Monday, March 29, 2010

Quotes from the honest guru

Today you are the youngest you'll be for the rest of your life. 
Take advantage of it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

If size matters, nothing else does!

And who is better to express it than Monty Python

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I am special

I know that advertising is an art (in other words, nobody seems to know how it works). But while some ads that make no sense do work (this is because people make no sense), other ads makes you think what went through the mind of the people behind them. Can anyone, for example, explain the thinking behind this banner, which popped up on my screen recently ? 

Is it the type of ad that tried to make me feel unique and special, being one of only 400 million people? Or maybe it’s the type of ad that should make me feel that I am not alone, but rather part of the herd? And why should I claim this award anyway? After all, even if they had a large budget for this award, let’s say $40 million, each award cannot be worth more than a dime. Do you still feel lucky to see the lucky banner?

Next banner please.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quotes from the honest guru

Faith --
the ability to hate those
who love less than you do.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The email that may save my life

Today I got an email that can save my life. I don’t even need to believe it, because it’s guaranteed that even if I don’t believe it, only reading it would make all my wishes come true. So I read it twice - just in case. However, whenever I get such an email my first wish is that it would be the last. So far this wish has not been fulfilled. 

And, of course, there is also the problem of ecards, but that is a different story altogether.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Human Spider

In an interview with Alain Robert, the human spider, who has climbed, unprotected, many of the tallest towers in the world, he claimed that it’s much easier to climb the towers than to get licenses to climb them.

This is true in many areas, and it makes me wonder if the true role of our democratic institutions is to promote and establish mediocrity.

Zen story

A Zen student, who felt he had mastered his learning, decided to leave his master and go to the world to find his own students. When he asked his master’s blessing, his master pointed at a pile of rocks and asked, if the pile was there, or if it was only in his student’s mind. 

The student answered that the sacred Buddha had taught us that as everything in the world is the manifestation of our mind, the pile of rocks, as well was only the creation of the mind. 

“It’s a very heavy load to walk around with in your travel”, answered the Zen master. Why don’t you stay until you can leave it here behind you?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

All about a name

I’m often asked about the meaning of my name.
There are two Japanese characters pronounced 'Ran'. The first one means orchid:
The second means chaos:

It's for you to guess which one was chosen for me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quotes from the honest guru

I've always preferred fake friendliness to genuine hostility

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quotes from the honest guru

Don't wait until you know everything before you do anything.

Trust the news

Antidepressants are largely waste of time and money say experts

How depressing. Until now ignorance about this fact has kept so many people happy. I think they should take a class action against the scientists for the cost of their newly found unhappiness.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Conviction: how sure are you?

Some years ago, my son got quite sick, so I took him to the doctor. The doctor did what doctors do: sent my son for some tests, looked at some books, spoke on the phone, drank some tea, and finally came with a diagnosis and recommendation for a treatment. Both I didn’t agree with. 

I have found that in most cases, even in areas I don’t know much about, I can follow someone’s line of thinking and resonating by asking questions on the reasoning process itself rather than on the subject. So although I knew very little about medicine, I felt doubts about the doctor’s conclusions, and challenged her. 

At first she turned defensive – nearly aggressive -- and insisted she was right. But when I asked her to sign a statement making herself personally liable in case her diagnosis was proven wrong, her conviction somewhat diminished, and she was willing to explore alternatives. In the end, we agreed that her original conclusion was wrong. 

There are two conclusions we can draw from this short story. First, anyone – even an expert – can be wrong, and when important matters are at stake, we must use our own judgment rather than follow any advice blindly. Second, unless you are of the suicide bomber type, willing to sacrifice your life for your unquestionable beliefs, you should always question your own convictions.

How sure are you when you are sure of something? Is there the slightest possibility that you might be wrong after all? What consequences are you willing to accept if found wrong? 

The first step to tolerance and understanding is to admit that as confident we might be, we might still be wrong. Is there anything you know beyond a shadow of a doubt?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The good old days

Anyone still missing the good old days?

Quotes from the honest guru

I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I don’t think you realize that what you heard was not what I meant.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

If it's not on your calendar, today, the 8th of March is the international women's day. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Think. Don't believe!

It’s been over 2000 years since the birth of man who saved the world. Now that the world has been saved, it's time for a bit more healthy skepticism and clear thinking, and a bit less saving. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Quotes from the honest guru

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud became greater than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

Friday, March 5, 2010

Do we get our priorities right?

A friend has just bought, for over $500, the latest, most advanced, can do all vacuum-cleaner, which should make housework an effortless exercise. She uses the time and energy she now has to go to the gym and get fit.

I don’t get it at all. Doesn’t it make more sense to get the hardest to use machine for about £50. This would give her all the exercise she needs at home, while saving her the time and money she spends in the gym?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quotes from the honest guru

I am not a believer,
I have seen the truth!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My travelling without a word

Mountaineering and Diving

(photo by bitax)

You are hot and sweaty. You are holding firmly. A mild unpleasantness grips your stomach, and you wonder, once again, what the hack you are doing here.

You jump in, hit the water and immediately feel the wet coldness swallows you, sending shivers throughout your body. Your breath ceases until your body adjusts. You float weightlessly. The water is clear, blue and deep and the colors and shapes dance around you in ever-changing unique patterns. You are surrounded by schools of fish, and you feel one of them. 

You are heavy and tired, your muscles complain whenever you stretch to reach for the next hold. The sun is burning your back, and you know that you must savor your strength to last for the rest of the day. You regulate your breathing, as you have done so many times before,until your muscles relax, casting away tiredness and fear - the fear of the exposure, being so high, secured only by a thin rope, and by the hope that the last anchor you placed can really hold your weight. You take another deep breath and turn away to look into the void, into scenery that as often as you have exposed yourself to, never ceases to fill you with awe. You become weightless, and for a short moment, time and space disappears into the deep void under you. 

Scuba diving and mountaineering; weightlessness against fighting gravity, the gray rock and the dark blue of the deep sea, can any activities be more different? 

And yet, for me they are so much alike. It’s nature and the existence on the fine line between struggle and harmony. It’s total solitude in environments that were not meant for me, and I wasn’t meant for them. It’s the acquired skills that ensure my survival. Skills that have become unnatural second nature, where senses remain sharp and the mind cannot wonder, as any mistake may be my last. Primeval fears and barriers are overcome and the mind transforms, wiping out the mundane. The body follows its path, and the mind, which controls it, sets free. 

Life in its purest form.