Norman O. BrownNorman O. Brown was considered by the NY Times as a "playful philosopher."

I found his name while reading The Judoka, by W.D. (William) Norwood. On page 85 he paraphrases a quote from Norman O. Brown:

"Death is an enemy because we have too much unlived life within us."
- W.D. Norwood paraphrase of Norman O. Brown sentiment

From what I've learned, Norman O. Brown was a respected philosopher who lived a long life, though he did have Alzheimer's disease.

I wonder if W.D. Norwood is still alive. The literati / Judoka wrote a wonderful book and shared a bit of wisdom.

Life is accelerating by me. The NY Times quote:

In his Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (Wesleyan University Press, 1959), he said individuals and society were imprisoned by an essentially Freudian ill: repression. He argued that the only escape was to face death head-on and affirm life.

How the hell do you do that?

In Judoka, and elsewhere, the eastern focus is on the present moment. Out with planning, future, etc. Be in the present moment.

A lot of the discussion in eastern philosophies centers around the concept of attachment. Attachment to outcomes, plans, expectations. Instead, the eastern philosophers advise to flow with life, focus on the present. A more complete description: When planning, plan, then stop. The results will take care of themselves. Don't worry about outcome, don't become attached to your planning.

Our Western understanding of eastern philosophy is skewed. It's not ALL "non-attachment" or "focus on the present." It's more about finding balance, not about never letting go, never focusing on the future so much we don't ever see what's in front of us. Those explaining eastern philosophy focus on what we lack: attention, flow, non-attachment. But the truth is in moderation, as that western philosopher said.

The Point

The responsibility lies within each of us to find that dynamic balance. I really don't think it can be legislated, dictated, taught, prescribed. It's an awareness we must find in ourselves. A balance only we can know...

That's a really great image. Only I can find my point of balance. It's something I feel inside, others cannot feel it for me. They can see the outward affects of my imbalance, but only I can actually find my balance again. It is something inside me, all of us...balance.

So when eastern philosopher emphasize non-attachment, it's because they see so much attachment in our lives. It's not that life is all about non-attachment. It's about both. The ying-yang. We just sometimes forget that in the focus to correct the imbalanced attachment. It's all about balance...a dynamic balance.

Norman Brown, Playful Philosopher, 89, Is Dead

The Judoka by WD Norwood