I have been pretty down on all adults and social influences during my childhood. It took me 38 years to find out where human society was keeping the "good shit" when it comes to how to live your life. I have no idea what occupied the time of all the adults in my life, when I was a child. Modern western culture is all about maintaining a slightly enlightened form of hedonism and narcissism, and being a very good consumer and a good enough producer.
Image via WikipediaI am even down on the Charlie Brown cartoons I used to read. You had my undivided attention, Charles M. Schultz, why didn't you teach me how I could live meaningfully and effectively? OK, I am driving my point over a cliff. Backing off of this extreme position... it would have taken a miracle to reach me at a fundamental level - I was so self-absorbed and so full of energy to defend my fragile ego. Quoting from Patton Oswalt's fantastic high school graduation speech:
“Advice is everywhere in this world. Your friends, family, teachers and strangers are all happy to give it. “A lesson is yours and yours alone. Some of them take years to recognize and utilize.It is a great speech. Read the whole thing. My closed nature made it difficult for any teacher to reach me. So I am not 100% sure what the take-away is. Bah, just live your life the best you can, and when a creepy kid asks you a question, answer honestly. That is the best you can do.
Image via Wikipedia“My lesson was this – experience, and reward and glory are meaningless unless you’re open and present with the people you share them with in the moment.” http://www.pattonoswalt.com/index.cfm?page=spew&id=78
Image via WikipediaAlso, assume that the teachings that are easily available are only there to make you easier to be controlled - the readily available teachings and thought only put a bit in your mouth and a bridle harness on your head. Look for the stuff that is wildly unpopular, but has stuck around for millennium. If it is wildly unpopular, but has stayed in print since the Hellenistic Age, there must be something to it. Something like Philip K. Dick's quote "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Surviving thousands of years of unpopularity is quite an achievement for a life philosophy, and might suggest some truth to it.
Image via WikipediaBut those kind of thoughts are only available under the surface, because they won't have any social approval. So you have to be open to people to let them show you those type of things. I am back to where I started. My favorite teacher was Mister Bugbee, who was the principal and the eighth grade teacher at my Evangelical Lutheran private grade school. He was a kind man. Everything he did showed he had a kind heart. That was enough.