An Eschatological Laundry List


As you may or may not know, I’m not a big fan of being late. This is why I like to come early on days when I go to see my life coach.

This time around I came a whole 30 minutes early, and decided to brain storm some ideas in my moleskin. In order to get a little privacy, I sat in the back of the waiting room, where I don’t usually sit.

In my new location, I noticed a poster on the wall with a list that I just couldn’t ignore. The list was ‘An Eschatological Laundry List‘ by Sheldon Kopp, which is from his ‘If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him‘.

The list proved to be very interesting, and thought provoking for me. I’ll say right now that I don’t agree with every single point on the list, but overall it got me thinking, and I thought it was share worthy.

1. This is it.
2. There are no hidden meanings.
3. You can’t get there from here, and besides there is no place to go.
4. We are already dying, and we’ll be dead a long time.
5. Nothing lasts!
6. There is no way of getting all you want.
7. You can’t have anything unless you let go of it.
8. You only get to keep what you give away.
9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there’s no compensation for misfortune.
11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
12. It’s a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You really don’t control anything.
14. You can’t make anyone love you.
15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.
17. There are no great men.
18. If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some way.
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends. (yes, you too, and most certainly myself.)
20. All evil is potentially vitality in need of transformation.
21. All of you is worth something if you will only own it.
22. Progress is an illusion.
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.
24. Yet it is necessary to keep struggling toward solution.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things each man must do for himself.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that’s all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run, but you can’t hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies is in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.
42. What do you know for sure…anyway?
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again.

What are your favorite points?

Photo by Benoutram

Posted by in Book Review, Thinking | January 7, 2008 | Digg | | Stumble | Print | 7 comments

  • Chrissy – The Executive Assistant’s Toolbox

    Alex – I LOVE this!

    #18 is interesting – I Had to think about it for a while but it makes sense. If you put someone on a pedestal, you’re probably putting yourself down at the same time.

    #29 – so very, very true.

    Thanks for sharing. And bonus points for the word “Eschatological” – definitely an SAT word I don’t see often.

    • Alex Shalman

      Thanks for stopping by Chrissy, but I can’t take credit for that SAT word, I’m just passing it on =)

  • Alex Blackwell

    I like # 11: You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.

    Great list!

  • K Stone

    I like them all, but “You don’t really control anything” and “Learn to forgive yourself again and again and again.” are great.
    Thanks for sharing this!
    So what does Eschatological mean?

    • Alex Shalman

      Eschatological means: of or relating to or dealing with or regarding the ultimate
      destiny of mankind and the world

  • Editor, The SciTech Journal

    good article. enjoyed reading. thanks 🙂

  • Chris

    I found this list in the waiting room for my therapist. I wrote it all down in my little notebook. I like a lot of it. But I just looked it up online so I could properly quote #18, so I could put it in my email as a sig. I have an old friend who is recently looking up to me. When he talks like that, I sometimes think of #18.

    I also like 23 and 32/33/34 and 37-43. #43 reminds me of something I saw in a powerpoint that someone emailed me that said “Forgive everyone for everything.” I was blown away by that.

    A counterpoint to #29 is the belief according to A Course in Miracles that love is what we are, that there is only love present in the Universe. Love IS enough. But romantic love proceeds on the belief that there is some lack within ourselves, which ACIM says is false. The goal of romantic love is to fill some lack we have in ourselves, but since that lack is not actually present, it’s not possible to fill it. This relates to #18, when we put the significant other on a pedestal.