A Message by George Carlin: The Paradox of Our Time

A Message by George Carlin: The Paradox of Our Time

I read this “message” roughly once a year to remind myself of what matters most and to remain grounded as possible. It’s incisive and deeply profound. Enjoy, share, and reflect. Comedians are the smartest and most perceptive people on the planet, in my opinion, like creative polymath Jim Carrey. They see the truth, as displayed in the message below, and put a coat of humor on it to ease the delivery and bypass our mental biases.


A Message by George Carlin

The Paradox of Our Time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
How I Compared to Health Guru Ben Greenfield (And Why Everyone Needs to Visit the Human Garage)

How I Compared to Health Guru Ben Greenfield (And Why Everyone Needs to Visit the Human Garage)

I saw that Ben Greenfield (prominent health and fitness influencer and self-proclaimed biohacker) recently chanced upon a place I have been holding in my back pocket for several months, waiting for an opportune time to give it my full endorsement. The Human Garage, in beautiful Venice, California is the place of which I speak. Simply put, it’s the most holistic and bleeding-edge health center to improve your body alignment, biochemical wellbeing, energy, and mind. They have several modalities to accomplish this, along with the absolute best supplements one may find on earth. Basically, their standard for anything they do or sell to improve your health is an 11 out of 10.

I’ve gone through their full protocol of multiple sessions, along with a subclinical wellness test to better tailor their recommendations for me. My results are below, along with Ben Greenfield’s. The provider they use for the wellness analysis, QurEcology, is apparently one of the best, with extremely unforgiving and stringent gradings for the most relevant biomarkers ranging from digestion to inflammation to toxicity. If you’ve ever wondered if you have “adrenal fatigue,” this would be the best indication. Sure, you can just go off of how you feel, but why not get reliable data on your health. In God we trust, all else bring data.

Now, health is not a competition and this post title is admittedly a bit clickbaity, but I have very real lessons learned through comparing my results to someone like Ben Greenfield, such as:

  • Get tested. Get the data. Don’t assume anything.
  • Never give someone too much credit or worse, not give yourself enough credit.
  • Lifestyle takes its toll. Ben travels all over the world and has a packed schedule giving talks, training for long-distance endurance competitions, etc. That undoubtedly impacted his results.
  • Simple is better than complex. Ben has tried every biohacking tool under the sun, but that is majoring in minors. The majors being the basics of health (meditation, breathing, gratitude, love, nature, non-excessive exercise, and the rest of the stuff I beat you over the head with in this blog). I get caught up in the latest and greatest as is human nature to seek novelty, but discipline myself to execute on the 80/20 of health (and per below that has evidently paid off). Anything I do past that is whimsical and hopeful experimentation derived from my obsession with health.

If you have lingering back pain or neck pain, want to realign yourself to undo years of sitting and the 21st century sedentary lifestyle, or simply want to upgrade your mind and body through the most exquisite experience, I highly recommend you make the trip to Venice and visit Human Garage. They have a waiting list and all that jazz, so check in with them first.

Brian’s biochemical lab results from the Human Garage (QurEcology Biochemical Wellness Analysis)

  • Green/good count: 8
  • Yellow/mediocre count: 6
  • Red/poor count: 0

Ben Greenfield’s biochemical lab results from the Human Garage

  • Green/good count: 1
  • Yellow/mediocre count: 7
  • Red/poor count: 6

If you’re reading this Ben, know that I would jump at the chance to learn from you, as I have done so in the past, along with your friend, old roommate and vacuum-vixen Brett.

Book Summary: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills

Book Summary: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills

My Interpretation

We are the sum of our thoughts and actions, but most interestingly, often our thoughts are imbued in us by society and subconscious comparison to others. Mindfulness works in conjunction with this to observe your mind and thoughts as they occur as a preliminary step toward any positive redirection. People (myself included) are walking basket cases full of their own insecurities, issues, and worries, so it’s really a waste of your energy and time to take things personally or assume the worst. Show up as your best self, both to yourself in how you speak and think, and to others. Reclaim your sense of inner child by finding and sustaining what energizes and excites you.

Book Highlights

  • “That is why humans resist life. To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands.”
  • “The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word.”
  • “The second agreement is don’t take anything personally.”
  • “Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally. The mind has the ability to talk to itself, but it also has the ability to hear information that is available from other realms.”
  • “The third agreement is don’t make assumptions.”
  • “The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: Always do your best.”
  • “Sometimes that little child comes out when you are having fun or playing, when you feel happy, when you are painting, or writing poetry, or playing the piano, or expressing yourself in some way. These are the happiest moments of your life — when the real you comes out, when you don’t care about the past and you don’t worry about the future. You are childlike. But there is something that changes all that: We call them responsibilities.”
  • “We are addicted to being the way we are. We are addicted to anger, jealousy, and self-pity. We are addicted to the beliefs that tell us, “I’m not good enough, I’m not intelligent enough. Why even try? Other people will do it because they’re better than me.” All of these old agreements which rule our dream of life are the result of repeating them over and over again. Therefore, to adopt The Four Agreements, you need to put repetition in action. Practicing the new agreements in your life is how your best becomes better. Repetition makes the master.”

 

Unlocking the Gates of Mindfulness Through The Power and Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Unlocking the Gates of Mindfulness Through The Power and Benefits of Nasal Breathing

I stumbled upon what’s called the Buteyko method years ago when my friend told me he swore by it as the ultimate panacea to his anxiety, back pain, you name it. Buteyko method is essentially retraining your breathing patterns to combat chronic over-breathing attributed to our sedentary, hunched-over sitting culture. From that, we lose our natural diaphragmatic breathing and move toward the less healthy and metabolically inefficient chest breathing. The Buteyko method revolutionized my perception of breathing’s importance and the fact that apparently, I was doing it wrong my whole life. It was a lot to handle to find out your lifelong belief was wrong (reminding me of the scene below); I didn’t realize there was a HOW to breathing, I just took it for granted that it was more of a binary pass/fail situation.

There’s a growing consensus suggesting that nasal breathing is better for you that mouth breathing, for various reasons from better blood oxygenation to increased nitric oxide production during workouts. Sleeping, walking, or working out, it appears you’re better off breathing through your nose. 100% nasal breathing during exercise is challenging, particularly during high-intensity workouts or sprints. It’s an adjustment that you can make though, as I have done it. If it’s not embarrassingly obvious to you already, if I can accomplish something, you really have no excuse.

The issue is, developing new habits can be an arduous process; consistency and motivation often dwindle. Learning how to hack your motivation for something is your best bet. For instance, I am more motivated by the fitness and health benefits of nasal breathing than I am by the anxiety-reducing and calm of mind promises of mindfulness. Like most things, we know what we’re “supposed” to do, but we still don’t do them for whatever reason.

“If information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” – Derek Sivers [BRIAN: This begs the question if there’s any use in this blog.]

The “hack” here is using the habit formation process for nasal breathing of constantly coming back to your breath throughout the day as a vehicle for increased mindfulness. Coming back to breath or any part of your body is an opportunity to pause and ingest the present moment, i.e. mindfulness. In effect, you’re killing two birds with one stone, but using your interest in killing the first bird to enable killing the second. Morbid, but hopefully intelligible.

The meta-lesson here is figuring out what motivates you, and how you can leverage that get to the other tasks on your list that have fallen by the wayside. I’m giving you 7 puzzle pieces to a 400-piece self-improvement set. Or do you think it’s closer to 3, or 30 pieces? Let me know below!