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Learn as if you were to live forever

‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’

Here are a few things I think I might have learned this week.

1.Gandhi didn’t say many of the things he famously said. He is often given credit for the aphorism above, but he didn’t say it. It was a Dark Ages bishop, or a medieval one, or a medieval theologian, none of whose names you are going to see on a T-shirt anytime soon.

2.Saturn changes colour every now and again. Lucky.

3. Seems obvious, but I hadn’t noticed: almost everyone’s an artist now. Art and literature is no longer made by a floppy-fringed few, most of us seek to participate in them in some way. I’m not just talking about the zillions of self-published authors, but also photograph sharing, new music sharing, travel writing on Trip Advisor and Facebook, and all those Twitter philosophers and humourists. Just when I thought I was doing my own thing, I find I'm just washed along on the social tide.

4. Maintaining eye contact makes it harder to complete simple cognitive tasks. Staring into someone else’s eyes for ten minutes or so induces an altered state of consciousness which can lead to hallucinations. Science facts. I don’t know what happens if you stare into a dog’s eyes, or a pigeon’s.

5. On reflection, there is no gender-based term you can use for me that won’t offend. Girl, lady, lass, even woman all imply some subtly different type to me, and I refuse to be any of them. Best stick with person, I’m still trying to be one of those, for the time being.

I have a feeling that there were other things I thought I’d learned earlier in the week, but I was clearly mistaken. Next week, I hope to learn how to ignore the internet's glimmer, so that I might progress down the dark twittens of my imagination.

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