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Week of September 8th, 2022

Create Yourself with Generosity and Style

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Listen to a song from the soundtrack for my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: "Universe Is Made of Stories"

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My most recent book is Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia.

Below is an excerpt.

Mirabilia Report Mirabilia n. eccentric enchantments, unplanned jubilations, sudden deliverance from boring evils; from the Latin mirabilia, "marvels."

* "The average river requires a million years to move a grain of sand 100 miles," says science writer James Trefil.

* Clown fish can alter their gender as their social status rises.

* The closest modern relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex may be the chicken.

* Bluebirds cannot see the color blue.

* Kind people are more likely than mean people to yawn when someone near them does.

* Gregorian chants can cure dyslexia.

* To keep from digesting itself, your stomach generates a fresh layer of mucus every two weeks.

* Bob Hope donated half a million jokes to the Library of Congress.

* Bees perform a valuable service for the flowers from which they steal.

* All the gold ever mined could be molded into a 60-foot bust of your mom.

* The moon smells like exploded firecrackers.

* Physicists in Tennessee coaxed electric signals to travel through coaxial cable at four times the speed of light, even though the equipment they used was cheap stuff from Radio Shack.

* A piece of paper can never be folded more than nine times.

* Your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body.

* The most frequently shoplifted book in America is the Bible.

* Copper, iodine, alcohol, iron, sunshine, sodium, and cholesterol are harmful to you in large amounts, but good for you in small quantities.

* "I always turn to the sports page first," said Earl Warren, former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. "It records people's accomplishments; the front page, nothing but man's failure."

* The longest underground river in the world flows through Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula and empties into the Caribbean Sea. At least 95 miles long, it is still unnamed.

* Male rhesus monkeys often hang from tree branches by their prehensile penises.

* The average person has over 1,460 dreams a year but remembers only five.

* In 1997, Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to persuade more than 100 countries to ban deadly land mines. When she held a press conference at the end of a dirt road near her Vermont farmhouse, she was barefoot and wore jeans and a tank top.

* On average, human beings have fewer than two legs.

* Holding a spoon to his cheek during an especially blue period of his life, singer Tom Waits found that it takes 121 teardrops to fill a teaspoon.

* Astronomers have discovered a crystal as big as our moon at the core of a dying white dwarf star.

* A Japanese genius invented a robot that can belly dance.

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Here are more excerpts from my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia:

"Expect the unexpected or you won't find it."

"Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of others."
—Albert Einstein

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
—Buckminster Fuller

"Try with all your might and work very, very hard to make the world a better place. But if all your efforts are to no avail—no hard feelings."
—The Dalai Lama

"The new work of art does not consist of making a living or producing an objet d'art or in self-therapy, but in finding a new soul."
—Henry Miller

"Man is at the nadir of his strength when the earth, the seas, the mountains are not in him, for without them his soul is unsourced, and he has no images by which to abide."
—Edward Dahlberg

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
—Alvin Toffler

"When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
—Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

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Write the following on a piece of red paper and keep it under your pillow.

"I, [put your name here], do solemnly swear on this day, [put date here], that I will devote myself for a period of seven days to learning my most important desire. No other thought will be more uppermost in my mind. No other concern will divert me from tracking down every clue that might assist me in my drive to ascertain the one experience in this world that deserves my brilliant passion above all others."

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This Week in Pronoiac History

In an act of random violence, playwright Samuel Beckett was stabbed by a pimp on a Paris street. A stranger, the pianist Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil, found him and got medical help. She visited him in the hospital, and eventually the two were married.

Bach's St. Matthew Passion is a highly regarded musical composition. Yet the score disappeared and the work wasn't played for years after Bach's death in 1750.

In 1829, composer Felix Mendelssohn rediscovered the long-lost manuscript being used as wrapping paper in the estate sale of a deceased cheese salesman. He arranged for a public performance of the piece, and its revival began.

Ancient Hawaiians had a sport they called lele kawa, in which they dived off cliffs into the ocean.

Pu'u Keka'a, a volcanic cinder cone in West Maui, was a perfect place from which to jump, but everyone avoided it. Legend held it was a taboo place—"the leaping place of the soul," where the souls of the recently dead left the Earth and ascended into the spirit world.

But that changed one day in the late 19th century when a great warrior, Chief Kahekili, climbed to the top of Pu'u Keka'a and plunged into the sea, shattering the taboo and mutating the myth.

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