My life was bitter and hopeless. Then, I discovered coffee.

The Brown Swan

My brother sent this to me via email. It was too good not to share.

My Negative Black Swan:

I thought it was impossible to shit in my pants whilst farting on my cohorts.........until the day that I did. The dramatic outcome was that I had to sit around in gym shorts all day while my clothes were in the washer. What is worse is that I didn't think lightning could strike twice, but a year or so later, it did. The difference is that I hedged my bets by clenching my asscheeks together ('switching to manual") and I all I had to do was waddle to the restroom and wipe up the damage. Essentially, a "Brown Swan" could have ruined my life, but I was ready for it. I am glad someone has finally written a book on how to clench your asscheeks together. I thought I was the only person in the world to think this way.


Useless Knowledge

At some point during a discussion of the War of 1812 in your high school history class, you probably wondered something that many kids wondered before you and wonder today. How is this going to help me make money?

Like it or not, most of the stuff you learned in school was a waste of time. Did you really need to read Hamlet? Did you really need to dissect that frog? Did you really need to know how to solve a quadratic equation? Would you make one penny less if you didn't know that Columbus discovered America in 1492?

I consider the fact that Sherlock Holmes was unaware that the world was round. Granted, Holmes is a fictional character, but his justification for not knowing that obvious fact was because it occupied room in his brain best reserved for knowing how to catch criminals. Such trivial facts as the earth being spherical are just a waste of time and resources.

If Sherlock Holmes strikes you as a bit idiotic on this, I will not disagree with you. The reason is because you never know when such a fact might come in handy. Plus, I believe the human mind has a finite capacity for storage, but I don't think anyone is in any danger of exceeding that capacity anytime soon. Learning something new or unnecessary is not going to squeeze out something old or useful.

Prior to 9/11, a knowledge of Arabic was a colossal fucking waste of mindpower. After 9/11, that knowledge became very valuable. You simply cannot know when such knowledge will be in high demand. Similary, such high demand skills like computer science have seen an erosion in income thanks to the internet which now allows employers to outsource to India. When you add in the constant upgrade of those skills required, a job as a welder looks pretty damn rewarding.

The value of knowledge follows the same laws of supply and demand as any other commodity. This is why your next cab might have a physics Ph.D. behind the wheel. This is also why a chef working in a kitchen can earn up to six figures a year. Supply and demand.

My best career advice is the same one you got back in high school. Strive to be wellrounded. Pursue the Renaissance Ideal. Know something about a lot of different things. Be an autodidact. An array of skills makes you way more employable. Granted, you might not ever use all that you learned, but you simply cannot know when something you know might be worth something.

Another aspect of this useless knowledge is the fact that new ideas are really recombinations of old ideas. Henry Ford got the idea for the assembly line from combining what Olds was doing at his place with what Chicago meatpackers were doing at their place. Ford decided to move the cars instead of the people, and he changed the world profoundly.

As I have pointed out before, your success in life is largely due to luck. But you can improve your odds and/or lower your risk by diversification. In hindsight, we can tell someone that they should have become a doctor or a geologist or what have you. In hindsight, I can tell you that the calligraphy class that Steve Jobs took was a very smart move. It is why we have fonts on our computers today. But I could not recommend that subject to anyone other than Steve Jobs. If you want a career as a calligrapher, I am afraid Mr. Jobs has put you out of a job.

Most highly specialized jobs are exceedingly dull. I can't think of any job outside of science or academia that requires 100% of your mental powers. Even those jobs in science or academia are full of repetitive and boring tasks like teaching classes or doing trials or what have you. Dull dull dull.

Our economy grows because of specialization and the division of labor. This is where productivity comes from. Jobs are so easy these days that people spend most of their time on the job goofing off. But that is another topic for another post. The bottom line is that specialization is easily achieved without subtracting other things from your life. Just because you drill holes in sheet metal all day doesn't mean you can't enjoy reading Proust.

Stupid people hate smart people. So, when these stupid people see someone smart not making a lot of money, they like to gloat. But you know, stupid is stupid. Being smart is valuable for its own sake. I would rather be poor and intelligent than rich and retarded. But without a doubt, being rich and smart is the way to go.

Right now, the world's richest man is Warren Buffett. This might change back to Bill Gates or Carlos Slim. But it doesn't matter because they have some of the same habits. Buffett is a reader. He reads a lot of different books on things that have no direct relation with what he does for a living. Similarly, Carlos Slim is an omnivore when it comes to knowledge. These men love to learn. They see value in it. Likewise, my hero, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is a rich guy who is also a polymath. Earning money is merely a chore to finance what he really enjoys doing which is learning.

Money is important. It just isn't the most important thing in life. Happiness is the most important thing, and I can tell you that stupidity and happiness never meet.

PRINT-The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb



Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan is a book about highly improbable events that have a very large impact. Taleb's target is the Gaussian Bell Curve and the delusion that it creates which he terms the ludic fallacy.

Taleb divides the world into two fictional countries he calls Mediocristan and Extremistan. Mediocristan is the world of the bell curve. It is where the distribution of events is normal. It looks like this:



Extremistan is quite different. Things are much more chaotic. Prediction is impossible. The world of extremistan is dominated by black swans that occur whenever and wherever. It really undermines confidence.

The world abounds with black swans--tsunamis, earthquakes, 9/11, war, fashion trends, etc. Even the best laid plans can be laid low by a black swan. Conversely, positive black swans can literally change your life overnight.

Taleb makes the case that the normal distribution is not really how the world is, and I tend to agree. Newtonian physics is not how the world really is either, but it works for certain applications. Similarly, the bell curve works for insurance, managing portfolios, etc.

Do I accept or reject Taleb's thesis? Looking at my own chaotic life, I am inclined to accept it. But I have no intentions of abandoning my current investment strategy for Taleb's barbell strategy of 80% of his wealth in Treasuries and 20% of his wealth in the riskiest shit the financial world has to offer. But I agree that you should have some exposure to positive black swans. It is the only way to become rich in a short period of time. Mediocristan is for those who wish to get rich slowly.

The Black Swan is not an investing book. It is more of a philosophical essay than anything else. Taleb's strategy involves embracing uncertainty and learning to live with it and even enjoy its beneficial consequences. I find this very appealling. This is why I network like a fiend and go to parties and apply for all sorts of jobs and study the crazy things I do. In order to enjoy these positive black swans, you just need exposure.

My current work is how to capture these black swans in the marketplace. Like indexing, it follows a strategy of diversification. That part is easy. The hard part is hedging the risk. This is the difficulty. A lot of stuff to think about and consider.

I highly recommend this book.




MONET, The Studio Boat
It is better to make mistakes of boldness rather than timidity.
There is no end to work. Unemployment exists because of laziness and government tomfuckery.
New ideas are recombinations of old ideas.

The Tyranny of Choice

I was talking with my wise friend today about all of the options I have. Because I am a single man with no children, the world is still wide open to me in a way that is not open to him. I would like to say this is liberating, but it isn't.

I feel paralyzed in my life because I am unable to choose from the many options I have available to me. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing because I think choosing is better than not being able to choose. But I am faced with the fear of making the wrong choices and the opportunity costs and all that. It is debilitating.

A long time ago, I made a decision to stay in South Carolina and not move all around the country. I spent five years in Florida, so I know what it is like to live somewhere else. In the end, I am happiest in the state of my birth. I like living in South Carolina.

By choosing to live here, I have forfeited some opportunities that I could have taken abroad. But I do not regret them. By choosing to stay here, I feel a greater degree of freedom. I might be persuaded to leave by a beautiful woman in the future, but I like limiting my options to this state. It frees me to make other decisions.

In the realm of dating, there are always other women. But I like the one I am with now, and I ignore the others. Each woman rises and falls according to her own merits with me. Comparison shopping ends, and you settle in with the one you love. The rest fade into oblivion.

Then, there is the realm of hobbies. We have so many choices and options when it comes to our leisure time. But I find that I can live my whole life without ever having gone scuba diving off of Aruba. I'm not going to regret that shit. I like what I do now which is mostly reading and writing and trying to get some exercise. I have yet to exhaust these humble hobbies, so I will leave the more spectacular ones to the people who like them.

While reflecting on the products of Apple, I am struck by the fact that what makes those products so cool is their simplicity. We have TVs and DVD players that take a Ph.D. to operate. But an Apple product like the iMac is very simple to operate. This is because it limits the options to the essential and eliminates the extraneous. This is the number one complaint of the things Steve Jobs gives us. They always lack some feature that some technogeek has to have.

Like I said, I am reflecting on all of this, and I know that leftwing fucknuts would like to limit our choices because of their inherent Bolshevism. But I do take it under consideration because there is some elemental truth to the fact that more is not necessarily better. Just some shit to think about.

Im from the streets, bitch!!!

Goals

It is said that if you want to get anywhere in life it helps to know where you are going. I tend to agree with that, but I think people overstate it a bit.

It is good to have goals in life. With that said, life is what happens when you are making other plans. I like to have a direction in life but be open to possibilities along the way. I'll give an example.

Imagine you have a teenager named Bob. He has made it his goal to attend Harvard University, so he studies hard and does well in school and on the SAT. He applies to Harvard and gets rejected. Nevermind that he was accepted into Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Brown, etc. Harvard was the goal. He didn't achieve the goal, so he is now a FAILURE.

Success and failure are relative. I never could have gone to any of those schools even if I had been accepted into them. I don't really care because I will match my intelligence against any of those Ivy League grads any day of the week. They don't know shit. How do I know this? Who do you think is running our clusterfuck government?! But I digress. . .

I like to have broad goals. So, here's my list of things I want to achieve in my life:

1. HAPPINESS

I want to be happy, and I am happy. I embarked on a study on this subject a few years ago, and I found the answer. I am happy. I realize that we all want to be happy, and it is the ultimate goal in life. But it is readily achieved. Happiness is nothing more than losing yourself in rational activity. As long as I have something to do, I will always have happiness. The easiest way to become happy is to fill your calendar and work. Since discovering the secret of Flow, I have been very happy indeed.

It helps to understand what happiness is not. It is not being drunk or getting laid or what have you. These are pleasures which are always available even in prison. Happiness is different, and it doesn't come from money or women either. It comes from you and doing the things you love.

Lose yourself in a rational pursuit. It might be writing a novel, building a house, playing basketball, learning guitar, or what have you. But if you pursue these things, you will be very happy.

2. LOVE

I always have a girlfriend. I never stay available for long. What frustrates me is being in relationships that don't last that long. I admit that I am the one who ends them, but I don't believe it is my fault. I just get matched with the wrong women who like me a great deal and end up loving me. But they do things I can't go along with.

I am very pleased with my current love interest. I fit with her. Her personality and mine are very compatible. Consequently, I not only love her, but I like her. I realize this everytime I look at my watch and see that the time has flown away. I can't get any sleep because I love staying up just to talk to her. This is 180 degrees of difference from my previous relationship where I was afraid to speak because I would piss her off.

I don't know the secret to long lasting relationships except to say that you should fall in love with someone you can be friends with. If you can't talk to each other, it won't work. That is really the true dealbreaker. When she rolls her eyes at you and looks at you like you are the most despicable person she has ever met, get the fuck out of there. You don't need that woman. She is misery on two legs.

3. FITNESS

This is the easiest thing to achieve but the hardest one to execute on. I want to be fit, and I know the answer to this. It involves getting my ass out the door and pounding the pavement. It isn't rocket science. This is a goal I am working on.

4. WEALTH

This is harder to achieve. I am not rich. But I will be. Whether I will be rich before I am 80 is another matter and which I am working on. I spend my time reading business books, personal finance books, etc. But for me to become fabulously wealthy in a short time, I have to capture what Taleb calls a Black Swan. This is the rare event that no one expects. They happen on a regular basis, but they cannot be seen beforehand. This is the secret behind the book publishing industry and other industries where an unforeseen but serendipitous discovery takes place. I am laying traps for these Black Swans. I will catch one.

These are my goals. They are broad which gives me room to change course. I am flexible and open to new possibilities. I don't care about climbing Everest or any of that shit. I doubt my lifestyle will change all that much except for the impact of technology and government. But I have achieved two goals, and I am working on the other two. These are my goals in life, and they are unchanging even if my path may take turns I never expected. I like my life, and I believe the best is yet to come.

PRINT-The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell



I have been wanting to read this book for a long time but have just gotten around to it recently. It is a quality read.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is about social epidemics. It is about how little things make a huge difference. Gladwell explains the Broken Windows theory and how cleaning up the subways in NYC lead to a dramatic decline in crime rates. Galdwell goes on to talk about Sesame Street and Blue's Clues and a thing called "stickiness."

Gladwell's theories are fascinating. They are also useless. The Tipping Point is very descriptive but poor in a prescriptive sense. The reality is that a lot of things make sense in hindsight, and Gladwell does a good job of explaining why these things happened. But if you are trying to duplicate the tipping point effect, good luck. I doubt you will pull it off.

The reality is that society and human beings are complex. It is virtually impossible to figure out what they will like or choose in foresight. Reading a book by Taleb helps to take what Gladwell says with a grain of salt.

Finally, Gladwell could have it all wrong. Trying to explain the why of social epidemics is fraught with all sorts of complications. For instance, certain economists say that the reason crime has declined is because of a decline in the birth rate of fucktards since Roe v. Wade. Who is correct?

My personal belief falls along the lines of the thesis proffered by economist F.A. Hayek. You can't figure this shit out. Nobody can figure out the public. I'm still trying to figure out why Titanic became the biggest movie of all time. Then, there is Harry Potter which I like but can't understand why everyone else likes those books so much. It is just one of those things.

Ultimately, there is no accounting for taste. Humanity is so complex as to be utterly random. The downside of this knowledge is that you aren't going to be able to control the public. The upside is that positive social epidemics can, do, and will take place. This is is why The Tipping Point matters. It is why I will cling to my outsider viewpoints. You never know when people will come over to your side. It happens just like that which explains the matchstick on the cover of the book.

The Tipping Point is definitely worth reading. Just don't think it is a magic bullet for starting your own social epidemic.

FUCK THE GOP

Matt Welch from Reason magazine has an interesting article here on how the GOP has alienated libertarians and fiscal conservatives. The coalition that Reagan built is now over.

I liked this line from Welch:

. . .I wonder how responsible it is to add libertarian votes to a shrinking coalition whose dominant rhetoric and political standard-bearer stand in increasingly explicit opposition to the party’s libertarian strand.

The simple fact is here before us. The Republican Party stands in opposition to libertarianism. Giving support to the GOP is foolish. I like what Ron Paul did, but at the end of the day, a libertarian running as a Republican doesn't do much for libertarianism.

I am glad that Ron Paul stirred up the movement that he did, but it has nowhere to go. This is why I have decided to stop supporting the GOP completely and vote Libertarian. If Ron Paul supporters threw their support behind the LP candidate for President, it would be significant. We can't win, but it would be a big boost for the party.

The GOP is fucked. It is the party of big government. McCain will only extend this big government. The best I can hope for from McCain is significant tax cuts, but I can tell you we will remain in Iraq and still suffer for it. That guy is an economic illiterate.

The best way to go for libertarians is the Libertarian Party. The problem with supporting the GOP is that libertarians can only take the blame for the sins of the GOP. This is not good. There is nothing wrong with our platform. Tax cuts work along with reductions in spending and withdrawal from foreign interventions like Iraq. Libertarianism is a package deal. The GOP got libertarian support because they believed in tax reduction and government reduction. The GOP does not believe in this anymore. They are a joke.

It may surprise people, but major parties do die. Remember the Whigs and the Federalists? It is time for the GOP to die and be replaced with the LP. I support the Libertarian Party.
T-SHIRT: Hustle 24-7 365
Pope Benedict is on a PR tour. He could give a fuck about the victims of his pedophile priests. FUCK THE POPE.

The Positive Association Principle

I had a friend one time who gave me really good advice. I am really bad at picking friends and girlfriends, but this friend of mine gave me a measuring rod to judge the people in my life by. It was a question.

"Does this person make me better or worse?"

It was simple. I should only associate with people who made me better. Ironically, I would later let this friend go for violating this principle. She made me worse.

It is hard to get through life without running into false friends and parasites. This is why you must relentlessly prune these people out of your circle of associations. These aren't people that piss you off. These are people who bring you down morally, financially, and emotionally.

It sucks to get rid of someone. I don't like doing it. But it has to be done. Caring for someone does not obligate you to let them shit on you. And when you give them the boot, they will call you selfish. FUCK THEM. This is the narcissism talking hoping to wring a bit of altruism out of your guilty conscience.

I have been used more times than I care to admit. But I have learned not to tolerate that shit anymore. You have to have some self-respect on this shit. You teach people how you want to be treated.

It is super easy to get along with me. Treat me just like you want me to treat you. There is zero complication with that. It is what I do when I am around other people. I treat them the way I want to be treated.

I'm not a perfectionist on this. I understand that people mess up sometimes. It is no big deal. The people I have had problems dealing with are clueless fucktards who have no idea just how fucked up they are. I once had a friend call me in the middle of the night to ask me for $80 to tow a friend's car home. I told him I didn't have it but would gladly give him a ride home. He told me I was no use to him. I told him he was no use to me either. With friends like this fuckhead, who needs enemies?

With girlfriends, the issue gets even worse for me. I can deal with just about any kind of emotional issues a woman might have. I will stick with her through thick and thin and see her to the end. I am very devoted believe it or not. But the moment they decide to become alcoholics or drain me for money or what have you, I am gone. You can't help anyone if they are hurting you.

It is easy to see the logic behind this policy. It makes sense. But people are still going to lay the guilt trip on you. I know my aunt will disagree with me on this. She was the one who told me I needed to be selfish and look out for myself. Then, she booted me for doing exactly that.

The irony is when people decide to boot you for being a little too honest. I try to make the people in my life better. I do this while also trying to respect their autonomy. I don't want to be a busybody. But if I see a friend fucking up, I am going to tell them. It has cost me I can tell you.

The main thing is to stop feeling guilty. Get rid of these people. You should never love someone more than you love yourself.
HOW TO EMPTY YOUR EMAIL INBOX- Check all items. Hit DELETE. Fuhgedaboutit.

The Principle of Selective Integrity

For decades, I have asked myself a fundamental question. Are people inherently good or evil?

My answer to that question boiled down to this. On the whole, the human race is fundamentally benign but indifferent. You can be secure that on average someone will not beat down your door and assrape you with a broom handle just out of the blue. But if you leave a $20 bill lying on the ground, you are not likely to get that back.

The next question I asked is whether a particular person was good or evil. And this got even stickier. People just aren't black and white. What will blow your mind is that certain seeming paragons of virtue can turn out to be such utter scumbags. A fine example would be Eliot Spitzer who went after prostitution with zeal as a prosecutor but ended up being caught in his own trap when it was discovered that he was soliciting the services of a high dollar callgirl.

OTOH, it always amazes me how certain scumbags can turn out to be really good people. I think of Oskar Schindler who was a complete scoundrel in every respect but saved many Jews from certain doom in the Nazi death machine. Or to give an even more striking contrast, you are better off letting a gangbanger serving time in San Quentin watch your children than to turn them over to a Catholic priest.

What I find is that people are both good and bad depending upon the time and place. Russell Crowe's character in American Gangster was an extremely honest cop but a philandering husband who couldn't keep his dick in his pants. Again and again, I see people with this strange mixture of vice and integrity. It can be quite mindblowing.

From all of this is born the Principle of Selective Integrity which states that a person's honesty is fluid and often contradictory and dependent upon the time and place. The honest shopkeeper might be a wifebeater. The good cop might hate Puerto Ricans. The devoted wife might like to have sex with strangers at all night orgies when her husband is away on business.

Selective Integrity is not really integrity at all since the definition of integrity is having the same quality throughout. It is based upon consistency. Selective integrity is really a hybrid. It says that scoundrels can be moral at times. Likewise, saints can be corrupted. In short, no one is totally good or bad but fall somewhere between those poles.

Looking at myself, I like to think I am a person with impeccable integrity. But I think it is foolish to go around telling people about it. I prefer to have a bad repuation instead. It is easier to surprise people who think the worst of you than to live up to the expecations of those who think the best of you. So, I make it a practice to diminish other people's expectations. I'm not a good guy, folks. I'm scum.

What I've learned is that you can't go through life expecting people to be perfect. But I do go through life being pleasantly surprised. People I thought were going to be utter scum turn out to not be so bad. And the saints I feel guilty around really aren't saints at all. Take the good with a grain of salt and don't be surprised if a bad person doesn't do you a good turn every now and then.
CRAWFORDS PRESSURE CLEANING. We get it hot and wet.
The Pope is an accomplice to pedophilia. FUCK BENEDICT.
MEMORY TRANSFER- When a fucktard makes you responsible for the things he or she needs to remember instead of writing it down.
Life without caffeine is impossible.
I am not a woman beater. I tried it once and got my ass cut.

PRINT-Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb



I must preface this review by saying that this is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. I really cannot say enough about this book. It is not often that I read a book that is so vitally important or so lifechanging. This book changed my life.

I have been dealing with randomness, complexity theory, and what have you in my thinking for a long time. Here are a few things you may not realize:

-There is no evidence that stockpickers have any skill whatsoever. That actively managed mutual fund you are invested is charging you for their lucky coin flipping.

-Rich people become rich largely through luck. This explains why so many of them are so stupid.

-The same qualities that will make you rich--a large appetite for risk--are also the same qualities that will make you bankrupt.

-People who climb the corporate ladder and CEOs and others are mostly adept at taking credit for things that are beyond their control.

-People fool themselves all the time by seeing patterns in random events. The most prevalent one is the hindsight bias. This is why you are invested in that actively managed mutual fund, and why you will probably end up losing money over the subsequent years.

I can go on and on with these things. Taleb really has written an outstanding book here where he shows in his unique style how randomness fools us at every turn.

The one thing I have learned from this book is to not shoot for the stars. Taleb uses an illustration of a trader who plays it safe and enjoys a very good lifestyle. You begin to envy the guy a bit until he illustrates his risk taking neighbor who is also a trader. The risk taker makes way more money, enjoys a much better lifestyle, and then crashes spectacularly. I'd rather play it safe myself.

An appreciation for randomness and statistics has done a lot for my life. It changed the way I invest. It changed my dating life. I am hoping it will change my career path. Overall, spectacular success comes from spectacular circumstances that we call luck. But ordinary success is well within reach for anyone. I am content with ordinary success.

Fooled by Randomness is a very helpful and eye opening volume. I think everyone should read it.
I am very happy right now. I am having some Shortcake.
Two wrongs do not make a right, but one wrong and one right make you a sucker.
24-7-365. The sweetest numbers ever.

Cheap Forgiveness

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the issue of forgiveness. Clearly, there is no love without forgiveness. We have to forgive because we all fuck up in some way. And we have to hold people accountable or else they will walk all over us.

Cheap forgiveness is when we let people off the hook without accoutability. It really isn't forgiveness at all but merely sweeping it all under the rug. The result of cheap forgiveness is a smoldering rage. And the person who has been "forgiven" often goes on to do the same shit again and again.

Now, I am not into punishment or revenge. That shit is a waste of time. Beyond public shame, I don't believe in getting even. The worst I will ever do is run my mouth.

I insist that when people do me wrong they must apologize. I want to hear the words that they are sorry. This isn't about ridicule or embarrassment. There is no shame in owning up to what you have done. Instead, there is dignity. And I am not into rubbing people's noses in it. What is forgiven should be forgotten.

Cheap forgiveness is the easy path, but it ends in ruin. There is no relationship after that. There is only buried pain and mistrust. It will surface again with an extra helping of bitterness.

There are also those who cannot forgive even when you apologize. These people live in their own unqiue hell. I find women are most prone to this. They can forgive but are unable to forget. This results in the same thing as cheap forgiveness. As I said, it really isn't forgiveness.

People may fault me for holding to my principles on this, but it matters. I want to forgive. I am forgiving by nature. But I can't just let stuff go. I am worth apologizing to. Anyone who can't tell me they are sorry for what they have done is not a friend of mine and never will be. Anyone who can give me an apology will have my forgiveness. It is automatic.

Cheap forgiveness is the excess. Non-forgiveness is the deficiency. Proper forgiveness is the mean. This is virtue.

Love is Not Bullshit

Click here to read a related article.

Once upon a time, I met a plumber who used to skydive as a hobby. The man had over 100 jumps to his credit. I asked him if he was still jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. He said that he had given it up because it was boring. After jumping out of a plane so many times, he said it was no different to him than stepping out of his backdoor.

I share this story because it serves to illustrate a nagging doubt I have about the Schopenhauer Thesis. For those unfamiliar with this, the Schopenhauer Thesis refers to the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and his pessimistic views on love. They mirror my own in many ways, but I am starting to move away from it in a very significant way.

According to the ST, love is purely biological. We fall in love because we have an overriding need to reproduce. Eventually, these feelings fade and give way to misery or simply boredom. In short, love is bullshit. As a reader here put it, "Love is nature's trick to make us reproduce."

Love is chemicals in the brain. There is no doubt about this. But this is true of everything. When you enjoy a sunset, chemicals move in your brain and make it enjoyable to you. The love of a mother for her child is also very similar and very powerful. It is also chemicals in the brain. Children secrete pheromones that help mothers bond to the children.

If you are starting to balk at this chemical reductionism, you are not alone. I am rejecting it as well. Human beings are complex creatures, and the Schopenhauer Thesis is too simple to accomodate the reality we see each day. I will now highlight my point.

If a mother loves her offspring out of biology, why do they also love adopted children as much as their own? Clearly, choice plays some role in this. I would say it is a primary role.

In the area of love, you have one night stands where people do not love each other. You also have fuck buddies who are not in love with each other. You also have lovers who are never able to consummate their relationships like those between crazy women and incarcerated men they have married. People even fall in love online or through letters though they have never met. Look at stalkers to get a clue on this.

It is my personal belief that all love begins as a choice, and this choice is voluntary. We choose who we love, and we choose to love them. We also choose not to love them. And love lasts as long as the choice lasts.

For the vast majority of people, living with someone becomes a burden. It becomes boring or routine. Or they meet someone they like better. Or take your pick. The problem isn't that love is bullshit. The problem is that most people aren't worth a shit.

Let us look at a case study. Paul McCartney was married to Linda Eastman in 1969 and remained with her until her death in 1998. They never spent more than one week apart during that time. This was a relationship of true love. If Schopenhauer were correct, those two should have broken up long before. Both of them had been in failed relationships, but the two of them worked out very well together. Had Linda McCartney lived, I believe they would still be together today.

In 2002, Paul McCartney married Heather Mills. By 2006, they were done. This seems to match the Schopenhauer Thesis.

Why did Sir Paul remain with Linda for so long while he could not make things work with Heather Mills? That is pretty obvious. Heather Mills was a fucking psycho bitch.

Love is only as good as the people who share it. That is the bottom line. There is no reason inherent in love that makes it fruitless and unlasting. Schopenhauer's big problem was that he was a pessimistic grump who was sexually frustrated. Who wants that shit?

It is my sincere belief that you can find someone and love them for a lifetime. Sometimes, people get tired of each other much like our skydiving plumber got tired of jumping out of airplanes. But I think for most people, they grow tired of putting out the effort. The biggest threat to love is just plain laziness. People stop giving a shit after awhile. I see this all the time on the job or seeing people accumulate the detritus of abandoned hobbies in their garages. A failed marriage is no different than a set of dust covered golf clubs. As my wise friend put it, "It is easier to start over with someone else than to fix what you've got."

This is true, and I will not fault a person for deciding to leave a relationship. This might be because of all the times I have made this choice. You really don't have a choice. As I said, it is only as good as the people involved, and it definitely takes two to make it work.

I believe that passion can last for years and even decades. Schopenhauer is simply wrong. Love is not an ephemeral thing. But love will not last abuse or infidelity or someone who has lost interest or what have you. Love between two people that actually care and are worth a damn are all that it takes.

Love is not blind. If it was, people would never divorce or break up. In all my break ups, I loved the woman even as I was dumping her. I may have loved them, but I don't love anyone more than myself. If I find myself in a bad spot, I will get myself out of it no matter how much it hurts.

All of this is a real change for me, and I must credit my wise friend for this. He has been with the same woman since high school. He basically told me what I am telling you now. Love means working at it, and most people are just too fucking lazy to do it.

I don't know if this will change anything for me, but I am not as miserable on this topic as I once was. I can't change the women I date, but I can certainly change myself. I can work at it, and that work makes a difference.