Gauguin was living on an island in Polynesia and engaged in a campaign designed to expose the incompetence of the island’s gendarmes, in particular Jean-Paul Claverie, for taking the side of the natives directly in a case involving the alleged drunkenness of a group of them. Claverie, however, escaped censure. At the beginning of February, Gauguin wrote to the governor, François Picquenot, alleging corruption by one of Claverie’s subordinates. Picquenot investigated the allegations but could not substantiate them. Claverie responded by filing a charge of libel against Gauguin, who was subsequently fined 500 francs and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. Gauguin immediately filed an appeal in Papeete and set about raising the funds to travel to plead before the judge. At this time he was nearly penniless, very weak and in great physical pain. He resorted  to using morphine. He died suddenly on the morning of 8 May 1903.

Nobody thought too much of his passing, but one hundred and ten years later, Gauguin’s painting Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) sold for $295,000,000 to the museums of Qatar, as one of the most expensive art objects ever. Gauguin would be tickled pink.

Who knows what you’ll be worth after you are dead?

 

As Heraclitus said:

“It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish.”

Just think, if we magically got whatever we wanted, we’d all be Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. Imagine a world of 6 billion Brads and Julias driving their 6 billion Mercedes around from one gorgeous palatial mansion to another. The entire planet looking like Beverly Hills meets Fifth Avenue, and not a spot of grubby filth to mar the perfection. Not only that, but the tastiest food is zero calorie, zero carb; your IQ is over 200; your NASDAQ stocks are way, way up. And best of all, every one of the other Brads and Julias really, really loves you and it’s just the biggest love fest ever!

While this sounds appealing on the surface, such success would become an awful curse in short order. With nothing to aspire to, without any brass ring to reach for, humanity would soon sink into a death-spiral of laziness and decadence. The future of the human race would fall to nothing, an no one would care about anything except a nice clean bikini-wax.