Brook's Book


Brook’s Book

Copyright © 2017 Dan Brook

Published by Dan Brook at Shakespir

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please download or purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not download or purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Dedicated with gratitude to my friend Leonard Frank, author of the Quotationary and other publications, who helped inspire and encourage this project, though he’ll never see its completed form.


In this book are some of the nuggets of my accumulated “wisdom”, some attributable while others not. As with most people and their ideas, I am more a curator than an inventor, despite whatever innovations I may make to the vast and varied material that comes my way from a wide array of nourishing sources, enriching and enlivening me. Indeed, as Isaac Newton wisely and humbly recognized 300 years ago, we are all “standing on the shoulders of giants”, even when we take that universal and eternal truth for granted by asserting our seemingly-individual accomplishments.


I sincerely hope you find these bite-sized nuggets useful, as I certainly do, despite the playful narcissism of these apothegms. In the words of fellow aphorist Michel de Montaigne, “I am myself the matter of my book”. In this sense, all writing is autobiography and I hope it becomes part of yours, as well.


Some of my aphoristic writings aren’t actually proper aphorisms per se, as they can’t necessarily be contained or conveyed properly in that tight genre. Whether they are aphorisms, apothegms, adages, maxims, quotes, sayings, advice, remarks, rules, common sense, quips, spiritual guidance, realizations, or whatever else, they may still, hopefully, be interesting, insightful, inspiring, enspiriting, enlightening, enheartening, entertaining, useful, or otherwise worthwhile, so I hope you forgive my sententious nature.


In the spirit of disclosure, I feel I should warn you. I’m sympathetic to Karl Kraus when he says that “An aphorism can never be the whole truth; it is either a half-truth or a truth-and-a-half.” Like Pablo Picasso said, “art is a lie that makes us realize truth” and perhaps that is true here, as well. In that way, these aphorisms are gnomic in more than one way. But it is more for you to decide than me, as writing is ultimately more for the reader than the writer. These aphorisms are now yours!


Feel free to use the ones that resonate with you and to make them your own; similarly, feel free to discard whatever is unwelcome, ineffective, offensive, or unnecessary. I echo sagely Bruce Lee in saying “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” These nuggets should be nourishing and liberating, in one way or another, but certainly not burdensome or debilitating. In any event, enjoy your journeys!



Brook’s A:

Everything has to start somewhere.



Brook’s Abraham:

Sometimes we need to go forth (lech lecha) to get back to ourselves (teshuvah).



Brook’s Absence:

There is no darkness, silence, cold, and stupidity, only the absence of light, sound, heat, and intelligence. Bring them in, when desired or necessary.



Brook’s Absurdity:

It is absurd not to think the world is absurd.



Brook’s Accomplishments:

Our accomplishments and achievements are great and should be congratulated and celebrated, yet they should be steps not endpoints. If we don’t do anything meaningful with our accomplishments and achievements, we have not done nearly enough.



Brook’s Action:

We tend to feel better about the world when we constructively engage with it, when we actively try to make it a better place for ourselves and others. Success is in the attempt, not simply some potential result.



Brook’s Active:

It’s better to be proactive than reactive, but better to be reactive if we haven’t been proactive. Although it’s imperative to be reactive when threats arise, it’s also critical to be proactive to prevent future threats.



Brook’s Actuality:

The only dreams that can never be realized are the ones we don’t have.



Brook’s Adaptation:

Everything is relative, based on time, place, culture, situation, ideology, perspective, people, and personalities. People and their cultures can be extraordinarily flexible and adaptable.



Brook’s Advantage:

While I don’t like people who take advantage of others, I don’t respect people who let themselves be taken advantage of.



Brook’s Advice:

People like to give advice, though way too few like to take it, whether their own or others’.



Brook’s Afterlife:

The only heavens or hells are the many metaphorical ones we create for ourselves and others.



Brook’s Air:

We typically notice the air only when it is unavailable to us, either through partial (e.g., when it’s stinky) or total (e.g., when we’re under water) deprivation, despite how essential it is.



Brook’s Alchemy:

Turning evil into good is the most golden of processes.



Brook’s Alienation:

Alienation may be the root of many crimes and other anti-social behavior; community may be the antidote to alienation.



Brook’s Allergies:

Many mental illnesses — depression, anxiety, phobias, compulsions, anorexia/bulimia, etc. — are like allergies, huge involuntary over-reactions to small and (mostly) innocuous stimuli.



Brook’s Allusion:

That’s what I’m saying, if you know what I mean.



Brook’s Alternative:

Choosing a good alternative is not simply a shallow way of getting out of something, but a deeper way of getting into something better.



Brook’s Alternatives:

People sometimes declare that “there is no alternative”, or TINA, as Margaret Thatcher once did about economic globalization. When they do so, however, it almost always implies that there must be an alternative or perhaps even many alternatives, suggesting TAMA, there are many alternatives; perhaps TAAMA, there are always many alternatives, even if we won’t like some of them or can’t even conceive of some of them. Note that no one ever has to say, for example, that there is no alternative to breathing.



Brook’s Altruism:

The lines between giving and receiving are often blurred. Indeed, giving is a form of receiving.



Brook’s Always:

If a question contains the world always, the answer should always contain the word no.


Brook’s Ambiguity:

It’s hard to be certain about ambiguity, especially as it can be defined in different ways, so I don’t always know what to believe about it.



Brook’s Analysis:

Politics, economics, and culture can only be separated for analytical purposes. They are, however, inextricably linked in practice, if not always in theory.



Brook’s Animal Farm:

All metaphors are metaphorical, but some metaphors are more metaphorical than others.



Brook’s Animals:

Humans seem to be considerably more deaf than animals are mute. Animals speak in all sorts of ways, vocally and otherwise, whether we listen or not.



Brook’s Animus:

Animals are often more humane than humans, while humans are often more animalistic than animals.



Brook’s Annexation:

Every experience is a form of consumption, a little bit of imperialism, a type of annexation.



Brook’s Anniversaries:

People may know and therefore celebrate the anniversary date of their birth (and wedding, if married), but they never know and don’t ever celebrate the anniversary date of their death, though it also comes around each year.



Brook’s Answer:

For most requests, a yes would be best, a no would be disappointing though OK, but not getting an answer is the worst response.


Brook’s Anthropomorphism:

Humans may over anthropomorphize animals at times, yet we also under anthropomorphize animals, too-often denying the intelligence and emotions they so clearly have. Indeed, that may be true of how humans view other humans, as well.



Brook’s Anti:

In a world of divisions, discrimination, hate, and violence, it is good to be non-racist, non-sexist, and non-homophobic, non-antisemitic and non-islamophobic, and non-nationalistic, but it is better to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-homophobic, anti-antisemitic and anti-islamophobic, and anti-nationalistic. All of these discriminatory divisions hurt the perpetrators and bystanders as well as the victims, though of course not equally, as people are unable to live out their full and authentic humanity. We need to be actively — in our words and deeds — pro-social justice, supporting the positives, not simply opposing the negatives.



Brook’s Anthropology:

We can better understand our culture by visiting and better understanding others.



Brook’s Anxiety:

If ones knows that something will be limited and short term, almost anything can be endured.



Brook’s Appreciation:

Appreciate what you have more than you mourn for what’s lost and pine for what you don’t have.



Brook’s Architecture:

The physical world we create structures the social world that we inhabit.



Brook’s Aristotelian Anger:

Typical anger is common, yet typically ineffective and destructive. Channeling one’s anger in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, at the right intensity, at the right target, with the right accuracy, with the right intentions, for the right purpose, and for the right amount of time is rare albeit essential.



Brook’s Art:

Anything and everything can be art, if it is seen as such.



Brook’s Asymmetry:

We are all interdependent — dependent on others — even if not equally so.



Brook’s Atheism:

I have the same existential and spiritual needs that led to the invention of gods and God, without personally needing gods or God that I’m confident doesn’t exist. There are a lot of things that can be asserted to exist without any basis or evidence — like flat Earths, ghosts, souls, or flying spaghetti monsters — but that doesn’t make them any more real, even if they may seem real to their believers. God is a concept, metaphor, fiction, invention, social construction, imposition, mistranslation, reified verb, business plan, motivational tool, pacifier, snake oil, alternative fact, simplistic description of the complex and sometimes otherwise undescribable, a means of social control, and also an inhibitor of full spiritual progress. Like a crutch, what may once have seemed useful can later become detrimental. In any event, most people are atheist about most gods.



Brook’s Attitude:

With pessimism, there’s less chance of success; with optimism, anything is possible.



Brook’s Authority:

Authority is authoritarianism, wanting to make its way the only way.



Brook’s Autobiography:

All the work we do — and don’t do — is autobiographical.



Brook’s Avocation:

Teachers, clergy, writers, artists, musicians, inventors, activists, explorers, and others never truly finish their jobs.



Brook’s Awakening:

If people really knew what they already know, we’d be intellectual geniuses and spiritual giants.



Brook’s Aware:

Be aware. The more aware we are, the more we can be knowledgeable, safe, useful, creative, and happy.



Brook’s Awareness:

People can’t really know others unless they really know themselves and they can better know themselves by really knowing others.



Brook’s Away:

Even when we go away or throw something away, there is no away. We live in the same universe and it’s a closed system.



Brook’s Babatunde:

Even more important than loving others is allowing them to love you.



Brook’s Backpack:

As much as possible when you travel, bring less stuff, more money, an open mind, a flexible approach, and a good attitude. If you do, you’ll have everything you need.



Brook’s Bad:

To be successful, bad people need good people to ignore their bad deeds; to be good, good people need bad people to exist.


Brook’s Bads:

In the production of goods, we also produce bads. As with goods, bads are unfairly and unequally distributed and consumed.



Brook’s Bacteria:

Even though humans cannot live without microscopic bacteria, bacteria has, does, and will live quite well without us. We may ignore, forget, despise, fear, attack, misunderstand, or take bacteria for granted, but that doesn’t change our dependence on them and their lack of dependence on us. Indeed, what we anthropocentrically call human is about 90% bacteria and other micro-organisms.



Brook’s Balance:

It’s at least as important to increase the positives as it is to decrease the negatives. Be at least as excited about good things as you are disappointed by bad things.



Brook’s Balancing:

Maintaining one’s balance is not about staying still, but rather about quickly, constantly, and relatively effortlessly shifting one’s position to appear still.



Brook’s Beauty:

Beauty may be subjective, but the admiration of beauty is universal.



Brook’s Beginning:

The beginning doesn’t always have to come at the beginning, just as the end doesn’t always have to come at the end.



Brook’s Beggar:

Even when we don’t ignore beggars and give them money, food, or supplies, we too often avoid eye contact, meaningful conversation, and basic respect, thereby contributing to the painful depersonalization of the poor. Poor people aren’t only poor in terms of money, but typically have a poverty of everything, including being treated like a person.


Brook’s Behavior:

If well-behaved people never make history, those who never behave rarely do, either. One must know, and have the courage, to behave and misbehave, as the case may be, when it most matters.



Brook’s Being:

It’s good to be able to be solitary without feeling lonely, to be quiet when there is no need to speak, to be doing nothing without being bored. These are important parts of being.



Brook’s Belief:

One’s beliefs shape one’s reality as much as one’s reality shapes one’s beliefs.



Brook’s Bernie Kaplan:

Homework is absolutely required, but there is never a due date.



Brook’s Better:

The best way to feel better is to make other people feel better.



Brook’s Bias:

Whatever existed yesterday is more likely to exist today and whatever exists today is more likely to exist tomorrow.



Brook’s Biases:

The better we understand cognitive, implicit, and other biases — our own as well as others’ — the better we’ll be able to recognize and transcend them.



Brook’s Bibliomancy:

If you choose any book at random, you can find something in there that would be relevant and useful to whatever you’re interested in.



Brook’s Biography:

Everyone — and everything — has an infinite number of biographies.



Brook’s Biome:

Most of the human body is emptiness; of that which is material, most is water; of that which is material but not water, overwhelmingly most is made up of thousands of species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and other tiny organisms of flora, fauna, and otherwise. What we think of as the human is in reality the human microbiome and this vast complex ecosystem is precious little human.



Brook’s Bird:

Everyone can fly, even if it’s easier for some than others.



Brook’s Birdcage:

One sings best when one is free.



Brook’s Blah:

Things will not always be exciting, but excitement can always be found.



Brook’s Blasphemy:

Blasphemy laws are themselves blasphemous. People should believe or not believe whatever they believe or not believe without prohibiting others from believing what they believe or not believing what they don’t believe.



Brook’s Blessing:

For all those we know as well as for all those we don’t, may all their good thoughts and good deeds accomplish their goals, while inspiring others, and may all their bad thoughts, deeds, and goals transform into good ones.



Brook’s Blindness:

Blindness is a physical lack of sight, not a metaphorical state of being stupid or arrogant.



Brook’s Body:

A mind has more strength than a body ever could.



Brook’s Books:

There are few things better than a really good book. All books are books of lives, even if some are clearly better and livelier than others. Immerse yourself in as many as you can!



Brook’s Boomerang:

Whatever we do to others, we do to ourselves.



Brook’s Boredom:

If you find something boring, you’re probably not looking closely enough. With all the excitement of the world, both internally and externally, those who are bored often are often boring themselves.



Brook’s Borges:

All realities contain unrealities, and all unrealities contain realities, even if many remain undiscovered or, when discovered, are misunderstood.



Brook’s Bottom Line:

What is often called the bottom line isn’t, acting more like a false bottom concealing much else.



Brook’s Box:

It’s good to think outside the box if you’re stuck in one, but better to realize that there’s no box at all and that you are as free as you imagine yourself to be.



Brook’s Bradbury:

If you have the burning desire, no one or no thing can stop you from reading or writing; no one or no thing can stop caterpillars from becoming butterflies.



Brook’s Brain:

Everything that we’re ever exposed to — saw, heard, felt, read, thought, imagined, experienced — is somewhere in our brain. Whether we can remember, access, connect, explicate, or understand any of it is another matter. The capacity of the human brain is effectively infinite.



Brook’s Break Up:

A break up is like a death, not of the people, but of the relationship between them, which is now irrevocably transformed or completely destroyed. A relationship is that invisible and intangible thing that is created between people, which takes on a life of its own and is much greater than merely the sum of its two or more parts. The loss of this relationship is a social death that has to be mourned before one can properly heal from it.



Brook’s Breath:

Although absolutely dependent on our air, we’re rarely conscious of it, unless it’s stinky, polluted, or absent. Breathe — and appreciate the breath.



Brook’s Bridge:

We must build bridges between what is and what could be, encouraging and joining with others to march across them.



Brook’s Bubble:

Bubbles always burst and booms always bust, so best not to rely on them, even if you’re enjoying them.



Brook’s Buddha:

Compassionate awareness without attachments to all things.



Brook’s Bully:

Although bullies are acting out their insecurities and to that extent should be pitied, they must be stopped, and hopefully rehabilitated, so as to spare others from becoming their victims.



Brook’s Business:

Business specifically, and the economy more generally, are our means or tools to create a good society not just a society of goods, to “promote the general welfare”; they are not ends in themselves and, therefore, like any other tools should not be given special privileges, rights, or status, but should instead be carefully controlled for our collective purposes. What business does should be the business of the people.



Brook’s Butterfly:

Whether Chuang Tzu dreamt a butterfly or a butterfly dreamt Chuang Tzu, we can either see ourselves as a part of dreams or apart from dreams, a part of nature or apart from nature, a part of each other or apart from others.



Brook’s By-Products:

When a single goal is being sought — a corporation seeking profits, for example — everything else that happens, whether positive (e.g., jobs, good and services, camaraderie) or negative (e.g., abuse of resources, pollution, layoffs), are merely by-products.



Brook’s Cactus:

Most prickly things are misunderstood and mistrusted.



Brook’s Cain:

We are all each other’s keepers; it’s a matter of how carefully we keep.



Brook’s Cage:

The fewer cages — mental as well as physical, for humans as well as animals — the better.


Brook’s Calories:

There are no empty calories, only those that are a damaging form of fuel if they aren’t healthy.



Brook’s Canary:

Early indicators are too often ignored, mocked, or minimized, yet can inform, inspire, improve, and even save lives.



Brook’s Candle:

One candle can light many others without diminishing itself — as with teaching and creativity, smiling and laughing, blessing and building — and if it goes out, it can then more easily be relit by those others. Be the candle!



Brook’s Capitalism:

Capitalism is a system that institutionalizes greed and sacrifices everything else — communities, people, animals, nature, health, happiness, security, sustainability, education, truth, life — for the sake of profit. Capitalism without constraints creates a relatively few winners with wealth at the expense of the many who lose out with poverty, suffering, and diminished life chances. Either this vast inequality is intentional and capitalism is therefore a fascist success, which I don’t believe, or this is unintentional and capitalism is therefore a massive failure, which I do believe.



Brook’s Care:

If you don’t care for something, no one will care for you.



Brook’s Catalyst:

It often seems like things are changing very slowly, always too slowly, until they change very quickly. When conditions are ripe, it only takes a very small thing to create very big changes. A tiny spark can set a giant prairie fire and a single person can launch a massive social movement.



Brook’s Causal Convergence:

Even when it may appear that one thing causes another, that would be an oversimplification, as it is always many phenomena that converge.



Brook’s Cave:

We all live lives of illusions, though some illusions are more durable, widespread, and valued than others.



Brook’s Caveat Emptor:

Although we as consumers should indeed be as aware as possible, we should have good enough policy that makes it less necessary to beware.



Brook’s Cemetery:

Many dead people — especially thinkers and doers — are more alive than many people who are still living.



Brook’s Certainty:

The more certain we are, the less we can learn.



Brook’s Ceteris Paribus:

If all other things were equal, it would be a much simpler (yet much duller) world.



Brook’s Challenge:

It is not failure that is essential for success, but overcoming challenges.



Brook’s Change:

Change is constant and ubiquitous, as nothing is static. Uncertainty is the only certainty. People, languages, societies, governments, economies, religions, and cultures are always changing, most often very slowly, but occasionally very rapidly. People generally both fear and embrace change.



Brook’s Changes:

Because everything changes, including change itself, even nouns are verbs, actions more than things that signal movement, evolution, growth, decay, transition, transaction, processes, being only permanently temporary yet temporarily permanent.



Brook’s Chemistry:

In social relationships, chemistry is much more important than commonalities.



Brook’s Chess:

Chess is at least as much about manipulating thoughts as moving pieces.



Brook’s Chiasmus:

When thinking this and that, you should also think that and this.



Brook’s Child:

A child creates and raises a parent as much as a parent creates and raises a child.



Brook’s Children:

Children have the best ability for chronic, infinite, radical amazement. If you’ve ever been a child, you still do, too.



Brook’s Choice:

There is no such thing as “no choice”. Choices may be constrained, even highly so, though there is still always an element of choice. Even when it may appear that there is no choice, there is still the choice of how one feels about what one “has” to do. When you create a false choice, you choose unwisely.



Brook’s Choices:

All personal choices are also social choices. Whether something is or isn’t legally and culturally sanctioned helps determine its availability and adoption. When more people do something, others are more likely to also do it. When organizations offer something as an option, people are more likely to choose that option. The more people hear, see, and learn about something, they are also more likely to choose it and engage in it.



Brook’s Chomskyian Universalism:

Whatever standards one applies to others should be applied to oneself.



Brook’s Circumstances:

People in both good and bad circumstances experience suffering, while people in both good and bad circumstances experience joy; therefore, choice is the key that unlocks the door of either or both.



Brook’s Citizenship:

I do the work of a citizen when I vote, when I petition, when I speak up and out, when I organize, when I rally, when I protest, when I organize, and when I try to get my government and society to be the best it could be.



Brook’s City:

Some people need to escape to the country to get away and find themselves, but I prefer to stay in the city and find everything. Everything can be found in the city, if the city is worth being called that, including the country — even wilderness and solitude, if necessary — but you can never find the city in the country.



Brook’s Classroom:

Teachers usually learn more than students and good teachers bring more out of their students than they put in.



Brook’s Clean Water:

There’s an alternative to nearly everything, except clean water.



Brook’s Cleaver:

Cleave means to separate and to attach; we must cleave.


Brook’s Cliche:

Just because something is cliche doesn’t mean we shouldn’t embrace the wisdom within it.



Brook’s Climate Crisis:

We need to reverse, and will mitigate, adapt, and suffer, climate change. The more we choose to do the former of these, the less we will be forced do the latter.



Brook’s Clinical Sociology:

Although people’s personal issues can sometimes be traced to their individual personalities, it’s at least as true that macro social forces are responsible for the social problems that manifest in myriad personal ways on the micro level. We are largely conditioned by a variety of social, cultural, and environmental forces that interact with, and might even construct, our individual personalities.



Brook’s Cloud:

If every cloud has a silver lining, it’s worth remembering that every silver lining has a cloud.



Brook’s Cocktail:

Ideas are always better when they mix.



Brook’s Cogito:

Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) is more logically rendered as cogito sum (I think I am), in the same way that dreaming something doesn’t prove its physical existence, even if it seems to exist in one’s imagination. Thinking we are something doesn’t necessarily make it so.



Brook’s Comfort Zone:

If you continually expand your comfort zone, you’ll never have to step out of it; if you want to step out of your comfort zone, there will always be opportunities to do so.


Brook’s Communication:

To communicate clearly with others, and to be understood, we need to speak their language, both literally and figuratively.



Brook’s Communities:

We are at least as much communities as we are individuals. We can sometimes be alone, but we are never separate from others and our culture.



Brook’s Community:

A community with unity is not a community, but a collections of individuals.



Brook’s Comparison:

Some things can only be compared to themselves and even with that it’s iffy at best.



Brook’s Compassion:

Help out, increase happiness, encourage goodness, discourage badness, and teach others to do likewise.



Brook’s Complexity:

To better understand complexity — and to enjoy it more — simplify.



Brook’s Compromise:

It’s good to compromise with others, as long as you never compromise yourself.



Brook’s Concrete:

People tend to give advice in the abstract, but people tend to take advice, if they take it at all, in the concrete.



Brook’s Connect:

So much of life generally, and so much of human behavior specifically, is accidental, contingent, chanced. We’re a lucky lot, in many ways, though we make our luck better when we connect.



Brook’s Connection:

Especially when not being attacked, it’s best to build bridges and ladders, rather than moats, walls, and vaults.



Brook’s Connections:

Without connections, nothing has meaning. Life is all about relationships, associations, networks, interplay, ecosystems — whether amongst people, species, or ideas.



Brook’s Consciousness:

If one is highly conscious of one’s environment, one can find awe in anything and everything. Even the most trivial, mundane, or tiny object, detail, or phenomenon — including each of us — contains the entire amazing universe.



Brook’s Consequences:

Consequences come from actions as much as actions lead to consequences.



Brook’s Conservatism:

Conservative Americans have opposed independence from England, abolishing slavery, women’s suffrage, equal pay for equal work, civil rights, human rights, unionization, marriage equality, LGBT rights, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, the New Deal, the Great Society, the War on Poverty, environmental safety, occupational health and safety, consumer protections, seat belts and air bags, minimum wages, living wages, maximum hours, reductions in the work day and work week, separation of church and state, welfare, food stamps, unemployment insurance, progressive taxation, public education, mass transit, all social movements, and other phenomena that make societies more democratic, more safe, more equal, more prosperous, and more civilized. This American opposes that kind of conservatism.



Brook’s Constant:

Zero is always zero, nothing more and nothing less.



Brook’s Constraint:

The more we know about the constraints on our lives, the freer we are to navigate around them, use them, remove them, and/or transform them.



Brook’s Consumption:

Although many people need to consume less, especially of luxuries, many others need to consume more, especially of necessities.



Brook’s Contagion:

All behaviors — even life itself — are contagious. The more people do anything, the more likely it is that other people will also do it.



Brook’s Context:

Things happen, but they also have a context in which they happen, especially a history and a future.



Brook’s Contingencies:

The world always is however it is at the time, but it could have been infinitely different in the past and it could always be infinitely different in the future.



Brook’s Continuity:

All personal and social change comes with personal and cultural continuity. We always bring the past into the present.



Brook’s Continuum:

Social phenomena (almost) always fall on a continuum somewhere between the dichotomous endpoints. It’s a matter of where on the continuum we fall and when we rise.


Brook’s Contrast:

Even things that are different have something in common and even things that are similar have significant differences.



Brook’s Convenience:

Convenience can be a nice bonus, but should never be a goal or a principle. Although convenience can make your life easier, it will rarely make it better. Convenience, while comfortable, leads to a weakening of the body, mind, and spirit. Too much convenience can become inconvenient, as we so easily do things that we wouldn’t necessarily do or even want to do.



Brook’s Cookbook:

The best recipes increase your health and happiness, while doing likewise for others.



Brook’s Cordon Sanitaire:

We separate from what we fear and we fear what we separate from, often ignorantly and punitively, with great asymmetrical losses.



Brook’s Corporations:

Consistent with sociopathy, corporations are single-mindedly organized to be profit-responsible and therefore socially and environmentally irresponsible.



Brook’s Corps:

Corporations sell their wants, trying to convince us that they’re our needs.



Brook’s Counterfeit:

Counterfeits wouldn’t exist if what they’re counterfeiting didn’t exist.



Brook’s Country:

All countries are empires, colonizing and aggregating various peoples and lands for one country.


Brook’s Courage:

We don’t have to be fearless, and perhaps shouldn’t be, but we do sometimes have to act as if we’re fearless or at least act for good despite our fears. That’s the essence of courage and bravery.



Brook’s Craving:

Those who crave more will never have enough and those who crave less will never be satisfied.



Brook’s Crawl:

If you quit walking because you kept falling, you’d still be crawling. Many of us are still crawling, but there are whole other worlds out there for those who are able to walk, run, skip, hop, jump, and fly!



Brook’s Craziness:

It’s the crazy people — some of the dreamers, prophets, inventors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, philosophers, entrepreneurs, revolutionaries, scientists, teachers, writers, and others — who change the world instead of simply adapting themselves to the insanity of normality and the status quo.



Brook’s Creation:

In our social world, we are both creators and creation, masters and slaves, artists and audience, subjects and objects.



Brook’s Creativity:

There are an infinite number of ways, individually and collectively, to be creative.



Brook’s Credo:

Principles are more important than beliefs and while beliefs may change, principles are enduring.



Brook’s Creed:

Never let your personal creed include personal greed.



Brook’s Crisis:

Crisis is nothing more than the intensification of everyday life.



Brook’s Criticism:

We need to take criticism seriously, while not taking it (too) personally, regardless of who or where it comes from. Criticism is a friend that appears like a foe. Use it to progress and thrive, not retreat and shrivel. Constructive criticism, given kindly, is the best compliment one can receive.



Brook’s Crowdsourcing:

We are all crowdsourced in society, as we all exert influence on each other.



Brook’s Crutch:

What helps you when you’re injured hurts you when you’re healed.



Brook’s Culture:

All personal choices are also social choices. The more there is a culture of something, the more people will choose that thing.



Brook’s Curator:

Curating is collecting not creating, yet it is creation to the extent that curators arrange, showcase, and contextualize their collections for others.



Brook’s Curiosity:

If you’re not curious, you’re not alive.



Brook’s Curriculum:

If you don’t know something, find out; if you do know something, share it.


Brook’s Curse Words:

Words are only curse words if they wish harm to others. Fuck is a blessing not a curse.



Brook’s Curses:

The best curses turn into blessings.



Brook’s Darkness:

It is easier to deny or ignore our dark sides, but it is much more healthy and beneficial to channel them for positive and productive purposes.



Brook’s Darwin:

Adaptability is the key to comfort and survival.



Brook’s Day:

At the end of the day, it’s the end of the day. There is nothing else to conclude.



Brook’s Daydream:

Daydreams can sometimes be the most pleasurable thing one can do as well as the most useful, natural, frequent, and human thing to do.



Brook’s Deadline:

Lifelines are better than deadlines.



Brook’s Death:

For all living beings, death is a normal and natural part of life and is therefore completely safe and failure-proof. Death is not the opposite of life, but rather the opposite of birth. It is the ultimate reminder that nothing is permanent.



Brook’s Death Penalty:

Everyone receives the death penalty eventually, but no one should receive it from another human being, from a weapon, or from a machine. While we should kill all forms of injustice, we should not kill anyone, even the unjust. The death penalty is dead wrong.



Brook’s Deceit:

When someone claims to know what is unknowable, they are either deceiving themselves or others.



Brook’s Decision:

Not making a decision is still a decision and every time we decide to not speak up or get involved, we are deciding to let other people’s voices have more say and let other people have more power.



Brook’s Decision-Making:

The more people who participate in a decision, the more likely that decision is to be fair.



Brook’s Deep:

To deeply love while being deeply loved is a peak experience.



Brook’s Defense:

Even the best defense will lose without a strong offense. One can never win with only a defense.



Brook’s Definite:

Definitive statements are almost always wrong or incomplete. The world is nuanced.



Brook’s Democracy:

Democracy should be democratized. We need more democracy, not less, and the burden of argument should be on those who say we shouldn’t. Only more democracy can save democracy. If democracy doesn’t mean rule of the people in a real sense, then it isn’t really democracy.



Brook’s Democratic Socialism:

With as much participation and empowerment in all sectors of society (including social, political, economic) as possible, all people should have all their needs met (including housing, food, water, clothing, education, healthcare, transportation, privacy, security) with civil and human rights and without discrimination or exclusion. As the Zapatistas say: everything for everybody, nothing for nobody.



Brook’s Dependence:

Anything that we’re dependent on restricts our freedom.



Brook’s Depth:

Those who listen hear deeper truths; those who observe see deeper truths; those who reflect think deeper truths; those who meditate realize deeper truths; those who serve and share experience deeper truths.



Brook’s Desert:

The desert only seems deserted to those ignorant of the desert. The more one knows about something, the more one can appreciate its charms.



Brook’s Desire:

All undesirable phenomena have some aspects that are desirable about them, otherwise complaints would simply be exits.



Brook’s Destination:

Perhaps the single destination of every journey is the heart. If we miss beauty and love on our way, we’re lost; if we find them, we’re found.



Brook’s Deterministic Free Will:

We are determined to a certain extent and have free will to a certain extent, combining these in different ways at different times depending on different circumstances and different personalities.



Brook’s Development:

Quantitative economic growth, which mimics cancer, is usually mistaken for qualitative social development, which is beneficial for people and planet, though the former is only a tool that sometimes works and often doesn’t, while the latter is the desire and goal of the overwhelming majority.



Brook’s Dialectic:

Theory always comes from past practice and should lead to revised and future practice; practice always comes from past theory and should lead to revised and future theory.



Brook’s Dialectics:

Everything in life — including life itself — is dialectical.



Brook’s Diamonds:

Fake diamonds are no less real than actual diamonds, they’re just not as diamondy.



Brook’s Diaspora:

We are all in exile — no matter where we live and regardless of whether we realize it — though some more than others.



Brook’s Dictum of Desire:

Those who surrender to appetite — not just with food, of course — are themselves consumed.



Brook’s Difficulty:

I’m not always anxious to do something that’s difficult, though I’m more often glad to have done it afterward. That, in itself, makes it worthwhile.


Brook’s Disappointment:

Those looking for disappointment are rarely disappointed in their quest. Disappointment only occurs when expectations are too high. Disappointments derive from unmet expectations, which is why it is best to maintain high hopes, but low expectations.



Brook’s Discount:

You can get a 100% discount on anything — simply by not buying it. Any thing at any price can be too expensive if you don’t need it, even more so if you don’t want it, even more so if it’s detrimental to you.



Brook’s Discussion:

It is at least as necessary to ask as to answer questions, to listen as well as to talk, to be alone as well as to be with others, to think as well as to act, to be as well as to do.



Brook’s Disrespect:

Most of the people who are very sensitive to being disrespected are often some of the most disrespectful people, both to themselves and others.



Brook’s Distortion:

Everything we view depends on distance and level of analysis. If we are either too close or too far, visually or analytically, there is distortion. We are almost always too close or too far.



Brook’s Distraction:

Distractions are



Brook’s Distribution:

Distribution is the political economic crux and is the critical link between production and consumption.



Brook’s Do:

We are able to do what we do because others before us did what they did.



Brook’s Doctor:

Whoever or whatever our patient is, like any good doctor, we should examine the patient, diagnose the problems, and prescribe the remedies, taking the smart risks that are necessary. When that works, we should reflect and learn from it, so we can repeat our success; when it doesn’t work, we should reflect and learn from it, so we can avoid those failures.



Brook’s Doing:

What we don’t do is as important as what we do and, therefore, not doing is an important form of doing.



Brook’s Domestication:

Culture and socialization — including family, friends, corporations, institutions, celebrities, media, schools, teachers, coaches, clergy, neighbors, classmates, co-congregationalists, peers, norms — domesticate us, transforming animalistic biological homo sapiens into social human beings. For better and worse, we are less wild than we were or could be.



Brook’s Dots:

Dots don’t connect themselves. It is up to us to make the connections, draw the lines, construct the images, chart the courses of action.



Brook’s Doubt:

Doubt is much more fertile than certainty.



Brook’s Dream:

Dreams are as real as anything else; if they weren’t real, they wouldn’t exist.



Brook’s Dreams:

My dreams are my other lives within this life. Asleep or awake, I dream every chance I get and therefore live more fully.



Brook’s Drop in the Bucket:

When you worry that your efforts will only be a drop in the bucket, remember that the bucket is only filled up with drops.



Brook’s Duality Paradox:

We are all separate individuals, yet we are also all one.



Brook’s Duck:

Just because it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, that doesn’t mean it’s a duck. It could be someone else dressed in a duck suit.



Brook’s Dump:

Dump the things you don’t need and you’ll find that you have more of the things that you do need.



Brook’s Dunning-Kruger:

While people may tend to overestimate their actual knowledge, skills, and abilities, they tend to underestimate their potential.



Brook’s Durkheim:

Most people follow most of the norms most of the time, yet deviance from the norms always exists and is itself therefore normal. Abnormalcy is universal. Deviance can be personally dangerous or rewarding, as it can also lead to social control, social repression, and/or social change.



Brook’s E=mc²:

Anything can be potentially transformed into anything else.



Brook’s Earth:

With sky above and earth below, we’re all Earthlings who share the same home.



Brook’s Eco:

When we shift from ego to eco, we go from only one to complete oneness, from unique to universal.



Brook’s Ecocide:

Ecocide is a form of homicide and then genocide and geocide, which turns out to be a form of suicide. When we destroy the environment, we destroy other beings, other species, our home, and eventually destroy ourselves.



Brook’s Eco-Eating:

If we eat what’s best for our environment, we will also be eating what’s best for our health, what’s best for the animals, and what’s best for the future.



Brook’s Ecology:

Everything is, in some way, connected to everything else.



Brook’s Economics:

Like all tools, economies should serve people, rather than people being forced to serve it. If it’s useful, keep it; if it’s broken, fix it; if it’s too destructive, discard it; if it can’t do the job, replace it.



Brook’s Ecosystem:

The environment can thrive without humans, while humans cannot survive without the rest of the environment.



Brook’s Education:

Schools and classes, tests and quizzes, books and magazines, facts and opinions, and much else may come and go, but education is a life-long endeavor. Never let a school graduation be the end of your education. One doesn’t receive an education as much as one seizes, wrestles, discovers, and earns it. Learning is yearning, turning, burning, and earning.



Brook’s Effect:

Everything is affected by everything else and everything affects everything else in its own way.



Brook’s Efficiency:

All processes are efficient for some ends and not for others, efficient for some people and not for others, efficient for some times and not others.



Brook’s Effort:

People should be rewarded for substantial effort, not just for winning and certainly not simply for being there.



Brook’s Ego Boost:

If one feels the need for an ego boost — a questionable pursuit — it’s better to achieve it internally via self-esteem, self-compassion, and good feelings about oneself than through the capricious and dependent external path relying on others’ words and deeds.



Brook’s Eisenhower:

All isms eventually become wasms.



Brook’s Either/Or:

Either/or dichotomies are often false ones, even if better than neither/nor ones. We can embrace, or at least imagine, both/and/other/oneness experiences.



Brook’s Elements:

Fire and water can kill as well as sustain, create as well as destroy, just as they can induce excitement as well as fear.


Brook’s Elephant:

Aspire to be strong yet careful, wise yet playful, wild yet civil, self-preservationist yet altruistic, voracious yet discerning, independent yet social, powerful yet respectful.



Brook’s Emotions:

Emotions can be related to, but are ultimately independent from, external and objective phenomena. Emotions are personal, subjective, and chosen.



Brook’s Empire:

All empires — currently the U.S., Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, and others — have within them all the modes of production and ways of being: communitarianism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism; religiosity, apatheism, and secularism; backwardness, modernism, and postmodernism; past, present, and future.



Brook’s End:

Death isn’t scary; killers are.



Brook’s End Time:

People have probably been predicting the end time since the beginning of it.



Brook’s End of the World:

It’s not “the end of the world” unless it’s actually the end of the world.



Brook’s End Times:

Prophesies of end times — regardless of whether the millennialism is apocalyptic or utopian, religious or secular, progressive or regressive — are always anti-intellectual.



Brook’s Endurance:

The shorter and more recognizably finite something is, the easier it is to endure.


Brook’s Enemy:

It is always better to convert an enemy from a foe to a friend than to conquer one or be conquered.



Brook’s English:

No one knows the entire English language, therefore in some sense no one person knows English, yet we all know it together. Likewise with much else, as we all share a portion of the commonwealth.



Brook’s Enlightenment:

Deep insight can lead to awakening; staying awakened is enlightenment. The former is fairly common; the latter is exceedingly rare.



Brook’s Enloe:

Politics is always present, even when it seems absent.



Brook’s Enso:

A circle, zero, pregnant belly, tea mug, and this world contain both nothing and everything.



Brook’s Enthymeme:

When people try to make stronger arguments rather than simply try to win arguments, we are more likely to get solutions instead of more problems.



Brook’s Entrepreneur:

Entrepreneurs — whether economic, political, religious, or otherwise — try to sell us something, regardless of whether we need or want it, using whatever tricks they can and whatever stories they have, creating a clear conflict of interest.



Brook’s Epitaph:

Let my love, parenting, teaching, writing, poetry, photography, activism, hope, and optimism speak for me. Carry on with goodness!



Brook’s Equality:

All people may be created equal, but it seems to end immediately after that.



Brook’s Equanimity:

Worrying is not planning, neither providing comfort nor aid, and is not unproductive, but rather counterproductive. Worrying is meditating on what you fear. Take the tasks as they arrive.



Brook’s Error 404:

Just because something can’t be found doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If it’s important to you, keep searching.



Brook’s Errors:

All errors contain truths not yet realized.



Brook’s Ethics:

We should take any and all of our ethical lessons and extrapolate them to as many forms of exclusion, discrimination, domination, hatred, exploitation, and violence as possible, so as to minimize suffering and maximize our inclusion, compassion, love, peace, and justice.



Brook’s Event-Process:

All people, events, and processes co-exist in relation to all other people, events, and processes. Nothing simply ‘just happens’, but rather happens in relation to other people, other things, and earlier times.



Brook’s Everything:

Within nothing is the potential for everything.



Brook’s Ex:

Every ex — friend, lover, job, school, hometown — is a mix of memories, many of them partially remembered and misfiled, others constructed and reconstructed.



Brook’s Example:

Living as an example is not enough. One should be more active with one’s example — teach, write, speak out, donate, mentor, march, share, etc. A flaming candle is much more powerful than an unlit one and even an unlit one in its holder is more powerful than a candle stored away in a drawer.



Brook’s Exception:

Exceptions don’t prove rules, they only prove that rules have exceptions.



Brook’s Exile:

Whenever we are lonely, afraid, anxious, depressed, oppressed, marginalized, or otherized, we are in exile, wherever we are; whenever we are at peace, in love, giving or receiving kindness, or full of joy, we are at home, wherever we are.



Brook’s Existence:

Post-death will feel like pre-birth — though perhaps differently to the survivors.



Brook’s Exodus:

We’re always simultaneously in Eden, Exile, Egypt, Sinai, and the Promised Land, simultaneously in paradise, diaspora, slavery, revelation and transition, and liberation.



Brook’s Experience:

People can and should learn from both positive and negative, as well as neutral, experiences and examples. Anti-role models are as instructive and useful as positive and constructive role models. Everything can teach us, especially if we’re willing to learn.



Brook’s Experiences:

All experiences can be experienced in an infinite number of ways.



Brook’s Experiment:

There’s no such thing as a failed experiment. All results, whether positive or negative, expected or unexpected, can lead to discovery and more knowledge. The only failed experiment is the one we don’t learn from, but that wouldn’t be the fault of the experiment; the fault would lie with us.



Brook’s Experiments:

Life is a series of experiments and life itself is a big experiment for all of us.



Brook’s Exploitation:

Exploitation derives from hierarchical devalued dynamics instead of horizontal personal relationships.



Brook’s Extraordinary:

The extraordinary can always be found in the ordinary and the ordinary can always be found in the extraordinary. As always, it’s a matter of perspective and attitude.



Brook’s Extremes:

Too much or too little light inhibits seeing; too much or too little sound inhibits hearing; too much or too little thought inhibits thinking.



Brook’s Fact:

Facts come and go — whether by changing or by forgetting — but good ideas, modes of analysis, and ways of thinking can last lifetimes.



Brook’s Failure:

A good failure is a great pre-success.



Brook’s Failures:

We explain failures much more often, easily, and better than successes.



Brook’s Fairy Tales:

If you want your children to be intelligent, teach them to critically analyze fairy tales — whether cultural, commercial, religious, political, economic, or otherwise — including the ones we tell ourselves.



Brook’s Faith:

Teaching, as well as writing, is a faith-based endeavor, because we might occasionally get to witness or hear of amazing outcomes, but most of the time we never see the effects of the butterfly’s flapping. Sometimes we don’t even see the butterfly at all. But no matter; it flaps nevertheless!



Brook’s Falling:

If you don’t fall in love with someone or something every day — or even more often than that — you’re not fully alive. There’s no wrong way to fall in love and no wrong reason to love someone.



Brook’s Falsity:

Adding to the truth has the same result as subtracting from the truth.



Brook’s Family:

My family lives by socialism, not capitalism; we share our resources, contribute what we have, take what we need, and make decisions collectively and fairly for our mutual benefit. No one of us would ever be homeless if we had a home; no one of us would ever be hungry if we had food; no one of us would ever be lonely if we were together.



Brook’s Fast Food:

Fast food is junk food and junk food isn’t really food at all; it doesn’t improve the body and mind, it degrades it. Certain whole foods — such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds — are the original and best fast foods. One could eat them anytime and thrive!



Brook’s Fear:

Boo! Fear is a great motivator as well as a great inhibitor. In response to fear, balancing fight, flight, finagle, and freeze allows us not only to survive, but to thrive. Better to live one’s hopes rather than one’s fears.



Brook’s Fears:

The fear of fear can be the greatest fear of all; the fear of pain can be the worst pain. All fears are, in some sense, a fear of the unknown. If we make peace with the unknown, we make peace with ourselves and the universe.



Brook’s Feel:

Too many people would rather feel better about what they do than actually do good.



Brook’s Feeling:

No one can shame, guilt, embarrass, or humiliate you — it’s about how you feel, not what someone else says or does — therefore, only you can shame, guilt, embarrass, or humiliate yourself.



Brook’s Ferlinghetti of the Mind:

Keep as open a mind as possible to allow in all information, perspectives, wonder, and joy, but not so open that your good sense falls out.



Brook’s Fiction:

Given people’s memories, perceptions, selection biases, sense of self, cognitive distortions, and more, even non-fiction is fiction. All writing is fiction — it’s simply a matter of what type of fiction.



Brook’s Find:

We sometimes find ourselves by losing ourselves.


Brook’s First:

All chickens come from eggs, yet not all eggs come from chickens, therefore the egg came first. Not all unsolvable problems are unsolvable.



Brook’s Fish:

Simply because we don’t see fish cry doesn’t mean they don’t. Out of sight shouldn’t always mean out of mind, even though we can’t consider all things at all times.



Brook’s Flaw:

The only real flaw is to only notice a flaw.



Brook’s Flow:

We can be in flow, being our best — which often brings learning, success, meaning, satisfaction, and happiness — when we find the sweet spot between inhale and exhale, past and future, reminiscence and anticipation, laziness and fanaticism, fear and greed, hubris and nemesis, boredom and frazzle, competition and cooperation, knowing too little and knowing too much, challenge and ability, heaven and hell, birthing and dying.



Brook’s Flower:

When a flower doesn’t bloom, we don’t blame the flower; we assess light, water, soil, temperature, nutrients, care, chemicals, competitors, predators, environment, and ecology. This too often doesn’t happen when people fail to bloom.



Brook’s Flux:

Everything in the social world is constantly constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed — from personal thoughts to the global political economy.



Brook’s Focus:

Too much complaining creates negativity; too little complaining accepts negativity. Complaining focuses on what’s negative or absent; gratitude focuses on what’s positive or present. Finding the proper balance is the key to a good life.



Brook’s FOMO:

Those who have a fear of missing out are missing out.



Brook’s Food:

Food is personal, political, social, economic, cultural, agricultural, delicious, joyful, satisfying, nourishing, existential, and shouldn’t be unjust or ecocidal. If what you eat doesn’t actively help your mind, body, and spirit thrive, you’re not eating food.



Brook’s Fool:

We are each our own biggest fool, as we are the ones we fool the most, with the most serious consequences.



Brook’s Forest:

The more we think like a forest — rather than a tree, a logger, or a logging company — the better.



Brook’s Forest for the Trees:

While focusing on a tree, we cannot forget the forest; while protecting an individual animal, we have to concern ourselves with the species; while considering a species, we should situate it in its ecosystem; while treating a symptom, we have to address and cure the disease.



Brook’s Forever:

Nothing is forever, nothing is invulnerable, no one is irreplaceable, no one or no thing is perfect, even if they occasionally seem so and can last for a long time.



Brook’s Forgiveness:

To offer forgiveness can be compassionate and therapeutic; to request forgiveness can be selfish and cruel. Forgiving is more foe-giving than forgetting, giving away the past foes to one’s happiness, even if we remember them.



Brook’s Fork:

We shouldn’t protect or emphasize certain things in our lives to the fatal detriment of important others.



Brook’s Free Lunch:

Few things taste better than proving an economist wrong.



Brook’s Freedom:

The highest level of freedom is being able to free others.



Brook’s Free Will:

Some people have no choice but to believe in free will.



Brook’s Freud:

Sometimes an aphorism is just an aphorism.



Brook’s Friends:

Friends are the parts of yourself that you didn’t know you had.



Brook’s Friendship:

If you fear jeopardizing a friendship by saying something, something is wrong with that friendship.



Brook’s Frontier:

There are always new frontiers, whether physical, philosophical, artistic, or otherwise.



Brook’s Frost:

Regardless of which path one takes, and whether it is more or less traveled, will make a difference, sometimes a huge one, though sometimes a small one, but one can change one’s path, choose or create a different path, or create a new experience of the same path with mindfulness and without regret or longing. And that will make all the difference!



Brook’s Fruit:

There are many ways to be fruitful and to multiply, the least of which may be biological.



Brook’s Functional Equivalence:

Seemingly different things can be functionally equivalent. Racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and others each manifest differently and have different targets and consequences, yet they involve the same basic social dynamics — group othering, ostracism, oppression, and so on — and are therefore functionally equivalent. Likewise with certain complex organizations that are functionally equivalent such as schools, corporations, religious institutions, hospitals, militaries, mental institutions, etc. that all employ authority, hierarchy, rules, regulations, surveillance, rewards, and punishments. Despite their obvious differences, there are functional equivalencies. Same with languages and various other phenomena.



Brook’s Future:

We will undoubtedly achieve certain insights, rights, and privileges, just as we will with technologies, systems, and processes, as well as musical genres and art forms, that we presently don’t desire or imagine.



Brook’s Fuzzy:

There’s a vast landscape between on and off, yes and no, here and there, empty and full. Everything is on a variety of continua.



Brook’s Game:

The more one combines work and play, necessity and hobby, chores and fun, the more one enjoys life.


Brook’s Games:

Games are for playing, enjoying, socializing, connecting, learning, and imagining, not simply for winning and losing.



Brook’s Gap:

Where we recognize a gap, we need to step back, fill it, jump over it, or build a bridge.



Brook’s Garden:

Food picked from one’s tended garden tends to taste best.



Brook’s Geertz:

Culture guides action. Everyone thinks, speaks, feels, views, creates, enjoys, works, eats, behaves, resists, protests, interprets, loves, learns, rears, sleeps, dreams, fights, produces, consumes, develops, exists, and dies in a cultural context.



Brook’s Getting Lost:

We are increasingly losing the ability to get lost and the consequential loss is incalculable.



Brook’s Gift:

Whenever someone gives a gift to us — whether physical, social, emotional, or otherwise — we should give a gift to them — our gratitude in the form of thanks.



Brook’s Give-and-Take:

We need to both give and take, but it generally feels better to give than to take, so much so that the giving sometimes can feel like a taking.



Brook’s Give:

Giving is good, kind, healthy, supportive, and loving, and is itself a form of receiving, yet the only thing we shouldn’t give is up, even when it’s necessary or desirable to let go.



Brook’s Glass:

While some see glasses as half empty and others as half full, I almost always see glasses overflowing with potential.



Brook’s Global Weirding:

With all the hot and cold, drought and floods, fires and famines, ocean acidification and jet stream shifts, threatened species and spreading diseases, as well as other extreme events that constitute global weirding, we need to re-heavenize our beautiful but increasingly hellish planet through sustainable living (i.e., an array of clean renewable energies, plant-based eating, massive reforestation, conservation of resources, increased efficiency, decreased consumption, etc.).



Brook’s God:

If God were a Dog, cats would be sinners and we would have a Bible of woof, woof, woof.



Brook’s Godliness:

If a person claims to be a god or a messiah, they are neither those nor a good person; they are, instead, either insane or a religious entrepreneur looking to make profit from claiming to be a prophet.



Brook’s Goldilocks:

If one has too little of something, it’s often better to have more; if one has too much of something, it’s often better to have less; if one has just the right amount, it’s always better to realize it and be grateful.



Brook’s Goldstone:

Make it new enough to be fascinating, yet not so new as to be incomprehensible.



Brook’s Good:

Not doing bad is not doing good; only doing good is doing good.



Brook’s Good Luck:

We cannot live without good luck, yet we cannot succeed or survive by counting on it.



Brook’s Government:

A complex society without a government is like a complex living being without a brain and a healthy government is as necessary for a successful society as a healthy brain is necessary for a successful person.



Brook’s Graeber:

The capacity to surprise both oneself and others is what creates innovations, history, humor, and humanity.



Brook’s Grass:

The grass may be greener on the other side, though just as often it isn’t. The grass is always greener, however, where it’s taken the best care of. In any event, it’s still just grass.



Brook’s Gratitude:

Receiving things with gratitude is always better than taking things for granted.



Brook’s Great:

Never let your aches and pains — whether mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual — get in the way of your greatness.



Brook’s Great Mind:

Great minds are great precisely because they do not think alike. Groupthink is never intellectually great.



Brook’s Greater Good:

Too often when someone speaks of the greater good, they wind up pursuing a lesser evil, ignoring that the lesser of evils is still, by definition, evil.



Brook’s Greatness:

Greatness rarely comes in small, uniform, preset steps. It comes, but not nearly always, from hops, skips, and jumps, from leaps of imagination and unusual connections, from experiments combining old and new, from serendipitous sojourns outside the ordinary.



Brook’s Guarantee:

The only guarantees in life are that there are no guarantees in life.



Brook’s Guilt:

Guilt is a destructive emotion. If you can channel the guilt into positive action, it can be worthwhile; if not, it’s simply toxic.



Brook’s Guinea Pig:

Even guinea pigs shouldn’t be treated like guinea pigs. All living beings deserve respect and support, at an absolute minimum not torturing or killing them.



Brook’s Gun:

There is no right side of a gun (or any other weapon). Although not nearly in the same way, both perpetrators and victims lose when it comes to violence.



Brook’s Habit:

Any behavior could become a habit and everything thing we habitually do is a bundle of costs and benefits.



Brook’s Hack:

There’s (almost) always a better way; one simply has to find it.


Brook’s Haiku:

A haiku is a very short and portable evocative poem that captures a moment of awareness. It is a poetic snapshot; nothing more, nothing less.


watching in silence

a falling cherry blossom

could be my haiku



Brook’s Half:

Two halves can make a whole, though they often make something wholly new and different, even while resembling the old.



Brook’s Handout:

What some call handouts, others might call civilization. I like the ideas of public education and public parks, public libraries and public community centers, public beaches and public forests, public playgrounds and public hiking trails, public health and public safety, public roads and public transportation, police and fire departments, public hospitals and public housing, all taken care of by the government. I would like to see more people working, more people housed, more people educated, more people healed, more people fed, more people protected, and more people having leisure time to pursue their interests. I like government safety, health, and environmental standards and want them strengthened. I like public roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, levees, airports, water and electrical systems, all built and maintained by the government. I like minimum wages, maximum hours, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, WIC, Head Start, welfare, Americorps and the Peace Corps, all created, done, and ensured by the government. I also like that we have government scientists and government researchers in a variety of fields, including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, epidemiology, medicine, botany, paleontology, archeology, and others, as well as government computer scientists, government engineers, government social workers, government judges, and government lawyers as prosecutors and defenders. We also have a government military and government veterans’ affairs department with all sorts of services done by government doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, mechanics, office workers, soldiers, therapists, secretaries, janitors, and so on. I would also like to see universal healthcare, universal education from preschool through graduate school, universal housing, universal food, universal basic income, more government inspectors for health, safety, fraud, false advertising, imports and exports, taxes, the environment, and so on. Some more government art, music, and entertainment would be nice, too. If those are handouts, keep handing them out! I’m willing to pay to live in a more civilized society.



Brook’s Happening:

Thinking that something in the social world is either inevitable or impossible is equally misguided. Things happen when people, opportunities, conditions, and resources make them happen.



Brook’s Happiness:

Pursuing a path of meaning is much more likely to achieve happiness than the pursuit of happiness itself.



Brook’s Happy:

If you only seek various stimuli for yourself to feel happy, you will never be happy. Feeling happy, while good, is momentary and ephemeral; being happy, which is better, is a long-term perspective.



Brook’s Have:

In the U.S., we have the party of the haves and have-more and the party of the haves and have-less. Neither major party represents the have-nots.



Brook’s Healthy Eating:

The benefits of eating healthy are substantially greater than most people generally realize: much improved personal health, spiritual health, community health, public health, animal health, and environmental health. It’s hard to do something that has as much direct and positive impact on so many levels as healthy eating.



Brook’s Heart:

The best stories are often both heart breaking and heart warming.



Brook’s Heart’s Desire:

When you search for your heart’s desire, it’s best not to look around, but to look within.



Brook’s Hell:

Those who say some are going to hell are the ones who create hell for themselves and others.



Brook’s Here:

Those who say something can only happen here usually are too ignorant of there.



Brook’s Hero:

Anyone who goes above and beyond, selflessly risking or sacrificing for others without any thought of reward, is my hero.



Brook’s Highlight:

Life is about emphasizing some things and de-emphasizing others.



Brook’s Hindsight:

Although hindsight might generally be better than foresight, it is very rarely 20/20.



Brook’s Historiographies:

Actual events of history don’t change, however what we know about them, what we remember, and how we interpret and imagine them changes.



Brook’s Historiography:

Writing history is an exercise in constructing, not recording, pieces of past social reality; just as making maps is an exercise in constructing, not reproducing, the world.



Brook’s History:

History — since the Big Bang — is not only past events, but is an unfolding present chronically informing the future. History is only useful if we make it so, otherwise it’s just dead.



Brook’s Hofstadter:

Tasks typically take more time than we expect, even when we expect them to take longer than we expect.



Brook’s Hole:

It’s easier to dig yourself into a hole than out of one.



Brook’s Holiness:

Whatever we respect as holy — time, place, person, process, thing, relationship, being, concept — is holy; whatever we revile as profane is profane.



Brook’s Holism:

Thinking without doing is virtually useless; doing without thinking is mindless and could be dangerous. To be most effective, personally and socially, we need to cyclically combine thinking and doing, theory and practice.



Brook’s Holistic Health:

Meat and tobacco are two of the most deadly — for people as well as animals — and most unnecessary things we consume. Eliminating both meat and tobacco would greatly reduce heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, suffering, death, healthcare costs, lost productivity, cruelty, air and water pollution, deforestation, environmental destruction, species extinction, and global warming.



Brook’s Holy Books:

So-called holy books — bibles, qurans, sutras, and the like — are no more holy than many other books. Anything beautiful, powerful, uplifting, or useful can be holy.



Brook’s Home:

Especially if you’re satisfied, anywhere you are can be home.



Brook’s Honesty:

A certain amount of honesty is vital. Too little creates distrust; too much creates resentment.



Brook’s Hope:

All good things start with hope and a little hope can provide a lot of emotional sustenance.



Brook’s Human:

Our bodies are mostly water, though even of the non-water parts of our body there are more non-human cells than human ones. At our most basic level, we’re not exactly who we claim to be and should therefore be humble about who and what we are.



Brook’s Human Beings:

Human beings are one of my favorite species, and can be quite loveable, but are also one of the most frustrating and disappointing species, creating a strong love-hate relationship with my fellow homo sapiens.



Brook’s Human Nature:

Human nature is little more than typical human behavior at a given time in a given place. We are less biologically, genetically, or psychologically pre-determined than we are socially and environmentally capable.



Brook’s Human Resource:

The ultimate renewable human resource is imagination.



Brook’s Humanitarianism:

If humanitarianism means anything, it has to mean the guaranteed satisfaction of all basic needs — including food, water, clothing, housing, education, medical care, security, and privacy — to all humans without exception.



Brook’s Humanity:

When we ignore or suppress our humanity, that intangible thing that is what’s best about us, it is not only the ‘other’, but also ourselves, who become dehumanized and impoverished.



Brook’s Humankind:

Humankind should be kind to humankind.



Brook’s Humor:

While humor can be simply for the entertainment of oneself and others, it is often also employed to soften or disguise the delivery of uncomfortable speech, beliefs, information, or action.



Brook’s Hundredth Monkey:

When enough of us do something, most of the rest of us will do it, too, even if not identically.



Brook’s Hyperbole:

This is the best this and that is the best that ever!



Brook’s Hypocrisy:

We’re all hypocrites, life is inherently paradoxical, perfection is impossible, and consistency is an illusion.



Brook’s Hysteria:

Fight political hysteria with historical context.



Brook’s Idea:

Even a bad or weak idea is often stronger and more appealing than no idea.



Brook’s Idealism:

Idealism is the best realism.



Brook’s Identity:

Just because one has a certain identity doesn’t mean one has to identify with it.



Brook’s Ideological Divide:

The Right often speaks for those who feel like they have lost something, while the Left often speaks for those who feel like they have something to gain.



Brook’s Ideology:

Ideologies are overly simplistic yet seemingly holistic explanations for very complex and widely disparate phenomena. Ideologies serve to dignify discontent and identify targets, as well as to unite people and ideas for a common purpose.



Brook’s Ignorance:

Transcending one’s ignorance by saying “I don’t know” and wanting to find out is what propels individuals and civilizations from darkness into light.



Brook’s Ignorant:

Those of us who are ignorant of our own ignorance are the most ignorant. To a varying extent, we’re all in this category.



Brook’s Illusion:

It’s OK to maintain illusions, but it’s better to recognize them as such. Illusions often lead to disillusion.



Brook’s Imagination:

Nothing is more powerful than imagination.


Brook’s Impossibility:

Everything in the world that’s ever been done, didn’t have to be done at all or could have been done another way; in fact, in an infinite number of other ways. History is littered with fearful protectors of the status quo, those nasty naysayers who poo-poo every new idea, ridiculously ridicule every invention, foolishly mock every innovation, and continue to deny that certain things are possible. Or even already exist. Over and over again, they repeat “it’ll never happen”, “it can’t be done”, “it won’t make a difference”, “one person won’t have any effect”, “the world doesn’t work that way”, “there’s no proof”, “you can’t fight City Hall”, “don’t rock the boat”, “it’s unnatural”, “it’s against God’s will”, “at least not in my lifetime”, “be realistic”, “don’t be utopian”, and simply that “it’s impossible”. Reality often disagrees.



Brook’s Impressions:

Last impressions are no less important than first impressions.



Brook’s Independent:

Liberals are too often too liberal with their liberalism, while conservatives too often conserve their version of conservatism.



Brook’s Individual:

When we encounter any individual, we know that they have a long life story, itself composed of a great many stories, embedded in a complex social network of many other people’s long life stories.



Brook’s Individualism:

Individualism is the social myth we believe in when we claim to be acting alone.



Brook’s Individuality:

No one is indispensable, but not everyone is replaceable.



Brook’s Inertia:

Success is much more likely to breed success than is failure; privilege is much more likely to lead to privilege than is deprivation; power is much more likely to garner more power than is powerlessness.



Brook’s Infinit:

Some things are so big or so numerous as to be effectively infinite; some things so small or so few as to be effectively infinitesimal.



Brook’s Infinite:

There are an infinite number of ways to experience joy, hope, miracles, meaning, community, love, infinity — the divine, however you define it — for each person, everyday!



Brook’s Infinity:

Infinity is a concept, not a number. Either way, it’s a really big deal.



Brook’s Inflation:

There is way too much inflation in society — CEO salaries, millionaires and billionaires, debt, financial volatility, grades, tuition, imprisonment, food and drink portions, house sizes, consumption, gambling losses, expectations, exclamation marks (!), language, descriptions, superlatives, speed, risky behavior, narcissism, and so on — which doesn’t bode well for a healthy and sustainable human-scaled society.



Brook’s Influence:

We all influence each other in all sorts of ways, small and great, known and unknown — emotionally, behaviorally, spiritually, socially, culturally, politically, linguistically, conceptually, gravitationally, electromagnetically, and so on. There is no escape from this reality.



Brook’s Info:

Although it does both, info is more likely to liberate than to enslave. Spread it!


Brook’s Information:

Information and knowledge are little more than trivia if it is not, at some point, transformed into wisdom and action.



Brook’s Injustice:

Justice is much cheaper, fairer, healthier, and much more efficient, stable, productive, civilized, sustainable, and satisfying than injustice.



Brook’s Ink:

Writing belongs part to the author, but then mostly to the readers.



Brook’s Insanity:

In this crazy world, some of the craziest people are those who are perfectly sane.



Brook’s Insight:

You often get more when you give than when you receive; more from what you want than what you acquire; more than you give when you’re generous; and more than you give when you’re open and inclusive, rather than closed and exclusive.



Brook’s Inspiration:

Recognizing what inspires you, being grateful for it, and modeling it for others is vital for success and happiness. It is most inspiring when you inspire others to inspire others.



Brook’s Intel:

Humans are smart enough to create amazing technologies, but not smart enough to not pursue technologies that kill us and might eradicate us. That’s the ignorance, arrogance, and stupidity of intelligence.



Brook’s Intellectual:

Intellectuals are those who think thoughtfully and systematically, thinking and explaining about a wide range of issues and by doing so help create and civilize our world. (Not to mention, we literally wouldn’t be writing or reading this without intellectuals.)



Brook’s Intelligence:

There are multiple forms of intelligence — as well as multiple reasons to be intelligent, therefore individuals, groups, and species will not necessarily seem intelligent when compared to another on its own terms.



Brook’s Interest:

Those who easily get bored are more likely to be boring. There is an infinite amount of amazing things in the world as well as an infinite amount of amazing things in the mind to pique one’s interest.



Brook’s Interruption:

The fear of interruption is itself an interruption, just as the fear of pain is itself painful.



Brook’s Invironment:

The primary environment is inside of us.



Brook’s Jealousy:

Jealousy is merely a lousy symptom of insecurity.



Brook’s Joy:

There’s nothing wrong with a little rejoicing, even a lot, when you can.



Brook’s Journey:

It’s important to not forget about life while you’re living it, to not forget to savor the journey as you take the steps and navigate the way, to remember that the path is greater than the destination.



Brook’s Jung:

Look outside and dream; look inside and awaken.



Brook’s Just War:

There are no just wars, even if some are (only rarely) necessary. All wars involve many massive injustices and massive injustices lead to much suffering and many wars.



Brook’s Judgment:

Normal, natural, and necessary, being judgmental is part of being human, indeed the essence of being alive, and those who say “don’t be judgmental” are themselves being judgmental and therefore also hypocritical, just like the rest of us. We cannot survive without being judgmental, categorizing some things as good or bad, delicious or disgusting, beautiful or ugly, safe or dangerous, and so on.



Brook’s Junk:

Junk food is essentially junk masquerading as food; junk science is essentially junk masquerading as science. Likewise with junk ideas and junk products generally.



Brook’s Justice:

If it is just, I am for it; if it is unjust, I am against it.



Brook’s Karma:

When we hate or hurt others, we also hate and hurt ourselves; when we love or heal others, we also love and heal ourselves.



Brook’s Key:

The same key that opens one door can open or close others — happiness as well as sadness, friendship as well as loneliness, wealth as well as poverty, excitement as well as fear, knowledge as well as ignorance, success as well as failure.



Brook’s Kierkegaard:

Worry is the present perception of a future problem, whether an actual problem or not, that the mind imagines, yet both the mind and body feel as actually happening in the moment. Worry is neither planning nor solving; it is anxious distress.



Brook’s Knowing:

Never feel stupid for not knowing something — nobody knows everything, not even close — just keep learning!



Brook’s Knowledge:

If you think you know everything about something, you know little about yourself and less about the world.



Brook’s Lakoff:

Names, labels, language, symbols, metaphors, culture, and beliefs shape reality. What we think about something, how we conceptualize it, what we call it, what we compare it to, how we frame it, and how we describe it are powerful influences on how it is viewed, interpreted, understood, treated, and valued by ourselves and others



Brook’s Landscape:

The beauty of landscapes derive from mindscapes.



Brook’s Language:

What we say, and how we say it, matters. The words we choose and use create pictures and construct realities, for ourselves and others. Words matter and they can live and travel far beyond us.



Brook’s Larder:

Especially when it comes to their own health and environmental impacts, the fat are often fatuous.



Brook’s Late:

If you are still able to do something, it is not too late to do it, even if it could have or should have been done earlier.



Brook’s Laugh:

The world is inherently fun and funny, even if life isn’t necessarily so.



Brook’s Laughter:

More laughter is better than less; more joy is better than less.



Brook’s Law:

The stronger the argument, the weaker the response. (With a very strong argument, sometimes the response is so weak that it entails name calling, insults, cursing, and personal attacks or other distractions and diversions; many times it’s so weak that the “response” is silence.)



Brook’s Lead:

People are much more likely to do what those immediately before them have done.



Brook’s Leadership:

Effective leaders make the connections between smaller individual concerns and larger social problems explicit, thereby inspiring the socialization and mobilization of private energies for allegedly public purposes by constructing meaningful, and often transcendent, stories. If followers depend too much on their leaders, or if leaders are serving themselves more than the public good, then those leaders are misleading.



Brook’s Leap:

People don’t fall in love so much as leap; and if someone else leaps with them, they float together.



Brook’s Learning:

Everyone has things they can learn and everyone has things they can teach, both of which we should do life long.



Brook’s Leash:

Biology may have us on a leash, but sociology can shorten or lengthen that leash as well as what we do with it.



Brook’s Least:

Although we’re often informed what is not least — that is, whatever is last — we rarely hear what is the least.



Brook’s Left:

The Left is almost always more right than the Right.



Brook’s Legitimate Cheating:

We should avail ourselves of the many people, professionals, institutions, organizations, tools, ideas, information, examples, and resources available. Tap them. Everyone deserves the support they need to succeed.



Brook’s Leonard Roy Frank:

Living ethically is the highest happiness and best reward for oneself and others.



Brook’s Lessons:

Lessons are always there; the choice to learn them is always ours.



Brook’s Liberation Technologies:

Decentralization of power and expertise lead to increased empowerment and liberation.



Brook’s Libertarianism:

Prick a libertarian enough and they’ll eventually bleed government.


Brook’s Life:

When you’re being born, you’re being born, so when you’re living, live and when you’re dying, die.



Brook’s Life & Death:

Life may be as much an illusion as death, though, like reality itself, they are very widespread, durable, and persistent illusions.



Brook’s Lifecycle:

Death is a normal part of life. After death is just like before birth, except for the life that was lived and its consequences.



Brook’s Life Lesson:

Everything is a life lesson, if we take it as such.



Brook’s Life Path:

I like to have enough money to do the things I like to do, but I’ve almost always chosen the non-material over the material, experiences over things, location over career, happiness over money. If you can get the two to coincide, all the better!



Brook’s Lightning:

Things are more likely to happen where they’ve already happened before.



Brook’s Liminality:

There are all sorts of borders that we do and must cross, bringing us from one state — geographical, physical, emotional, social, cultural, educational, spiritual, or otherwise — to another. In the flux of border zones, some rules are lessened, while others may be more strictly enforced, as we are both here and there, yet neither here nor there, navigating and transitioning through the void, sometimes easily, sometimes roughly, from who we were to who we are to who we could be.



Brook’s Limit:

We can most easily transcend our limits when we are either most or least aware of them.



Brook’s Line:

They key to good writing — and good packing — is to include the essential and exclude the extraneous. The key to great writing — and great traveling — is also to be both timely and timeless.



Brook’s Listening:

If you can’t hear the music, you’re not listening carefully enough.



Brook’s Little:

Although every little thing counts, excessive focus on little things allows bigger things to continue unhindered.



Brook’s Living:

Acquire experiences and wisdom instead of commodities and junk, cut consumption and waste, save your money and invest your time, impress yourself more than others, spend time with those you care about and avoid those who are toxic, enjoy nature and the many other free gifts in this beautiful world, explore our world through reading, observing, listening, creating, traveling, and imagining, and be someone who makes you happy and who you’d want to meet and spend time with, because you will be spending all your time with that person.



Brook’s Living Paradox:

We are absolutely essential, yet also completely meaningless.



Brook’s Living Well:

When we live well, we are not the singer, we are the song; we are not the dancer, we are the dance; we are not the artist, we are the art. When we live well, we are whole.



Brook’s Logic:

All logics are logical one way and illogical other ways.



Brook’s Logical:

If we’re not eco-logical, we’re not really being logical at all.



Brook’s Long Middle:

Beginnings and endings are important, but overwhelmingly most things happen in the middle. When a person’s life is summarized by their birth and death dates, remember that the hyphen represents more than 99.9% of their life’s experiences and the most important things that a person believes and does.



Brook’s Look:

What you look for is what you are more likely to find.



Brook’s Loss:

If you try hard, yet lose, and feel badly about the loss, then you’re a loser. Trying hard is success itself.



Brook’s Love:

Those who believe that love doesn’t conquer all haven’t had or shared enough love. Without enough love, nothing else matters; with enough love, nothing else matters.



Brook’s Love Mirage:

If someone says they love you, but they don’t really know you, it’s not you they love.



Brook’s Luck:

Sometimes what seems like bad luck is later seen as good luck and what’s seen as good luck sometimes turns out to be bad luck. Many things are not what they seem to be from another perspective.


Brook’s Luftmensch:

The life of a luftmensch brings tsuris to others, but nachas to themselves.



Brook’s Mae West:

Some things are good even when they’re bad.



Brook’s Makeup:

Makeup is a form of pretend that people, especially women, put on their faces to hide themselves, their true selves, while looking more like what they think is expected of them, perhaps more like a mannequin. Makeup isn’t a beauty product; kindness, happiness, intelligence, and compassion are.



Brook’s Making:

One does not make love to someone, but rather with someone, if it’s really love, and sex is only one way to do so.



Brook’s Manifestation:

All sorts of goods and bads manifest in all sorts of micro, meso, and macro ways.



Brook’s Mark:

The marks and stains we leave behind are what determines whether our lives were worth living.



Brook’s Martyrdom:

Martyrdom is rarely as effective — and certainly not as enjoyable — as life-long activism.



Brook’s Maslow:

The hierarchy of needs is, in practice, more horizontal than vertical; needs and wants, work and play, nature and culture, satisfaction and status, and survival and pleasure typically exist together.


Brook’s Material:

If material isn’t presented well, it may not matter what that material is.



Brook’s Maximum:

Those who seek the maximum never get enough for themselves, yet always get too much from others.



Brook’s Maybe:

Every maybe could be a maybe yes as much as a maybe no, a perhaps or a perhaps not.



Brook’s Meaning:

There is no meaning of life, just meaning in life. The deepest meaning of life is that life is meaningless until you create meaning. Without meaning, nothing matters.



Brook’s Medicine:

Especially when you feel ill, drink more tea than you are thirsty for.



Brook’s Meditation:

Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. Be aware of your breathing, be aware of one thing, be aware of yourself, be aware of others, be aware of nothing, or be aware of everything.



Brook’s Memories:

There are multiple levels, layers, facets, and shapes of memory. Even what we remember is never completely remembered, while even what we forget is never completely forgotten. Additionally, we forget some things that happened and we remember some things that didn’t. Memories — whether real or perceived — are a complex combination of realism, narcissism, interpretation, and imagination.



Brook’s Memory:

Life is a delicate balance, and not often a conscious one, of remembering and forgetting, keeping and letting go, internalizing and externalizing, coming and going.



Brook’s Mensch:

If you’re not a mensch, why bother being a man?



Brook’s Mess:

Many people like when others help clean up social messes, but fewer like it when some try to prevent the messes from being made. It is important to do the former, but it is necessary to do the latter.



Brook’s Messiah:

No messiah will come at least until it is no longer necessary for a messiah to come. Waiting for a messiah will never produce one. We need to collectively produce the society that we would want the messiah to create.



Brook’s Metaphysics:

Science, spirituality, service, searching, socializing, love, longing, creativity, compassion, infinitude, infinitesimality, togetherness.



Brook’s Michelangelo:

When you’re editing a story, delete everything that is not the story and then the story emerges in perfect form.



Brook’s Micro-Meditation:

Micro-meditation is a short stint of meditation — from a few seconds to a few minutes. Just as one can get a lot of benefit from a short burst of exercise or a power nap, one can get immense benefit from micro-meditation.



Brook’s Micro-Suicide:

Every time we insult ourselves, nitpick, demean, doubt, put down, criticize, think badly about, or otherwise injure ourselves, we are committing micro-suicide.



Brook’s Middle:

We don’t really know if we’re in the middle — mid life, mid relationship, half way there, wherever there is — until we’re at the end.



Brook’s Middle Path:

I enjoy the world as I seek to protect and improve it, neither denying myself what I don’t want denied to others nor partaking of which I wouldn’t want others to partake.



Brook’s Million Years:

Anyone who says that they would have never imagined something “in a million years” has a serious failure of imagination. Look what we’ve imagined and accomplished in the last million years!



Brook’s Mind:

We are more likely to remember than forget; we are more likely to have a lot on our minds than nothing.



Brook’s Mind-Body Connection:

The mind and body can do nothing else but be connected. We don’t really have many disembodied minds or mindless bodies, even though it sometimes seems that way. We need to mind our bodies to maintain our embodied minds. Happy thoughts cause physical smiles, just as physical smiles cause happy thoughts, and both cause healthier and happier minds and bodies.



Brook’s Mindfulness:

Be mindful of mindfulness. Mindfulness is focused awareness on whatever is here and now, awareness of awareness itself, what the Chinese refer to as “presence of heart”. Techniques as varied as meditations, yoga, mantras, sayings, prayers, chanting, counting beads, whirling, swaying, dancing, exercise, concentration, determination, breathing, and others can all lead to mindfulness.


Brook’s Minority:

Minorities will know more about majorities than majorities know about minorities and, sometimes, even more than majorities will know about themselves.



Brook’s Minimum:

No one succeeds, let alone excels, by only doing the minimum. If you want to simply be above average, simply go beyond the minimum; if you want to be proud of yourself, impress others, and achieve levels of excellence and success, regularly go above and beyond, way past the minimum, exceeding expectations.



Brook’s Miracles:

Miracles are natural, both everywhere and everywhen, in the mundane as much as the extraordinary, and are either recognized or not. Tragically, too often they are either completely missed or dismissively rationalized and explained away. Almost as tragically, when they are recognized, they are typically credited to a supernatural force.



Brook’s Mistake:

Making good mistakes, and learning from them, is a path to excellence and, in that sense, no mistake at all.



Brook’s Misunderstanding:

Saying one understands is partial dishonesty; thinking one understands blocks better understanding; knowing one understands constitutes foolishness. We can never fully understand so much as we can estimate, approximate, extrapolate, analogize, or pretend.



Brook’s M.O.:

We all have the means, motives, and opportunities to commit conscious acts of kindness, love, peace, and justice.



Brook’s Mode of Production:

By capitalist standards, socialism fails; by socialist standards, capitalism fails.



Brook’s Moment:

Every moment is a singularity — often a secret one — and every moment is precious, even if often unrecognized as such.



Brook’s Moments:

Life is a continuous series of micro-moments and the more we notice and enjoy them, the happier we’ll be. When we create them for others, we’re likely to be even happier ourselves.



Brook’s Money:

If we don’t use our money well, then it is, at best, dead wood; at worst, money is more like poison that we continuously administer to ourselves.



Brook’s Monsters:

The monsters under our beds are the monsters in our heads.



Brook’s Morning:

One of the best ways to carpe diem is to carpe AM.



Brook’s Morrow:

If one is a single drop in the ocean, then one is the ocean.



Brook’s Mosquito:

Sometimes the littlest things can be the biggest annoyances.



Brook’s Motion:

Everything — which is connected to everything else — is always in motion and therefore always changing.


Brook’s Move:

You often learn more about offense from winning, but more about defense from losing.



Brook’s Mr. Rubin:

Those who are not precise with their language are less likely to get what they want.



Brook’s Muir:

If you examine anything long enough, you’ll eventually find it connected to everything else.



Brook’s Multilith:

Nothing is just one thing. Whether it’s a person, place, meal, river, social, political, economic system, or anything else, it’s not monolithic and each is a multiplicity of histories, possibilities, and actualities.



Brook’s Multiplicity:

People often say they want to hear both sides of a story, not realizing how narrow that is because there are always a multiplicity of sides to any story, issue, problem, or phenomenon.



Brook’s Multitasking:

Multitasking is a myth; we are swift-switching monotaskers and monotasking is difficult enough.



Brook’s Muse:

Anything and everything can be inspiring, interesting, and beautiful, if we are open to it.



Brook’s Music:

There’s no bad way to play music if it sounds good. Good music creates happy hearts in players and listeners alike. Bad music is a contradiction, because if it doesn’t sound good, it’s not really music.



Brook’s Musical Notes:

There’s no music without the silence between the notes.



Brook’s Mystery:

Not all mysteries need to be explained or solved — or even can be — yet we can luxuriate in the beauty, depth, wonder, and awe of them.



Brook’s Narcissism:

Even if it’s all about me, me, me, which of course it is, it still has to be about us.



Brook’s Nature:

Humans need the rest of nature infinitely more than the rest of nature needs humans. Instead of being apart from nature, and even worse above nature, we have to recognize our integral part of nature — as we all are. Ideally, we have to be nature.



Brook’s Nazism:

Arising during the Great Depression, capitalists were the first to support the Nazis, while communists were the first to oppose this fascist evil.



Brook’s New:

Every advocacy of new ideas draws out conservative defenders of old ideas that were once new.



Brook’s News:News:

No news isn’t good news, it’s no news; likewise, ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s ignorance. It’s better to know, so we can take effective action.



Brook’s Niceness

It’s nice to be nice to yourself, even nicer to be nice to the nice, and most difficult to be nice to the mean.



Brook’s Nicety:

Everything we say and do can always be said and done nicer and kinder.



Brook’s Non-Dualism:

It is and it isn’t.



Brook’s Norm:

Cultural norms are often more compelling than political laws.



Brook’s Nothing:

Saying or doing nothing can sometimes take more courage and effort than saying or doing something and it can also bring better results and rewards.



Brook’s Nothingness:

Nothing can sometimes be more powerful than everything else combined. By consciously being in nothingness, I melt into the universal unity of oneness with everything, even if very briefly.



Brook’s Notice:

We notice what we notice infinitely more than what we don’t notice, yet what we don’t notice is at least as important as what we do. It pays to pay attention.



Brook’s Now:

There may be better and worse times to get involved, but the only perfect time is now. The past is always gone and the future never arrives; it is always now.



Brook’s Nucleus:

Nuclear power plants are ticking time bombs with the high costs and catastrophic risks far outweighing any rewards. Nuclear bombs are even worse, as there are no rewards, only very high costs and devastating risks. No nukes is good nukes!



Brook’s Nudge:

We can nudge — ourselves, others, nature — but we can rarely control for long, if at all.



Brook’s Numbers:

Numbers may not lie, but they can and do easily mislead.



Brook’s Nye:

No one could ever be as knowledgeable as everyone and everyone can learn something from everyone else.



Brook’s Obscenity:

Extreme wealth and power as well as extreme poverty and powerlessness are obscene and should be eradicated.



Brook’s Oblivious:

People are typically oblivious to what they later claim is obvious or not surprising. If it’s so simple, easy, obvious, or unsurprising, they should be able to think of another new thing and do it first, which they rarely, if ever, do.



Brook’s Obvious:

If one feels the need to state the obvious, it is probably not the other who misunderstands, but oneself.



Brook’s Occupy:

We need the 99% to become the 100%, so we can control our destiny and live more secure, healthy, happy, compassionate, sustainable, generous, safe, civilized, and meaningful lives in a fairer, more stable, middle-class society without the unnecessary extremes of both obscene wealth and obscene poverty.


Brook’s Odds:

Life is about playing the odds. There are no guarantees, but some things increase one’s odds and other things decrease them.



Brook’s One:

Everything is oneness, yet every thing is its own; we are all inextricably connected, yet each separate; we’re thoroughly enmeshed in oneness and thoroughly isolated in individuality. We’re all one, yet I’m still me and you’re still you.



Brook’s Ongoing:

Revolution, democracy, and creativity are neither one-time events nor things that are accomplished and over; they are ongoing activities, chronic means rather than definitive ends in themselves.



Brook’s Open Road:

I love the open road and the endless, unknown possibilities it offers. After a while, though, it’s OK if the road closes.



Brook’s Opportunities:

Needs and desires create opportunities. Opportunities are omnipresent; we either recognize them or we don’t and if we recognize them, we either seize them or we don’t and if we seize them, we either expand them or we don’t.



Brook’s Opportunity:

Much of success is about using one’s resources and abilities creatively to create, expand, and seize opportunities.



Brook’s Opportunity Cost:

Doing anything means not doing something else; learning anything means unlearning something else; gaining anything means losing something else; losing something means gaining something else; walking one path means not walking another. Choose wisely and leave regrets behind.


Brook’s Opposite:

So much of what many consider opposite — apples and oranges, male and female, African American and Caucasian, even up and down or East and West — are not opposites at all, so much as different, complementary, or polarized.



Brook’s Opposition:

To create social change, we have to raise the costs on our opponents so that their plans and policies are no longer worth it, so that doing nothing is too much trouble, so that doing what we need them to do becomes the least objectionable to them, while raising the hopes, spirits, capacity, and energy of our allies. That’s how we make change, move forward, and create a more just world.



Brook’s Optimism:

I’m not always an optimist, but I’m always an anti-pessimist.



Brook’s Order:

Social life may be complex, but it is not random. There are patterns and tendencies amongst the seeming chaos in society.



Brook’s Ordinary:

At the margins of the ordinary, we often find the extraordinary.



Brook’s Organization:

A winning culture, while difficult to attain, will make just about everything else easier to attain, so it’s the best personal and organizational investment.



Brook’s Organizing:

The best place to start is right where you are. The best place to reach people is right where they are. Then listen and connect.



Brook’s Original Debt:

At birth, we owe a debt that we work off our entire lives, which are finally repaid upon our death.



Brook’s Originality:

Originality is more a concept than a reality, as it is often about making the unrecognized obvious.



Brook’s Other:

As much as it might often seem otherwise, there is no other.



Brook’s Outsourcing:

Especially in modern societies, most of us have outsourced many basic activities, including growing our food and sometimes cooking it, making and repairing our clothes. building and repairing our homes, childcare, therapy, entertainment, transportation, etc.; we’ve also outsourced much of our memory, freedom, critical thinking, problem solving skills, imagination, and creativity.



Brook’s Overconsumption:

We not only buy things we don’t need, we even buy things we don’t want. Many of us have bought food, clothes, books, pens, toys, supplies, etc. that we have rarely if ever used.



Brook’s Pacifism:

I support, advocate, march, protest, vote, write, teach, and donate for peace, but not for pacifism. Peace can create pacifism; the passivity of pacifism doesn’t necessarily create peace.



Brook’s Pain:

As with many other things in life, too much or too little pain is dangerous. Pain is the most physically and mentally debilitating yet most normal and universal phenomenon.



Brook’s Paradoxical Want:

Sometimes you get what you want when you don’t get what you think you want.



Brook’s Parenting:

Parenting has included more work, more frustration, more fear, more learning, more love, more pride, more fun, and more reward than I ever expected.



Brook’s Parsha:

Whatever Torah portion one is studying is the best one.



Brook’s Participation:

People participate in, observe, and change reality simultaneously. Facts and values are inseparable, while neutrality and objectivity are illusory.



Brook’s Pascal:

As we cannot know even a little about everything, we ought to learn as much as we can about as much as we can.



Brook’s Passion:

If you don’t care about what you do, few will care about you.



Brook’s Passover:

Whenever the plague is slavery — whether mental or physical, individual or communal — the cure is liberation!



Brook’s Pasteur:

Luck is undoubtedly important, though those who are best prepared usually have the best luck. Diligence creates its own luck.



Brook’s Path:

No two people can ever live the same life, therefore no two people can ever read the same book, play the same game, drink the same cup of tea, grow up in the same family, step into the same river, visit the same place, speak to the same person, listen to the same music, or otherwise experience the same reality.



Brook’s Patience:

To keep both sanity and a sense of justice, it’s often a good tactic to be patiently impatient and impatiently patient.



Brook’s Pattern:

What is often seen as random is simply an unrecognized pattern.



Brook’s Patriarchy:

Patriarchy is man-made and must be actively unmade.



Brook’s Patriotism:

Patriotism is usually loving and supporting your country, thinking it’s the best, simply because you belong to it. That’s self-centered silliness and irrational. However, patriotism could be loving your country enough to help it live up to its highest values and ideas and wanting the best possible lives for everyone who lives there. That’s the more rational patriotism of love and compassion.



Brook’s Peace:

Peace doesn’t just happen or even simply exist and it’s not a state of mind; it must be created amongst people and actively sustained. Peace must be a verb at least as much as a noun, an active subject not just a passive object.



Brook’s Peak Experience:

Peak experiences only happen in the moment, yet often last a lifetime.



Brook’s Pedagogy:

Education should be meaningful and alive, personal as well as political, fresh and integrative, worldly and holistic, old and new, democratic and progressive, active and dialectical, dialogic and relational, empowering and useful, critical and conspiratorial, provocative, enjoyable, therapeutic, liberating, inspirational, and continuous. Teaching without doing these wastes the time of the teacher and the potential of the students.



Brook’s Peet:

Take what’s useful, incorporate it, add what you can to make it better, and discard the rest.



Brook’s People:

People can never fully know other people, let alone groups of people; people cannot even fully know themselves.



Brook’s Perception:

Our doors of perception and windows of opportunity can be wide open, tightly closed, or anywhere in between.



Brook’s Perfect:

Waiting for the perfect time to do something is the perfect recipe for not doing it.



Brook’s Perimeter:

One has to guard one’s perimeter very carefully, diligently, and dutifully — to keep certain things out and to keep and let other things in.



Brook’s Perseverance:

Perseverance often separates success and failure; those who try more typically succeed more.



Brook’s Perspective:

We way too often make simple things overcomplicated and oversimplify what’s complex. Instead, we need to keep perspective.


Brook’s Philosophy:

If we learn to love wisdom, we can learn anything else.



Brook’s Photography:

Photography is as much as about excluding from the frame as it is including within it.



Brook’s Piece:

When we give people a piece of our mind, we often hurt them; when we give people a piece of our heart, we often heal them. And with a piece of our heart, we can create peace in the world.



Brook’s Pipeline:

Problems need to be treated at the end, but solved at the beginning.



Brook’s Pity:

Pity is typically a wasted emotion, doing nothing for anybody. Only when pity is channeled into compassionate action does it do any good.



Brook’s Place:

As here is here and there is there, when we travel and make there here and here there, we have a better ability to realize our own place in the world.



Brook’s Plan:

For success with anything, be insistent, persistent, mostly consistent, and highly resistant.



Brook’s Plan Be:

If you’re successful at Plan Be, you’ll likely never need, or at least never mind, a Plan B.



Brook’s Planning:

We know that we need to plan if we want to be more successful, but we should also plan for the fact that life will rarely go according to plan.



Brook’s Plasticity:

We are less biologically, genetically, physiologically, or psychologically pre-determined than we are socially and environmentally capable and adaptable.



Brook’s Please:

Those who try to please everyone often please no one.



Brook’s Pluto:

Any spherical object that orbits a star and itself has a smaller spherical object orbiting it should be considered a planet, regardless of size, mass, or neighborhood.



Brook’s Poetry:

Good poetry can express what nothing else can, expressing the otherwise unexpressible.



Brook’s Point:

When a person — or a world — is being born or is dying, little else matters.



Brook’s Polanyi:

When free market societies actually exist — which is rare and fleeting — they are disastrous for others as well as for themselves. Economic markets need cultural organization and political regulation to survive.



Brook’s Political Change:

To promote political change, the powerless have to take their feet to the street, while the powerful simply shift some of their capital to the capitol.



Brook’s Political Philosophy:

We too often profess Rousseau and Jefferson in public, only to feel Hobbes and Machiavelli — possibly even the Marquis de Sade — in private.



Brook’s Politics:

Even if you don’t care about politics, politics cares about you. Politics is intimately related to much of what we do in life.



Brook’s Possibility:

It’s always impossible until it’s possible, at which point it becomes obvious and later taken for granted. Many things that were once considered impossible — human flight, American independence from the British, women getting the right to vote, gay marriage, an African American president, a woman president, and so much more — became possible, therefore anything in the social world, and much more than we think in the physical world, is possible. “Be Realistic — Demand the Impossible”, as the revolutionaries of Paris in 1968 wrote on the walls.



Brook’s Postdiction:

We are really good — though notably far from perfect — at postdicting the past.



Brook’s Postdictions:

Many people’s postdictions are no more accurate than their predictions.



Brook’s Potential:

All people — as well as animals, societies, and things — have potential beyond their actuality. There are virtually no limits — besides imagination — to what can be done, to what can be actualized, especially in the social world.



Brook’s Poverty:

Poverty is the simplest indicator of a rich country’s social, political, economic, and moral failure.



Brook’s Power:

While we may not have the power to control our lives as much as we may want, we may have more power to control our lives than we commonly think and certainly more than we have power to control others.



Brook’s Powerful:

Those in power always prefer of the powerless politeness, order, lawfulness, following the rules, respect, good behavior, proper etiquette, and whatever else they call peace, even as they ruthlessly and obscenely exploit, enslave, arrest, imprison, beat, disable, destroy, and kill.



Brook’s Powerlessness:

There is more potential power in powerlessness and less power in the powerful than we typically believe. The powerful can only have their power with the consent of the powerless. It is therefore more important to speak truth to the powerless than to the powerful. When we change the cultural infrastructure, we can change anything else.



Brook’s Practicality:

Sometimes the most practical way to get practical results is to be impractical.



Brook’s Praxis:

Theory and practice, intentions and actions, are dialectically related, necessarily going together and mutually reinforcing each other.



Brook’s Prayer:

I wish that people would turn their good prayers into positive actions.



Brook’s Precrastination:

Precrastination provides the same benefit as procrastination — free time without work — but does so without as much stress. Instead of putting off the work and therefore enjoying what seems like free time, do the work and then enjoy the truly free time afterward.


Brook’s Prediction:

Predictions are usually fears or aspirations in the present more than actual descriptions of the future.



Brook’s Prejudice:

Whenever someone declares something to be the last acceptable prejudice, you can be sure it isn’t.



Brook’s Present:

The present determines the past as much as the past determines the present.



Brook’s Primary Environment:

One’s primary environment is oneself. The better and healthier the primary environment, the better and healthier the outer environment and the better and healthier the outer environment, the better and healthier the primary environment.



Brook’s Principle:

Everything we say, and don’t say, as well as everything we do, and don’t do, and even everything we think and don’t think, is a (constrained) choice that we make, which has implications for ourselves and others.



Brook’s Privacy:

Even the most private and personal thoughts and feelings are also social. Nothing happens in a vacuum.



Brook’s Privilege:

The less people believe in luck, the more privileged they tend to be.



Brook’s Proaction:

When it comes to accomplishing a task or goal, if you do nothing, you’ll get nothing. In contrast, if you do something, you may still get nothing, but you at least have the chance to get something.



Brook’s Probability:

Nothing is definite, necessary, automatic, or inevitable — it is just more or less likely at any given time and place.



Brook’s Problem:

Be at least as happy at the resolution of a problem as you were vexed by the problem itself.



Brook’s Problems:

Just because we may not be able to completely solve certain problems doesn’t mean that our actions don’t serve to partially address and possibly fix those problems.



Brook’s Processes:

All things are not only what they are, but are also other things, as well as social relations and social processes.



Brook’s Proclamation:

Don’t simply believe something; examine, explore, inquire, interrogate, compare, contrast, corroborate, confirm, extrapolate, and learn it.



Brook’s Procrastination:

Waiting to deal with something sometimes solves the problem because it never needed to be dealt with in the first place.



Brook’s Procrastination Penalty:

The sooner we move towards peace, justice, and environmental sustainability, the smaller the procrastination penalty.



Brook’s Professional Middle Class:

With relatively more education, ideas, skills, money, time, power, and access, it is members of the professional middle class — teachers and their students, lawyers and doctors, social workers and journalists, clergy and military officers, engineers and office workers, writers and artists — who inspire, spark, and lead most of the great social movements and revolutions in history.



Brook’s Profit Sharing:

As organizations and societies grow and do better, the benefits should be distributed and the bottom should be raised.



Brook’s Progress:

Progress is better than perfection or paralysis.



Brook’s Prophecies:

Self-fulfilling prophesies are very common and appear to prove themselves, yet they may be more self-fulfillment than prophesy.



Brook’s Prophesy:

Whatever will be, will be, but the more we create the future, the more it’s likely to happen.



Brook’s Prophets:

Everyone is a prophet, but most people don’t properly fulfill their roles. When we and others do fulfill our roles, we are too often mocked, derided, or ignored, first by ourselves.



Brook’s Prostitution:

The term prostitution is typically assigned to sex workers and sex workers are stigmatized because sex is stigmatized. Without the stigma, sex workers are doing what many workers do: selling their physical, emotional, and/or intellectual labor to earn money. Sex workers, in this way, are fundamentally similar and functionally equivalent to construction workers, teachers, dancers, servers, and others. All workers, regardless of their work, to the extant they are doing their jobs for money, are prostitutes.



Brook’s Protein:

Protein in America has become a propagandistic ideology more than a reality; most Americans get way too much, yet often feel like they need more, while knowing nearly nothing about it. Almost all whole foods have protein. Real lean protein is beans; meat doesn’t even compare.



Brook’s Provision:

Everything we think we know is tentative and provisional, but it’s better than not knowing at all.



Brook’s Proximity:

Getting closer to something always means getting farther from something else, just as getting farther from something is always getting closer to something else.



Brook’s Psychology:

We are where our thoughts are and whatever is in our heads doesn’t have to be. We can be anywhere anytime.



Brook’s PTSD:

Pretraumatic stress disorder — extreme anxiety about the future — can be just as damaging as posttraumatic stress disorder.



Brook’s Public Secrets:

All societies contain important information that everyone can know, yet not everyone does and few speak about it.



Brook’s Public Sociology:

All good sociology is public sociology — for the benefit of the public — or it’s not really sociology at all.


Brook’s Pun:

People should rarely, if ever, have to publicly state whether their puns are intended or unintended, unless they live under a pundamentalist punocracy or want to be foolishly or otherwise punitive.



Brook’s Punctuation:

Apostrophes and commas are two very little things that often cause very big problems.



Brook’s Purity:

Purity is an illusion more than a reality. Those who think they are pure are either mistaken or lying.



Brook’s Purpose:

People often feel helpless, but they want help and want to be helpful. People often have feelings of meaninglessness, but they want meaning in their lives and want relationships and experiences that are meaningful and purposeful.



Brook’s Pyrrhic Victory:

If losers lose too much, winners don’t really win.



Brook’s QTIP:

If someone doesn’t know you, yet says something about you, whether positive or negative, it’s not personal, so quit taking it personally.



Brook’s Query:

What is the what?



Brook’s Question Mark:

The question mark is the most powerful punctuation! (Is it?) Should we should put more question marks at the ends of declarative statements?


Brook’s Questions:

Complex and interesting questions are often much more useful and pleasurable than simplistic and definitive answers, even if seemingly less satisfying, yet the questions we ask help the determine the answers we may get.



Brook’s Rabbi Tarfon:

The fact that we alone may not be able to solve a problem shouldn’t stop us from contributing in our own ways to the solution.



Brook’s Rabbi Waskow:

We humans (and other animals) breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, while the trees (and other plants) inhale carbon dioxide, our waste, and exhale oxygen, our life source, Through the many miracles of co-evolutionary development, we breathe each other into continued existence.



Brook’s Race:

Race isn’t real, but racism really is. Although there is no biological basis for the arbitrary social construct of race — we are one species with superficial differences and cultural variations who can breed together, and there didn’t have to be a concept of races at all or, alternatively, race could have been constructed based on height, hair color or style, or, more scientifically, blood type — the social consequences of the social construction of race are very real, serious, substantial, pervasive, divisive, and deadly.



Brook’s Radical Flank:

Radicals make liberals seem more reasonable, while liberals make radicals seem too extreme.



Brook’s Rain:

It’s ridiculous to curse the rain when it’s both natural and necessary. Cursing rain is also cursing rainbows, crops, and forests. It’s also just water, so no reason to be upset or fearful.


Brook’s Rainbow:

Sometimes the side you’re on is the only side.



Brook’s Rationality:

Rationality rarely inspires beliefs, yet those beliefs are typically rationalized afterwards. We are much more rationalizing beings than we are rational ones.



Brook’s Rarity:

Rarities are rare, so don’t expect them to be common.



Brook’s Rationalization:

We can rationalize anything, but that’s probably for the best.



Brook’s Reactions:

There are many possible reactions to a stimulus. Besides fight, flight, and freeze, one could observe, document, appreciate, negotiate, befriend, distract, deflect, hide, ignore, accept, or otherwise.



Brook’s Reading:

Reading is an infinite, unmapped playground for the mind containing all universes. Anything well written (and many a thing not particularly well written) — regardless of subject — is worth reading. It is always better to have too much to read than too little.



Brook’s Realism:

The concept of realism — which is not always realistic itself — is often employed as a cudgel to smash down hope, dreams, idealism, independence, fantasy, freedom, experimentation, creativity, exploration, imagination, innovation, utopianism, and progress. Realism is unrealistic because it relies on, rationalizes, and defends a status quo that is unfair, immoral, and unstable.



Brook’s Realities:

There’s no one Truth, History, National Interest, Answer, Common Sense, or Right Way. There are multiple realities and these are all social, cultural, historical, psychological, ideological, biased, relative, tentative, negotiated, and contested processes, which are manifestations of culture and power relations. Nothing and nobody is neutral, objective, unbiased, or value-free.



Brook’s Reality:

All details are subject to change.



Brook’s Reality TV:

Almost nothing about so-called reality TV — except for its existence and the actual people — is real. No one lives or acts that way, so it’s pseudo-reality TV or faux reality TV.



Brook’s Reason:

Not everything happens for a reason, but we can find a reason for everything that happens.



Brook’s Rebecca West:

Most of us seem to be too simple for complicated thoughts, yet too complicated for simple truths.



Brook’s Recognition:

There are many truths and many falsehoods, yet we have to recognize that when people believe falsehoods as truths, it’s a social truth that they believe it and will typically act accordingly.



Brook’s Recommendation:

Recommendations are only as good as the recommender (and even then preferences are so subjective as to detract from their universal usefulness).



Brook’s Recycling:

Cultural traditions and historical memories can be recycled for new social purposes.



Brook’s Red Queen:

Especially in a world of rapid technological advancement, globalization, population increase, instant communications, and access to information, one must learn more all the time, not to get an advantage, but just to keep up.



Brook’s Refolution:

Reform and revolution are not opposing tactics, but rather complementary ones. Minor change helps make major change as much as major change helps make minor change. Smaller actions may not lead to larger ones, but larger actions are always the result of smaller ones.



Brook’s Regret:

Regrets are regrettable and I regret my regrets more than anything else.



Brook’s Relationships:

All relationships are relational.



Brook’s Religion:

Religion, like fire, is a technology that is used for good, evil, and everything in between, both purposely and accidentally.



Brook’s Religiosity:

Without kindness — to strangers, neighbors, loved ones, animals, oneself, and others — even religion is not religion.



Brook’s Reluctant Rebel:

I would prefer not to get involved and not be an activist, but I feel like the world demands it of me and others because of how it is organized and what it does to us. I speak and act because I feel I have to, not necessarily because I want to.


Brook’s Remembrance:

Always remember to never forget what always needs to be remembered and never forgotten. Similarly, always forget what needs to be forgotten and never remembered.



Brook’s Resistance:

It should not be shocking how little people resist, but rather how much we do, given the great courage it takes to do so against much more powerful forces.



Brook’s Respect:

Whenever appropriate, it’s best to give respect — to yourself, others, and community.



Brook’s Reproduction:

There’s no production without reproduction, just as there is no serving without cooking.



Brook’s Revolution:

Revolutions only occur in authoritarian societies, where they should occur; they never occur in democracies, where they shouldn’t.



Brook’s Reward:

While excuses are much more plentiful, accomplishments are much more rewarding.



Brook’s Rhetorical Question:

Rhetorical questions really aren’t. Shouldn’t you answer all rhetorical questions, especially your own?



Brook’s Right:

There’s no wrong way to read a book, magazine, or anything else. The reading itself is right.



Brook’s Right Now:

All the past is prologue, while all the future is epilogue; the real story is always right now.



Brook’s Rising Tide:

A rising tide doesn’t necessarily lift all boats — some get pushed to the shore, some get swamped — but the mass of boats always raises the tide.



Brook’s Risk:

It is best to avoid risks in which the reasonably-predictable downside could be serious injury or death, unless the upside is absolutely necessary.



Brook’s Rite of Spring:

If your art or words doesn’t shock people, create controversy, or wake them up sometimes, you’re not doing your job as an artist or writer.



Brook’s Road:

It might feel better to take the low road in the short term, but it will be better to take the high road in the long term. The good you do for yourself is always better than the bad you do to others.



Brook’s Roads:

It isn’t always the roads taken — whether more or less traveled — that make the difference, but rather how one takes the roads and where those roads are heading.



Brook’s Role Model:

It is not a matter of whether or not you think you will be a role model; you already are a role model to those around you. Everything you say and don’t say and everything you do and don’t do is noticed by others who are influenced by you.


Brook’s Rough Draft:

Everything we do — whether speaking with a friend, writing a story, living our lives, or anything else — is a rough draft, subject to revision, never fully completed.



Brook’s Rough Road:

Rough roads can be beautiful in their own albeit painful ways. Try to recognize the beauty in the difficulty, the authenticity of the struggle, the meaning in the journey, the value of being.



Brook’s Rule:

All rules have exceptions (including this one).



Brook’s Ruler:

All rulers have exceptions (especially for themselves).



Brook’s Rules:

Rules structure results. The rules of the game determine how players play the game. Given those rules, some will play better than others, just as some will have better luck than others, but none of them can easily do what the rules disallow — until they change the rules. Everything is a game.



Brook’s S:

Six phenomena motivate most people and other animals: sustenance (food and water), security (safety and protection), sex (physical pleasure and reproduction), spareness (energy conservation), status (one’s social placement in a community), and sanuk (the Thai word for a sense of fun and enjoyment).



Brook’s Sacred Secret:

Sacred secrets neither have to be concealed nor revealed; they simply have to be shared with those who sincerely want to know them.



Brook’s Sacrifice:

If you sacrifice for a greater good or higher purpose, it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a gift or an investment.



Brook’s Sadism:

Everyone experiences physical and emotional pains and everyone suffers. If God exists, God is a sadist.



Brook’s Sadistic System:

Sadistic systems manifest sadistic symptoms. We need to mend from the top down and the inside out.



Brook’s Sagan:

The more extraordinary the claim made, the more extraordinary the evidence needed. We too often get the former, while too rarely the latter.



Brook’s Salad:

Give people a salad and they eat for a meal; teach them and others to cooperatively organically farm and their family and village eats sustainably for their lifetimes without harming any fish. Give people a full veg meal and they eat well; inspire them to be veg and they eat healthily, compassionately, socially just, and sustainably for long, happy lifetimes.



Brook’s Sale:

Every economic sale is packaged in psychology and sociology. The purchasing of any item is also the purchasing of a dream, desire, status, membership, lifestyle, identity, feeling.



Brook’s Samaritan:

A Good Samaritan helps someone in need, while a Better Samaritan helps prevent someone from becoming needy.



Brook’s Sameness:

What we think of as doing the same thing is, typically, while similar, something quite different.



Brook’s San Francisco:

San Francisco is a medium city in terms of size and population, yet in regard to culture and influence San Francisco is a megacity.



Brook’s Sanity:

Sometimes you have to do the same thing over and over to get different and better results.



Brook’s Santayana:

History never actually repeats itself, of course, even if it does occasionally seem strikingly familiar. Knowing history can prevent future mistakes as much as it can encourage them. It depends on the knowers and the doers.



Brook’s Sapir-Whorf:

All translation is mistranslation, an inspired creation more than a re-creation, no matter how careful, clever, or close.



Brook’s Sarge:

You can never be too far gone when the Earth is your floor and the sky is your ceiling.



Brook’s Satisfaction:

The best offense and defense against an eventual death is a life well lived.



Brook’s Say:

When all is said and done, there will be nothing left to say or do, but until then we need to continue saying, doing, thinking, writing, being, loving, and much else.


Brook’s Scale:

It is as ridiculous to blame the innocent victim as it is to praise the guilty perpetrator; it is foolish to curse the rain and only celebrate the sunshine.



Brook’s Scales:

Even in the most mundane, there can be transcendence; even in the littlest, there can be greatness; even in the trivial and taken-for-granted, there can be wonder, significance, and importance.



Brook’s Scarecrow:

We tend to act differently when we think we’re being observed.



Brook’s Science:

It doesn’t matter whether you believe in science, science believes in you. Science is a powerful yet imperfect method more than a field of study and is the continuous interplay between doubt and certainty, curiosity and conclusion, guessing and corroboration, idiosyncracy and repeatability, searching and finding, questioning and answering.



Brook’s Scientific Reality:

It doesn’t really make sense to not “believe” in global warming in the same way that it doesn’t make sense to not believe in the development of species and evolution, gravity, AIDS and other communicable diseases, germ theory, a spherical Earth, space travel and the Moon and Mars landings, the finiteness of oil and other natural resources, planetary orbits around stars and the vastness of the universe, plate tectonics and continental drift, atoms and molecules, nuclear fission and fusion, oxygen and other elements, ocean tides and currents, the jet stream, genetics, statistical sampling, mathematics, dinosaurs and other fossils, extinction, mind-body connections, and many other scientific realities. To not “believe” in these is to not believe in the practice of science itself and therefore not to believe in the reality of who you are, what’s around you, and how we came to be.



Brook’s Search:

We search for so much online and off, finding so little, using less, and remembering almost nothing, yet rarely search within ourselves, where everything we need can be found.



Brook’s Secret:

The Universe doesn’t conspire for or against you, but you do.



Brook’s Secrets:

Secrets are most powerful when they’re narrowly shared and therefore somewhat less secret without being fully public, scarce yet not completely unavailable.



Brook’s Seeing:

If reality is a durable illusion, we need to practice seeing through it.



Brook’s Self:

People tend to avoid the non-stop, out of fear of stopping, but also fear the dark, fear nothingness, fear silence, fear being alone, fear being bored, and having to confront ourselves by ourselves. Too many people can’t handle that, too afraid of what they might find, perhaps, though we need to investigate our dark sides, the darkness, the quiet, the stillness, our inner lives, the aloneness without being lonely, the void, our submerged essences to become better and fuller selves.



Brook’s Self-Advice:

The best advice is often your own, that which you would give others you care about in the same situation. Take it.



Brook’s Self-and-Society:

The more we understand ourselves, the more we can understand the world and the more we understand the world, the more we can understand ourselves. The more we improve our health, the more we improve our environment and the more we improve our environment, the more we improve our health. The more we better ourselves, the more we better our society and the more we better our society, the more we better ourselves.


Brook’s Self-Awareness:

Self-awareness leads to world awareness with success along the way.



Brook’s Self-Education:

Ultimately, all education is self-education.



Brook’s Self-Help:

All books are self-help books. It’s merely a matter of what we do with them.



Brook’s Selfie:

The selfie is the narcissistic mugshot of privilege.



Brook’s Self-Ignorance:

Most people know more about other things than they know about themselves, whether their bodies, their emotions, or their minds.



Brook’s Sense:

We too often look without seeing, hear without listening, speak without reason, eat without tasting, consume without absorbing, ask without wondering, take without giving, work without playing, do without thinking, are happy without being joyous, receive without being grateful, are material without being spiritual, are pessimistic without recognizing positive possibilities, pursue growth without development, desire quantity over quality, acquire knowledge without wisdom, believe without acting, think without thinking, love without loving, and live without living.



Brook’s Senses:

If we have enough sense, we realize that we have many more than only five senses, including the most powerful sense of imagination.



Brook’s Serendipity:

The best experiences and gifts are most often those that are unexpected and unsought.



Brook’s Serious:

There’s a delicate balance between taking things seriously and not taking things seriously. We need to do both. There’s also a delicate balance between taking things seriously and taking things too seriously. We need to be careful.



Brook’s Service:

In serving others, we also serve ourselves; in helping others, we also help ourselves; in making others happy, we also make ourselves happy; in teaching others, we also teach ourselves; in helping others live a better life, we live a better life; in saving others, we save ourselves.



Brook’s Set:

There is always another way to use something.



Brook’s SETI:

More intelligent and powerful species — whether terrestrial or extraterrestrial — would likely treat humans the ways humans treat each other and other species. That wouldn’t bode well for us. Luckily, there is still zero evidence for any extraterrestrial life, despite the statistical probability of it existing in at least ten thousand locations in the known Universe.



Brook’s Sex:

Sex is even more psychological than physiological.



Brook’s Sexuality:

As with class, race, ethnicity, sex, and gender, our sexuality is not just something we do, but who we are.



Brook’s Shampoo:

Shampoo is a scam — one of many — as it’s another worse-than-useless product that doesn’t provide benefits, costs money, and wastes resources, yet is promoted as absolutely necessary.



Brook’s Shots:

Many of the best shots are not taken, they are given, discovered, invented, or channeled.



Brook’s Sic Transit Gloria Mundi:

Even though some things can and do last a long time, nothing is forever.



Brook’s Side:

There are always more than two sides to any issue or story.



Brook’s Sidelines:

There are no sidelines. Whether we realize it or not, everyone is in the game.



Brook’s Silence:

If you’re not comfortable with the silence, you may never hear the beautiful sounds that come after. And without the silences between words and musical notes, the words and musical notes would be less intelligible.



Brook’s Simile:

There’s nothing like a simile.



Brook’s Simplicity:

Simplicity is seductive, while complexity seems chaotic. People usually seek parsimony, yet simplicity is a lot more complex than it looks.



Brook’s Singularities:

There have been, are, and will be many singularities, whose effects are multifaceted, complex, and largely unpredictable.


Brook’s Singularity:

Every book, film, song, project, plan, invention, social movement, ideology, religion, and everything else started out as a single idea within the mind of a single person. Even really big things start really small.



Brook’s Sisyphus:

The sun and moon — as well as the rest of life — is no less Sisyphean than Sisyphus. It’s not simply what is done, but what it represents to us and others.



Brook’s Size:

The smallest things can have the biggest significance.



Brook’s Slang:

When there are a lot of slang words for something — e.g., money, drugs, sex, sexualized body parts as well as the head and nose, bathrooms and toilets as well as bodily excretions, insanity, death — it lets us know that our society is uncomfortable albeit fascinated with the topic. Culturally, they are each an X on a treasure map where we can dig for hidden gold.



Brook’s Slate:

People aren’t inherently either good or bad; we can be horrible, heroic, neither, or both. Very few people or things, if any, are all good or all bad; we are not either/or, we are both/and.



Brook’s Slide:

As we increase our knowledge, we should decrease our hubris, but increase our positive actions based on our knowledge.



Brook’s Slippery Slope:

Not all things, nor even all slopes, are slippery; some things just are what they are. Yet, in another sense, life is one big slippery slope, as all things are related to what came before them.


Brook’s Smile:

Smiling tends to make both oneself and others feel (and look) better. Just as a happy thought can cause a smile, a smile can cause happy thoughts.



Brook’s Social:

Although we are born biologically human, we don’t become socially human, that is, actually human, without human socialization. People don’t exist without community.



Brook’s Social Alchemy:

Alchemists chase gold for greed, but gold can’t be eaten and gold cannot love. Social alchemists seek things much more valuable than gold: turning ugliness into beauty, foe into friend, war into peace, waste into sustenance, greed into generosity, negative into positive, trauma into triumph, evil into good.



Brook’s Social Bonds:

Due to the social bonds we create, we’re typically much more willing to do a lot for those who need little, while doing little or nothing for those who need a lot. When we create social bonds with someone (or something), we typically feel more connected, invested, protective, caring, and are therefore less likely to objectify, dehumanize, and destroy them.



Brook’s Social Change:

Reform can lead to revolution and revolution leads to reforms; they are neither opposite nor mutually exclusive. ®evolution always involves a variety of tactics and changes. Social change occurs when enough micro, meso, and macro forces coalesce.



Brook’s Social Darwinism:

Survival of the fittest is actually survival of the kindest for our species. We would neither survive nor thrive without cooperation, caring, sharing, support, nurturing, sacrifice, generosity, altruism, and love.


Brook’s Social Entrepreneur:

The best entrepreneurs are social entrepreneurs, those who seek to make money so they can sustainably help others.



Brook’s Sociality:

Misery loves company no more than happiness loves company. Human beings are social beings and we generally love to be with each other, see, speak and listen to each other, touch and be touched by each other. And sometimes not.



Brook’s Socialization:

Everyone is a voyeur and an eavesdropper; it’s inherent in human socialization — and also fun. We are socialized by what other people say and do. We are all socialized by everyone and everything in our environment and experiences, and we, in turn, socialize all those around us, including our main socializers. Those who socialize us the most often get socialized by us, as well.



Brook’s Sociological Imagination:

Social forces both constrain and empower individuals, while what we say and do both reproduces and/or subverts those social forces. Micro and macro are inextricably linked.



Brook’s Sociology:

It depends. Everything depends on time, place, manner, culture, context, opportunities, constraints, histories, resources, knowledge, skills, abilities, personalities, power, resistance, and the like.



Brook’s Soft Power:

Moral influence is more powerful, more durable, more friendly, more accepted, and more efficient than physical force.



Brook’s Soft Skills:

Soft skills are more necessary and often harder to learn than hard skills.


Brook’s Solution:

All problems contain their own solutions, yet all solutions create new problems.



Brook’s Solved:

The simplest thing to understand is a problem that has been solved.



Brook’s Sonder:

Every other life — including their pleasures and pains, desires and fears, thoughts and emotions, experiences and memories, friendships and networks — is as real and complex as our own.



Brook’s Song:

When you’re in love, all songs are love songs.



Brook’s Sontag:

Because a great many of us have become so sincere about our cynicism, most of us have become so cynical about anyone else’s sincerity.



Brook’s Sounds:

I’m peeved by sounds that are too loud, too high, and/or too repetitive; I prefer euphony as well as quietude.



Brook’s Sparkle:

Many of us are attracted to and seduced by the sparkle, even when we realize it’s nothing but sparkle. We are advanced enough to recognize how primitive we are.



Brook’s Species:

One of the many modern tragedies is that we can recognize many more corporate logos than we can identify species of trees, rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, and others of which there are thousands each.



Brook’s Speech:

Not knowing the “right” thing to say is no excuse for not saying anything at all, unless it is better to be silent and to just listen. We all can speak from the heart just as we can all listen from the heart.



Brook’s Speed:

Going slower could be faster, especially when you’re doing it right or going in the right direction. Walking is faster than flying, if it takes you where you need to be.



Brook’s Spice:

Just a little bit of something powerful can go a long way with influence way beyond its size. Just a little bit of spice can substantially alter the taste of food. Likewise with people and social change. It is passionate and persistent minorities who make revolutions and other major social changes, not majorities and certainly not the apathetic.



Brook’s Spiral:

It’s important to return to where you came from, though not in the same exact way that you left it. Bring what you now know to bear on what you didn’t know then. Repeat ad infinitum.



Brook’s Spoiler:

If a story is compelling enough, it cannot be spoiled, especially not by the revelation of small details, including conclusions.



Brook’s Standard:

Perfection is a concept and an impossible standard, yet a worthy ideal. Mistakes are not only normal and universal, but can be great learning opportunities and serendipitous fun. Strive for excellence, not perfection.



Brook’s Stardust:

We’re all Earthlings, yet on a more fundamental level, we’re all stardust.


Brook’s Starfish:

Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something. To save one life is to do everything for that one being.


Brook’s Stickiness:

Water sticks to water, dirt sticks to dirt (and everything else), knowledge sticks to knowledge, memories stick to memories, life sticks to life, people stick together.



Brook’s Stigma:

People’s reactions can be worse than what they’re reacting to.



Brook’s Stonecutter:

There are always some more powerful and some less powerful, so it’s important to be humble, responsible, just, and to maintain perspective.



Brook’s Story:

Stories are what make us human and keep us human; stories continue to change the world in uncountable ways.



Brook’s Storyteller:

Those who tell the best stories win.



Brook’s Strategy:

Means become ends. The path itself is also the destination.



Brook’s Strength:

In the face of stress, threat, and crisis, it is worst to break, bad to weaken, good to resist, better to stay strong, and best to thrive.



Brook’s Structure:

Both form and content — whether in an essay, a meal, or a life — are essential. Form and content are so inextricably linked that one is effectively meaningless without the other.



Brook’s Students:

If you primarily teach knowledge and facts, students will know little and retain less; if you primarily teach curiosity and passion, students will know much and seek more.



Brook’s Subconscious:

Our subconscious is usually smarter and busier than our conscious mind.



Brook’s Success:

There’s no success without failure, though failure usually does not lead to success without a strong desire to overcome it.



Brook’s Successfulness:

Success breeds success more than any particular skill does.



Brook’s Suffering:

We do not decrease suffering in the world by increasing our own. It’s good to enjoy the world while we seek to improve it.



Brook’s Suicide:

Suicide is often one of the most selfish and wasteful things one can do. There’s almost always another way, a better way, a better future, another solution to ease your pain or accomplish your goal. Find it. When necessary, let others help you find it. And help others to find it, too.



Brook’s Summit:

There are many ways up a mountain, but only one summit. There are many mountains, therefore many summits. The highest summit is not necessarily better than the lowest valley. A summit should not necessarily be valued nor devalued because it is high and a valley should not necessarily be valued nor devalued because it is low.



Brook’s Sun:

We still speak of sunrise and sunset, even though we know that the Earth rotates on its axis and orbits around the sun and that it is the rotating that makes the sun appear to rise and set, taking appearance for reality.



Brook’s Supply & Demand:

Supply creates demand at least as much as demand creates supply. Many people don’t know specifically what to demand, while marketers always have a specific supply to peddle, regardless of whether it’s needed, wanted, safe, sustainable, or otherwise.



Brook’s Surfeit:

A plethora is sometimes worse than a paucity.



Brook’s Swallow:

The only way to completely understand the world is to swallow it whole.



Brook’s System:

All systems — whether social, cultural, political, economic, educational, urban, religious, mechanical, electronic, or otherwise — should serve the needs of the living, not vice versa.



Brook’s Tactics:

People can be divided into four groups on any given political issue: those who (mostly) agree with you, those who (mostly) don’t agree with you, those who (mostly) don’t care, and the rest who are potentially persuadable. Many people mistakenly spend most of their energy on the first three groups and way too much on the second (those who don’t agree) and third (those who don’t care). Instead, the first group should be supported and strengthened, the second group should be occasionally rebutted but largely ignored, and the third group should be briefly educated; importantly, the fourth group of potentially persuadables should attract the majority of attention.



Brook’s Tangent:

Going off topic isn’t; tangents are on target in different ways.



Brook’s Taste:

Taste is not simply one sense, but rather a delicious balance of the all the senses combined as well as involving our personality, biochemistry, and culture.



Brook’s Tea:

Each new infusion with the same tea leaves produces an entirely new cup of tea; a new taste, a new experience, and a new opportunity, each one to be appreciated for what it is, until it isn’t.



Brook’s Teacher:

One usually learns more from teaching than from studying and it can be as enjoyable as being a student with the added benefit of not having to do the assignments or take the exams.



Brook’s Teaching:

Teaching is personal tutoring on a group basis.



Brook’s Technicality:

All technical problems have technical solutions, even if we can’t imagine them, and in that sense are no problems at all.



Brook’s Tense:

Everything has a very long past, an ephemeral present, and a potentially infinite future.



Brook’s Tension:

It takes tension to get attention.



Brook’s The:

For the purposes of accuracy and humility, we should often use the indefinite article ‘a’ more than the definite article ‘the’, as both life and our understanding of it tend to be more indefinite than definite.



Brook’s Theodicy:

The unexplainable Gordian Knot of theodicy is easily and efficiently cut by the simple sword of atheism. Without belief in God or gods, there is no need to crudely try to reconcile alleged infinitely awesome powers and divine goodness with the all-too-real chronic and ubiquitous existence of evil.



Brook’s Theology:

People tend to anthropomorphize their world. People are not created in the image of any god, but rather create gods in their own image. Therefore, gods are not so much phenomenal as they are epiphenomenal.



Brook’s Theory:

Theories are relatively simple ways of explaining relatively complex phenomena. Ideologies are similar, though where theories are descriptive, ideologies are prescriptive.



Brook’s Therapy:

We can avoid the depressions of the past and the anxieties of the future by being more mindful of and grateful for the present.



Brook’s Thermodynamics:

It’s generally better to be a little too warm than a little too cold.



Brook’s Thermostat:

Too many people are simply thermometers, merely measuring what’s around them, but it’s often better to be thermostat, proactively changing the temperature to make it more comfortable.



Brook’s Things:

The best rewards, what we treasure the most, are non-material. As they say, the best things in life aren’t things.



Brook’s Thinking:

Don’t believe everything you think; thoughts are simply neurotransmitters attaching themselves to neuroreceptors. Don’t disbelieve everything you think; thoughts are complex personal and social processes that can change your life and the world.



Brook’s This:

We could not be in this time and in this place and with this level of understanding and reading this, if it were not for the forming of this universe, this level of expansion, this amount of gravity, the creation of this nearby star we call the sun, this amount of heat, this amount of atmosphere, this amount of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, this amount of microflora and microfauna, this type and amount of DNA, chromosomes, and genes, this level of evolution, this lineage that allowed every ancestor of ours to live at least as long as their time of reproduction, this level of childcare, this level of innovation, education, language, and culture, this level of cooperation and competition. This is so highly unlikely, almost impossible, yet this is it and we still too often treat this as just that.



Brook’s Thought:

Sometimes the best way to think about something is to not think about it.



Brook’s Thoughts:

We are what we think about and we are where our thoughts are, so it’s better to surround oneself with and to think good, positive, constructive, optimistic, useful, sustaining, compassionate, happy, healthy thoughts for ourselves and others.



Brook’s Thucydides:

The powerful do what they want; the powerless do what they must.



Brook’s Time:

We create time more than we find it, we experience it more than we spend it, and we use it more than we waste it; in fact, wasting time is not always a waste of time and can often be more productive — and more enjoyable — than saving or spending it.



Brook’s Time Travel:

It is as easy to travel forward in time as it is to travel back, to fantasize as it is to reminisce, to imagine one situation or another.



Brook’s Timelessness:

The past and the future are useful and interesting concepts, but there is only an endless series of nows and presents, which are gifts, if we properly accept them.



Brook’s Timeline:

Dreams of the past often become possibilities in the present and taken for granted in the future.



Brook’s Timescale:

Plan for eternity, but always be ready for today; plan for today, but always consider eternity.



Brook’s Timing:

It is never too early nor too late to do good, to be kind, to seek peace, to fight for justice, to live, love, or laugh.



Brook’s To Die For:

Whatever there may be “to die for”, it is always better to live for. If there really were something to die for, however, we should do so with steely determination.


Brook’s Today:

The most important day of the week is always today.



Brook’s Tolstoy:

The fastest and easiest way to be happy is simply to be happy — anytime, anywhere, for any reason, or none at all.



Brook’s Track:

The sidetrack so often is or becomes the track itself; thinking one is getting sidetracked or off track may simply be a failure of recognition, understanding, foresight, or imagination.



Brook’s Tradition:

All traditions were invented and were once new and untraditional. And they tend to change over time. It is therefore traditional to create, reform, renew, and reconstruct our traditions.



Brook’s Trajectory:

Information should lead to knowledge, knowledge to wisdom, then wisdom should lead to compassion, with compassion leading to action, and action leading to positive change, while change and the process of getting there leads to more in formation. Positive change (along with more information) is, therefore, the proper fruit of information.



Brook’s Train:

One of the shortest distances between the mundane and the romantic is a train ride.



Brook’s Translation:

If all translation is interpretation, then no translation — just like no history or biography — can ever be definitive.



Brook’s Travel:

Most of the beauty of travel is reading and anticipating before you go and then reviewing and reminiscing after you return. The actual traveling, while often wonderful, is the shortest part of the journey.



Brook’s Traveling:

’Tis better to have traveled and gotten lost than never to have traveled at all (in fact, the getting lost is sometimes the most valuable part).



Brook’s Travels:

Traveling is important for so many reasons — learning, teaching, research, creativity, reunion, exploration, leisure, business, charity, service, fun, meeting people, having new experiences — but one of the most interesting reasons is self-discovery. What we can learn most when we go away and travel is what we know and feel inside.



Brook’s Trees:

Trees are quiet but powerful, rely on both roots and branches, gripping the ground as they reach for the sky, are patient yet efficient, are utilitarian but also beautiful, can live alone but are best in community, protect and strengthen themselves as they give multiple benefits to many others, are strong and seemingly rigid though their flexibility makes them supple yet stronger. While taking what they need to thrive, trees filter the air and water, hold the soil in place, absorb carbon dioxide, exhale oxygen, and create food, fuel, shade, shelter, beauty, and more, giving back so much more than they take. Trees are not about anything else, however; trees are about trees. We have much to learn from them.



Brook’s True Love:

True love is one heart beating in more than one body.



Brook’s Trust:

Trust yourself, but never ignore external data.



Brook’s Truth:

It’s not simply the Truth that may set one free, if it can do so at all, but many truths and many beliefs melded together in all sorts of conscious and subconscious ways.



Brook’s Ullage:

Sometimes having less of something leaves one with more.



Brook’s Unarticulated Want:

We can’t always articulate what we want, but we still want it, and when we get it, we know.



Brook’s Understanding:

The better one understands, the better one is understood; the better that people understand themselves, the better they understand others; and the better they understand others, the more likely they are to better understand themselves, though they too often do not. Thinking one understands something inhibits one from more fully understanding that thing. Part of understanding is recognizing that everyone does not know some things and that no one can know everything.



Brook’s Union:

Unions are the only organizations that specifically look out for the interests of workers and most people are workers.



Brook’s Unity:

If out of many, one, then out of one, many.



Brook’s Unity in Diversity:

Any seemingly homogenous group has differences within and amongst its members, just as any heterogeneous group has much in common.



Brook’s Universalism:

Whatever we do to one group, even animals, will be done by some of us to others, even humans.



Brook’s Universe:

We are in the universe no more or less than the universe is in us; likewise with society.



Brook’s Unknown:

We are always venturing into the unknown, yet we rarely know it.



Brook’s Unlikelihood:

Everything that can be seen in the universe is only a very small percentage of what’s in the universe. And of this tiny portion that we can see, only a very small percentage is living. And of this tiny portion that is living, only a very small percentage has consciousness. Our lives are very highly unlikely, yet they apparently exist. All the more reason to appreciate what we have and use it well.



Brook’s Urges:

Cooperation and competition usually exist side by side and are practiced simultaneously. People and organizations compete with some, while they cooperate with others; they may also compete on some levels, and at some times, and cooperate on others. Both are necessary for survival and innovation, though cooperation is more fundamental.



Brook’s Us:

It’s not what’s around, but what we see and hear; it’s not what happens, but what we think and feel; it’s not what’s happening, but how we react; it’s not what is, but us.



Brook’s Utopia:

Utopia can be so much closer than we realize; once we realize that, we’re halfway there.



Brook’s Utopias:

Even if they don’t last, there are times and places when we can get a delicious taste of utopia.



Brook’s Value:

Some things, processes, events, emotions, experiences, and reactions have positive value, while some have negative value. The better we distinguish between them, and act based upon it, the richer we’ll be.



Brook’s Values:

We value things based on our values and our values are shaped by what we value.



Brook’s Vantage Point:

Advantages can sometimes be disadvantages and disadvantages can sometimes be advantages; strengths can sometimes be weaknesses and weaknesses can sometimes be strengths. It depends on how they are viewed and used.



Brook’s Vegetarianism:

Vegetarianism is a life saver — literally — for humans and animals. I am a strict (vegan-leaning) vegetarian because it reduces the suffering and death of animals, as well as being better for spiritual, personal, public, and planetary health, as well as peace and social justice, but I am not strictly vegan because I choose not to have a higher standard for animal exploitation than I do for human exploitation. Knowing that they are not mutually exclusive, I nonetheless still consume products sometimes made by human super-exploitation, even while advocating against it, and therefore won’t totally eschew products made by animal exploitation or draw an uncrossable line for animals that I’m not unwilling to cross for humans.



Brook’s Verbs:

Many nouns (e.g., people, places, and things) are really verbs (i.e., actions, movements, processes).



Brook’s Viktor Frankl:

Even if you have little or perhaps no control over (too) many aspects of your life, you always have complete control over what you think and feel. Everybody always has everything they need to think and feel whatever they want.



Brook’s Village:

If it takes a whole village to raise a child, it just takes an unwhole child to raze a village.



Brook’s Violence:

If violence solved problems, it would no longer seem necessary to people. Likewise with revenge.



Brook’s Voluntourism:

When done well, voluntourism is a great way to help others and see a culture from the inside out; when done poorly, voluntourism can reproduce hierarchy, dependence, inequalities, and othering.



Brook’s Vote:

Voting shouldn’t be fetishized. It’s as silly to advocate against voting as thinking it will solve everything. Voting is only one of many tools in our toolboxes, but it’s worth using when appropriate. Most political work happens between elections by building political awareness, capacity, connections, infrastructure, and movements. Voting may not be the most important thing to do, but it may be one of the most important things to do on Election Day. Whether or not people vote, they have just as much right as anyone else to complain, speak out, organize, protest, or anything else.



Brook’s Wabi-Sabi:

Imperfections can be more beautiful that perfection, while perfection itself is a special form of imperfection.



Brook’s Vision:

We should be for things at least as much as we are against their opposites.


Brook’s Wager:

If you have to decide between something real and something imaginary, bet on the real thing.



Brook’s Walk:

Walking is my favorite and the most human form of transportation, best allowing oneself to experience one’s environment, one’s path, one’s physicality, one’s life, and one’s thoughts.



Brook’s Walt Whitman:

We all contradict ourselves, leaving consistency to the conceptual, as we are all so large as to contain multitudes of possibilities and actualities.



Brook’s Want:

It’s better to not get what you want than to get what you don’t want.



Brook’s War:

With war, all victories are Pyrrhic victories. Any peace is better than any war, as war is a big form of murder, terrorism, rape, disablement, displacement, and destruction. War is a generational crime, with older leaders condemning younger people to their deaths.



Brook’s Waste:

Garbage is unnatural and there is no away to throw it. Ideally, as in nature, the waste (output) of any being or process should be the food (input) for another with nothing left over.



Brook’s Water:

We are never as light, graceful, comfortable, and free as when we are in water. We are never as smart or strong as when we act like water. Water never goes where it cannot, yet it always effortlessly goes where it can.


Brook’s Waterfall:

Waterfalls teach us that if we understand the ways of nature, when we fall, we won’t get hurt.



Brook’s Wave:

All things in life — including people, ideas, organizations, empires, universes — come and go.



Brook’s Ways:

Actions can create beliefs as much as beliefs can create actions.



Brook’s We:

The more we move from me to we, the better for all involved.



Brook’s Weakness:

Weakness can be stronger than strength.



Brook’s Wealth:

Wealth is more likely to be transferred — from nature, labor, or other parties — than it is to be created.



Brook’s Weird:

Life — and much in and about it — is not only weirder than we imagine, but weirder than most of us can imagine.



Brook’s Welfare:

Conventional idiocy suggests that a little government money for poor people makes them lazy, while a lot of government money for rich people and corporations makes them entrepreneurial heroes.



Brook’s Wheel:

Don’t reinvent the wheel, unless you need to make it rounder.



Brook’s Wiki:

The history and progress of life generally, and culture specifically, is a life-size wiki.



Brook’s Window:

Windows of opportunity are always opening and closing. It is our lifelong task to let the fresh air in by recognizing, seizing, and expanding opportunities for ourselves and others.



Brook’s Wisdom:

Knowledge is knowing there’s a time for one thing and a time for another; wisdom is knowing what those times are.



Brook’s Within:

Whether religious or secular, scientific or lay, ancient or modern, Eastern or Western, all signs point to a universal reality: be in the present, be mindful, be grateful, and you will be happy. There is nothing without; there is everything within.



Brook’s Word:

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a few words can also conjure thousands of pictures.



Brook’s Work:

There is always much more work than jobs.



Brook’s Working:

We are only working when it’s unpleasant, alienating, destructive, or meaningless.



Brook’s World:

The terra is only terrene and el mundo is only mundane if you make it so; the world is endlessly fascinating, exciting, and enjoyable, despite its obstacles, hardships, and tragedies.



Brook’s Worldliness:

The world inside of us is as real — perhaps even more real — than the world outside of us.



Brook’s Worry:

Worries are almost always wasted. Worrying is one of the least productive things one can do.



Brook’s Writer:

Writing is a service industry and writers therefore have to make their writing as aesthetically appealing, appropriately portioned, sustainable, delicious, digestible, and nutritious as possible.



Brook’s Writers’ Block:

Writers’ block is a socially-spread yet self-imposed scam to avoid or delay writing. People don’t get writers’ block, they just don’t want to put the effort into the work of writing. If writers engage in something more pleasurable, even if less meaningful, the block continues; if they force themselves to do something less pleasurable, even if less meaningful, and don’t reward themselves for not writing, then the block dissipates.



Brook’s Writing:

Writing is as much a teacher as a tool. How do you know what you really think unless you write it? How else can you share it with others, including those you don’t know or who aren’t around (yet)? Writing is a form of doing.



Brook’s WTF:

Instead of being wowed, dumbfounded, amused, or taking it for granted, investigate, examine, and interrogate the F and then address and answer it as best as possible.



Brook’s Yes:

Yes is one of the most powerful words in the English language.



Brook’s Yoga and Meditation:

Although I sometimes do yoga and do meditation — regular yoga, smile meditation, laughing yoga, compassion meditation — I’m more interested in living yoga and meditation, ideally in being yoga and meditation. They should, as much as possible, be integrated into one’s life more than ghettoized for certain times, places, circumstances, and activities. Further, yoga should be much more than physical, as meditation should be much more than mental. Asanas should also be mental, emotional, spiritual, gastronomical, and more, while sitting should be transformed into omnipresent consciousness during all activities and experiences. Regardless, yoga and meditation should seek to improve our world for all its inhabitants, not simply for the practitioners. If we only try to make ourselves better through these or other cultural technologies, we are not bettering our world and therefore not really bettering ourselves.


Brook’s YOLO:

To the extent that you only live once (YOLO), you only die once (YODO). Do them well and you won’t have regrets.



Brook’s Young:

The younger people are when they take positive steps in their lives, the longer they are likely to get the benefits of those changes. Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make and the earlier you do so, the more it compounds the return.



Brook’s Youth:

Have a lot of fun, do a lot of different things, experiment with different activities, hang out and hook up with different people, take different types of paid and unpaid jobs, expose yourself to different ideas and opportunities, help those who will never be able to help you. Make the most of this time of relatively high energy and relatively low responsibility. For better or worse, you’ll never be young again. While you’re doing all that, though, get schooled and educated, develop skills and abilities, gain perspectives, don’t be narcissistic or fall too deeply into fads, look out for yourself while looking out for others, be careful, be healthy, take responsibility for what you do and don’t do. Use your energy productively. Appreciate your youth while you’re young, but don’t get stuck in it involuntarily. You’ll want to look back on a fun, meaningful, and productive time, not a wasted or regretted one. Be cool and be smart!



Brook’s Zapatista:

The pinnacle of civilization would be “everything for everybody, nothing for nobody”.



Brook’s Zev:

Raising a child can be the most difficult, frustrating, scary, comedic, spiritual, educational, entertaining, exhausting, loving, meaningful, and rewarding experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.



Brook’s Zinn:

The cries of the powerless are not always just, but if you don’t listen to their cries, you’ll never know what justice is.



Brook’s Zoo:

Zoos are — by their very “nature” — strange creatures. Designed to be living museums, in which humans can gawk at unusual beasts and where beasts gawk at unusual humans, zoos don’t celebrate life as much as trap and exploit it. Zoos inherently deny freedom to those beings we claim to cherish, caging or otherwise confining and controlling them, sometimes dewilding and domesticating them and humanizing them in the worst way. Despite this denial of freedom, zoos provide human access to other animals most of us would never normally see or interact with, thereby aiding in people’s education, joy, wonder, and imagination. Zoos sometimes also engage in conservation efforts to protect animals and their threatened habitats, keeping species in the wild alive and thriving, as well as caring for the last of certain species no longer existing in the wild. Zoos, further, can inspire us towards caring about and loving animals, learning about — and sometimes from — them, developing compassion toward these others, and protecting them. That they do this at the cost of freedom for many animals, for the aesthetic benefit of an anthropocentric human animal, is — to say the least — quite problematic.



Brook’s Zorn:

When we minimize negative energy in our lives (e.g., negative gossip, regrets, worries, anger, hate, nastiness, pettiness, mirrors, TV, irrelevancies), we maximize positive energy in our lives (e.g., family, friends, neighbors, community, creativity, compassion, gratitude, service, spirituality, love, fulfillment, joy).



Brook’s Zusia:

There’s only one you, you can’t be anyone else, and no one else can take your unique place in the world. There are many things you could do in life and there is no one just like you, so you have to do what you can do to be you. For both yourself and others, you need to be the best you that you can be. That is your only calling, your only job, and your only destiny. When you are the best you that you can be, everything else falls into place.



Brook’s Zyzzyva:

Everything has to end somewhere.



Dan Brook, Ph.D. is a writer, poet, photographer, speaker, activist, wanderer, wonderer, and professor of sociology and political science, but mostly a human being. His ebooks can be found at . Dan welcomes questions, queries, quests, comments, contributions, and other communication via . More info at .

Brook's Book

In this book are some of the nuggets of my accumulated “wisdom”, some attributable while others not. As with most people and their ideas, I am more a curator than an inventor, despite whatever innovations I may make to the vast and varied material that comes my way from a wide array of nourishing sources, enriching and enlivening me. Indeed, as Isaac Newton wisely and humbly recognized 300 years ago, we are all “standing on the shoulders of giants”, even when we take that universal and eternal truth for granted by asserting our seemingly-individual accomplishments. I sincerely hope you find these bite-sized nuggets useful, as I certainly do, despite the playful narcissism of these apothegms. In the words of fellow aphorist Michel de Montaigne, “I am myself the matter of my book”. In this sense, all writing is autobiography and I hope it becomes part of yours, as well. Some of my aphoristic writings aren’t actually proper aphorisms per se, as they can’t necessarily be contained or conveyed properly in that tight genre. Whether they are aphorisms, apothegms, adages, maxims, quotes, sayings, advice, remarks, rules, common sense, quips, spiritual guidance, realizations, or whatever else, they may still, hopefully, be interesting, insightful, inspiring, enspiriting, enlightening, enheartening, entertaining, useful, or otherwise worthwhile, so I hope you forgive my sententious nature. In the spirit of disclosure, I feel I should warn you. I’m sympathetic to Karl Kraus when he says that “An aphorism can never be the whole truth; it is either a half-truth or a truth-and-a-half.” Like Pablo Picasso said, “art is a lie that makes us realize truth” and perhaps that is true here, as well. In that way, these aphorisms are gnomic in more than one way. But it is more for you to decide than me, as writing is ultimately more for the reader than the writer. These aphorisms are now yours! Feel free to use the ones that resonate with you and to make them your own; similarly, feel free to discard whatever is unwelcome, ineffective, offensive, or unnecessary. I echo sagely Bruce Lee in saying “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” These nuggets should be nourishing and liberating, in one way or another, but certainly not burdensome or debilitating. In any event, enjoy your journeys!

  • Author: Dan Brook
  • Published: 2017-04-13 06:20:14
  • Words: 27664
Brook's Book Brook's Book