Philosophy in the Day: “Live for Today”


40 years ago at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, my mind was turned on to various philosophical issues in a Basic Philosophy class, but it was not until I attended a lecture by Leo Buscaglia, a visiting Professor of Love from the University of Southern California, that I was enlightened as to how life should be lived.

The Professor started at the end of life and worked backward. He asked what the dead would do, if they could come back for a day. He prompted us to think about living, by making us consider how bad it would be to have reached the end, without having really lived. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do? He quoted Thoreau who said: “Oh god, to have reached the point of death, only to find that you have never lived at all.”

The Doctor said people need to fill their lives with love, but many die of loneliness, because they never learned that it doesn’t just happen. We waste time, as if we are going to live forever, he said. Since we will not, we must take advantage of the time we have.

He suggested getting busy with life, and being spontaneous by letting others know how we feel. Expecting something from another, thinking it is just going to happen by chance, is a formula for unhappiness. People who want love have to act. If you like what someone said, hug them. Don’t be afraid to show emotion. We have to let others know our needs, or they may never be met.

He warned against trying to be something other than who we are. The hardest thing is to be what others want you to be. The easiest thing is to simply be you. If you try to be like someone else, you may get close, but will always be only second best.

He warned against living in the past, since it is dead, and cannot be changed. He cautioned against living for tomorrow, because it often leads to nothing but unrealized dreams. The tomorrow most dream of never comes, since such things cannot be guaranteed.

His bottom line, back in the day, was to live for today. He said Buddhists believe in the here and now, and their only reality is what is right in front of them; what is happening between you and me right now. He advocated catching the beauty of the moment. He said the only thing in life of value is to: Live for Today.

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4 Comments to “Philosophy in the Day: “Live for Today””

  1. The man was such a genius.. actually this is my philosophy : in order to accomplish anything, we have to endeavor; nothing can ever be achieved without an onerous process. Our deeds reflect who we are, and not our thoughts, not our intentions. Action, not meaningless talk.. I will follow your blog, i really like how you write. Hopefully i will get up to your level one day 🙂

  2. Thanks for this reminder, Jeff. I also saw Dr. Buscaglia in college in the 1970’s and it was both a life-affirming and
    life-changing moment. I think I’ve carried the truth of his message with me since that time. It’s difficult in this life to always maintain that level of awareness; but the Love Dr. gave us plenty of tools with which to make the effort!

  3. Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift, that’s we call it the “present”

  4. Thanks for the great feedback today. Enjoyed your comments

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