RE: virus: BNW

Richard Brodie (
Fri, 12 Mar 1999 17:45:32 -0800


Thanks for opening yourself up like that. I find I have a sense of your warmth now that I didn't have before.

<<I have absolutely no understanding of what makes either small
talk or "flirting" enjoyable, little grasp of social rituals, and no patience for irrationality.>>

<<The one thing I would like is a girl friend,
although I'm not ready just yet...>>

No comment.

<<I am already one-among-many, but that doesn't mean I'm not an
individual as well. Is it beneficial to merge-and-lose yourself in the crowd? I thought that was exactly what Brodie and you preached against!>>

Self reliance is not the same as isolation. Here's another excerpt from Emerson's essay "Self Reliance" (edited and updated by Richard Brodie):

We're a mob these days. We don't stand in awe of great men, nor do we discipline ourselves to look inward for our inspiration, to commune with the internal ocean. Instead, our inspiration goes out to borrow a cup of water from someone else's well. We must go it alone.

I like the silent church before the service begins better than any preaching. How distant, how calm, how pure the others look, each in their own private world or sanctuary. If we could only sit like that all the time—

Why should we take on the faults
of our friend or wife or father or child just because they sit on our sofa
or supposedly have the same blood?

All men have my blood and I have all of theirs. That doesn't mean I'll adopt their irritability or stupidity, even to the extent of being ashamed of it.

But your isolation must not be mechanical—it must be spiritual, must be elevation. Sometimes the whole world seems to be in a conspiracy to enroll you in some urgent trivia. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, and charity all knock at once on your closet door and say, "Come with us!" But keep your balance; don't enter into their confusion. The power people have to annoy me I give them through mild curiosity. No one can come near me without me causing it.

What we love, we have; what we desire, we lose.

Richard Brodie Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme" Free newsletter! Visit Meme Central at