First Principles

It cannot be when the root is neglected that what should spring from it will be well ordered.” – Bruce Lee

The vast majority of the game of life is played internally.  This can be perceived quite easily if one answers the following 2 questions:

1) Is it possible for someone to have all the riches, wealth, power and external pleasures that the world can provide, and yet still be an unhappy, lonely, and morally bankrupt person?

2) Is it possible for a person to possess very little, yet be truly happy, rich in spirit, abundant in friendship, and a great human being?

The answer to both of these questions is of course: Yes.

Which is not to say that to be a happy and great person one needs to pursue a life of poverty.  Far from it.  Money and riches make many things in life easier by opening up freedoms and opportunities (not least of which is the ability to help others).

It simply means that, of the two, cultivating the internal should be primary.

Besides, you will find that a garden properly tended will receive much more sunlight than one overgrown – whatever its situation.

Be well,

– J


Let’s Chat:

I’d love to know what you thought of this post.  Do you agree or disagree?  And did you enjoy the shorter format, or do you prefer longer form?

The comments box is just below – I look forward to reading your thoughts.


One Last Thing:

If you’d like some more, here are some other places you can connect and hang out with me:

Twitter – where I post quotes and thoughts,  answer questions, and generally hang out.

Instagram – Where I post original photographs and (sometimes) poetry.

And if you’d like to receive a short yet beautiful monthly letter from me you can sign up to the mailing list.

Thanks for reading.

51 Replies to “First Principles”

  1. I did not expect to see you so soon on my feed after reading your very beautiful newsletter – the words you write are always a gift whether your posts are long or short – the questions you pose above are intriguing, I often live my life internally, money and possessions represent energy. they flow into and out of my life like waves…as you know, the most important thing to someone like me is my health, without that, the rest means nothing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree any written format is enhanced by succinct treatment of its subject matter. Some subjects lend themselves to brevity, others, not so much. I think post length should be whatever serves the communication of ideas, or the telling of a good story.

    In this post, for instance, you’ve addressed life philosophies touching on happiness as though we all agree on what it is, and then concluded that “cultivating the internal should be primary.” I’m wary of any generalization that prescribes how everyone should approach life even if I agree with the concept.. I suspect you are, too, but by choosing to use a brief format, you’ve opted for simplistic. It seems to me today’s world shows us that many do not share that value, but brevity edits a thorough discussion.

    To be honest, i feel irked. I feel as though you advertised a feast, and the entire menu turned out to be white bread. Yeah, kind of like Peppermint Patty at Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving dinner, but without the holiday. lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is interesting – why do you feel irked? Is it because you felt that, as you state, it was too simplistic?
      Please explain. Also, thanks for reading and taking the time. I am genuinely interested in your view, and would very much appreciate clarification.
      Be well,
      – J

      Like

      1. I appreciate that you receive each of our responses with openness and a desire to understand our points of view. Thank you for that, James.

        One of the reasons I’ve followed your posts is that each one feels honest and personal — no one else could have written them because they’re yours. You tell your stories and share the lessons you’ve learned from them. You delve into yourself and share without lecturing, preaching, or getting all judgy.

        Reading the other comments, I realize I’m in the minority here, but it seems to me this post could have come from anyone, and the reason it’s so impersonal and anonymous is that your goal was not to tell a story, but to write a brief post. It tastes like other self-help, cookie-cutter philosophy bloggers’ posts, which are flavored with simplicity and brevity in order to retain readers happiest with thin, easy-to-swallow bite-sized ideas. I know there’s a place for those kinds of posts, and you certainly have the right to post whatever you choose, but my feeling of irk reflects my sense that — from what I believe I’ve learned about you — this isn’t you. It seems to me, if you had written the story behind what made you think about “cultivating the interior”, that would have been you.

        But I could be completely wrong. It is, after all, only my opinion, and I share it with you now only because you asked. <3

        ~~~ Sue

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I really value the fact that you shared it with me. I feel that, often people will write if they have something nice to say, but not if they have a criticism – in this, the little community I am lucky enough to be a part of is the polar opposite of most of the Internet! ;-)
          But I very much value negative feedback, as long as it’s genuine. I am happy that you felt able to write it to me and will think on it.
          Hope you are well, big hug, speak soon,
          – J

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I too like the shorter posts, mine are no more than 350 to 450, usually only weekly. I agree that both are not only possible but probably, the 1st one especially. I always thought it a strange thing however it is often attachment that creates the problem or detachment the blessing. It is also possible to be rich and happy or poor and unhappy, depending of course on a person’s nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. We are in agreement.
      Thanks for sharing your impression of this – I wrote it in the bath in as much time as it took to read and was not sure whether I was going to post it.
      Have a great day,
      – J

      Like

  4. As regards the first, I have seen that it is very difficult for a person of wealth to preserve their tendency toward intimacy. Even when they receive wealth by happenstance, those that want money pursue them with a forcefulness that tramples on their other friendships. Their wealth is a curse.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is interesting – I have some examples of the opposite view. For instance, I have several intimate friends who are, what would be considered to be, extremely wealthy. It has not impacted our relationship at all.
      Personally, I think the way you react to it probably depends upon how you view wealth to begin with.
      It is an interesting question.
      Thankyou for reading, and for taking the time to comment.
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To the point and so true. One doesn’t necessarily evoke the other. I’ve met many a rich man that was happy as I have a poor man that was not. The poor man generally was grousing and resentful of what the rich man had and wondering why that couldn’t have been him. The rich man was an isolationist, only cultivating friendships that lead to more money or power.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have seen this dynamic as well. And also the opposite.
      It is fascinating to me that one person can enjoy all external successes, yet still be unhappy. It seems to point very clearly to the conclusion I reached.
      Thanks for taking the time to read, and to comment – it means a lot to me.
      Have a good one,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

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