Thursday, December 14, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Richard Carlson

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There is a bumper sticker that has been out for some time now. You see it on cars all across the nation. It says, "Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty." I have no idea who thought of this idea, but I've never seen a more important message on a car in front of me.
Practicing random kindness is an effective way to get in touch with the joy of giving without expecting anything in return. It's best practiced without letting anyone know what you are doing.
--
Lesson 34, Practice Random Acts of Kindness

 
Richard Carlson

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Eschew blandness. Eschew causing others pain. We are all the target so wear bright colors and dance with those you love. Falling in love has always been a bit too much to apply to one person. Falling in love is appropriate for now, to love all these things which are about to leave. The rocks are watching, and the squirrels and the stars and the tired people in the street. If you love them, let them know, with grace and non-invasive extravagance. Care about the beings you care about in gorgeous and surprising ways. Color outside the lines. Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty. This is your last chance.

 
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I am not […] asserting that humans are either genial or aggressive by inborn biological necessity. Obviously, both kindness and violence lie within the bounds of our nature because we perpetrate both, in spades. I only advance a structural claim that social stability rules nearly all the time and must be based on an overwhelmingly predominant (but tragically ignored) frequency of genial acts, and that geniality is therefore our usual and preferred response nearly all the time. […] [T]he center of human nature is rooted in ten thousand ordinary acts of kindness that define our days.

 
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The undesirability of any system of rule not tempered with the quality of kindness is obvious; for "kindness" is a complex collection of various impulses, reactions and realisations highly necessary to the smooth adjustment of botched and freakish creatures like most human beings. It is a weakness basically—or, in some cases, and ostentation of secure superiority—but its net effect is desirable; hence it is, on the whole, praiseworthy. Since all motives at bottom are selfish and ignoble, we may judge acts and qualities only be their effects. Pessimism produces kindness. The disillusioned philosopher is even more tolerant than the priggish bourgeois idealist with his sentimental and extravagant notions of human dignity and destiny.

 
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"All the people you meet here have one thing to teach you." Eddie was skeptical. His fists stayed clenched. "What?" he said. "That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind."

 
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