David Bruce: Resist Psychic Death — Wisdom Story, Work

Wisdom Story

• A flood came and forced a man to climb out on his roof. A boat came to rescue him, but the man said, “I have faith that God will save me,” so the boat went away. The water continued to climb until it reached the man’s waist. Another boat came to rescue him, but the man said, “I have faith that God will save me,” so the second boat went away. The water continued to climb until it reached the man’s neck. A helicopter came to rescue him, but the man said, “I have faith that God will save me,” so the helicopter went away. The water continued to rise, and the man drowned and went to Heaven. In Heaven, he told God, “I had faith that You would save me from drowning. I am surprised that I drowned.” God replied, “I am also surprised that you drowned. After all, I sent two boats and a helicopter to save you.”

Work

• At a time when it was easy to find a job as a busboy, Taoist teacher Luke Chan got a job as a busboy. He wasn’t making a lot of money, but he was able to afford to buy what he calls “a third-rate automobile.” Often, he would pick up hitchhikers because he felt sorry for them because they could not afford a car. But one day a hitchhiker asked him for a dollar, and he thought a moment and realized that the only difference between him and the hitchhiker was that he was not lazy and that he worked. Thereafter, he picked up no more hitchhikers. According to Mr. Chan, “Laziness is a major cause of poverty in developed countries.” Mr. Chan also tells this story: A rich man’s son and a poor man’s son had to choose careers. The poor man’s son chose making furniture, but the rich man’s son chose slaying dragons. Soon, the poor man’s son was rich because many people needed furniture made, and the rich man’s son was poor because no one needed a dragon slain. By the way, Mr. Chan says that modern universities have lots of classes about how to slay dragons. He then asks, “But if you had a choice, wouldn’t you rather learn something practical rather than something that’s merely theoretical?”

• From her Paris teacher, Cécile Gilly, soprano Marjorie Lawrence learned that when asked if she knew a certain opera, she should always say that she knew it. That way, she would get more jobs; after all, she could always learn the opera after getting the job. Therefore, early in her career, when Ms. Lawrence was asked if she knew the Tétralogie, she replied that she did, although she had never heard of it. Later, when she met Ms. Gilly, she asked what the Tétralogiewas, explaining that she had said that she knew it. Ms. Gilly laughed, then explained, “Do you realize, young woman, you told the man you knew the whole of Wagner’s Ring? Here we call it the Tétralogie.” Ms. Lawrence was kept quite busy learning the Tétralogie.

• Gioacchino Rossini used to boast about his procrastinating abilities, which caused music managers to tear their hair as they waited for him to finish composing a piece of music. In a letter, Mr. Rossini boasted, “In Italy, in my time, all the managers were bald at thirty.” For example, Mr. Rossini composed the overture to Otelloonly after being locked in a room with a little food while a manager waited for the music. While composing the overture to La Gazza Ladra, Mr. Rossini was watched by four men. These men took each page of the overture as it was written, then threw it to the copyists, who were waiting in a downstairs room. According to Mr. Rossini, the four men had orders to throw himdownstairs if he failed to deliver the overture.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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