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We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.
Without any extraordinary effort of genius, I have discovered that nature was the same three thousand years ago as at present; that men were but men then as well as now; that modes and customs vary often, but that human nature is always the same. And I can no more suppose, that men were better, braver, or wiser, fifteen hundred or three thousand years ago, than I can suppose that the animals or vegetables were better than they are now.
I don’t know if you hear this often but I would say The Razor’s Edge (loosely based on a great W. Somerset Maugham novel). This was Bill Murray’s first dramatic role so everyone thought he stunk in this deep character but I thought he and the movie were great. The movie takes place over decades so you see Murray’s character go from goofy playboy all the way to wiser, older person. It’s basically a movie version of the journey I described.
There’s no such thing as turning back the hands of time, and it makes me crazy that we live in a society where that’s sold to women—that we’re supposed to believe that if we’re getting older, we’ve failed somehow, that we have failed by not staying young. I wish that women would let other women age gracefully and allow them to get older and know that as we get older, we become wiser.
Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonious, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above these heights, new peaks will rise.
….You should keep dental floss on you at all times; when your eyesight goes, quit driving; don’t keep too many secrets, eventually they’ll eat away at you. But the most valuable lesson he taught me was this: Every day we get older, and some of us get wiser, but there’s no end to our evolution. We are all a mess of contradictions; some of our traits work for us, some against us. And this is what I figured out on my own: Over the course of a lifetime, people change, but not as much as you’d think. Nobody really grows up.