And speaking of cognitive biases

Confirmation bias is one of my faves. You know, where you suddenly notice all the other cars like yours when you buy one, or spot coincidences from which you draw an [erroneous] causal conclusion. I know right? Screw you cobbled-together-brain! But this coincidence can’t just be a coincidence:

I’ve been reading-around my copy of The Daily Stoic for about 5 years now. Each page of the book is for a specific date. I long-ago got sick of lugging the book around, so I photographed every page, and loaded them into my personal productivity software. For five years, I’ve had annually repeating todos with the day’s image attached. (Yes, it was a few hours of work to set up 365 todo’s, with “recurs every year on the same date,” and an attached image. Yes, it was absolutely worth it.) So every year, on the same date, the same photo of the same page of the Daily Stoic comes up for me to read. (Craig-level crazy: The image for February 29 is attached to the todo for February 28 and I read it every year.) Finally, you need to know that only a small percentage of the Daily Stoic entries quote from Marcus Aurelius’s, Meditations.

Recently, I bought a fresh, hardcover of my favorite translation of Aurelius’s Meditations. (My paperback copy of this same translation is mangled and marked up, and the typography isn’t as spiffy.) I photographed each page, and set it on recurring todos. This was slightly more complicated because it’s not a page-for-each-date. I simply counted the images and made the todo’s recur that often. So each day a page comes up, but it’s not the same page on the same date each year. (There are 139 pages of content, so I’m reading Meditations 2+ times per calendar year.) For added complexity, the modern book is comprised of Aurelius’s 12 original books; Each was a long scroll on which he wrote entries in sequence. What’s on each page of the modern book is simply determined by book layout: It might be Aurelius’s original book 4, entries 11 and 12, or it might have part of an entry continued from the previous page, or an entry which is cut short that runs to the next page. Sure, it’s messy to try to read a book a-page-a-day if it wasn’t designed that way, but it works, and I get to visit Marcus each day.

That’s the setup. Here’s the coincidence…

Today I hit a Daily Stoic entry that quotes Meditations. The page that’s up for reading in my sequence from Meditations, CONTAINS THE QUOTED PASSAGE.


After looking around suspiciously… “Am I on Candid Camera?” After looking up suspiciously… I decided I better blog about this.