It is a sad day when a man who has helped, inspired, and driven so many to excellence passes from the world, for few men are capable of stepping up to shoulder the burden that Randy carried, and fewer still could do so with such cheerfulness, tenacity, and care.
He was a great man, and he will be missed by many.
What a metaphor for challenges in life that we pursue
But that vapid aphorism sets my teeth on edge. I couldn't help thinking: Gee, all those people who hit a brick wall because of racism, of sexism, of poverty, because they didn't have all the advantages of a well-off handsome personable white guy - well, they just must not have wanted it badly enough. They're those OTHER PEOPLE who are kept out.
It's a damn nasty metaphor when you think about it.
1. These words of wisdom are a useful way to motivate myself when things are rough.
2. These words of wisdom should be used as a criteria for judging other people.
I think it's a damn nasty metaphor only when you apply it to someone other than yourself. Let me put it this way... we should celebrate those people who have pushed past whatever tremendous barriers they found in their way, but we should never look down on those who tried and failed.
Probability of success in many areas of life is at least partially dependent on attitude... and as cheesy and vapid as they may sometimes sound, I will take whatever comfort and confidence I can from these sorts of inspirational messages when I come across them.
And critically, this doesn't all exist in a vacuum. His intent might have been entirely benign, but that doesn't mean the overall effect will be entirely benign.
I don't think he's justifying those walls in any way. He's just saying, if you have goals in life, you've got to accept the walls that are in your path and make the best of it. Anything else is a pipe dream.
There's quite an industry devoted to saying that accepting the system as it is and trying to compete harder within the game is somehow right, while challenging the system and changing the game through group action is somehow wrong.
Who built the brick wall there in the first place? Maybe the best action is to get some allies and to attempt to tear it all down.
Last Lecture: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5700431505846055184
I hope that he continues to change us in the way he seemed to have wanted, and that our decisions in life will continue to benefit from the perspective he's provided.
When my time comes, I hope I die with at least a fraction of his dignity.
The only time I saw one of his lectures was on youtube, I happened across it in the middle of the night one time, and I just had to finish it - I stayed up until 5am just to see what he had to say.
It was one of those moments that really makes you think about what we can really achieve when we put our minds to it.
Something to keep in mind.
Randy you rock, and always will.
I'd been following Randy's story for a while now. He was constantly upbeat, still going strong two years after his doctor's initial "matter of months" prognosis.
As Randy's web page seems to be inundated, here's a page with links to various Pausch-related media, including his Last Lecture and Time Management talks, as well as various interviews:
It is with great sadness that I inform you that our dear friend and colleague Randy
Pausch passed away today, July 25, after a brave struggle against pancreatic cancer.
Randy captured the minds and hearts of millions worldwide with his Carnegie Mellon
lecture, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," and his book, "The Last Lecture."
Randy, who earned his doctorate from Carnegie Mellon in 1988, returned to the
university in 1997 as an associate professor of human-computer interaction and
computer science. Along with Carnegie Mellon Professor Don Marinelli, Randy was the
co-founder of the Entertainment Technology Center, a leading interactive multimedia
education and entertainment center.
At Carnegie Mellon, Randy was also the director of the Alice software project, a
revolutionary way to teach computer programming. The interactive Alice program
teaches computer programming by having kids make animated movies and games. A
fitting legacy to Randy's life and work, Alice may in the future help to reverse the
dramatic drop in the number of students majoring in computer science at colleges and
universities. Randy was also known as a pioneer in the development of virtual
reality, and he created the popular Building Virtual Worlds class.
An award-winning teacher and researcher, Randy was also a National Science
Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow.
He used sabbatical leaves to work at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts
(EA), and he consulted with Google Inc. on user interface design. He is the author
or co-author of five books and more than 70 articles.
Perhaps the greatest lesson, however, Randy taught us all was how to live, even in
the face of great challenges, and how to follow our passion. While Randy's greatest
passion was clearly his family, he did not shy from sharing his passion for his work
as a professor, for his students, and for Carnegie Mellon. We will miss Randy, but
we will carry the memory of him and all that he did to make Carnegie Mellon a better
university and each of us who knew him a better person.
A memorial service for Randy will be scheduled at a later date.
Jared L. Cohon
If you haven't seen that video you need to watch it. links are above.
All of the quotes attributed to him seem specious reasoning at best. "Beat the Reaper by living well?" I think "death" wins, always. "Brick walls" are just there. They don't have a purpose. Pontifications about the meaning of life? It looks like it doesn't really have one. Sort of like 'god', you can just make up what ever you want. What's his proof for any of what he's telling me?
Do we listen to this man because we feel sorry for him? because we're afraid of dying as well? The whole concept just seems like so much saccherine from a dying man. In 20 years no one will remember this book or him.
I remember seeing him on the Oprah show and starts spouting about how he's in oh-so-great shape. Then he starts doing push-ups to demonstrate. The whole display was pathetic and delusional. I'm thinking, "Dude, your dying! You're not in good health!"
The whole lecture just seems like a bunch of jibbersh from, unfortunately, a walking-dead man.
That was very harsh. Which is not in itself bad. If someone were going to call an emperor on his new clothes, I'd hope this would be a safe place to do it. The problem is, this is both harsh and vague. It's ok to be vague if you're saying something nice (harmless pleasantries are a useful social lubricant) but the harsher you are, the more precise you ought to be.
He gives off this whole vibe of some crazy new-agey street preacher. THe way people lap it up and buy his books is disturbing.
I did read "Tuesdays with Morrie" and I remember it well. It was NOT written by a "terminal", but by his student, Mitch Albom, a wonderful sports writer for the Detriot Free Press and New York Times best selling author multiple times.
Everyone has his own 2 cents and disenting opinions often contribute to the breadth of the debate.
OTOH, it's getting to the point where one needs waders to get through the stuff that gets spewed here in the name of, "See how much smarter I am than you." Until you get your facts straight, you're not a dissenter, just another poser. Move along please.
Not that that has anything to do with anything.
I acted as primary care giver for an elderly relative with alzheimer's, broken hip, and a few other problems as well as losing my father to brain cancer. Of course I care, but I just think that everyone focusing on Dr. Pausch's issue while ignoring everyone else's is ... bad.
Besides, I'm sorry, but if you think that life is some how a beautiful thing or that there is some sort of divine purpose to it all, see if you feel the same way when you have to watch a person you've known and loved your whole life shit themselves or scream at people who aren't there to show their spouse who died twenty years ago.
Nature's a bitch, god's an asshole, then you turn into worm food.
Fortunately, though people don't know it, we are free to make our own way, and don't have to be held up to anyone's dogma about how to live life. Or buy their books.
Randy was a decent, intelligent guy who got dealt a bad hand and made the best of it. He was more like one of us than your random celebrity. He was a hacker who had time to look back on his life through a different lens and share his thoughts. That's one reason I read his book -- a shared background. And remember, a significant part of his drive to leave his thoughts was a parting gift to his children who are too young to know him now. Doesn't take anything away from all the other people with things to say.
I think this is a similar phenomena that occurs when people will give money to Cripple Cat on the internet but not the real life injured animal. Or person for that matter.
Your attitude is like a cancer that feeds off apathy. Do this forum a favor and remove yourself from its discussion.
What makes us live is whether we get down to the business of living or not.
Professor Pausch embraced life and lived it to its fullest.
The proof is in the pudding. Look at the life he lived.
He will be missed.
People sometimes think nihilism is a bad thing but I think it's actually very liberating. IT's up to me to decide what "life to the fullest" is. I'm not even sure that phrase has any real meaning, though. Besides, I think what "makes us live" is cellular respiration.
How else should I judge him? His viral video? All of this media coverage, appearances, etc was to sell his book. I'm sure that's now he thought of it but the corporation that published his book sure did. His suffering is a gold mine for them ... which bothers me immensely and no one else seems to see this.
People are finding their own meaning here; let them be. Randy Pausch said that the best lecture he did was his Time Management lecture. Try judging him by that instead of his book deal (which has provided for his family just as much as his publisher).
besides, i'm not judging him. i just don't like being bullied into "living life to the fullest". It's like some kind of secular evangelism. Am I going to go to hell now?
So what if someone is paid for their work? The publisher employs people, people whose kids need food, and medical treatment of their own. The beauty is that capitalism works, and it keeps us all from living lives that were nasty, brutish, and short.
If nothing matters, why are you so insistent on letting us know that nothing matters?
In short it matters to them that nothing should matter. :)
People listened to the man because of the way he lived. That he continued to live that way to his death is admirable if not inspirational, but ultimately inconsequential to that end.
It's awe-inspiring that he packed two auditoriums for those talks. Just consider how many lives he must have touched to be able to do that. How many of us could do the same? I know I couldn't.
Who knows how long he'll be remembered. I'll bet it will seem indefinite compared to the average individual, though.
As for him doing pushups - he obviously knows he's dying. He obviously knows his health isn't good. He's just showing his spirit. I could never be as outwardly optimistic as him in such a situation. Your cynicism leads me to suspect you'd be even worse.
I actually think you could stand to learn a few things from Dr. Pausch.
Loss of all is as sad as it is certain. I am sorry for him equally as for any other person I didn't know personally.
There is this thing about not saying bad things about the dead. Well, for one thing, he was very arrogant. Looking down on any student not from CMU. Such a lack of respect tells me a lot about a person.
If you don't know or care who Dr. Pausch is, that's fine, but I'm not sure why the rest of us who respected, enjoyed or were inspired by his message and life should not have the opportunity to share our condolences and remember him together.