Autobiography of a Restless Mind: Reflections on the Human Condition Volume 2


Some notes from Dee's decades of writing and studying

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Key Takeaways

  1. No one hates truth who loves beauty.
  2. Water does not always seek the lowest ground, as evaporation and snow on a mountain clearly demonstrate.
  3. A book is far more than what the author wrote; it is everything you can imagine and read into it as well.
  4. An argument that needs repetition is rarely convincing.
  5. If there were but one rule of conduct, “We must behave so as to always educe harmony and avoid discord,” would not be amiss.
  6. Human technologies must be made to function in complete, integral harmony with nature’s technologies. The magnitude of the change this requires is enormous, but not so enormous as the necessity.
  7. Postmodern society has a surfeit of analysts and an impoverishment of artists.
  8. We spend the first thirty years wanting to be older, the next thirty wanting to be younger, and the remainder just wanting to be.
  9. If one knows how to formulate penetrating questions and assiduously seek answers, education, with or without schools, is inevitable.
  10. Good writing consists of the simplest, clearest, fewest words that make the point.
  11. Effectiveness knows what efficiency will never learn.
  12. Getting and having, not being and becoming, now govern our lives, and terrible taskmasters they are indeed.
  13. Justice is always greater than law. Law may aspire to justice, but it can rise no higher than codification of behavior and control of dissent by force.
  14. To proclaim the most efficient as the best is nonsense. Best is that which is most effective in the circumstances whether efficient or not.
  15. The measure of education should not be knowledge regurgitated, expertise applied, or money earned, but the testimony of lives well and fully lived.
  16. Controlling others is force; controlling self is power.
  17. Embody and practice what you would have others learn; leave teaching to the less able.
  18. A true gift arrives mysteriously with no trace of the giver.
  19. We will not master nature by defying or altering it, but by surrendering opposition and becoming one with it.
  20. New ways of looking at things create much greater innovation than new ways of doing them.
  21. The surest sign of a sick organization is ever-expanding rules and regulations; its terminal disease is ever increasing compulsion to enforce them.
  22. Quality will never bend a knee to measurement.
  23. Belief is not dangerous until it turns absolute.
  24. When a rule is broken, the first impulse of rule makers is to make another. The better remedy rarely occurs to them—remove the rule.
  25. It matters little whether my book reaches a handful of people or millions, for if it influences the right few, others will follow.
  26. The mind cannot look into itself anymore than an eye can look into itself. Both can do no more than reflect on reflection.
  27. The new and novel should be viewed with suspicion, for it is improbable that one generation can be wiser than all ancestors combined.
  28. It is more important to open our arms to let something old go than to open them to embrace something new.
  29. Order is not discipline imposed from without, but spontaneous harmony arising from within.
  30. societal organization can long be held together by force alone.
  31. The test of the justice, morality, and worth of any society is how it treats those who are dependent due to youth, old age, physical or mental disability, and economic deprivation.
  32. Love and respect for others and for self are codeterminate.
  33. The universe is held together by attraction, not by force. Would that societies were the same.

What I got out of it

  1. Some thought provoking ideas from Dee and a fun look into his brain and thinking

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