Just a brief “you should read this” note about Tim Urban’s Wait but Why site (a continual classic) and a series he’s been producing about society.
The Story of Us: Full Series
It takes hours to read, thoroughly, but worth the payoff. He exposes some clever, insightful glimpses into human behavior, couched in a Twinkie-consumable format.
I recommend it.
My personal favorite, a topic I’ve mentioned here before, DNA is our master.
It’s been just over seven days since my encounter with a mad man with a scalpel. Fortunately, I held my Stoic tongue and he only cut me twice — but in a most vulnerable location, one I use to pretty much to move my body in any direction. Gee thanks, doc.
Seven days and today is the first time I feel almost normal. No weird tearing sensation. Nor the six hornets all stinging in unison, three per side. Or the nauseating p-u-l-l of gravity at certain danglely bits. Mind you, I still ache for one of them flat icepacks. But, over all, I can finally imagine life without constant gut-clenching pain.
And to think, this was all quasi-voluntary. Sure, I’d mostly likely suffer in the future from some foolish lifting stunt. But to ask for such agony? I can only say that I’ve completed my “Man’s Cesarean” and look forward to drunken mud-bound tug-o-wars with the troops. (Anybody know any “troops” who need a crippled old programmer?)
Hell, I don’t know, a three, maybe?
Turns out my imagined pain scale placed my number rather low. I considered a one to be a bee sting and a ten to feel like I was cutting off my own left hand with a rusty hacksaw.
Given such a context, yeah, my pain registered in at a three. Well, apparently my tape measure, pulled from too many movies, belied my actual discomfort. My three is their six. Once we aligned our rulers I finally received relief.
Pain is subjective. How long is a string? How deep your depression? How high your elation?
The surgeon showed up and apologised. Surgery doesn’t always run on time. I’m glad mine did, though.
Thanks for you guys’ kind thoughts.
For all who participated, we enjoyed thirty days of Stewie the Stoic’s take on Seneca’s philosophy of being a Stoic. Specifically, about fifty of Sececa’s letters to Lucilius, an acolyte and fellow, budding Stoic.
Death & Fortune
These were the two dominant topics that we found in nearly every writing example we analyzed. If we weren’t discussing the actual End, we were talking about our “awareness of self” along the way—to the End. That, in addition to how fortune (or misfortune) taunts us into betraying ourselves.
These will be the points with which I’ll be stumbling away, drunk on philosophy.
- I will die. When, matters little. How one manages the approach and final act will set the tone for one’s daily well-being.
- In the mean time, live in self awareness of the origin and intent of my desires: be not their slave, but neither their master.
- Fortune comes in many flavors: fame, riches, luck, comfort. Neither pursue its presence nor lament its absence. That which benefits, accept with humility; that which diminishes receive with fortitude.
That’s pretty much it, for now.
Thanks for tagging along.
[Quote courtesy of Seneca]
[Although Seneca was a rich old bastard, we’ll have to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to understanding how one might separate one’s fortune from one’s pursuit of what he calls philosophy. In order to develop a “love of wisdom”, money need not influence one’s progress. Although, I’d bet that being frickin’ rich makes it one hell of a lot easier to pretend to be poor than actually being poor.
On the flip side, having disdain for the finer things in life, that is, being poor, might jade one to believe they can attain their wisdom all the more readily as they have no bright, sparkly objects to distract them.
The one thing I find curious in reading all of these pontifications is, jeeze, they sure had a lot of time to pontificate over the smallest of topics. Yeah, I’m wasting a few minutes here and there on this endeavor. But, the effort these Stoics put into just being Stoic, from what I can tell, hell, I’d like to have a life like that.]
[Quotes provided by Seneca]
[Up from the ashes,
up from the ashes,
grow the roses of success.
Grow the ro, grow the ro, grow the roses…
Sing it with me now.]
[Quotes courtesy of a proverb that Seneca in turn quotes]
[Seneca lays claim to Lucilius’ progress but reciprocates with the admission that merely beginning an undertaking, to become wise, good or content is far more important than one might think. Certainly, tenacity must see you through, especially in the face of adversity. But the most adverse condition we often encounter is our own reticence to get up and out the door.]