The thought-bombs in this chapter aim to get at the nature of the self, including our reactions to the world, such as anger, expectations, self-pity, belief, (non)conformity, and so on. Other clusters look at responsibility, maturity, and the body. A sampling of the quotes:
The mind is everything. What you think, you become.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.
Imagine awaking from a torpor having forgotten how your friends and family see you. Perhaps, unchained from everyone’s expectations for how you ought to behave, you could be whoever you liked.
Living things tend to change unrecognizably as they grow. Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? Flora or fauna, we are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Our firmest convictions are apt to be the most suspect; they mark our limitations and our bounds.
—José Ortega y Gasset
I am never upset for the reason I think.
People in a temper often say a lot of silly, terrible things they mean.
Anybody can become angry—that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
Anxiety is fear of one’s self.
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Would you like you if you met you?
—Tegan and Sara
People focus on role models; it is more effective to find anti-models—people you don’t want to resemble when you grow up.
—Nassim N. Taleb
Maturity is reached the day we don’t need to be lied to about anything.
People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.
—George Bernard Shaw
I don’t believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
—Robert Anton Wilson
A wise man once said, Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through.
Even the best of us are at least part-time bastards.
What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.
I am human; nothing human is alien to me.
Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics.
―Lawrence M. Krauss
Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.