Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Waiting for the Fall

It's almost impossible to think of the most intense passions without coming up with bad poetry. Of course even with passions the circus back home is front-and-center in my consciousness. The political situation in the Philippines would turn off most people; I am glued to the set finding out reason or rhyme to this whole mess.

My only comment for all the opportunistic politicians is: Ang kakapal n'yo!

Back to poetry... I remember this wonderful piece by Byron which Ron Perlman read during the series "Beauty and the Beast" (in the '80s, when Linda Hamilton was still relevant).

She Walks In Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade more, one ray less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

"The First Time I Loved Forever" from that show was also a poignant song... posting this, I am aware that I am reaching for catharsis, but I want to avoid writing any more bad poetry, as evidenced by this comment. Spontaneous gusts of emotion may seem to carry the whole world on your shoulders, but it's still third-rate writing.

I've learned that emotion too, while filling the life of a romance, is not what would create a great relationship. I'm still young enough to savor the juvenile dreams I had, but I no longer have the alacrity to jump at the prospect of a possible relationship.

Erich Fromm writes: "Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." Does it make my life less that I have no one specific to share my life with? My friends in the religious say that one's existence takes on a greater relevance when there is a mission. It's strange but when I revisit my own statements, I'm actually doing what I wrote down.

So why do I still feel alone? Do I need to fall in love again?

Only the Lord knows.

"Blessed are those who long to give all the time to God and shake themselves free of all the trammels of this world. My soul, here is something for you to heed; shut fast the doors that comes through the senses, that so you hear what the Lord your God is speaking within you."
--- Thomas a Kempis, the Imitation of Christ

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

O me! O life!

There is a tendency for people to go inward rather than outward when facing crises. Some people call it listening to the voice of God. Some people call it meditation and clearing out emotional baggage. My former colleagues at Integrative Learning would call it an A-I-C time (it isn't the same, really, if you ask them).

Whatever name it may be, reflection oftentimes works.

My inspiration is Uncle Walt (Whitman, not Disney), and strangely enough, I discovered this poem through Peter Weir's "Dead Poets Society":

O me! O life! of these questions recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew'd,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring - What good amid these? O me, O life?

Answer -
That you are here - that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
(Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)

My thoughts exactly. Still feeling irrelevant? Just read back and reflect.

And - oh! the political situation in the Philippines, hey? What more can I say? I'm just glad to be


Because it feels so pretentious to bellow out one way or the other as the impasse grows. The terror attacks in London carry more significance as what kinds of freedom will be affected by the measures the British government will take.

Still, the oppressed remain oppressed. John Lennon puts it succinctly in one of the Beatles' B-side's, "Rain":

If the rain comes they run and hide their heads.
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes, if the rain comes.

When the sun shines they slip into the shade
(When the sun shines down.)
And drink their lemonade.
(When the sun shines down.)
When the sun shines, when the sun shines.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the weather's fine.

I can show you that when it starts to rain,
(When the rain comes down.)
Everything's the same.
(When the rain comes down.)
I can show you, I can show you.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the weather's fine.

Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines,
(When it rains and shines.)
It's just a state of mind?
(When itrains and shines.)
Can you hear me, can you hear me?

sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.

Rain or shine, it's all the same, the politicking musical-chairs game.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mga Pana-Panaginip

Dedicated to the seniors of Tala Public High School, 1991-92.

Unang Boses
Minsan, parati na lang tayong nahihimbing.
Ayaw na nating magising, panay pangarap na lang.
E sino ba ang hahangad ng katotohanan
Kapag napakasaya ng ating mundo sa guniguni?
Ano ang iyong masasabi sa aking pangarap
Na aabot sa bituin at sasakop sa mundo?

Ako, ang nais ko ay ang maging matagumpay
Sa larangan ng pangangalakal at sa kayamanan.
Magtatayo ako ng makapalasyong bahay
At magmamay-ari ako ng sandosenang sasakyan.
Hindi naman lingid sa karamihan natin dito
Ang kayamanan ay kapangyariha't katanyagan.
Mahirap ngang yumaman at ito'y totoo
Pagpapakasakit at pagsisikap ang sikreto diyan.

Ikalawang Boses
Sino nga ba ang maniniwala sa kahibangan
Na iyong pinapangarap sa iyong sarili?
Sabagay, kilala ko naman ang nais mo
Makasarili at suwapang sa kuwartang
Hindi mo naman maiuuwi sa iyong libingan.
Di bale na lang, iba na ang aking pakay.

Sa Panginoon ko ihahandog at iaalay
Puso't diwa ko, at ang buong buhay.
Hangad ko ang pagturo ng Kanyang batas,
At isabog ang pag-ibig ng Tagapagligtas,
Hamunin ang tao para sa kabutihan
At sikapin na sila'y mapaglingkuran.
Mahirap na buhay, at huwag kayong magkamali
Pumasok na alangan, at magapasya ng madali.

Ikatlong Boses
Ha! Sino naman ang niloko ninyo
Mga hunghang na tulog habang kayo'y dilat?
Sino naman ang makikinabang
Sa huling pagbigay ng iyong pagsisikap,
Kung kayo'y walang anak na mapapangaralan
Upang magbuhat ng iyong pamana?

Pamilyang buo at masaya sa bawat araw
Ang aking ninanais at pinagsisikapan,
Pawis at hirap ko sa kanila'y laan,
At ito'y magbubunga pagdating ng araw.
Pamilyang mabuti ang siyang nagdudulot
Mabuting mamamayan at tanyag na pinuno.
At kung susundan natin ang ating ninuno,
Sila'y nagkamali, kaya ito ang naabot!

Sila'y Nagkasabay
Kayo'y nagkamali, pangarap ninyo'y di-likas
Sa hinahangad ng tao't layon niyang tunay!
Ano pa kaya ang hahanapin ng isang tao
Kung hindi ang mga bagay sa kaluluwa'y bukal?
Ang pangarap na ganiya'y hindi nauukol
Sa katotohanan ng ating buhay
At sa kahirapan ng ating mundo?

Unang Boses
Ako ang tama! Kayo ang mali!
Ang hinahanap ng tao'y tagumpay ng sarili!
Hindi sakripisyong walang katuparan
Ngunit pagsisikap para sa kayamanan!

Ikalawang Boses
Hindi! Nagkakamali ka!
Ang layon ng tao'y ay wala nang iba
Kung hindi paglingkuran ang ating Poon
At tumamo ng lugar sa naparoroon.

Ikatlong Boses
At sa aking pangarap nagbubunga ang lahat!
Ang aking pangarap ang siyang dapat
Pagtuunan ng pansin at pagbigyan
Upang makaabot sa kinabukasan...

Ang Huling Boses
Teka! Mga kaibigan, saan kayo darako
Sa ganitong alitan at pakikipag-away?
Hindi ninyo ba napapansin
Ang iyong pangarap ang siyang salamin
Ng iyong sarili at hinahangad?
Kung ganyan ang iyong pinahahalagahan
Walang makapagsasabi na kayo'y mali
At panaginip iyan lamang.
Tingnan ninyo ang iyong ninanais,
Mga tama't mali, mga luha at tamis.
Pangarap iyan, mga kaibigan, suriin...
Higit ang pagmanas sa unang tingin...
Kayo'y gumising na!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Desiderata Redux

Max Ehrmann wrote "Desiderata" or "Things to be Desired" in 1927. It has been attributed to an older time, and to other authors, but this piece stands the test of time. It offers the most practical wisdom anyone can ever expect.

When my father was approaching the nadir of his life (though we never realized it), he took an active interest in Desiderata and decided to make a Filipino translation. His treatment was more New Age, in keeping with the fads of the time (the drama of "Seth Speaks" comes to mind). My father's interpretation notwithstanding, I also decided to translate it myself.

It's been a while, and my Filipino has gotten really rusty, so my translation may seem uneven and in places may be outright wrong.

In whatever form, this piece has been an inspiration to me. The things to be desired are so practical some people don't even know they are there.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love,for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

And now, for the Filipino version:

Humayo ka nang matiwasay sa gitna ng ingay at pagmamadali, at alalahanin mong may kapayapaan pang mahahanap sa pananahimik.

Hanggang sa iyong makakayang walang pagsusuko sikapin mong maging mabuti ang pakikitungo mo sa lahat ng tao. Bigkasin mo ang katotohanan mo nang banayad at tahasan, at makinig ka sa iba, kahit na sa mga tanga man o mangmang; mayroon din silang maibabahagi. Iwasan mo ang mga taong maiingay at tampalasan, nakaliligalig lamang sila ng kaluluwa.

Kung ihahambing mo ang sarili mo sa iba maaaring maging palalo at mapaghinanakit ka, sapagkat sadyang may lalamang sa iyo at mayroon kang lalamangan.

Tamasahin mo ang iyong tagumpay at balakin. Bigyan mo ng kaukulang pansin ang iyong gawain, kulang man ng halaga ito sa iba; ito’y tunay na kayamanan sa pabagu-bagong kapalaran ng panahon.Mag-ingat ka sa iyong paghahanapbuhay, sapagkat puno ng paglilinlang ang mundo. Ngunit huwag ka sanang mabulag nito sa anumang kabutihang taglay; kay raming nagpupunyagi para sa dakilang mithiin, at kahit saan matatagpuan mo ang kabayanihan.

Magpakatotoo ka sa sarili mo. Higit sa lahat, huwag kang magkunwa ng pagsinta, at huwag mo ring kutyain ang pagmamahal, sapagkat sa harap ng kawalan at pagkabigo, ito’y palaging sumisibol tulad ng damo.

Magiliw mong tanggapin ang ipinapayo ng nagdaraang taon, at malugod mong iwanan ang mga bagay ng iyong kabataan. Bigyang mo ng kalinga ang lakas ng loob bilang panangga sa biglang balikwas ng kapalaran. Ngunit huwag mong gambalain ang iyong sarili ng masamang guniguni. Maraming pangamba ay bunga ng pagod at kalungkutan. Maliban na lamang sa disiplinang nakabubuti, maging banayad ka sa sarili mo.

Ika’y anak ng sanlibutan tulad din ng mga puno at mga tala; may karapatan ka mabuhay rito. At maliwanag man o hindi para sa iyo, tiyak na karapat-dapat ang pag-usbong ng sanlibutan.

Samakatuwid, makipagtuos ka na sa Diyos anuman ang pag-aakala mo sa kanya. At kahit anuman ang iyong larangan at hangarin, sa maingay na kaguluhan ng buhay, panatilihin mo ang kapayapaan sa kaluluwa mo. Datapuwat may kasinungalian, aliwaswas, at nawasak na pangarap, maganda pa rin ang daigdig na ito.

Magpakagalak ka. Sikapin mong maging maligaya.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Voices Amid the Diaspora

Today's link has to be more news:

Three things stand out in this news flash:

1) Acting Labor Secretary Danilo Cruz says: "We are confident that our goal to deploy a million OFWs globally continues on a firm and stable track." Official government policy has made trafficking of Filipino workers a priority. What Cruz does not say is that the unemployment rate has not seen single digits in a long, long time. There are not enough new jobs created. And we're not even talking about underemployment.

2) The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier reported that OFW remittances rose by 17.22 percent from January to April 2005 to $3.072 billion from $2.621 billion in the same period last year. Consider that the Philippines has the third-largest migrant worker count (after China and India) and has the third-largest remittance volume (after Mexico and India), so it's safe to say, per capita, the Philippines is the country most dependent on foreign remittances and foreign-based workers. While this is not entirely a bad thing, the dearth of government initiatives for overseas workers outside of OWWA is appalling. Assuming OWWA is doing its job, which many well nigh have a right to complain about.

3) Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas said the Philippines continues to supply 20 to 25 percent of the world's maritime workers. This is an amazing statistic, and it's so sad that we don't have a strong merchant marine, since most vessels are registered elsewhere.

OFWs should keep demanding more than just a vote. With the money we send, we deserve more representation. Any effort to tax us should be enough for us to say "No Taxation Without Representation."

At the same time, it's time to put an end to self-appointed protectors among the Left who pretend that they speak for us. My message to these guys: Poverty and exploitation are everywhere, you fools! What all OFWs desire is a chance to come back --- don't make it any harder for us to come back by railing against the government. Look for solutions, not propaganda points. We already have a financially and morally bankrupt government, so don't pretend you know any more than what we already know.

Amid this diaspora, I'm certain there are voices that represent a dynamism that Filipinos back home have not demonstrated in a long time. The leadership that the country needs is already among us - and the experiences we have picked up outside the country should be put to more use than complaining and whining, "Mabuti pa sa ________ (fill country name), mayroong...."

I'll tell you what's missing. In most countries Filipinos have a respect for the law and abide by rules and regulations. And manage to succeed despite, rather, because of this adherence. That's because we work harder - we can't rely on connections alone in order to perform.

Voices amid the diaspora should raise theirs to send this message to the people back home.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


In Living, Loving, and Learning, Leo Buscaglia writes:

“In India, every time you meet or say goodbye to somebody you put your hands in front of you and say ‘Namaste.’ That means, ‘I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you where, if you are at the place in you, and I am at the place in me, there is only one of us.’”

I always felt the foregoing passage to mean:

“I value you for your goodness, and because of you, my life has become more valuable.”
"That you exist makes my existence worthwhile and special."

Jack Nicholson mouths Mike Nichols' words in "As Good as it Gets": "You make me want to be a better man." Sounds good too, if not more poetic and romantic.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Still Crazy, Still Young

I hate seeing myself on video. I'm starting to look like Frank Drilon, and given the way Frank Drilon looks like and who he is supporting right now, that's not good.

I saw a video of myself yesterday following the Induction of the Officers of the Society of Performing Arts last Thursday afternoon. As usual, yours truly started out a reluctant volunteer and then gave it the good old try, which ended in my being elected as Secretary of the organization this year… seeing myself as the emcee is really troubling, and the evidence was clearly shown on tape… holy crap! They say TV adds about 10 pounds on you. Either that camera must be really bad or I must be packing an additional 20 pounds!

I can't say I'm not happy with the situation. Every day I'm falling more and more in love with these children. It's just hard not to, and some people may say it's only because I don't have the burden of having them everyday. But that's just the point. I get to love them more because I don't have any of my own.

Mostly I like having them as friends. I'm never been much of a grown-up anyway ("still crazy after all these years," I would proudly say). There's something to be said listening to a fresh point of view, because for a child, everything is so alive because everything is just happening for the first time.

My buddy Des is asking me is it bad to want to re-connect with the past...and I think he hit it right on the nail. I would wager that he doesn't miss the feelings, which he could get from his wonderful relationship with wife and baby girl, but perhaps he misses the novelty. And of course the people that went with the experience.

It's so much more apt for me to seek "a woman and child of my own, just for me, just be free." The feeling sometimes swells in my heart I fear that I will burst.

(Edit: While we still have time, we have the chance to find it all. But first I have to look at this as opportunity rather than threat. At least I would sound more positive. Where are the wisecracks when I need them?)

Steve Jobs - "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

I think this is worthwhile sharing. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and its present chairman, gave this speech at the commencement of Stanford University, 12 June 2005.

Steve Jobs's Stanford University Commencement Speech

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parent's garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him.

So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley.

But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 inthe morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I 'm fine now. This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades.

Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.