One can not even begin to grow as a person until one recognizes (a) that one's current self is not even close to being as significant as it could be, (b) that there have been far superior achievements on Earth prior to one's self, (c) that it takes discipline and effort to comprehend and/or master those achievements, and (d) that one must take a chance attempting to equal or surpass one's predecessors and that one may fail in the attempt to do so.
 
But do try.
 
Merely remaining as you are, attempting to redefine mediocrity as excellence, arrogantly considering yourself great while actually being blinded by ignorance, insolently clinging to infantile levels of quality and insight and demanding that they be applauded. . . these are the conditions of a human to be pitied. Learn from the best of minds by reading many good books (not textbooks), viewing and listening to great art (not junk), and doubting everything that you hear (especially via the media) until you are convinced to the point that you might as well have invented the idea yourself. Shun ultra-relativistic, naive pluralistic and shallow multi-cultural, politically-correct forms of trash-justification. (Though never apply value gradations to any peoples themselves.) Reject altogether the commercial notion that the worthwhileness of "Art" and "Science" is measured solely by the quantity of sales. Recognize that not all cultural expression is equally great, and that most is not great at all. Become master. Become expert. Become the inheritors of the thread of human greatness.
 
 
Jody Nagel
October 8, 2000
 
 
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