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Charlie Munger

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You have to learn all the big ideas in the key disciplines in a way that theyíre in a mental latticework in your head and you automatically use them for the rest of your life. If you do that, I solemnly promise you that one day youíll be walking down the street and youíll look to your right and left and youíll think "my heavenly days, Iím now one of the few competent people in my whole age cohort." If you donít do it, many of the brightest of you will live in the middle ranks or in the shallows.
--
USC Law School Commencement (2007-05-13)

 
Charlie Munger

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We all possess, in our unconscious minds, a kind of servant who performs certain automatic functions. When I learn to type or drive a car or learn a foreign language, I have to do it painfully and consciously; then, suddenly, my robot takes over and does it automatically; in fact, he does it far more quickly and efficiently than "I" could. The main trouble with this mechanical valet is that he often takes over functions I would prefer to keep for myself -- for example, when I am tired I eat "automatically," and so do not enjoy my food. In fact, this is the reason that so much of our experience seems oddly "unreal"; the robot has taken it over. When I am feeling low, I may live for whole days in a "robotic" state, so that experience flows off me like water off a duck's back. And because I am not receiving any "feedback" of pleasure or interest from my activities, I become duller than ever, and experience becomes progressively less interesting. (This is, of course, the mechanism of depression and nervous breakdown.) And this is also why explorers deliberately seek out hardship and danger -- to cheat the robot and "feel the life in them more intensely."

 
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"Aren't there any grownups at all?"
"I don't think so."
The fair boy said this solemnly; but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him. In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy.
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