Time is slipping

Thank you for giving me a few moments of your time.

Every moment—well, minus the 1/3 of my life when I’m horizontal and unconscious—I have the power to exercise my free will to decide what to do with my time. Since you are on the Internet, you likely also have this power and freedom. (Many people do not.)

Which moments do I regret? The ones where my choices were not intentional. Moments where I was habitual. Moments where I was reactive.


Raw material

Just as the nature of rational things has given to each person their rational powers, so it also gives us this power – Just as nature turns to its own purpose any obstacle or any opposition, sets its place in the destined order, and co-ops it, so every rational person can convert any obstacle into the raw material for their own purpose.

~ Marcus Aurelius

True and steadfast judgment

This can be swiftly taught in very few words: Virtue is the only good; There is no certain good without virtue; And virtue resides in our nobler part, which is the rational one. And what can this virtue be? True and steadfast judgment.

~ Seneca

On writing


I believe that everyone should write in public. Get a blog. Or use Squidoo or Tumblr or a microblogging site. Use an alias if you like. Turn off comments, certainly–you don’t need more criticism, you need more writing.

~ Seth Godin

Thank you. …don’t mind if I do. Coming up on 8 years on this blog, and well over 2,000 posts. :)

Writing here has been useful on two fronts: First, when I do have to write something in some random context, le voila! …every day I suck less at writing. Second, writing clarifies my thinking. (My thinking needs a lot of clarifying.)


Those defiant words

I am unafraid as I prepare myself for that day when the artifices and disguises will be stripped away and I shall make judgment of myself. Is it just brave talk, or do I mean what I say? Were they for real, those defiant words I spoke aginst fortune, or were they just theatre – Just acting a part?

~ Seneca

This greater good you’ve found

Indeed, if you find anything in human life better than justice, truth, self-control, courage – in shrot, anything better than the sufficiency of your own mind, which keeps you acting according to the demands of true reason and accepting what fate gives you outside of your own power of choice – I tell you, if you can see anything better than this, turn to it heart and soul and take full advantage of this greater good you’ve found.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Only when you breath your last

Lectures and learned seminars and sayings culled from the teachings of philosophers and educated conversation do not reveal the mind’s real strength. For speech is bold even where the speaker is timorous. What you have achieved will be revealed only when you breathe your last.

~ Seneca

On civility


If civility is a kind of claim to regulating, or governing our disagreements on the basis of something shared, then what really matters is, what exactly it is we’re claiming that we need to share in order to have a civil disagreement.

~ Teresa Bejan

I’ve heard discussion about “controlling the conversation.” The idea being that when there’s a power imbalance, one side can control what can be talked about, and what can be blocked or suppressed as “beyond the pale.” This discussion on Philosophy Bites explores what it means “to be civil.” In my interpretation, it may not be possible to be civil in cases where there is insufficient common ground upon which to build civil discourse.


The devil always gets his due


Anyone can be an idealist. Anyone can be a cynic. The hard part lies somewhere in the middle i.e. being human.

~ Jason Korman

I’ve recently been on a run with posts about “balance” simply because that’s what I’m struggling with most these days. Confirmation bias then ensures I’m seeing things “about” balance everywhere.

realist: n., optimist with experience.

I’m not going to say the best place to be is always in the middle of a given spectrum. Actually, it’s not even perfectly clear to me that “idealist” and “cynic” are opposite ends of a spectrum; but I’ll run with that assumption for today. So given that acting from an entirely idealistic or cynical position is going to end badly… what can I take from that?

I think it’s pretty simple: Strive for the best, and plan for the worst. Running with that idea, I’ve been returning to my old, first step of my current journey: Self-awareness.

“Look, you’re freaking out. Simple fact.”

“Is this really the end of the world?”

“Is this maybe too far toward the cynical end of the spectrum?”

“Could I maybe do with a little less drama?”

“What if I turned around and looked back at what I’ve accomplished?”

“Would that at least bring me a little peace?”