Quick Quote Post: 8

Tonight I was going to write about the massive topic that is suffering yet ironically, I thought this would be a pain. So that topic is shelved for another day.

Instead, I’m going to share a long quote that I found resonated with me on my travels today. I experienced feeling like I was standing in the oddly calm eye of the hurricane as the world span uncontrollably around me. It was a lonely experience but I was ok with it. It was almost alien and I seemed unable to reciprocate the panic and stress and anger of my co-workers – something I’m not entirely unhappy about at all.

“Do not let the panorama of your life oppress you, do not dwell on all the various troubles which may have occurred in the past or may occur in the future. Just ask yourself in each instance of the present: ‘What is there in this work which I cannot endure or support?’ You will be ashamed to make any such confession. Then remind yourself that it is neither the future nor the past which weighs on you, but always the present: and the present burden reduces, if only you can isolate it and accuse your mind of weakness if it cannot hold against something thus stripped bare.” – Meditations 8.36

“Is my mind sufficient for this task, or is it not? If it is, I use it for the task as an instrument given by the nature of the Whole. If it is not, I either cede the work (if it is otherwise my responsibility) to someone better able to accomplish it, or do it as best I can, calling in aid someone whom in cooperation with my own directing mind, can achieve what is at this particular time the need and benefit of the community. Whatever I do, either by myself or with another, should this sole focus – the common benefit and harmony.” – Meditations 7.5

To quote another of my favourite things…

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

Reflect on these statements, next when you stand in a chaos of not your own making with the task of bringing harmony or keeping serene. On Monday, there are only four additional days to your Saturday morning off, if you are living the 9-5. It’s all fleeting and transient happenstance that you can overcome and be proud of overcoming each day. Even in your personal life, it goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway for those who missed the point, and I may well have said it before:

You got this.

Z3N0

Science!

I got into a rather in depth discussion today with a young person about the importance of science. It seems very obvious later on in life but at an age where science is a means to an end to pass exams it’s all very arbitrary. I must admit, I went on a bit of a ramble and I remember it vividly.

“It all starts with simple physics to push to atoms together to make chemistry and then as more atoms come together to form compounds and tissues you have biology. To reject the study of science is like rejecting the study of your own existence. A scientific mind can exist congruently with the spiritual, it’s poetry in motion. You sat here right now are the product of the science of the universe. Let me demonstrate some astrophysics: the Parallax Effect. Hold your pointer finger out in front of you and close one eye. Now open and close the other. See it move? Congratulations, you’ve just discovered how astrophysicists map the distance of stars from Earth.” – Z

Listen to the music of existence, open your window and stick your head out. Listen to the cacophony of biology and chemistry, feel the forces of physics whip across your face and dance through your hair. You are a part of this chorus. You are a beautiful expression of the universe and you can revel in it. Feel the air on your skin as you read these words; feel the pulsing of blood and the beating of your heart. We are all connected and made of the same stardust.

You are brilliant, it’s scientifically provable.

“I think therefore I am.” – Rene Descartes, Discourse on the Method.

The fact that you can think about thinking is an amazing feat of nature and biological advancement. Each firing neuron and whiz of electrical energy in your cerebral cortex is a homage to the sciences. But what about God, you ask. What about God? Would he not be as amazed by this achievement? From our reaching into the stars to the bottom of the oceans to the deepest recesses of our minds, we grasp closer to divine understanding. It’s an achievement of monumental proportions that you and I meet and excel every single day. Each time you awake you have won the great game. Every time you smile and be thankful for the existence of your very being and the existence of those you love, you are thanking the sciences that made you you.

Stretch your mind with philosophy, open up your senses to the science around you. Break each thing down to its core nature. Look at your phone and trace it back to the factory and then back to its conception on a sketch pad in some office. See all the moving parts and the engineering. See the human biology of those crafting the device. See the forces of nature acting on the shipping vessels and the great waves that crash into the sides of cargo ships. See the chemistry within the device, the lithium-ion battery stirring with each motion. See the chemistry perhaps, between a vendor and a buyer: a spark of destiny bringing two people together in harmony. See how you are a part of it all like a single cell in the conscious thriving ocean of our reality. You deserve to be here.

Science will take us off-planet and save it. Science will make immortals out of fools and heroes out of altruists. Today, I look back and I am grateful for the man now dust: Edward Jenner who has saved the lives of billions and future billions through his discoveries – a hero of our human industry.

Thirst for knowledge of sciences and you are thirsting for knowledge of existence. Who are we to deny such hunger? Perhaps you can even argue that it is philosophy is a kind of science, defined by Google as: “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline” and “a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour“. Science is the study of our universe and philosophy is the study of how it all ties together.

Tether your philosophies to scientific principles and be scientific in everything you do. Whether you be Taoist, Jewish, Muslim, Lutheran, Hindi or Sikh: notice that the very air you breathe is bound by the same laws of physics that binds us all. We are one in this discipline regardless of faith, culture or race. We are all expressions of the same wonderous Whole.

It may be all relative, from the speed of light to universal truth, yet we are united in that relativity. We will be born the same way and die the same way. It’s a stoic principle and a human principle.

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch that illuminates the world.” – Louis Pasteur

Z3N0

Procrastination Nation

I’m in a procrastination nation of my own making. It’s governed by rules of putting things off until tomorrow and the currency is little slithers of dopamine from mobile games. Right now, the country is in turmoil and a civil war is brewing against the establishment. Like all revolutions this one is hard fought and I fully expect the regent governors with the names: “Do it Later”, “Not now”, “Another time”, and “I should watch The Office again” will be summarily executed. The guillotine comes down and Marcus Aurelius is the executioner. A rather poetic image.

“Ask yourself this about each action: ‘How does this sit with me? Shall I regret it?'” Meditations 8.2

Do I regret inaction? Or is inaction a part of being actively passive? Is there a difference between being actively passive and procrastinating? I’m arguing with yes because I don’t feel regret for being so actively passive; for meditation and taking in the world around me, breathing in the new spring air and standing in the sun with a coffee. I regret babbling on about pure shit to a friend on the internet to avoid doing work. Perhaps that’s the difference. One is enriching to the greater benefit, the other isn’t. What’s enriching about sharing a story about being on a date with someone who thought reciting an entire episode of Drag Race would be endearing? I’m not sure how much my friend got out of it.

How much of our activities as human beings procrastinating? For example, X, watches Judge Judy everyday without fail then some days says:

“Well I can’t go for my run now it’s too late.”

The sun is shining, dinner can wait, Judy won’t care – but we mustn’t miss the end(!). Or another example: a person I work with will talk to me about Harry Potter for twenty minutes – knowing full well I don’t care about the story or the characters or what the views of the author are – to avoid a simple task. Another: I made three coffees today to avoid doing work.

I know I’ve spoken before about disagreeing with Marcus about inaction but I was making a different point about enjoying life rather than racing to the end. Procrastination, in this sense is putting of things that need to be done before the end. A fear of failing these things perhaps? What if I go to Goa and hate it, and fail at being happy. What if I fail at the work I’m meant to be doing today? What if? What if?

Enough of what if. Only what is.

“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

What are you putting off through fear of failure not because of planning, nor waiting not even being cautious. Fear of failure is procrastinating. I did it all the time with maths homework in Year 9, I’m doing the same with actual work. Sure take your time on a job, make sure it’s done properly, like a good philosophy or a garden shed. But you have to start somewhere, sometime – now is the time. This blog is an example. Its existence an act of revolt against the Procrastination Nation.

“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were you last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.” Meditations 7.69