Reading LIVING DELIBERATELY by Hrvoje Butkovic leaves one with the feeling that here is a man who is on a perpetual journey for a meaningful life of joy and satisfaction - and his manner of writing is so encouraging that we want to take that journey with him. He is uniquely gifted - born in Croatia, then living in Yugoslavia until the brink of the civil war there, and now living in Johannesburg, South Africa - he has observed all manner of people and influences and customs and has developed a following that most assuredly will be advanced by the reading of this book.
Butkovic defines `deliberate living' as `living life in such a way that the protagonist is aware of shat she is thinking, saying, doing, understands why she is thinking, saying, or doing it, and approves off it being thought, said, or done, for every though, word, and action of consequence.' Note, immediately that the author substitutes the pronoun `she' for the usual `he' - a slight but meaningful way of suggesting that we look at his words in a refreshed manner. This is more than the usual self-help book or book on ancient philosophy (especially Eastern) or mystical book. In a manner of speaking it is all of these but filtered through a more direct and entirely introspective and personal method of perception of who we are, why we are that way, and then choosing if we want to support that way or alter it. `The concrete approach that is taken to accomplish this can be summarized as an attempt to answer the question "Who am I?" in experiential terms. In other words, to fashion one's life into a self-definition by means of stringing together a series of authentic experiences. The book is broken down into three parts. The first part defines the key concepts that pertain to deliberate living. The second part describes the process that can be followed in an attempt to achieve it. The third part lists the effects that this is likely to have on one's life - the challenges of doing so, the rewards of succeeding at it, and the likely reception among the people who don't hold this approach to living in a similarly high regard.'
As Butkovic states `a life journey that has to final destination, but where each step that we take is its own reward, one that makes the whole journey well worth taking' is the goal of deliberate living. If we assume complete responsibility for who we are, work thorough understanding who we are and then nurture who we are places the authority of our being within our own hands. Butkovic takes us through the various stages of his concepts of training us to live deliberately by offering sage advice and then, as any good teacher, ends each brief chapter with a summary or series of questions to test our level of assuming control. It is powerful, enlightening, enriching and fulfilling - especially when Butkovic reminds us that we will never be complete in our journey, offering his own status as proof.
Impressed by this book lead this reader to some research on this very sensitive writer and found that he is also a social activist. A quote form his site: `Having followed the work of some of the people who are disillusioned with the present-day society and contemplate a better future, and having observed and/or participated in some of the initiatives that are aimed at positive social change, I've come to realize that many people are finding it difficult to picture how such a future might work, and even more difficult to envisage how we might create it. It occurred to me that it would help the situation if we could find a way to leverage all of these initiatives so that the role that each one can play in bringing about the desired change is well understood. To this end, I have tried to put together a comprehensive plan of action whereby such a change could be achieved, trying to account for all the prerequisites and drawing on all the initiatives that I'm aware of. In so doing, I haven't necessarily adopted them in their entirety, but only taken the parts that could contribute to the overall transformation as I see it, without clashing with other initiatives. The purpose of the plan of action is to create a utopian society. That is, the best society that we can imagine. Because different people imagine different things and what we imagine changes over time, this vision is neither singular nor static. I have adopted as goals those aspects of our vision that I consider to be universal - goals like freedom, harmony and prosperity - while trying to allow for multiple ways of reaching them. The plan of action is subjective in nature. It is really nothing more than my opinion, and shouldn't be taken to amount to more than this. It is offered in the hope that you find it useful; that it makes social transformation appear more tangible and that it stimulates participation in various activities that can help bring it about. Hrvoje Butkovic is obviously an enlightened thinker and one who seems destined to have an influence on every mind he touches. Read and absorb him. The journey is incredible. Grady Harp, July 12