Saturday, January 3, 2009

Coolest List Ever

Based on a random sample of one, the following list has been designated as coolest ever. It was posted on SAS-L, the mailing list devoted to discussion of the SAS software. This was kind of off topic but cool, so I posted it below along with my comments.

Sheldon Kopp's Eschatological Laundry List:

(Eschatological, incidentally, means having to do with the ultimate destiny of humanity.)

1. This is it.
I don't think so. I hope not. I have always believed there is more. Personally, I estimate it would take me around 300 - 500 years to do all of the things I would like to do right now, if I don't come up with anything else. Just to be on the safe side, I am making sure I do the ones I really want to do now.
2. There are no hidden meanings.
3. You can't get there from here, and besides there is no place to go.
4. We are already dying, and we'll be dead a long time.
5. Nothing lasts!
[That's pretty much true. Even the worst things that ever happen to you will only last for a while, as will the most wonderful. It's not useful to get too excited about the ups and downs of the moment. As my brilliant Julia said after winning the USJA Junior Nationals, "It's nice the day you win. Then it's tomorrow." )

6. There is no way of getting all you want.
I say this to both athletes and graduate students all the time, BUT you can usually get whatever it is you want the most if you are willing to work hard enough.

7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it.
8. You only get to keep what you give away.

Not even sure what those two mean!

9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
On some things, yes. On many things, the reason is because you were not willing to pay the price. A song by Bob Dylan is my favorite simply because it contains the words,

"You give something up for everything you gain. So pay for your ticket and don't complain."

10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and
there's no compensation for misfortune.

I partially disagree. The world is not necessarily just, but I think being good DOES pay off, not always right away, but it often pays off in the friends you gain and self-respect. I have a quote from Emerson on my bulletin board from the essay, "What is success?" I think that if you do good you DO win the respect of intelligent people, the affection of children and leave the world a better place. Yes, you do not necessarily get more stuff than Donald Trump, but really, so what.

There IS usually compensation for misfortune. The worst events of my life have all made me a stronger person and/or opened up other opportunities that I could not have envisioned at the time.

11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
On what you deem important, yes. I don't think I'll ever be the best on keeping my house clean, arriving precisely on time or a bunch of other things. But, I hope, the things I DO do my best at more than make up for that.

12. It's a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You really don't control anything.
Or, at least, we control less than we would like to believe. Still, there is usually a way to get whatever you want, even when lots of uncontrolled obstacles are in your way.

14. You can't make anyone love you.
That's for damn sure.

15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
Sorry, to burst your bubble, Sheldon, but some people are truly incompetent morons. Others, have the moral fiber of a garden slug under a pile of salt.

16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.
Maybe. But I think some are certainly less vulnerable than others.

17. There are no great men.
I haven't actually met any. I thought I did a couple of times, but I turned out to be mistaken. I have met several good men and women, though, and for them I am grateful.

18. If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends. (yes, you too, and most certainly
I try really hard not to. I don't think everyone does. Most people do, and a disappointingly larger number than I used to think, but not everyone.

20. All evil is potentially vitality in need of transformation.

Nope. Some evil is just plain evil. This is why God invented two by fours.

21. All of you is worth something if you will only own it.
22. Progress is an illusion.
Not necessarily.
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new
24. Yet it is necessary to keep struggling toward solution.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
For some people. For others, if they are very lucky, it is a fairy tale. For a lot, it is just Thursday.

26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own,
take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things each man must do for himself.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but
that's all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and
partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
The statistician's mantra. I think I will have that tattooed on my chest.

34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run, but you can't hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies is in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the
42. What do you know for sure...anyway?
That I love my children.
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again.


ice cream lover said...

Hi Dr. AnnMarie! This is Alina, I just read your "coolest list ever" Just wanted to say from time to time, you are in the back of my mind. This past summer, my family were in Vietnam watching the Olympics and were wondering if Ronda is in Beijing? Not until now did I google her and found out. I also got to say, I'm very proud of you. You know, since I left judo... there is one thing I learned from you... always stayed with me.. was to "never give up on myself" What you said to me has held true and I am happy to have met you.
Alina Kouch

Stephen said...

I enjoy your posts, even if I don't have much to say about them, just wanted to encourage you to continue.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Alina !
I looked on your blog. How can you be 22? That's impossible. Weren't you 11 like last week ! I saw your picture on your blog and I cannot believe that you are an actual grown-up now.

Judo is still here if you want to make a come back (-: