Peace and Love Lifestyle

Creating Pockets of Mindfulness and Gladness through Yoga and Writing

Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire; Answers from the most important cultural figures of a generation.

A parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Long before becoming one of the greatest human beings to touch a pen, Marcel Proust probed his psyche as many have done after him. Vanity Fair, for the last 30 years, has asked our cultural, intellectual, and spiritual icons a series of questions that requires a subtle pause before blurting out a answer. “What is your current state of mind……What is your idea of complete misery……What do you think is the most overrated virtue” are questions that help is begin the internal dialogue of discovering a little more about ourselves. As I answered the questions and read everyone from Joan Didion to Deepak Chopra to David Bowie the complexity of human nature revealed itself through the varied answers of questions like “What is your idea of Perfect Happiness?”; however, questions like, “How would you like to die?” most people asked for a pain-free and silent death. Answering each question honestly is more difficult that initially thought, but every question allows one to discover his meaning of love, death, and life.

What is your idea of Perfect happiness?

My answer: Traveling the world writing and teaching yoga

David Bowie: Reading

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

My answer: James Baldwin

Dave Brubeck: Jesus

What is your greatest extravagance?

My answer: I spend way to much money on books

William F Buckley Jr: My lifestyle

What is your favorite journey?

My answer: Walking through trails

Joan Didion: A long time ago, before they showed movies on airplanes and decided to make you close the blinds, I used to love flying west and watching the country open up, the checkerboarded farms of the Midwest giving way to the vast stretches of nothing. I also loved flying over the Pole from Europe to Los Angeles during the day, when you could see ice floes and islands s in the sea change almost imperceptibly to lakes in the land. This shift in perception was very thrilling to me.

On what occasion do you lie?

My answer: When I am scared of being judge or when I want to control the image people have of me

Deepak Chopra: Only when I am speaking to God

Which living person do you most despise?

My answer: Anyone who values money over people, and people that are mean

Sir Michael Caine: I have a rule of keeping all negatives out of my life, so if there was someone I was going to despise, I wouldn’t waste the energy on them—they disappear. I remember a philosopher said to me once, “You should only hate people you love. The rest of them are not worth the energy.”

What is your greatest regret?

My answer: Not having the courage to drop everything and put all my faith in my art

Kirk Douglas: That I have not paid attention to friendships in the past

When and where were you happiest?

My answer: I was 11 years old and my father took me, my brother, his girlfriend, and her kid to a water park

Jackie Collins: Right now. Life’s an adventure–you’ve got to live it everyday.

Which talent would you most like to have?

My answer: Dancing and singing

Jane Fonda: To be able to sing

What is your current state of mind?

My answer: Terrified and exhausted

Jane Goodall: Deep concern at the state of the planet, environmental and social

What is your most treasured possession?

My answer: All my pens

Hugh Hefner: My memories

Where would you like to live?

My answer: Somewhere by the ocean

Norman Mailer: Where I have lived–Brooklyn Heights years ago and now in Provincetown. Until you get to Maine there is no more beautiful town on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S

Which is your most marked characteristic?

My answer: My laugh

What quality do you most like in a man?

My answer: Kindness

Caroline Herrera: A man has to have sensibility, wit, mystery, tolerance, and strength… Romance also helps

What quality do you most like in a woman?

My answer: Compassion

Quincy Jones: An honest heart, a big mind, and inner and outer beauty

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

My answer: Virgil from Dante’s Inferno

Karl Lagerfeld: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando

What are your favorite names?

My answer: Giovanni, Helga, Sammy, Tiana

Fran Lebowitz: Driver

What is it that you most dislike?

My answer: Mean people

Shirley MacLaine: People who don’t care about themselves

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

My answer: Self-Sacrifice

Edward M. Kennedy: Silence

What is your motto?

My answer: Peace and Love

James Brown: Live as long as you can and die when you cant help it

Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire is a wonderful book that allows us to dive into the playful mind of the world’s most divine spirits.