by Charly Mann
WARNING: The following story is not true. It is a myth but it may have allegorical significance.
There were once two great countries that bordered one another. Both had long histories of democratic government and capitalist economies. Each had recently elected intelligent and charismatic men to be their presidents, and each were experiencing the worst economic downturn in more than eighty years.
In the first country, Rainbowland, the new President introduced many benevolent sounding programs which he said would fix the country’s economic crisis. First, he said that even though the country had a huge national deficit, he would double or even triple it, if needed, to fix the economy. This meant that the national debt would soon be about $45,000 per citizen. The President said that most of this borrowed money would be used to bail out car companies, banks, and insurance companies that had been poorly run and were the primary cause of the country’s economic problems.
The other country was called Frankland, and its new leader faced the same economic problems as neighboring Rainbowland. This leader told his people that his economic rescue plan called for citizens to make fundamental ecomonic and personal changes in their own lives in order to solve the economic crisis. He said the best way for his country to grow economically was to get out of debt, and this meant the government had to spend far less and the people had to save much more. The first incentive under his plan would allow people to deduct money they saved or invested from their income taxes. Second, he said that the nation’s staggering numbers of babies born out of wedlock and single parent families were the primary cause for his nation's poverty. He said this group was costing the government $130 billion in federal assistance. His program would provide economic incentives for women to wait until they were married to have children and to discourage divorce. His plan would reward couples who took a 100-hour compatibility and marriage fundamentals course with a $1,000 tax credit each year that they stayed married. He also said men whose DNA proved they fathered a child out of wedlock would have to contribute 20% of their net pay to the care of the child for 22 years if they chose not to marry the mother.
Finally, the President of Frankland stated that spiraling health care costs were a leading cause of the nation's economic meltdown, because they made average labor costs much higher than the rest of the world. He said medical costs were now averaging $11,000 per citizen each year, and would soon be 20% of the nation's GDP. In order to curb this, his plan would provide incentives for people to live a healthy lifestyle. 75% of the nation's health care costs, he said, were used to provide care for people with heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity. He stated that all of these diseases were largely preventable by eating a healthy diet and exercising properly. Each year, every citizen of Frankland over the age of seven would be required to take a physical and attend a one hour class on healthy eating and exercise. Citizens who kept their weight within 5% of the optimal range and scored well for their age on a physical fitness test would receive free health care. Citizens who failed these standards would be responsible for their health care, which could cost as much as $30,000 a year depending on how out of shape and obese they were.
The origin of this story is somewhat of a mystery. Is it a meaningless jumble of ideas or is it a perfect allegorical expression of certain current events?
I attended the 11th and 12th grade at Villa Park High School which is located in the very small town of Villa Park, California. Villa Park is next to the city of Orange, and residents of that town made up the majority of the school's student body.
This is Joe Quartucci the chemistry teacher at Villa Park High School in 1968. He was a brilliant and high affable instructor. His Chemistry class was the most challenging course I ever took in my life. Once I got an "A" in that class I knew I could do anything.
This is Gary Stokes an English teacher at Villa Park High School in 1968 . He was the most inspiring teacher I have ever had.
Villa Park is the most conservative town in California with 66% of its residents being registered Republicans, while only 17% are Democrats. When I was a student at Villa Park in 1968 I was probably the most liberal member of the student body. Today several people who know me well describe me as a Libertarian-Republican.
Here is my friend Michael Chorowicz from his senior photo at Villa Park High School in 1968. Michael had a great car, and often drove me into Los Angles in the evenings to enjoy the delights of the new counter-culture. Michael's father owned a great men's clothing store at South Coast Plaza.
This is Jeff Succop (Jeffrey Paul Succop). He was probably my best friend at Villa Park High School in 1968. He was President of the Math Club that year also. Jeff never took off his dark glasses, and was probably the first American to think Eric Clapton was God. He and I often drove into Los Angles in the evening. He had an immaculate yellow 1967 Camero. In 1971 Jeff and I drove from Villa Park to North Carolina, where I was living, in less than 36 hours.
In 1968 the terms Hippie and Flower Power were being ascribed to the people and philosophy of the new counter culture which was being established in the Haight Ashbury area of San Francisco and parts of the Sunset Strip and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angles. But long-hair and any thought of making love and not war seemed a million miles away from Villa Park High School. I was enchanted by this alternative generation, and regularly spent time on the Sunset Strip, or on Fairfax Avenue with my fiends Jeff Succop and Michael Chorowitz, who both had cars and would regularly go with me to where the people with strange clothes and the men with hair down to their shoulders hung out. We even occasionally skipped school to do this during the day.
This is Linda Hunter (Linda June Hunter) my girlfriend at Villa Park High School for a brief time in 1968. As I recall she was from Enid, Oklahoma. She was one of the sweetest people I have ever known and always effervescent.
Here is Peter Finkel, another friend at Villa Park High School in 1968. He was President of the Science Club in 1968, and was the second smartest student enrolled at the school that year.
The evening I graduated from Villa Park High School I took the bus to Berkeley with my then girlfriend and classmate Linda Hunter. I do not know what I was planning to do there, but after a couple of days Linda's father found out where we were, and justifiably angry brought us both back to Orange. I then then left California to attend the University of North Carolina, and followed that with a 35 plus year career in the music business, while Linda went on to attend the University of California at Irvine.
This is your truly, Charles Mann (Charly Mann), at Villa Park High School in 1969
Tal Ranal, above, was a foreign exchange student from Israel at Villa Park High School in 1968. He and I were friends, even though we often had political arguments.
I never did become a Hippie, or ever inhaled any pot, but I did grow my hair long and had a beard for several years, and was very involved in the anti-war movement in my college years.
This is the Villa Park High School Literary magazine The Muse from 1968 which I was the editor of. I had a friend of mine do the cover and several other pieces of art in the publication. If you were to look closely you would find some text in his art that the Administration at Villa Park High School found highly objectionable , but did not dsiscover until the magazine had been printed and distributed.
So the years have passed and now 42 years with just a tad nostalgia I offer this small tribute to Villa Park High School's Class of 1968 featuring some of the people who meant the most to me then.
Peter Young (Peter David Young) was probably the smartest person ever to attend Villa Park High School. Peter may have become the real-life incarnation of "Doc" Brown, the mad inventor, in the Back to the Future movies.
Peter rarely said anything that was not original, and though you detected a bit of whimsy in his style, you knew from his face that his brain was usually pondering something else far deeper as he talked to you.
On the afternoon of October 7th, 1967 I decided to write down a bit of his style during a 60 second conversation he was having with another student. During that brief time he uttered the following phrases as he was making his point.
"It is best that you examine the size of the foot before you put it in your mouth."
"Students should be hysterical 3/4 of the time."
"Save your words for deserving causes."
"The penalty for suicide should be death."
"Always keep one spoon for spooning, or you will run out of spoons."Click to Add a Comment
by Kathryn Mann
All of the world’s great religions share the belief that our purpose in life is to work for salvation through compassion and spiritual awareness. This means we should always live by the Golden Rule. All of the great teachers of the major religions including Buddha, Jesus, Moses, and Mohammad emphasized it is not what you say you believe that will lead to divine enlightenment, but how you act. This means a truly spiritual person lives their life differently from everyone else. However in today’s world I do not see much evidence of this. People instead focus their lives on the idea that they can find a bit of heaven on earth by attaining contentment through a romantic relationship and/or their job. These are two beautiful ideals, but they require hard work, constant attention, talent, and good fortune. In our modern world jobs are rarely permanent and romantic love usually fades within a few years,
Most people spend much of their time focusing on their own problems, infected by the disease that ravages humanity; self-pity. Self-pity prevents us from spiritual and personal growth. It also makes us self-destructive and mentally unbalanced. We have become obsessed by the belief that whatever goes wrong in our lives is somebody else’s fault. As a result the majority of people are hopelessly discouraged from working hard or being ethical, since life will never be fair.
The truth is your destiny is in your hands. How you make it in this world, for the most part, depends more on what you do than whether people like or dislike you. Discipline, hard work, ethical behavior, and most importantly enthusiasm are the ingredients for getting the most out of life. Be determined to do the best you can in your job and your personal life. If you are attracted to taking responsibility for your life, you will derive great joy and satisfaction from almost everything you do. Finally, the best cure for self-pity is to stop thinking about yourself and instead do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
by Charly Mann
What is the purpose of life? Most people rarely think about this question. Philosophers and theologians have offered a multitude of answers, but there is no simple answer from any of them. I think the best answer is that each person should find a purpose for his or her life that gives it meaning. To find a purpose we need to dedicate the first phase of our existence to finding something we are passionate about and will inspire us every day to do the best we can. In determining our purpose we should focus on something that fosters personal growth, compassion, and an awareness of the world around us. One of the most meaningful purposes one can have in life is helping others improve their lives.
As humans we are not naturally wired to have a meaningful life. While it might seem natural that we would always strive to act in our best interests, we can observe how much harm we actually cause ourselves. Look at how many of us allow ourselves to become obese, abuse drugs and alcohol, spend more money than we have, or stay in relationships that make us miserable. As humans we seem to actually be wired to act impulsively and respond more often to our physical needs than our rational ones. To have a meaningful life we must train ourselves to make choices that are best for our true self-interest.
The best way to gain control over our self-destructive tendencies is to reward ourselves with incentives for making good choices. For example lets say you believe you would feel better and eat less if you drank four eight ounce glasses of water a day. Give yourself $20 a day towards some toy or thing you want if you reach your goal. Everybody wants to change their bad habits, but we just let our inertia and lack of focus sabotage us. Financial incentives work exceptionally well to overcome our natural tendencies.
by Charly Mann
Every day of your life thousands of new cells called neurons are produced in the hippocampus of your brain. In modern adults, scientific research has found, almost all of these new neurons die because they are not put to work. The purpose of these new cells is to help us learn and remember new information and skills. The worst thing for your brain is being a couch potato and watching television. For most of human history people have had to use their brains to solve survival problems such as hunting, farming, and protecting oneself from human and animal threats. Today most of us are secure enough that these are no longer concerns. Our jobs and personal lives offer us challenges, but we still have much more time than our ancestors to relax and be passive. As a result we are far more susceptible to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive decline.
We need to be actively engaged in exercising our brain. The more effort we put into learning the more of these new brain cells stay alive. This requires learning that requires deep thought, not a skill that is developed from repetition like mastering a sport or getting good at a video game. The harder something is to learn the better. Mental stimulation is what will ensure your new brain cells survive.
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
The great breakthrough in one's life comes when you realize that you can learn anything you need to learn to accomplish any goal you set for yourself. This means there are no limits on what you can be.
In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
We're not meant to fit in. We're meant to stand out.
If you love life, life will love you back.
Life isn't about finding yourself; it's about creating yourself.
Making a living is not the same as making a life.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think of you.
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod, my shadow does that much better.
If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.
Judge yourself by your actions and not your intentions.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.
Call it Nature, Fate, or Fortune; all are names of God.
Remember to work hard. Look to the future with enthusiasm and hope. Accept responsibility, not only asking for your own rights, but also accepting responsibility for yourself, for other people, for nature and for future generations.
Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it�s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.
Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
Ethical existence is the highest manifestation of spirituality.
My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to commune with the spirit of the universe, to be intoxicated with the fumes, call it, of that divine nectar, to bear my head through atmospheres and over heights unknown to my feet, is perennial and constant.
One-half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that's the important half, for without discipline you wouldn't know what to do with luck.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.
Adults are obsolete children.
You will never be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.
True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.
Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances.
Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
We can't measure out goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, or by what we resist, and who we exclude; but we should measure our goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
Evil (ignorance) is like a shadow. It has no real substance of its own. It is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.
The difference between adults and children is that adults don't ask questions.
No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.
Why is there something rather than nothing? We do not know. We will never know. Why? To what purpose? We do not know whether there is a purpose. But if it is true that nothing is born of nothing, the very existence of something - the world, the universe - would seem to imply that there has always been something: that being is eternal, uncreated, perhaps creator, and this is what some people call God.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
The shortest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
A life, if well lived, is long enough.
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of humankind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.
When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no "I'll start tomorrow." Tomorrow is disease.
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.
Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make.
The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they're still alive.
Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Overcome your fears and you can reach your potential.
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.
Only Ideas have long and lasting consequences, and ideas come mainly from books not television, movies, or video games.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
It's not how much money you make that's important - it's how much money you keep and how long you keep it.
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
The only way to change your life is to change your mind.
No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway to the human spirit.
To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
I have six great friends that taught me all I knew; their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.
Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.
If you cannot accept fear of failure, you will never be successful.
The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
A certain degree of physical harmony and comfort is necessary, but above a certain level it becomes a hindrance instead of a help.
Nothing is as weak as a relationship that has not been tested under fire.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.
Money can contribute significantly to happiness if spent wisely.
Money often costs too much.
Passion is the genesis of genius.
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who treat you spitefully. When a man hits you on the cheek, offer him the other cheek too; when a man takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Give to everyone who asks you; when a man takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Again, if you do good only to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do as much. And if you lend only where you expect to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to each other to be repaid in full. But you must love your enemies and do good; and lend without expecting any return; and you will have a rich reward: you will be sons of the Most High, because he himself is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.
If a problem cannot be solved, then you need to find the best way to manage it.
The greatest wealth is health.
Modesty forbids what the law does not.
Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.
You may think that you are the product of events that are largely beyond your control, but you do control the moment. The present is the time you take control of what your future will be.
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
Self-pity is our worst enemy.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely.
Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.
An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.
Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.
An intellectual is a person who is always seeking knowledge and has the ability to change his mind when he learns new information.
Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss.
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.