Sometimes a king

Our soul is sometimes a king, and sometimes a tyrant. A king, by attending to what is honorable, protects the good health of the body in its care, and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire-fueled, over-indulged soul is turned from a king into that most feared and detested thing — a tyrant.

~ Seneca

Never think you’ve got it all

Children teach you that you can still be humbled by life, that you learn something new all the time. That’s the secret to life, really – never stop learning. It’s the secret to career. I’m still working because I learn something new all the time. It’s the secret to relationships. Never think you’ve got it all.

~ Clint Eastwood

The shape of stories

But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth, and people so rarely tell us the truth in this rise and fall here [indicates blackboard]. The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is. And if I die — God forbid — I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, ‘Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?’

~ Kurt Vonnegut

First, note that by “shapes” he literally means figures, graphs—drawings of the shape of the story.

Second, although I’m unsure wether or not I’m “old,” I am sure that I’m starting to get some perspective. A few posts back I was talking about there being a horizon-of-self: Once my experiences are far enough in the past, I lose any true sense of who that self was. Vonnegut’s point—to me anyway—drives home the fact that I don’t even truly know who I am right now.



Talent is like the marksman who hits a target which others cannot reach; Genius is like the marksman who hits a target… which others cannot even see.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

The fountain of content

The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happines by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.

~ Samuel Johnson

Show us you have learned

Eat like a human being, drink like a human being, dress up, marry, have children, get politically active — suffer abuse, bear with a headstrong brother, father, son, neighbor, or companion. Show us these things so we can see that you truly have learned from the philosophers.

~ Epictetus


All of these desperate and depraved acts we see ‘bad people’ do, we are all ultimately capable of them too. Under different circumstances, with a different upbringing and different experiences, every one of us could be a killer. But if you got lucky, and that’s not the way it turned out, you might be inclined to put yourself on a distinctly higher plane.

~ David Cain

I’ve learned to use venom and outrage as indicators. When I taste venom… when I feel outraged… that’s when I redouble my efforts to use my brain and be rational.

I’m not convinced (one way or the other) as to wether it’s even possible to never feel outraged–or if that’s even a good end-goal.

But I am certain that–without exception–if ever I let my outrage direct my actions, I regret it later.


Living virtuously

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do.
Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you.
Sanity means tying it to your own actions.

~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations