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I wish I read this five years ago: The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

There are books which you wished you had read a long time ago. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay is one of those. Based onher therapeutic experience with young adults, she relates how important our twenties are for the rest of our lives and what factors which should take into consideration in order to have a fulfilling adult life.
So my advice is to watch her TED talk, read a short but exhaustive summary, use my flash cards or simply read her book. =)

Cheers,
D.

This is life.

Is this it ? Is it all there is ? Just spend one day on your own. In a room. Nothing but a pen and paper. No distraction. Pure austerity. And you will notice. Your boredom. Your lust. Your cravings. Your thoughts.
You may wonder: is this all there is?
People are out there. Doing their important things. Working. Eating. Laughing. And I'm here. In a room. Thinking.
I am fine. No hunger. No thirst. What else do I need ? I am lucky. With this free time. Many people are suffering. Dying. Somewhere. Else. Not in this room. And I am here.
Life is just that. And it goes on. And you choose. Whether you want to be in this room. Or even which room you want to be in. You have no choice. You must choose. A room. A life. Cheers!

Veganism and the either-or fallacy

My vegan friends are gonna hate what I'm writing here. Don't get me wrong. I support veganism. All else equal, less suffering is better than more. However I am not sure whether the strategy behind veganism is the most effective.
I would argue that veganism falls into the trap of the either-or fallacy.  That is, you can either be a meat eater, failed vegan (vegetarian) or vegan. This rationale totally neglects the quantity of meat and animal products in general which a person consumes. We should recognize that someone who eats meat once a week has a 14 times smaller impact than someone who eats meat for every meal.
This tendency to be absolute can create a sense of moral superiority which is not beneficial to the vegan cause. Though necessary sometimes, the division of individuals between vegans and non-vegans can lead to an implicit in group/out group separation, us versus them. In other words, the belief of one's "purity" in terms of food consumption can scare o…

Are you already enlightened? An inquiry into the nature of the mind

Mindfulness meditation is now the new therapeutic fix and seems to do miracle. However there is more to it than just a technique for stress control and anxiety relief.
I've just started practicing meditation again and joined a guided session where the teacher blew my mind (again). Meditation is not just a plaster helping us to deal with difficult situations. It also lets us dig into the nature of consciousness. How so ? You can compare the Buddhist claims on consciousness to the experience you are having when meditating.
The Buddhists think that meditation will help us realize the nature of all things and hopefully feel "genuine" happiness. I'm not sure about that. Rather my guess is that, even as an atheist, there is a spiritual path to be discovered without any religious doctrine. Indeed the path lies in the discovery of the nature of the mind and it is your choice to give it a try. Cheers!

Let go of your past identities

Once we were. Now we are. Soon we might never be. I used to define myself a good kid then as a rebel. Then I changed to see myself as a lover. Then as a musician. Then as a triathlete. Then as a student. Then as a bank employee. Now as a civil servant. Then what ? I find it so hard to move on and let go of the roles we used to play in the past. I was appreciated for me being that person. I was recognized for the qualities, achievements, good grades, good running time, musical skills I used to demonstrate but now stopped. If you let go of all that, what remains ? Would you still love yourself even when you do not earn the recognition from others you think you deserve ? I don't think I can. I find it difficult to acknowledge my worth when others do not value what I have to offer. However this is the only way forward (for me at least). School and university were the easy parts. The criteria for success and appraisal were clear and measurable. But now where is the line ? I have to redef…

We are our memories

We are our memories. Aren't we ? Certainly, we don't remember much of what we experienced in the past or at least not our life in its entirety. What we tend to remember is the beginning, the end of an experience as well as its peak and low point. This is particularly interesting when you make a decision (for instance choose where to go on vacation). Daniel Kahneman explains it very well in his TED talk. However I want to discuss a specific domain of our memories: personal knowledge. I do not only mean the classes which we (are supposed to) remember from our school time. I also want to talk about the learning process which we undergo every day and makes us who we are. Every book we read, every encounter we have, every thought we create can become a life lesson and thus progressively influence our life for the best or for the worst. As Matthieu Ricard says, the quality of a teaching can be found in the degree by which this latter becomes part of your life. In my case, sometimes…

To all the friends I have met so far

You are awesome. You are awesome. You are the very best. I cannot find the words to express how grateful and lucky I am to have met all of you. I believe life is not about the things you have and it's about the people you have met and moved*. And you moved me in many ways. You made my life worthwhile. Sharing is the essence of my life. If I could I'd love to share right now all my energy and all my good intentions for this world with every single one of you. I wish I could be everywhere around the globe to experience once more this feeling of joy and fulfillment together. But life has its limits. Whatever happens I will always cherish all the moments we spent united and will keep them safe deep in my heart. You gave me hope and I cannot value this enough.  Thanks for being such friend to me (in whatever way it was). I hope to meet all of you. Somewhen. Somewhere. Somehow.  In the meantime I wish you were all here.

KS

Daniel

*I could have simply written: Life is not about things.…