Sterling Walter Hayden (born Sterling Relyea Walter; March 26, 1916 – May 23, 1986) was an American actor and author. For most of his career as a leading man, he specialized in westerns and film noir, such as Johnny Guitar, The Asphalt Jungle, and The Killing. Later he became noted for appearing in supporting roles such as Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). He also played the Irish American policeman Captain McCluskey in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather in 1972 and the novelist Roger Wade in 1973's The Long Goodbye. He played the role of Leo Dalcò in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 in 1976. At 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m), he towered over most other actors.
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“Living it up” has become the leitmotif of modern man—a compulsive hyperactivity without any downtimes, no gap of unscheduled time, lest we end up alone with ourselves. The meaning doesn’t matter, so long as it’s intense. We feel that without constant activity, life would be fatally insipid. Friends of mine who lead cultural tours in Asia have told me how their clients can’t bear the least gap in their itinerary. “Is there really nothing scheduled between five and seven?” they ask anxiously. We are, it seems, afraid to turn our gaze in in upon ourselves. We are fully focused on the exterior world, as experienced through our five senses. It seems naive to believe that such a feverish search for intense experience can lead to a lasting enriched quality of life.
If we do take the time to explore our inner world, it’s in the form of daydreaming and imagination, dwelling on the past of fantasizing endlessly about the future. A genuine sense of fulfillment, associated with inner freedom, can also offer intensity to every living moment, but of an altogether different sort. It is a sparkling experience of inner well-being, in which the beauty of each thing shines through. It is knowing how to enjoy the present moment, the willingness to nurture altruism and serenity and bring the best part of ourselves to mature—transforming oneself to better transform the world.