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Let me just add that I sympathize with Pausch and understand that his original message was intended for his children. If his book is a best seller, good for him. I am just trying to understand why people run out to buy a book that doesn't say much more than "have fun while you are dying." Actually, the whole message seems to be a very secular one.

I don't know if the message is profound - but the state of mind may well be.

If we could maintain the state of mind, sense of urgency, and appreciation of every moment that can come about from contemplating or facing death, our lives would be transformed.

So, I think reading the book could be a good thing, if you don't want to read Heidegger for your being-towards-death type literature. ;-)

I just realized I mixed up the messages. Pausch is telling his children to have fun the rest of their lives, while he is also trying to have fun in his remaining days. The real issue, as I see it, is whether kids and young people should be or need to be told that life is all about having fun. Aren't they already making every effort to have fun?

>The real issue, as I see it, is whether kids and young people should be or need to be told that life is all about having fun.

I don't like the word 'fun', either. My point was that living in the face of death (or with an awareness of the reality of death) can fundamentally transform what is deemed as 'fun', or worthwhile. So if the book helps people live with a greater intensity, towards joy -- then it has a good message delivered in an easily digestible way. Like I said, I don't think the kids are gonna dig Heidegger.

On the other hand I agree that the idea that the point of life is to have fun is mind numbingly superficial. But it wouldn't be a bestseller if it was urging people to take responsibility, or struggle against injustice...

I suspect the Buddha would advise those around him to show compassion. Fun is a word that means lots of different things to different people. The synonyms for fun are not that profound.

"ask for what you want," Dr Hora the author of beyond the dream wrote that wanting and not wanting are the two biggest approaches to finding misery.

"let kids be themselves." amen to that. Someone once told me if you find your niche in life as a volunteer you will receive back ten times more than you give. Working with small children has shown me that this was indeed an understatement. They are so authentic and loving truly god's gift to the world.

"look for the best in everybody," great advice. But I think true compassion is understanding the underlying reality when people are at their worst.

did not see the word love in his messages.

if he has already passed one has to wonder what would be his advice now for his children.

maybe off topic maybe not but found this video on you tube.

I think worth the 3 minute watch.

Michael P asks: "What exactly does "having fun" mean?" - And I agree with him, different things to different people.

Ryan: "If we could maintain the state of mind, sense of urgency, and appreciation of every moment that can come about from contemplating or facing death, our lives would be transformed."

We have had a recent spate of teenage copycat suicides in Bridgend in Wales (it's now up to about 18). One of those kids who tried and failed said that he planned to hang himself in 2 weeks time, and that 2 weeks was the best of his life, because he could relax and let all the normal "issues" affecting his life go over his head. That must tell us something about how we let family and/or society influence the way we live.

Is his "having fun" just a modern translations of "Pursuit of Happiness?"
Some coaches tell their athletes to go out and have fun during the game or match. When you take the competition too seriously you tense up when to perform best you need to be relaxed. Coaches never tell the athletes to have fun at practice. That's when they need to be focused and working hard so they can have fun in competition.
This summer I suffered with my father in his final days. Pop culture is so removed from reality. When the doctor gave him his final diagnosis the last thing he would be able to do is ride a bull named Fu Manchu! It was all about pain management and comfort. Much of that comfort was all the family coming to say goodbye so he could look back on his life and know what he had accomplished. That is what Jefferson meant by "Happiness" not going out and partying.

The thing is "fun" as recognised by most can have a sinister element. It maybe fun to be on a winning streak while your gambling but when lady luck turns, the "high" that has set in seeks more. This is when "fun" turns to something else.

The same goes for partying and alcohol, promiscious behaviour and other "fun" things that soon turn into addictions or bring pain to oneself and others that totally immobolise a person. This fun is based in self seeking selfishness. It rarely cares for the consequences, it just wants to be fed.

Fun to me seems to be more of an escape from whats "not fun". This could be anything, the stresses of life, work, paying mortgages, puberty, sour relationships, the list is endless.

Fun needs to be replaced with joy and hope and the betterment of oneself and compassion and care for mankind and the planet.

There's nothing better than to live in joy and appreciation for the simplest of things. The wonderment and beauty God has given his creation. A sunset, a flower, there's beauty everywhere and we get so caught up in stuff that really is pointless in the end.

There will always be difficulties and horrible things do happen but its keeping that joy and hope and trust that gets us through these things.

A shift in attitude makes a hell of a difference. To lose a loved one is no easy experience, but instead of living life as though it's over, one can be joyful for the experience and wonderful memories of the good things that person brought into this life.

Knowing there is a purpose, a God, and living in that hope can melt the worst of things.

It may seem its hard to be cheerful all the time, but who says it really is? Too smile and see beyond one's narrow life issues and see beauty in every person and thing even the most ignorant, can change one's heart very quickly. But like anything it's a choice.

We choose our reactions, whether its to be grumpy, angry, selfish or whatever and generally these choices are easy and automatic for most. To choose to smile, to show kindness, to humbly accept that you can do better than you have and that you will make mistakes but its ok, because you have made a decision to live in joy, compassion, faith and hope which ultimately is based in love.

When you get this happening in your life the simplest of things become fun, the only difference is this "fun" is based in innocence.

In reading the linked Parade article, Pausch draws an analogy to Winnie the Pooh, and the importance of emulating Tigger rather that Eeyore. He thinks we should have fun like Tigger, rather than express the gloom of Eeyore.

I may be getting him wrong, but I think Michael Tymn is equating equating 'fun' with the narcissistic hedonism that permeates western society, and I don't think that is what Pausch is suggesting at all.

As for why there is such a positive reaction to his message, I think it's because most people are terrified of death, which they are told by scientism is likely oblivion, and they find someone facing the unknown with courage and a high spirit remarkable.

I also think his message resonates with many precisely because of it's secular nature. As Ryan wrote, it's the state of mind that intrigues - if he were to express the same things in religious terminology, it wouldn't resonate with so many.

“I think it's because most people are terrified of death, which they are told by scientism is likely oblivion, and they find someone facing the unknown with courage and a high spirit remarkable.”

Very well put. Coming from the Midwest they used to say, “you hit the nail right on the head”. In our society and maybe all societies most people refuse to admit their fear of death.

I often wonder if many of the neurotic behaviors we humans exhibit in life don’t have as an underlying cause our fear of death. We are rather complex beings so there may well be many causes but fear and the want of unconditional love and acceptance I suspect are right up there near the top of the list for causing us worry, self-concern, and neurotic and maybe even psychotic behavior.

Our latching on to and accepting beliefs even if they are illogical appear to be a way of coping with many of these fears. I have always been fascinated by the human mind even my own and I suspect especially my own. We are truly works in progress.

When I see the suffering, hardships, and struggles that are part of that works in progress it is difficult but somewhat comforting to relate to what the mystics tell us that every bit of the struggle was indeed worth it.

I have noticed in my life what little compassion (not to be confused with sympathy) I have; I suspect has come as a result of personal suffering and life’s struggles. Would our souls ever learn love and compassion without these life-changing struggles?

I suggest "having fun" means not analyzing the hell out of everything and just enjoying life in the moment; Pausch's statement has much in common with "If it ain't fun, don't do it!"

(Analysis has a way of making what is quite simple ridiculously complex. This is so even as many of us, still impacted by the far fetched "original sin" myth and its puritanical offshoots, can't even imagine what having fun is. Instead of just having fun, we'd rather think about the concept and analyze it, convinced there is something evil to it. Analysis has its uses but tends to prevent us from getting away from the strictures of ego and all that goes with them.)


Bill I.

Well Bill I, I'm certainly "having fun" exploring your website -thanks for the link !

Interesting site Bill, I noticed Seth is a big contributer to it.

All meditations are similar, it's the same doorway through, it all comes down to "intent" I believe.

Ross let us know if you find the door to the Garden, you'll know when you have as it sweeps you in.

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