Category Archives: BQB Gets Philosophical

Happiness Is Like a Butterfly

“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

– Henry David Thoreau

What say you, 3.5 readers? They say a watched clock doesn’t tick and a watched pot doesn’t boil. Actually, I don’t think they say that at all because neither premise is true but you get the point. Go look for happiness and it won’t come. Go about your daily life and you’ll trip over happiness.

I’m not so sure. I feel like there’s a certain amount of planning, though I’ll admit, plans I made in youth were utterly terrible and that’s how I ended up as the proprietor of a blog that is only read by 3.5 people today.

Is happiness found or stumbled upon? Discuss.

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What Does Kierkegaard Wish For?

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”

– Soren Kierkegaard

I agree with Soren here. Sometimes I find the hope of something awesome is better than something happening, at least when that something happens and it is a lower level of awesome.

Like…is it better to hope that one day you might win a million dollars on a lucky lottery ticket, or to find one dollar on the floor? The million will most likely never happen, but the dream of it is fun. The dollar is real but it is only one dollar.

You can do something with the dollar though. You can buy something worth a dollar. You can’t do much with unrealized dreams, unless you find happiness in the dreaming.

The older you get though, the less time you have and you begin to realize how unlikely your pie in the sky dreams are.

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Who is the best philosopher ever?


Hello 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Who do you think is the greatest philosopher ever?

Is it Socrates? Plato? Aristotle?  Someone more modern?

Jot down your favorite philosopher in the comments and I’ll tell you who the best philosopher ever is sometime this weekend.

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Using the Force in Everyday Life (Or When I Know I’m Done)

The Force is strong with me.shutterstock_191013230

I’ve used it for as long as I can remember…in a very limited capacity.

I can make the doors of most stores open.

Also, I can walk into a building, step into a metal box and move it up or down.

That’s the full extent of my Jedi training.

For as long as I can remember, whenever I walk into a store, I give my wrist the slightest flick, pretending that I opened the automatic door, not the sensor mechanism.

It was all me.  I did it.

I don’t make a big show of it.  I don’t want to embarrass myself.  And why make a big show of it?  All a Jedi needs is one subtle hand motion.

Elevators are a different story.  If I’m alone, I’ll hold out both arms and lift them upward as if the box is my vessel that I can make do my bidding.

If I’m with someone else, I’ll just do a minor hand flick up and down.  (Occasionally, when an X-Men movie has been released, I’ll pretend I’m Magneto using a metal box to fly instead of a Jedi.  I like to diversify).

No one ever notices.  You 3.5 readers are actually the first people I’ve ever told.  Luckily, with only 3.5 readers, my secret is safe.

I did it when I was a kid.  I do it today.  If it’s one door that opens outward, the hand flick will be forward.

If it’s the standard two doors that separate left and right, sometimes I’ll hold my thumb against my forefinger and open my hand as if the doors were two stormtroopers and my thumb is sending one of them to the left and my fingers are tossing the other one to the right.

Most of the time I’ll just flick my wrist left or right as if the door is a mere nuisance I want out of my way.

Keep in mind – this is involuntary.

I can’t not do it.  It’s a reflex.

I don’t really want to stop doing it either.

Life.  It’s so lifelike.  So regular.  So hum drum.  We spent our youth dreaming of doing so many things and then as adults we can barely get past bill paying and other monotonous chores.

I need to pretend to be a Jedi with the power to open a store door or lift an elevator (or occasionally Magneto with the ability to use his magnet powers to fly inside a metal container).

Perhaps this is too dark a subject, but have you ever considered how you’ll know when the jig is up?

For me, it will be when I stop opening store doors with the Force.

Is this just usual BQB nonsense?  No.  It’s something he actually does. If you spot a nerd somewhere trying to use the force to open the doors of a Costco, you may be witnessing our noble blog host in action.

Light saber image courtesy of a license.

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Storming the Castle of Success

Nothing in my life has ever been easy.

At times, I get down about that.

Imagine success is a castle.  For some people, the drawbridge just opens and in they go.  They are welcomed with rainbows, unicorns, leprechauns, fuzzy bunny rabbits, and juggling clowns.  Nice clowns, not scary ones.  The ones who make you balloon animals.

I’m not knocking them.  I’m sure they’re good people.  I’m sure they were all qualified for entry into the castle.  Even if they’re not, I believe success is something that everyone should have.  Them being less successful does not cause me to become more successful, so there’s no point to being displeased with them.  I just wish them a happy journey and tell them to say hi to the leprechauns for me.

Then there’s me.  When I knock on the door to the Castle of Success, out come the orcs, the dragons, the flame sword wielding dark knights, the zombies, the bow men, the pike men, the pointy stick men, the pots of boiling oil and the catapults.

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England, 11 October 2005

As I stare out in the sea of evil that stands between me and the Castle of Success, I can’t help but think, “What is wrong with me?”

And then the questions pour in:

“Where did I go wrong?”

“What could I have done differently?”

“Was there a point in my life where I was blind?  Did I miss a nice, clear path to success?  One that did not involve orcs, dragons, et al?  What mistake did I make to cause me to veer from this path?”

“Look at all these damn orcs, dragons, monsters, and so on.  Is it too much?  Should I just give up and walk away?”

“Surely, as tough as things are, there are many people who have it worse than I do.  They wish they had a chance to fight the orcs, the dragons, the monsters, et al.  They’re still stuck in the countryside, wishing they were in the general vicinity of the Castle of Success.”

Inside the Castle of Success, there is a book I have written.

I miss the days when I was young and able to stay up 48 hours straight writing term papers fueled by nothing but Monster Energy Drinks and feel fine.  Doing that today would leave me feeling like I got hit by a Mac Truck.

There’s no more “I’ll leave it till the last minute then stay up all night.”  There’s only “be responsible and do a little bit every day.”

The burdens of life settle in.  The Castle of Success is right there within walking distance.  The orcs and dragons are waiting to fight me.  They’re getting impatient, checking their watches and wondering if they should just give up.  Maybe I’ll never manage to take them on.

I could stop and lie down.  This spot on the grass seems comfy.  Yes, I could fight the orcs and win, or I could become an orc’s lunch and end up losing my nice comfy spot on the grass.  Decisions, decisions.

One orc gives up and cracks open a book.  Another watches “The Walking Dead Orcs” on his Orc-Pad.

I hate Orcs.  More than Yetis.

And so I sit down and wait.  And I stare at the orcs, dragons, knights with fire swords, zombies, bow men, hot oil droppers, etc etc and I wonder if things will ever click in my life so that I can find a way to take them all on…i.e. a strategy for working on a book in small increments every day that will eventually pay off.

I get up one morning and decide “Today is the day I’ll work hard on my book.”  By nightfall, 500 unexpected occurrences happen that draw my attention away from anything having remotely to do with writing.

And then when I do get a chance to write…I criticize myself like I’m a super-charged Robert Ebert.

Will I ever get over my perfectionism?  Will I ever realize that not every TV, movie, book, piece of entertainment is 100 percent perfect?  That I just need to get my ideas on paper the best I can, get them proofread, edited, into a book, and then swing for the fences?

I look to my left and my right.  People are just strolling all carefree into their respective Castles of Success.  Part of me assumes everything is so easy for them.  Another part, a better part, reminds me that inside every person is a battle we know nothing about – that inside people who seem to have it all together there might, in fact, be a struggle we’ve never seen, nor do we want to.

Maybe it only looks like they’re being greeted by leprechauns and bunnies.  Maybe the leprechauns are crazy.  Maybe the bunnies have sharp teeth.  We only see successful people in the best possible light.  We have no idea what they went through.  We shouldn’t bash them.  Bringing other people down will never raise us up.  “I’m doing so poorly because others are doing so well” is an illogical fallacy.

I need to disregard them.  Whether its easy for them or not is not my concern.  My concern is the fact that every accomplishment I’ve ever made has not come easy.  It has come by fighting orcs, dragons, and zombies for what I do have.

Knowledge is power and knowing that the orcs and dragons must be fought to reach the Castle makes me stronger.  I must stop lamenting my lot in life, quit playing the “woe is me game,” and stop hoping that the Castle of Success will magically come to me.

I know I never get anywhere without a fight and I must fight my way to the Castle.  Worse, I must fight myself, which is no easy feat, for I am harder on myself than the orcs and so on.

So I forget all that and focus on my personal orcs.  And dragons.  And monsters, zombies, flame sword nights, guys with boiling pots of oil, and also the purple purple Indian arm burn rubbers.  I hate those guys the most.

I may never leave my comfy spot on the grass.  Part of me says forget these orcs.  The other part says if dreaming about fighting the orcs is what gets you through the day then so be it, even if you never leave the grass.

I’ve run out of things to say.   I must fight these orcs and find my way into..the Castle of Success.

I am Bookshelf Q. Battler.  I read books.  I try to write novels.  I fight Yetis.  I have 3.5 readers.  And I hate orcs.

Bodiam Castle Image Courtesy of Flickr User Phillip Capper via a Creative Commons License

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