Sheldon B. Kopp narrates his existential voyage through the human experience. It is definitely not quite nihilistic, but similar. Killing the Buddha on the road means that no meaning that comes from outside ourselves is real. We need only recognize that we already have our own Buddhahood. The secret is that there is none, and no solution, and it comes down to just being what you are. His philosophy from his pyschological context has some of the right ideas, but he spreads some of the wrong messages. I enjoyed the book however. He uses the telling of tales from our ancestors, metaphors for our struggle to fit into existence. I speculate that this is to emphasize our story-telling nature as animals. With his version of wisdom, there is no guru to teach us and we are no one's disciple. In this he is the messenger of bad news and expects to disappoint those who search in life as if there was some underlying meaning in the world. He's sure that its in vain, and ultimately so are our lives. If you are someone disturbed by this, then reading his book will transcend those feelings. If you aren't by now... I recommend it ;¤)
This book is a wonderful read for anyone who wonders, worries or agonizes about the meaning of life, and whether they're doing it "right." Psychotherapist Kopp wrote this book in 1972, but it still works today.
Whether giving or receiving therapy, this book reminds us that we are all humans -- nobody has all the answers. The eschatological laundry list (which I've seen roaming around the web, but never attributed to Kopp) has become a classic.
1. This is it! 2. There are no hidden meanings
3. You can't get there from here, and besides, there's no place else to go
4. We are all already dying and we'll be dead for a long time.
5. Nothing lasts!
6. There is no way of getting all you want.
7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it.
8. You only get to keep what you give away.
9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.
11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You don't really control anything.
14. You can't make someone love you.
I'll stop there -- there's more in the book, and if you find the list discouraging, you need to read the book. If you find the words encouraging, you need to read the book. Add it to your list of books to give friends who are feeling glum and hopeless.
Use it as a group discussion book!
After reading this (at different stages in my life), I still find it centering and soothing. A good addition to the self-help library, along with The Road Less Traveled.