insight

insight


Like the Myth of Icarus, Val Kilmer’s Story is Amazing

Icarus August 14th, 2022

“I have never lost my faith to what seems to me is a materialism that leads nowhere—nowhere of value, anyway. I have never met a super-wealthy person for whom money obviated any of the basic challenges of finding happiness in the material world.” 

Guess who wrote that in his 2020 memoir, now a New York Times bestseller? Perhaps surprising to you, it is none other than Val Kilmer.

His book is entitled I’m Your Huckleberry, a riff on the most notable quote in a movie chock-full of notable quotes: the 1993 cinematic wonder, Tombstone. Kilmer and Kurt Russell rewrote Kevin Jarre’s screenplay fairly significantly, he claims, to help it pass muster with George P. Cosmatos, the demanding director of the film.

Since he was a boy, Val Kilmer lived twice as fast as anyone else, so what you have with this book is an honest and revealing memoir by a 120-year-old Hollywood titan. He probably tried harder in some of his films than anyone else who could be considered his equal. He loved and admired directors such as Tony Scott and Oliver Stone who were as intense and perfectionistic as he is/was. Indeed, like the ambitious and visionary Greek mytical figure Icarus, Kilmer’s meteoric rise as an actor of astounding ability and his subsequent plummeting back down to the hard Earth are equally remarkable.

In Tinseltown, perhaps more than any other since Rome, only the strong survive, and no one—not an acting legend and not an Emperor—can outpace Time forever.

This blog will highlight twenty of the most remarkable quotes in the book.

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Quotes About Existentialism and Meaning

meaning May 25th, 2022

Meaning, existence, fulfillment, passion, and insight are values and virtues that cohere in some way. They are all relevant to existentialism, a philosophical doctrine that examines man’s existence, state, and nature. Mostly it’s not cheery stuff, but truth and reality often are not. In this blog, I share many of the quotes about meaning that I particularly like, as well as existentialism, living well, freedom, and choice. As you can tell by this first quotation by 19th-century German existentialist Arthur Schopenhauer, this is not a simple or reassuring topic: 

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Books About Wisdom, Values & Virtues

books about wisdom April 29th, 2022

Can wisdom be understood, developed, and improved?

Does wisdom really underlie success, fulfillment, and happiness?

What are the characteristics and skills of wise individuals?

Can one be happier and more fulfilled by “loving wisdom”?

Should books about wisdom ideally be secular, or religious in nature?

What do I need to know to successfully put wisdom to use in my everyday life?

Four-time author and philosophical thinker Jason Merchey answers these and many other important questions in his 2022 book, Wisdom

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Socrates: Still Relevant After 2,400 Years

Socrates May 5th, 2021

Few persons are relevant 2,350 years after they died. Confucius, The Buddha, and Jesus of Nazareth all have deep and lasting legacies. Socrates is certainly one of the most influential individuals ever to live. Considering how many ancient Greek documents and texts have been lost, we are lucky to have any information about him at all. He never wrote anything down! I will share a few thoughts and quotes about Socrates, one of the best teachers of wisdom and most interesting thinkers in history. He is a great guide to us in the waning days of empire here in the United States, just as he was in the tumultuous period in which he lived in ancient Athens.

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The Winter of Our Discontent

Shakespeare May 9th, 2020

“Now is the winter of our discontent,” Shakespeare wrote nearly 500 years ago. Talk about something standing the test of time! Indeed, there are many quotes from his prescient plays and striking sonnets that still aptly describe human beings today. As I write, it is nearly April, 2020, and the world is caught in convulsions of the chaos created by coronavirus. The pandemic, like something Shakespeare would have taken inspiration from, highlights both the good and the bad, the wise and the foolish, the wonderful and the absurd. It shows everything about human beings, the human condition, and humanity’s aspirations — and failings. It is through this lens that I write a bit about what is evident all around us now, in the winter of our discontent.

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Can Wisdom Be Found in Books?

wisdom in books April 7th, 2019

All due respect to Tom Morris, who is an intellectual titan. He wrote this piece in a LinkedIn post. At first I was very excited to repost it as a blog. It had a decent length, and the title – wow! – I figured it had to be good. Well, it wasn’t, exactly. The issue with the post was not that it wasn’t fair for Morris to use that title to draw readers to his works of fiction. I am fully willing to grant that his books are about wisdom in the indirect sense, and like many fantastic and hallmark examples of literature throughout the ages – Tolstoy, Austen, Hemingway, Jong – we can find much in them to enlighten and move us. Topics and ideas and nuances that shed light on major questions in the philosophical and personal growth realm. Morals, existence, values, wisdom, etc. My issue was simply that he was pointing to his books as examples of art that extol and explore issues such as wisdom. In my blog of the exact same name (hat tip to Dr. Morris), I would like to explore the question in a much broader and deeper way.

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A Life of Value: Mindfulness Training in Prison

mindfulness July 27th, 2018

I recently spent a weekend at San Quentin prison learning mindfulness, sharing meditation, and holding space, I came to a deep understanding that when one travels across a long personal Spectrum, their experience and wisdom is so bright and so full of light. GRIP (Guiding Rage into Power) is a year-long training program for inmates

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Perseverance Quotes: Never Giving Up

perseverance June 20th, 2018

I was looking at this picture I took in downtown Charleston, SC. it’s an amazing crepe myrtle tree. As you can tell, it only had about a square foot in which to plant its base, and to get rain. What did it do over the last, probably, 50 years? It hung in there, kept on keepin’ on, and stuck with it. It persevered. It coped. It was strong and dedicated. We are much like trees; can we withstand the rigors of life? Deal with the hurricanes and pollution and cars that life entails? Check out these perseverance quotes for a little inspiration and insight. 

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Quotes About Living Life on Life’s Terms

living life on life's terms June 12th, 2018

As I noted in a previous blog about living life on life’s terms, one has to take a long, hard look at life and in the mirror and not blanch. One will find a high challenge there. “Life is a tragedy to those who think, and a comedy to those who feel,” noted French author La Bruyere long ago. But Drew D. Brown believed that “[y]ou don’t look in the mirror to see life; you’ve got to look out the window.” Thus, I wanted to follow up that first blog with this, a piece featuring quotes about “living life on life’s terms”. Enjoy this look at coping, self-realization, personal growth, inner strength, truth, insight, and realism.

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Fifty Nifty Insightful, Inspirational Quotes

inspirational quotes March 19th, 2018

Over the last 25 years, I have carefully collected a very diverse array of quotations – 30,000 as of this writing. With that kind of carefully-compiled database of quotes about values, wisdom, virtue, character, and self-growth, it is easy to pull together lists of quotes (and I make it just as easy for you to do the same!). This blog features fifty nifty motivational, inspirational quotes. They will help you to re-focus, appreciate your life, see things from a more philosophical perspective, and be a better person. One of the best motivational quotes through the centuries has been Gandhi’s, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” but I now present you with fifty additional inspirational quotes:

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