The road up and the road down is one and the same
There is a classic Grandpa joke that goes something like this: Back in my day, I had to walk uphill to school both ways!
Heraclitus, here, is not being a grumpy Opa. No, no, no, he is, I think, saying something very deep about our relationship to the world — and our relationship to ourselves.
Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.
― Alan Watts
Try for a moment to look directly back from where your eyes are pointed. Don’t turn around — rather turn your attention backward.
What do you see?
Close your eyes and listen to the collection of sounds that surround you at this moment.
Where do these sounds come from?
When we attempt to define something, we tend to look for that thing’s essence.
What is your essence? What does this essence look like? …
Even Flat Earthers live on a globe.
Strike out in a straight line:
and only those with the most determination
will arrive exactly where they left
All of our conceits will eventually be proven false in the court Law.
All of our vanities will eventually be ripped from our frantic, veiny hands.
Those who allow it All to flow will eventually win —
But there will be no audience.
Even Nihilists swim in the One.
Scratch a pessimist:
and you’ll find an optimist with a broken heart
waiting to come home.
Lay not your treasures where moth and dust doth…
Once upon a time, Socrates paid the oracle at Delphi a visit. His intent: To ask her where he could find the wisest person in Athens. Her reply shocked him down to his sandals. She proclaimed that it was, in fact, he, Socrates who was the wisest. This made absolutely no sense.
The only thing that Socrates claimed to know what that he knew nothing.
Which, as you may have guessed, was exactly the point. All others suffered under the illusion of knowledge — making them extremely unwise. They were full of false confidence and they suffered for it.
I sit in the waiting room waiting… impatiently
I glance down at my phone, back up again, sigh, and close my eyes tight as if to wipe away my current situation.
What is the point of booking an appointment at a certain time if the appointment is never actually at that time? Why not just book it for actual time? I think in a particularly whiney, pained inner voice.
The older gentleman sitting across from me is basically snoring while awake while reading an even older copy of Time Magazine. …
As the Notorious B.I.G wrote, “Mo money, mo problems”. Perhaps we all grasp the wisdom of this on some level — and yet few of us give up the pursuit of more: more money, more sex more exciting experiences, more knowledge…
The trouble is, of course, that more is never enough. We keep running, breathlessly towards happiness while standing at a complete stand-still; we live life on a hedonic treadmill. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus saw this clearly and his writings have never been more relevant and needed.
If the modern, Western world is marked by anything, it is excess…
Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Our ideas about good and evil, about right and wrong, are often transcendent.
What is right is right.
What is wrong is wrong.
To this absolutist picture, evolution has added moral psychology — the actual machinery that underlies our moral ideas, judgments, and emotions — that is human, all too human.
Our moral philosophy is a singular, pure, crystalline structure while our moral psychology is a contradictory, parochial, mess.
They are like two ill-fitting puzzle pieces, worried at the edges of our attempts to force…
A few mornings ago I had my baby daughter in the carrier and was baby-dancing my way slowly about my neighbourhood while she snored softy.
In my slow, bouncy wanderings, I happened upon a women standing beneath a large pine tree staring directly up into its branches. Being a human, I couldn’t help but to try and see what she was seeing.
(Try this yourself: Stand somewhere and look intently in some direction — you’ll soon collect a group of people staring expectantly in the same direction)
All I saw were branches. Nice branches, but just branches.
Eventually, I caved…
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream
The Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi once dreamt he was a butterfly. The dream was so vivid, so life-like that upon waking he could not tell whether he was a human who dreamt he was a butterfly — or a butterfly swept away in a dream of being a human.
Rene Descartes picked up a similar thread when he wondered how you could know whether or not he was awake or dreaming using only present experience.
(Take a moment and try this for yourself…
Equanimity needs to be pushed to its limits, my baby daughter taught me as much.
Let me tell you how.
It was a grey overcast evening in late January; a slow drizzle nicely accentuated the overall melancholic mood. It was the type of evening that makes one’s home feel cozy by contrast; the type of evening that makes one feel grateful for having a home at all.
In instead of sitting inside on the couch with my partner appreciating the basic fact of shelter, I was outside dipping and bopping to a rhythm that I had expertly developed through extensive…