The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I had a long, and painful conversation with a student Saturday. This man has damaged his life through actions that were sexually unethical, selfish, self-destructive, and a betrayal of values he holds precious. One step at a time, he is clawing his way out of the pit.

I just got this email from him:



One of the things you were saying Saturday was about the whole life-death thing. Something about going through life embracing or reaching out for life and death at the same time and what that meant or really was about. It was something I wanted to think about later and like everything that contains some message I want to avoid gets quickly forgotten. I can't even recall the proper terms you used about this but I'm sure you know to what I'm referring. So, what was it? And if you have any references to any sources, even if it's the philosophy of a culture, a school or thought or philosophy. I have never heard anything similar.




Dear D:

I can never recreate precisely anything that I say, 'cause I'm not regurgitating a credo, but rather describing something I see and feel at the time, in response to the current situation...which can never repeat. Sigh.

However, it works like this. Freudian terms: Eros and Thanatos. The life and death drive. Too much or too little of each and you'll either stagnate (fear of losing life) or engage in self-destructive behavior (seeking death). The right amount of each and you both revel in life, and continually re-create yourself (embracing ego death) in the midst of the storm.

From another view, what I call "Cradle to the Grave", you create a "thread" between the dreams you had as a child, and the values you will embrace on your deathbed.
If you think you have no contact with either, meditation, journaling and research can help. There is a remarkable consistency to what people find of value at the end of their lives. Contribution, love, growth, self-expression, simple joy, connection to family and friends. The trick is to find ADULT expressions of your childhood ambitions that also align with the deathbed values.

I've put this as simply as possible, but there is a lifetime of work in defining these things for yourself, and implementing.

Get to work!

In all honesty, I cannot improve upon what Napoleon Hill did in connection with the "fourth principle," money! But as for the rest...The 101 PROGRAM is the "Think and Grow Rich" concept applied to body, mind, and spirit .

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