The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Life is short

On Wednesday Henry Kissinger died. He was 100. On Tuesday Charlie Munger died. He was 99.

Both remained active until recently. In July, already 100, Henry Kissinger met Xi Jinping in Beijing.

A few years ago, this would have been called a biblical age and few of us could have imagined reaching such an age. As a child people of my age already seemed to be way older than I could imagine to be.

It’s much less the age that shortens life than the way people experience life.

The more one worries about the future or the past, the less time is available to live in the moment. But these are the moments in which one has access to who one is and what life is providing us with. In essence, these are the moments in which one is alive. These are also the moments in which we can change things.

However, these moments will not always provide us with a pain-free and pleasurable experience of the moment we might be looking for. Consequently, the moment is pushed away, and one starts to predict the future in the hope of controlling it. Or one worries about the past and seeks to learn what it is that is wrong in the way we act, or others treat us. Yet again an effort to control the future.

It becomes an effort to transform one’s own experience into something “good”, “just”, or “important.” Maybe because it is a socially acceptable state. Or the one that must be displayed on social media. And yes, they will also refer to “horrible”, “stressing”, or other bad experiences.

But listening to them it becomes evident that it is an effort they make to transform their experience. Their relationship with the experience in the moment is that it is not what it should be and that they need to change it. It pulls their energy towards how things should be and away from their experience.

Evaluating how things should be, they start to design solutions that would solve the problem they see. It’s when they find themselves thinking about things that are outside of their control and that they cannot change. Social media has given many the hope that they can influence things that are outside of their control. It’s how we’ll often find uproars on social media for anything and everything.

It’s easier to think about how things should be than to pay attention to one’s own experience in the moment. It’s in line with the desire to avoid pain, to avoid feelings of helplessness, and to try to feel in control.

Naturally, all of the above also happens to me.

And it happened again when I read how Charlie Mungers reacted to Donald Trump coming into office. He stated “He’s not wrong on everything. And just because he isn’t like us, roll with it. If there’s a little danger, what the hell, you’re not going to live forever anyway.”

But somehow it seems to me that he was right. Life is short. It’s better to settle with things we can’t change independently of how much we like them. I can’t change who governs a country or how. I can only find how to contribute to the experience I have of a moment.


Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *