Learning to be Human

Selections from Over Thirteen Years of “Esteemed Reader” Columns in Chronogram Magazine

By Jason Stern

Subjects: Poetry
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781930337541, 263 pages, November 2010

Table of contents

David Appelbaum
Author’s Introduction
Jason Stern

From the Beginning: Advice That Still Applies
April 1997 Stay Awake

A Few of the Big Questions
August 2000 What Am I Here For?
February 2002 Question and Answer Are One
November 2003 Morality Through Conscience
February 2006 Why Get Up?

Business, Work, and Goals
March 2001 Connecting with Others
January 2002 Choose Less to Get More
August 2003 Business or True Calling?
March 2006 Look Where You’re Going
March 2007 Qualities of an Entrepreneur
May 2008 Plans vs. Presence

A World on Fire
October 2001 One Humanity
November 2001 Finding Harmony
October 2002 Truth and Peace
November 2002 The War Against Ignorance
March 2003 What is True?
April 2003 The War is Inside Us
May 2003 Blame is Violence
March 2004 No Political Solution
September 2004 Escape the Cave
October 2004 More Thoughts on Violence
February 2005 Lies
June 2005 Third-Force Blind

Toward a New World
February 2000 No Blame
March 2002 Social Harmony from Inner Harmony
July 2002 New Politics
June 2003 Community in these Dark Days
January 2004 Rediscover America
September 2005 Inner Activism
May 2006 Violence Begets Violence, Peace Begets Peace
December 2006 Revolution
May 2007 The Power of People Together
March 2008 Lunar Eclipse
October 2008 Making a New World, Not Escaping the Old One
December 2008 Hope, Change, and Sacrifice
February 2009 Fist vs. Open Hand
November 2009 Integrating Selves
June 2010 Refining Raw Materials

Love, Giving, and Service
April 1998 Serve What Endures
May 2000 Sacrifice and Selfishness
September 2002 Give Love Everywhere
July 2003 Yield and Serve
November 2007 Being an Agent of Generosity

Our Oneness with Others
June 2002 The Duty of Soul-Making
September 2003 Dwelling in Unity
February 2004 Being In Relationship
August 2007 One Great Body of Life
January 2009 Our Inherent Oneness
October 2009 Other as Mirror
April 2010 Of a Piece and Inseparable

Balanced on the Razor’s Edge
November 2000 Between Opposites
July 2001 Walk on Both Legs
April 2005 The Fallacy of Like/Dislike
September 2007 The Choice to Show Up or Be Absent
October 2007 On the Edge Between Safety and Danger
March 2009 Receive Both the Sought and the Shunned
May 2009 On Being Both Child and Adult

Attention and Intention in the Present
October 1999 Finding Singular Focus
May 2001 The Disease of Tomorrow
September 2001 Nothing to Become, Nowhere to Go
February 2003 Beginnings
October 2003 Choosing Presence
July 2004 The Sustenance of a Full Pause
January 2005 In Winter, a Flame
December 2007 Miracles and Guitars
January 2010 Replace Accidental with Intentional

To Be or Not to Be
October 2000 Two Freedoms
December 2001 A Conversation with Myself
April 2002 To Be Ourselves
December 2002 Resolutions from the Heart
December 2003 Seeing Ourselves Truly
August 2005 Free Will and Choosing Awareness
October 2005 Learn to be Fully Human
June 2006 Leaving Boogie Street
April 2007 Freedom is Choosing Our Master
June 2008 Liberated by Spring
September 2008 The Success of Blueberries

Building Family
December 2004 Learning How to Learn
September 2006 A Birth
January 2008 Conscious Parenthood
April 2008 Small Worlds Meet Larger Worlds
August 2008 See and Hear the Infinite World
November 2008 A Garland of Rich Moments
August 2009 Paradise is Here

Suffering, Aging, and Death
May 2002 The Message of a Gray Hair
May 2004 Acceptance and Compassion
October 2006 Prepare to Die
February 2008 Recognize, Accept, Embrace
July 2008 A Dying Glacier
April 2009 Freedom in Prison

Thank You for Being My Teacher
November 1999 When the Student Is Ready
April 2000 Listen to the World
June 2000 Food for the Mind
August 2001 Get What You Need
July 2005 Taking a Cruise to Now
July 2006 Don’t Seek, Find
January 2007 Cleaning Up Raisins
June 2007 I Want a Meaningful Life
September 2009 Ritual is Form Plus Content
December 2009 Hawaiian Love Channel

On the Path of Personal Transformation
July 2000 The Necessity of Practice
June 2001 Never Look Back
April 2004 Evolution Happens Consciously
June 2004 Metanoia is the Answer
November 2004 Spiritual Materialism in the New Age
December 2005 Wakeful Gratitude
April 2006 The War on Negativity
November 2006 Purifying Your Atmosphere
February 2007 Yoga, Refinement, Observation
March 2010 The Meanings of Words
May 2010 The World of Our Being Contains Wealth

Not an Ending
July 2010 Now, It Begins Again

Compilation of Stern’s columns from Chronogram in which he explores the intriguing concept of regional culture in its full meaning.


Learning to be Human is a book about striving. The chapters are culled from a regular column in the Hudson Valley's Chronogram magazine, over a thirteen year span. It is an inner account of a search for meaning in the light of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, as well as Sufism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Judaism, in the context of the life of a seeker, lover, father, householder, athlete, publisher, and entrepreneur.

The essays are a record of insights and experiences gleaned in light of a fundamental admonition: Know Thyself. What makes the book unique is its consistent return to the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff as a key to unlocking not only the meaning of the world's great traditions, but also the experiences of the life of a man in the world, spanning the ages of 25 to 40 years old.

The style of writing varies from deeply personal, almost confessional, first-person narratives, to poetic observations, to pedagogic expositions of philosophical and religious ideas. There is a clear political point of view, but always tempered by an emphasis on self-knowledge and the reflection of the activities of people in the world in ourselves.

Jason Stern is the publisher and cofounder of Chronogram.