Undesiderata

Go placidly amid the noise & haste, but better yet, avoid the noise and haste altogether. Be on good terms with all persons as far as possible; especially with shopkeepers.

Speak the truth plainly & clearly; listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, until you are certain they are utterly useless. When you are not among men of reason, it is better to run than argue. Make use of loud & aggressive persons as salesmen, and to broadcast your radical views.

If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. This is a good thing; vanity makes you more interesting to look at, and bitterness makes you more practical and realistic.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; but if you don’t enjoy humility for its own sake, learn to exercise yourself in greater spheres of action. Once you know something it is yours forever; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. You always have to take care of wealth; knowledge takes care of you.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of people who must turn a profit to survive. Many persons strive for high ideals; some thrive, and some starve. There is no good reason to starve. Most people throw away treasures. Many useful & interesting items can be had for half price, if you are willing to buy them used.

Be yourself. Especially, do not deny yourself pleasure for fear of social stigma. Indulge yourself in private. If you love yourself shamelessly, others will love you.

Resist aging and death with every resource available to you. Nurture skills of self-defense. Learn how to survive under difficult conditions; this may shield you in sudden misfortune. Distinguish between illusion and reality, between emotion and fact. Avoid making important decisions on too little sleep.

Kick your own ass. The universe neither cares about you nor recognizes any obligation to you. It is fixed and blind, a mad robot programmed to kill. You are free and seeing; you must outwit it at every poor turn.

Whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, you must create your own sanity, prosperity, and peace. The world is so gorgeous it hurts. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

— found on a plaque attached to a communications satellite;
dated 2012


Copyright 1995 Romana Machado
* Please do not distribute without acknowledgement *

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