Eternal iNsAniTy

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.

Author: pbien (page 1 of 2)

RIP, O Captain my Captain.


I am still thinking about the passing of Robin Williams. Reading about so many wonderful memories of him online, about his work as an actor, a comic, and above all, just an outstanding human being. I remember somehow every time I laughed out loud watching his performances, there’s always a hint of sadness in his eyes. I still don’t know why. But perhaps I could identify with it. And upon hearing my wife telling me the news this morning, I actually said… I felt that’s the way he’d leave.

Somewhere online, I found this piece, and it really takes the words out of my mouth and I have to share it. Unfortunately it’s a secondary share, and I couldn’t find the original writer. But whoever wrote this, thanks.

RIP O Captain my captain, may you find the peace you seek, and I look forward to introducing you to my son. I’m sure you’ll enrich his life as you did mine.


“So many tonight are thinking about the death of a man none of us ever met, and grieving his loss. More so than the others, this one seems to hit home. Why? Why this one?

As one friend said, it feels like we just got punched in the childhood. As another said, it actually feels like he was our friend. We literally spent our lives watching him. Robin as a dad who would wear pantyhose to spend time with his children. Robin as a little boy who grew up too fast, and as a grown Peter Pan discovering his own childhood again, as child trapped in a board game jungle findings his way home. Robin as an inspiring teacher demonstrating to a generation how to Carpe Diem and as a genie in a bottle, bringing magic and friendship with him. Robin grieving loss, Robin finding joy, Robin being the goofiest goofball of them all. Robin was the first comedian many of us heard being shockingly crude, and yet our parents kept the video playing because his comedy was worth it. He used that comedy for good every year for Comedy Relief and a passionate quest to help others. He was good, did good, made us feel good.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 12.02.50 PM

Depression is sneaky. Depression lies and cheats and burrows itself deep into places where it’s easy to hide from everyone but yourself. We must do better for our friends, our families, the quiet lonely people in our communities, the outgoing, bigger than life characters with pain behind their smile. Make it ok to reach out for help. Make it easy, and welcome, and free from judgement and stigma. Make it ok to talk about those dark places of our mind where depression lurks. Make it ok to find a lifeline. The world needs more Robins.”

















A well-built physique is a status symbol. It reflects you worked hard for it. No money can buy it. You cannot inherit it. You cannot steal it. You cannot borrow it. You cannot hold on to it without constant work. It shows dedication. It shows discipline. It shows self-respect. It shows dignity. It shows patience, work ethic, passion.

– Billy Tam (my high school friend)

George Saunders’ convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013

If I could be half as eloquent as George Saunders, I’d be super thrilled.

Failures of kindness.  Let’s speed the process along.


Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you).

And I intend to respect that tradition.

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking them to do one of their old-time “dances,” so you can watch, while laughing, is ask: “Looking back, what do you regret?” And they’ll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they’ll tell you even if you haven’t asked. Sometimes, even when you’ve specifically requested they not tell you, they’ll tell you.

So: What do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like “knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?” (And don’t even ASK what that entails.) No. I don’t regret that. Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much. Do I regret the occasional humiliation? Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl? No. I don’t even regret that.

But here’s something I do regret:

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Here’s what I think:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

Now, we don’t really believe these things – intellectually we know better – but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

So, the second million-dollar question: How might we DO this? How might we become more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc?

Well, yes, good question.

Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left.

So let me just say this. There are ways. You already know that because, in your life, there have been High Kindness periods and Low Kindness periods, and you know what inclined you toward the former and away from the latter. Education is good; immersing ourselves in a work of art: good; prayer is good; meditation’s good; a frank talk with a dear friend; establishing ourselves in some kind of spiritual tradition — recognizing that there have been countless really smart people before us who have asked these same questions and left behind answers for us.

Because kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.

One thing in our favor: some of this “becoming kinder” happens naturally, with age. It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really. We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality. We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we’re not separate, and don’t want to be. We see people near and dear to us dropping away, and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away (someday, a long time from now). Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”

And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit. That’s one reason your parents are so proud and happy today. One of their fondest dreams has come true: you have accomplished something difficult and tangible that has enlarged you as a person and will make your life better, from here on in, forever.

Congratulations, by the way.

When young, we’re anxious — understandably — to find out if we’ve got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you — in particular you, of this generation — may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high-school, in hopes of getting into a good college, so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can . . .

And this is actually O.K. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously — as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves.

Still, accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.

So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.

Congratulations, Class of 2013.

I wish you great happiness, all the luck in the world, and a beautiful summer.



看完了以後我卻覺得作者的國際觀也非常扭曲 – 因為他完全忽略現實的國際情況。是的,我非常認同他提到有關我們對東南亞的人的事情,但是扯到兩岸問題的時候怎麼突然又不清楚實質情況了呢?更何況他說的「國際觀」根本就是人品道德(這部份我很認同),但這樣的寫作讓我覺得他是用讓人會點頭的點,來逼你吞下他對中國的厭煩。

再說,我們真的知道伊拉克發生什麼事情了嗎?我們真的知道這次的動亂已經不再是 Shia 跟 Sunni 之間的問題了嗎?那麼既然知道了,我們要如何判斷這會怎麼影響國際形勢,影響我們的民生,包括能源、經濟跟戰略呢?還是說我們只要知道就好,然後這樣就可以站在道德制高點上繼續單方面的批評我們不喜歡的人事物?


I’m pretty tired of disingenuous articles like this.


是的,我們可以選擇去了解所有關於(例如)非洲在大西洋那邊的島國 Comoros 發生了什麼事情,也可以去了解位於南高加索地區的 Nagorno-Karabakh Republic 目前的外交窘境,然後呢?這樣才能說我們有世界觀嗎?國際的確不能只有中國,但是可千萬不能對中國只有皮毛上的了解。這跟認不認中華文化或是中國人什麼都沒關係,而是因為這個國家對我們有「最直接」跟「最嚴重」的利害關係。我擔心我們因為盲目的反中,導致政客聯手媒體帶動全國人民「忽略」中國,或是將中國「簡單化」(妖魔化也是簡單化的一種),這樣有沒有國際觀是沒差的。(同樣,將日本美國歐洲簡單化也是有一樣的問題,菲律賓亦然)

Part of 國際觀 is to know how the happenings elsewhere in the world affect us here at home. 也就是在我們要做決定時或遭遇困難時更能拿捏整件事情的來龍去脈,能在哪施力,該在哪退讓,該用什麼名義拉誰下水好解自己的套等… 而不是很簡單的批評幾下中國然後想說這樣就不會被影響。我覺得大家可以不喜歡馬英九,但是我很難想像任何新的領導人能夠選擇忽略中國,而不是積極面對。






於是 ,對於多數台灣人而言,國際觀就是要在外頭的世界獲得利益或是名聲,要被人瞧得起。所以我們亟欲擁抱「台灣之光」,卻未曾發現這些人當初若留在台灣,只是會被扭曲的制度給壓扁,徹底壞掉。























June 29, 2014 at 10:48pm

作者:Peter Hu
































請問這個數據何來?是啊,不斷的說別相信官方了,要相信你,那你又是如何說你是在兩千名?這又是怎麼來的?這… 是新聞報導?是討論問題可以用的詞?還是種無意義的污衊?



所以說當你以「實際市場賣價的加權平均(也就是高於平均價)乘上 1.15 倍,在加 5% 管理費」還是會有他說的劣幣驅良幣的情況?我怎麼感覺他把價格上限變成「絕對價格」???也就是說如果像他說的:


等一下,兩者本來就是不一樣的機器,市場實際賣價,怎麼突然變成「所有類似器材」的平均價格???這… 是我的閱讀能力有問題嗎?再者,最新機種跟舊機種的差別呢?後續費用呢?治療效果呢?這麼簡單的例子誰都可以舉,但是跟現在的情況有關係嗎?





我把完整的網頁轉成 PDF 以免過一段時間後找不著連結。

Everything becomes creative if the person doing the job is.
– Sidney Lumet

Older posts

© 2018 Eternal iNsAniTy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑