A colleague (PM) reports that, if he gets despondent, his wife lectures him on her cynical-funny philosophy: Everyone needs a "sustaining delusion". You have to have something to take heart from when work is overwhelming, when relationships are breaking down, when life seems meaningless.

Of course that doesn't stop the same colleague, a few minutes later in that same conversation, from snorting and challenging an optimistic comrade (DB) with the sarcastic:

Bang this against your "sustaining delusion": if you are as successful as it is humanly possible to be, how will that make any difference?

Apparently his wife's wisdom hasn't been fully internalized yet! The point of the word "delusion" is that it preempts, zen-like, all further questioning.

My own sustaining delusion? It's a simpleminded subatomic one: that tiny acts of kindness, each one infinitesimal, will somehow add up to significance --- and will make the world a wee bit better ...

(see George Eliot's Middlemarch, and Albert Schweitzer's autobiography Out of My Life and Thought; see also OptimistCreed (16 Apr 1999), RememberMe (21 May 1999), Underappreciated Ideas (6 Jul 1999), FoamOnTheOcean (23 Jul 2000), My Religion (6 Nov 2000), ... )

TopicPhilosophy - TopicLife - TopicPersonalHistory - 2004-07-21

(correlates: JoggingAdvice, GreatAndNobleTasks, GungHoPrinciples, ...)