A graduate student on the verge of burnout was planning on becoming a monk to escape it all. But on his quest to find peace, he decided instead to make a film about his journey. What can we glean from his experience to bring some peace into our own lives?
So far, we’ve talked a lot about the Primitive Mind and the Higher Mind, and the strange tension they create in our heads. This chapter, we’re going to zoom out a bit and bring two new characters into the mix.
The first isn’t a new character exactly—it’s the combined workings of the Primitive Mind and Higher Mind: the Inner Self.
The Inner Self is the product of the struggle between the Primitive Mind and the Higher Mind. At any given moment, the way the Inner Self thinks and feels, what it believes, its values and motivations, are a reflection of the state of that struggle. For our purposes in this chapter, we’ll only worry about the Inner Self as a whole.
Long series, but a good one.
“To me, stillness is what makes life worth living,” Holiday says during our conversation. “If you have all the money in the world, all the power in the world, but you are frantic, at the mercy of your own thoughts, what’s the point?”
When you’re doing it because it’s connected deep with who you are as a person, and what you feel like you’re put on the planet to do, that’s where you’re best.
Yes. Just yes.
It was in Pittsburgh that Elizabeth found her calling. The city’s Dispatch ran a weekly column by a self-important man named Erasmus Wilson, who called himself the “Quiet Observer.” One week in 1885, Wilson published an op-ed entitled “What Girls Are Good For.” The answer, according to him, was housework. It was unseemly and ugly for ladies to work, he wrote, describing working women as a “monstrosity.”
Elizabeth was having none of this. She penned an angry letter to the editor, signing it, provocatively, “Lonely Orphan Girl.” The letter was no work of art—Elizabeth had left school at 15, after all—but editor George Madden was impressed by its writer’s fervor. He placed an advertisement in the next issue of the Dispatch, inviting the Lonely Orphan Girl to come forward. She did, and he offered her a job. To protect her identity and her reputation, Madden soon recommended she select a pen name. The two settled upon Nellie Bly, after a popular song by Stephen Foster.
I’m not sure how I’ve never heard of Nellie Bly before. What an incredible person.