Mar. 25th, 2009


Mar. 25th, 2009 02:57 pm
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Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze; but as those who read between the lines must already have guessed, he had been at a famous public school; and its traditions still clung to him like garments, with which indeed they are largely concerned. Thus it was offensive to him even now to board a ship in the same dress in which he grappled her, and he still adhered in his walk to the school's distinguished slouch. But above all he retained the passion for good form.

Good form! However much he may have degenerated, he still knew that this is all that really matters.

From far within him he heard a creaking as of rusty portals, and through them came a stern tap-tap-tap, like hammering in the night when one cannot sleep. "Have you been good form to-day?" was their eternal question [...] Most disquieting reflection of all, was it not bad form to think about good form?

[...] To tell poor Smee that [the children] thought him lovable! Hook itched to do it, but it seemed too brutal. Instead, he revolved this mystery in his mind: why do they find Smee lovable? He pursued the problem like the sleuth-hound that he was. If Smee was lovable, what was it that made him so? A terrible answer suddenly presented itself--"Good form?"

Had the bo'sun good form without knowing it, which is the best form of all?
-- J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (or Peter Pan, if you must)

I've read a handful of translations of the Tao te Ching, several commentaries thereon, a few books of koans ... but this passage, right here, by a Scottish author no less, still articulates the central idea in a way that's dearest to my heart.
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A friend of mine just posted a link to an interesting article:

Rapid Thinking Makes People Happy

This totally matches my observations, yet I'd never consciously realized that was what was going on, let alone articulated it so clearly. This probably also explains why high-tempo music with lyrics cheers me up, because my language center is being stimulated at plus-normal speed, and why driving fast in heavy traffic cheers me up like nothing else. This is going to be an incredibly useful tool in my anti-depression arsenal.*

* Which, frankly, I desperately need right now.


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