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.

Stories & Parables

THE STORY OF THE CRAB BUCKET

One time a man was walking along the beach and say another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.
“Why don’t you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won’t escape?”, he said.
“You don’t understand.”, the man replied, “If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them.”

The Story of the Mexican Fisherman

An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
“How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.
“Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.
“But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”
“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?”
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
“Millions, senor? Then what?”
The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”

At the Swing of Midnight

At the swing of midnight, on the day you were born,
Three lightning bolts came together.
The first, sinuous and long, said, “I shall make her graceful.”
The second, jagged and strong, said, “I shall give her a mind
That cuts into darkness like diamond.”
The third, bright as a sun, said, “I shall give her radiance
That warms and brightens all those around her.”
As the three lightning bolts descended on the newborn,
Lightning-fast,
A fourth came along, so spectral and pale as to go unseen,
And whispered: “I shall make her forget.”
And so she walked the earth, oblivious to her gifts,
Save when staring into a newborn’s endless eyes
Or hearing a strain of music so pregnant with yearning
As to have the weight of truth,
Or when a dusty pilgrim would arrive from far away
And cry, “Ave!,” with wild eyes that could see
The goddess for the human that she was.
— Ali Binazir 10/2012

The Gambler

During the Great Depression, there was a man who walked into a bar one day. He went up to the bartender and said, “Bartender, I’d like to buy the house a round of drinks.”
The bartender said, “That’s fine, but we’re in the middle of the Depression, so I’ll need to see some money first.”
The guy pulled out a huge wad of bills and set them on the bar. The bartender can’t believe what he’s seeing. “Where did you get all that money?” asked the bartender.
“I’m a professional gambler,” replied the man.
The bartender said, “There’s no such thing! I mean, your odds are fifty-fifty at best, right?”
“Well, I only bet on sure things,” said the guy.
“Like what?” asked the bartender.
“Well, for example, I’ll bet you fifty dollars that I can bite my right eye,” he said.
The bartender thought about it. “Okay,” he said.
So, the guy pulled out his false right eye and bit it. “Aw, you screwed me,” said the bartender, and paid the guy his $50.
“I’ll give you another chance. I’ll bet you another fifty dollars that I can bite my left eye,” said the stranger.
The bartender thought again and said, “Well, I know you’re not blind, I mean, I watched you walk in here. I’ll take that bet.” So, the guy pulled out his false teeth and bit his left eye.
“Aw, you screwed me again!” protested the bartender.
“That’s how I win so much money, bartender. I’ll just take a bottle of your best scotch in lieu of the fifty dollars,” said the man.
With that, the guy went to the back room and spent the better part of the night playing cards with some of the locals. After many hours of drinking and card playing, he stumbled up to the bar. Drunk as a skunk, he said, “Bartender, I’ll give you one last chance. I’ll bet you five hundred dollars that I can stand on this bar on one foot and piss into that whiskey bottle on that shelf behind you without spilling a drop.”
The bartender once again pondered the bet. The guy couldn’t even stand up straight on two feet, much less one. “Okay, you’re on,” he said.
The guy climbed up on the bar, stood on one leg, and began pissing all over the place. He hit the bar, the bartender, himself, but not a drop made it into the whiskey bottle.
The bartender was ecstatic. Laughing, the bartender said, “Hey pal, you owe me five hundred dollars!”
The guy climbed down off the bar and said, “That’s okay. I just bet each of the guys in the card room a thousand bucks each that I could piss all over you and the bar and still make you laugh!”

The Story of the Taoist Farmer

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”
A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”
The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”
A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.