I found myself looking at Ben Franklin's autobiography today and encountered a parable he wrote about a whistle which is perfectly reasonable from a Western perspective, but which I find I lacking in what I might call mindfulness. He says:
I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.
And I would say, instead, that the most miseries are, by far and away, caused not by giving too much for their whistles, but by not enjoying their whistles enough. He was perfectly happy with his whistle until he let other people convince him he'd made a bad bargain. The mistake is regretting the decision. Yes, knowing what he knew later, perhaps it was a bad decision: but it wasn't a bad decision at the time. Indeed, if he hadn't bought the whistle, he might have been beaten and robbed before even getting to the store. You'll spend your whole life in misery if you don't enjoy what's enjoyable that's right before you and instead torment yourself over what might have been. Enjoy your whistle! That's my motto.
- Steven D. Brewer's blog
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