Back To Work

So I decided to come back to work, not in the typical sense but in perhaps the only that matters: the work of philosophy on here. I’d taken a bit of a break, the summer and trips keeping me away from the internet or away from tangible insight.

I took myself to Leeds on a city break and indulged at two fantastic restaurants, Livin’ Italy and Little Tokyo (the address of both found in the postscript). The atmosphere of both places was fantastic, both rustic and true to their cultures and entirely authentic in cuisine. Yet it was not the lobster at Livin’ Italy that I will remember forever, nor the yaki udon of Little Tokyo but instead the words of a man on a street.

His name was Oliver and he stopped me to talk to me about Jesus. He spoke to me about first of all himself and how that he came to the very real realization that material things mean nothing in the end as we are all born the same way and die the same. He spoke about giving it all up to follow his heart and follow the fire of life, a fire you could clearly see in his eyes and cheeks. I was glued to the spot as he spoke, something telling me that I should listen.

“Have faith, be a believer but don’t be religious.”

It reminded me of the words of the Tao Te Ching and the scripture that says that the sage is both of the world and not. He invited me to his church, to experience what he called an “alive” experience as opposed to a “dead” one of human rites and traditions with no real meaning past the impressions of time and culture.

“We are all running in circles. We smoke, we drink, we go on to the next sexual partner after another to fill a void within ourselves. But we are all looking for the same thing,” he says, as he points to the grey sky of the early evening.

While the perspective was entirely Abrahamic, it seemed to light a fire in this man and seemed to leave a lasting impression on me and the wisdom of his words ring true in the most fundamental way. My own words were less convincing to a friend on the interconnectedness of the universe and that we are all expressions of the same life. Yet Oliver, with his hours in the main high street of Leeds sharing his fire and light with those who spoke to him in a world of sceptics, was something entirely inspiring to me. His words were not of hate or damnation or hellfire but instead of peace and harmony and finding serenity. The cynic inside me asks whether or not that was the next topic of conversation as he did allude to dark forces – a topic for another day – yet in that moment, it seemed like where we stood in the bustling city that there was a unique peace.

He gave me his phone number, perhaps he gave it to many people, but suggested that if I ever feel the need to talk for advice on finding my connection to the divine and my own spirit, to call him. One day I might but the most likely thing is that I won’t. Yet those 11 digits on the back of a flyer is are on the shelf next to Epictetus, Aurelius and Seneca just in case.

Z3N0

P.S.

As promised, my recommendations of places to eat in Leeds

https://littletokyoleeds.co.uk/

https://livinitaly.com/

As someone with allergies, both places were extremely accommodating as a bonus.

Sleepless Kingdom, Part 1

The following is another short story, this one based on my own experiences with sleep paralysis dramatized and embellished of course. For about six months or so, I suffered from sleep deprivation brought on by Pro-Plus tablets and coffee just to avoid sleeping and experiencing this myself. Something that was ultimately just as destructive as not only did it intensify the dreams in the long run but also fueled and deepened a depression and bad temperament. I look back now at this time with the lessons and luxury of hindsight but one positive that came from it, was a wealth of inspiration for writing.

Once again, this piece is inspired by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P Lovecraft – their works not philosophies and ideologies of their times to be clear.

She was there again; that ragged old bitch at the end of my bed. She leaned, her noxious void of an existence casting a deep shadow over the spartan duvet coverings long overdue a wash. I had taken to calling her Gran which was fine, by the way, as I never knew my own so-called gran. No, this particular term of phrase held no reverence for me nor any warm feelings of comfort and joy. Instead, this Gran, this pervasive stand-in, who lingers there in the low gloom of every waking morning, is just a vicious parody.

Gran had been visiting me for as long as I can remember giving way to a numb kind of fear. I couldn’t be sure for how long that was as the memory of having sweet dreams at all was fading away as quickly as they came. It was a companion now, satiated by Pro-Plus and Kenco at three AM. While her appearance was expected, a vision of poison from the bowels of gothic fiction, my body still froze, mind raced, and heart raced towards an impossibly distant finish line against some phantom Olympic sprinter. My only real sense of rebellion in my whole corporeal being was the smile that I forced across my trembling face. An enormous grin of wanton disregard for the impending doom of the wicked entity at the end of the divan.

Then I’d wake; bracing into the true universe, forcing away the false reality of Gran. Everything would be the same, of course. Her kingdom was the same as mine only in hers, she held the power of some neo-classical deity of the realm around her foul being. Arguably it was the same as the actual waking world but in this case, Gran was replaced by the student loan industry. In the waking world, breakfast will come and go. Black coffee and a cigarette on the porch were as reliable as the bitch at the end of the bed. Polite chit-chat with the housemates and the refreshingly stoic Clara keeps me busy enough to not feel totally maddeningly tired. Lectures and seminars go by in a blur, with Gran lingering in the peripherals as they darken, ready to return to her kingdom at any point. Dinner, drinks, Pro-Plus and the ritual of going out into town begins, Clara propping me up, keeping me from either drifting into Gran’s dark oblivion or snapping at the banal dramas of the others. I’d envy them and their genuine smiles and their faces in the morning, refreshed from a good night’s sleep – hungover (still with remnants of kebab and ketchup around their mouths) or not. That’s what really would anger me, not the bollocks of he-said-she-said and all that normal human activity. My own sunny disposition painted on, false lashes batting away close inspection.

Eventually she’d win, old Gran. The Pro-Plus would where off and even Clara would retreat from the awesome power of sleep and the perchance to dream. I would be lulled into a false sense of security, with pure, deep dark sleep. Then, as I’d wake with relief, I’d find myself unable to read the messages on my phone. The light itself would be thick and heavy, my legs responding in kind to the gravity suddenly exerting the force of Jupiter. The relief would be drowned by panic as torso would drag neck and head back to pillow; air thick and heavy as from the slightest dark of the sun-drenched box room, the eldritch form would emerge. Always the figure of some long-dead Victorian woman, with black bonnet and frills, she would come a creeping to what should be the safest of places. Yet, it was never my safe place, a place for recuperation from the normality. In truth, perhaps, it has always been her hunting ground or more accurately just a softly manifested feeding trough.

It has a name, this curse. The diagnosable term is Sleep Paralysis, which sounds so ungodly scientific. Hallucinations of such a vivid nature with no known cure or treatment is a fashionable talking point on blogs and in artsy coffee shops where turtleneck sweaters are the truest of currency – not that I’m complaining, I have six myself. They discuss through excited smiles the thrill of the unknowable terror. They say meaningless supportive buzzwords to so-called sufferers over the rims of their espresso cups, soaking up the bullshit with the nauseating aromas. The truth is in the eyes. Looking passed the smiles and the tales of horror akin to a Lovecraft short, you see the tired fright in the eyes. It lingers there like a quietly burst blood vessel just off centre. The truth is in the stories they speak. Not the words but the feeling; the feeling like you’ve just dropped your toe over the edge and into the uncanny valley itself. Then, it spreads like a virus – a biochemical abyss that doesn’t wait for you to look too long into its depths. Who’s to say that creatures like Gran are even of our own creation? Simple mind tricks invented by ourselves for ourselves because we were never satiated with the available horror that can be downloaded from the world wide web. Outside fables of the unknown heavenly powers, biology has never been so methodical, so malicious. The dark entropy incarnate.

It was on this one morning, three days before my twentieth birthday, that I stood against the dark. The air was thick and brutal and Gran’s extended claws were reaching across the unwashed sheets, casting a shadow of pure oblivion over my frozen legs. Morning light was disfigured around her looming presence that grew ever closer to my face. The battle for control raged in my bones as her hag-like face drew near, her long nose inches away from touching mine. I felt her cold and clammy breath beat down upon my skin as time itself slowed to a crawl. I let out a raspy, incomprehensible mutter, pleading for an answer to her endlessness. A skeletal claw reached up and took hold of my cheeks, her fingers like icy daggers cutting deep into the flesh.

That’s when I found the voice; the absent voice never before brave enough to express more than a whimper. It began as a stirring in my gut before racing like a cheetah through my body and bursting like lava from a volcano out of my mouth. In the seconds of its great genesis, I followed its mighty journey, so readily anticipating its triumphant roar.

‘W-w-what do you want?’ I croaked; the grand imaginary charge of the voice swept away. My pounding heart sunk as the wiry eyebrows above Gran’s night sky eyes raised. Her already twisted expression contorted at the defiance, her clammy breath quickening as her icy fingers dug deeper into my cheeks. I could have died right then and there. I could have melted into the bed, already soaked with perspiration. No. She wouldn’t have let me slip from her grasp and her pure cold rage. Nothing in this moment would escape her, not at least in Room 5 of Flat E. Gran’s response was a scream. A single elongated, shrill note that shook my entire being. Her wide mouth exposed a cascading, thunderous black hole with sparks of purple lightning lashing out to dance on the churning rows of overlapping shards of deep grey teeth. My head and neck gave in to her, snapping wildly from side to side within her fixed grasp as the gravitational pull of her nightmarish infinite aperture readied itself to digest.

… End of Part 1

Z3N0

Isolation Round 2: Sweaty Boogaloo

So here we are again, in the sweat box that is the back bedroom, isolating from the rest of the household following a call from work. It is the second time in two-weeks and while the first time round wasn’t at all difficult or challenging to the soul or body, now with the heat rising to Mediterranean heights, my biggest challenge is not to melt into the floor like a green-hued witch.

I once thought on taking myself to Mumbai for a cultural excursion, living in a chorl for the summer months but now I realize that might not be a good idea.

Let’s reflect then on the impact of climate change on our world, as the heat rises. Surely, it is in everyone’s best interest to be a climate change advocate? Even from the conservative stance rather than liberal. If those on the right wish to curb and dissuade immigration, surely it would make sense to endeavor to ensure that the nations south of Europe are at least habitable for humans – something that will change if climate trends do not. While the northern hemisphere begins to slowly resemble North Africa what will be left of the south?

Speaking purely form the stance of a devil’s advocate here, it confuses me to why climate change is so often seen as a partisan issue. It’s a human issue caused by humans. Sure, environmental factors contribute such as St. Helen’s, Mt. Etna and other volcanic activity that I can’t name off the top of my head. Hell, even the dinosaurs caught a shit deal. Yet in each of those cases, it was not in the control of the dominant species to change that, to ensure the survival of their race.

Every year it’s become on of my running jokes that this will be the coolest summer for the next thirty years.

True, in it’s current form, the lithium-ion battery reliance of electric vehicles will become unsustainable with lithium eventually becoming a rare commodity but, it’s also reusable unlike fossil fuels. So why do we cling to the ways of the past? Out of some nostalgia for the Industrial Era when children died up chimneys covered in soot and bird shit; when the smog of London was so thick that it caked everything it touched; or perhaps, let’s look more recently to a time when profit-hungry oil conglomerates spilled their treasure into the sea poisoning everything for miles and miles. For what reasons do we hold on to these methods? Pride? Stubbornness? A strange and deep love of petrol station coffee?

People mock Greta Thumburg, those of the older generation. They mock her and call her a puppet. A puppet for what? Those dastardly liberals with an evil goal of saving the world? Just the other day I saw and article of plans to release Aston Martin DB5’s with electric engines and modernised interiors. The old ways aren’t dying, because they were never the old ways. The ways are simply evolving.

And, as I’m facing the choice right now in my hotbox, the paths seem clear: adapt or live in abject misery, cutting of your nose to spite your face. We have a social responsibility to each other whether we like it or not. Even those who claim to be an island and entirely free of societal bonds, I simply say:

“Who made your iPhone?”

Z3N0

Quick Quote Post: 13

Today saw the departure of dear colleagues and I must admit, I had to refrain from hugging anyone to stop myself from crying in front of 100 people. I know, I know, not very stoic. That being said, I am an empath, so to stop myself from succumbing to a collective despair and nostalgic melancholy, measures had to be taken. I recalled a few lines of Marcus Aurelius and became rigid in composure neither falling to ecstasy or despair. What despair is there? Three valued colleagues who have mentored and befriended me are retiring and due to spent the next few decades with a well-deserved respite from years of solid graft. What’s the tragedy? There is only celebrations surely at the closing of a chapter and welcoming of a reward.

“Somethings are hurrying into being, others are hurrying to be gone, and part of that which is being born is already extinguished. Flows and changes are constantly renewing the world, just as the ceaseless passage of time makes eternity ever young. In this river, then, where can there be no foothold, what should anyone prize of all that races past him? It is as if he were to begin ro fancy one of the little sparrows that fly past – but already it is gone from his sight. Indeed this is the nature of our very lives – as transient as the exhalation of vapour from the blood or a breath drawn from the air. No different from a single breath taken in and returned to the air, something which we do every moment, no different is the giving back of your whole power of breathing – acquired at your birth just yesterday or thereabouts – to that world from which you first drew it.” – Meditations 6.15

And another, to round off the thought:

“There is nothing to value in transpiring like plants of breathing in like cattle and wild creatures; nothing in taking the stamp of sense impressions of jerking to the puppet-strings of impulse; nothing in herding together or taking food – this last is not better than voiding the wastes of that food. What, then, is to be valued? Applause? No. Not therefore the applause of tongues either: the praise of the masses is the mere rattle of tongues. So you have jettisoned trivial glory too. What remains to be valued? To my mind, it is to act or refrain from action according to our own proper constitution, something to which skills and crafts show the way. Every craft seeks to make its product suit the purpose for which it is produced: this is the aim of the gardener, the vine-dresser, the breaker of horses, the dog-trainer. And what is the end to which the training of children and their teaching strives? So this is the true value: and if this is firmly held, you will not be set on acquiring any of the other things for yourself. Will you not then cease to value much else besides? Otherwise you will not be free or self-sufficient or devoid of passion: you will need to be envious and jealous to suspect those who have the power to deprive you of these things, and to intrigue against people who poses what you value. In short, anyone who feels the need of any of these things is necessarily sullied, and what is more je will often be driven to blame the gods too. But reverence of your own mind and the value you give to it will make you acceptable to yourself, in harmony with your fellows, and consonant with the gods – that is, praising all that they assign and have dispensed.” – 6.16

Z3N0

Command of the Self

So I started reading The Art of War by the Chinese master tactician Sun Tzu. While the first few pages have been an enjoyable and interesting read so far, something keenly caught my attention.

“Command is

Wisdom,

Integrity,

Compassion,

Courage,

Severity.” – The Art of War, Chapter One

So far, I’ve seen that Sun Tzu’s philosophy, despite being on war, is primarily Taoist in nature (unless I’ve missed the point), something that’s highlighted by Jia Lin in the follow extract:

“An excess of wisdom can lead to rebellion; untempered compassion can cause weakness; absolute integrity can cause folly; brute courage can produce violence; excessive severity can be cruel. All five virtues must be present together in a general; each must play its role.”

For the rest of my readings, I shall be interchanging the term “general” with “sage” as the Taoist sense or “junzi” in the Confucian sense or simply “stoic“. Of course the commentary and the intended meaning applies on the surface to warfare, something those terms to do not go hand in hand with but no one ever said that Marcus Aurelius was one to shy from wars.

Here, I find the principles related directly to the self rather than blanket qualities of a military commander. For example wisdom is a necessity of life and a part of philosophical growth, and like Jia Lin says, too much can cause rebellion. In this sense, the rebellion will come from the alienation of the world around you if you retreat too far into the centre of you. Integrity is a key concept of stoicism and humanity yet a inflexible position will make your soul brittle to change – a natural part of the Whole. Compassion is a necessity for unity and wholeness yet like Seneca said, and in agreement with Jia Lin, the person who trusts everyone and opens their heart to everyone is just as vulnerable and at risk than someone who trusts no one and opens their heart to no one. Courage to do what is right and be confident in self is an essential part of becoming a fully developed person both generally and philosophically but there is a fine line easily crossed that turns courage into recklessness and confidence into arrogance. When it comes to severity, it is true we should be severe with ourselves and hold ourselves to a high standard but also temper that with understanding and empathy, similarly with others. In fact I would argue, that severity walks hand in hand with conviction and when they let go of each other, either can be flimsy or toxic.

As I progress through The Art of War I hope further my understanding of tactical applications to the self. In the 21st Century, I suppose unless you are actually on the battlefield there is little to worry about in way of command and conflict. Then again, what was it that Marcus Aurelius said?

“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in that it stands ready for what comes and is not thrown by the unforeseen.” – Meditations 7.61

Z3N0

Painful Perspectives

So I’ve discovered or rather rediscovered my complicated relationship with gluten. It causes stomach cramps, constipation and a lot of pain in the lower abdomen and back that made me double over. In fact it was so bad that I spent the first hour of my working day itching for my next toilet break like a secret crack addict. On my way out I explained my symptoms to a colleague who made the connection that my experience sounded a lot like period pain.

“How do women do this every month? It’s just not realistic?” – Z

“Ok so think, whenever you speak to a woman or someone who is biologically female, think that any of them could be going through what you’re going through now and have been for years.” – X

Amazing isn’t it, the little things that we seem to forget to be grateful for, even down to our own biology. I wasn’t ignorant of the problem before yet this painful perspective was something that I needed to hear to quit my literal bellyaching and shut up.

It was my physical pain of the day followed by a test of emotional pain. With truths being revealed that not was all perfect as I had envisioned – my own failing. A relationship on hold or not at all existing to begin with has me asking where was the purpose? All things have purpose and all things come from the Whole so to this end where is the purpose of such tests? For the other party, a lesson in what could be and for me a test on what could be with neither thing coming to fruition for perhaps the point of this connection was just that and nothing more.

Of course, I wasn’t so gracious about it and needed a nap and a few glasses of Fireball to contemplate the purpose of Fate’s plan. Fate asking: do you love me? Of course, but also fuck you – there was a nicer way to do that. But obviously, what does Fate care? It conspires to protect us all as a friend once told me but it teaches painful lessons most efficiently with a ruthlessness that tests each of our convictions and philosophies. It’s a thing that brings us perspective after the fact and leads to such conclusions so unsatisfactory at the time – much like the season finale of Loki – yet only in reflection can be appreciated for what it was. I’m not sure if I’m there yet with the acceptance and smile to give to Fate. I mean, yes of course, thank you so much for the medicine but it tasted like shit so I’m still a little salty.

I think that’s fair for us all to be like that in our philosophy. One day I will look back on this and ask why I wasn’t more accepting immediately and stoic immediately like the Stoics on Reddit would love to see. Yet I don’t think it’s about that. Are we to be as harsh with our own growth as Fate is?

There are some key stoic lessons to take from my day at least, some key quotes of reminder and reflection to take into tomorrow, at least with a begrudging smile.

“It is ridiculous not to escape from one’s own vices, which is possible, while trying to escape the vices of others, which is impossible.” – Meditations 7.71

“Mere things stand isolated outside our doors, with no knowledge or report of themselves. What then reports on them? Our directing mind.” – 9.15

“That all is as thinking makes it so. – and you control your thinking. So remove your judgements whenever you wish an there is calm – as the sailor rounding the cape finds smooth water and the welcome of a waveless bay.” – 12.22

Needless to say, the copy of Meditations on my bed side table is battered and covered in scribbles by this point.

Z3N0

The Last 14 Days

For the last 10 of 14 days that I’ve been absent from writing I was in COVID isolation.

I found it entirely ironic that three days after being vaccinated (for the first jab), that I was asked to isolated for ten days due to secondary contact. Thankfully I was negative with each test yet strangely, I found the experience not entirely unpleasant. Aside from the looming threat of muscle atrophy in my legs, there was little to worry about. There was nothing for me to complain even without philosophy and little need to reflect or pause on anything that caused worry. What was there to worry about? Either I was positive or negative and in either case, I’d still be in my room watching Criminal Minds and having meals delivered at my door. There was no need to pause and quote, no need to feel anything other than apathy for the situation even perhaps gratitude to the universe for the time off.

I thought to myself, what need was there to write? What need was there to share this until it is over? So I held off and put down my books and laptop for a time to focus on the simple pleasures of just being. I made choices and found clarity in a departure from a situation that grounded me: being my roleplay guild and the people in it. One day, a minor conflict had me asking myself why I was doing this, why I was bothering and what use was the energy I put into the one-way and increasingly strained relationships. So I just let go and felt the weight lift. Of course, I felt a little guilty about leaving behind people to deal with it, leaving them to their own devices and own situations yet those things would have happened with or without me. It’s almost as if a level of optimistic nihilism about my presence in the eyes of people and things I put so much effort into left me relaxed without a reference to Aurelius.

So I cut someone off, blocked and dipped out of there, why? Why walk away?

Honestly I don’t know. Something just said that it was time. It was time to walk away and time to let a thing pass on. It’s like the quote about grapes (full disclosure, I’m without my books to refer to right now): unripe, ripe, plucked and pruned.

While one thing passes to obscurity and the nebulous mists of the past, another thing comes into being, a wish fulfilment of a connection. It’s almost as if the universe exists in a balance – who’d have thought? It’s a connection that has been brewing in the background for weeks now and as the time draws closer to what will be a rather casual meeting at a Wetherspoons, the heart chakra feels a unique pull. Here, in this situation, not my own within COVID prison, it was like Fate was testing me, and us. First, the date was cancelled as this person was placed in isolation, second was my own and thirdly was a hospital trip. It was like we were being made to wait and develop a connection. Ironically, throughout this time we streamed Too Hot To Handle. As someone who has been known for a short attention span and issues with commitment, it seemed almost a perfect examination of my own readiness for a real thing. Here we are, six weeks in and thing have seemed to aligned finally. Even my own changing living situation has brought us closer together geographically. Perhaps then, in these days off, a pause on life, is a gift from fate to reorganize and see clearly what I want, need and what I don’t want and need.

Amor fati.

Have I missed writing? No, honestly. And it’s not a negative thing to say that because in the end, a break was what I needed. It was holistic. And, in the event that I did have COVID, I would have been tested further on my resolve and readiness in philosophy.

I was reading more of Seneca’s writings recently and he spoke about testing oneself by sleeping on the floor once a month and going without. I’ve probably mentioned it before but it seems like a time without the luxuries of 2021 – even with shitty internet connection from my back bedroom -, has done it’s job as intended. Yet even then, it wasn’t much of a test.

“Lying on you back, getting fed nutrients through a tube? It’s my idea of a fucking holiday.” – Malcom Tucker, The Thick of It, Season 3, Episode 1

Z3N0

The Calm After A Storm

When talking about having a crisis or some form of disruption, people always speak about the calm before a storm but never after. There is this grand presumption that the new equilibrium will not be just as harmonious as the old, if not more so. As I’m sitting here, in my new surroundings, feeling quite contented and calm, there is a new sound sense of clarity after my own hurricane.

Even the changes of plans and expectations of them have almost no burden on me, almost as if from this chaos I can see clearly again. It’s liberating and refreshing. Perhaps less stoically, I needed to let off some steam and say “fuck” a lot to get it out of my system.

Yet, today I faced several challenges that would linger just a little. From the professional anxieties and stresses to the one of nearly missing the bus to my new home, being stuck in the rain with a bag of clothes. There was nothing. Not a flicker of stress or worry or panic. It was as if this change, this event perhaps brought by the summer solstice itself, has renewed me. Maybe I’m being overly verbose to say simple: I feel good.

What does this mean? What else does it mean than another example of learning and progressing past trials of the spirit? Strangely, in this new situation that I find myself in, it’s more practical to my currents needs than I ever would have realized had these events not happened. In this calm, there is clarity and tranquillity. True these are very early days into this new gentler weather pattern but I’m not seeing a single grey cloud on the horizon.

I was asked today what I thought about Matt Hancock and his recent scandal. Honestly, I could not care less. Yet for the life of me, I can’t find to why I couldn’t care. This national scandal which exposes hypocrisy and the ludicrous pedestals of the elite should be something that I react to as my peers have done, no? But there’s nothing and my calm of today is uninterrupted.

I was faced with another challenge: a sudden change of plans based on strangers assuming the worst of my indentions and morals. Yet, we see through this and see that there is nothing inherently incomprehensible nor complex about the impressions. The calm was again, undisturbed.

I’m going to have to watch this phenomena like a hawk and myself. But perhaps, in all my wonderings, musings and patting myself on the back for a good job at not getting pissed off, the simplest explanation is that this is the new equilibrium. Within an equilibrium, all things are balanced and as they should be with equality and equity. I feel it now: equality, equity and balance of the self.

Three days ago, where I am right now would not have been considered yet fate had other plans, and I am so glad and grateful that I simply accepted those plans. I love those plans.

Love the plans set in motion for you.

“The universe conspires to protect you.” – X

Amor fati.

Z3N0

Landslide of the Mind

I have experienced a landslide of the mind.

The summer solstice has brought some rather challenging upheaval and with it came a test of my philosophy that I did not pass. Or rather I did pass, in seeing my own anger in itself at a situation. I slapped a bannister, if you can imagine, a bit like how I would be slapping my forehead against a brick wall – or rather it seemed like I was doing that with my words. It was a landslide of emotions that I’ve spoken of before. In my line of work, I see lots of minor experiments with pressure and aluminium cans and this felt oddly familiar. In the moments after, as the dust settled and my life had been relocated and shifted with such fated force, I realized the futility of the emotion of it all.

Despite everything, the person I blame for the upheaval of my living situation is myself in my reaction to it all. I did the right thing, and stood my ground for something I believed in with conviction yet my emotional response was a failing. Where a thing needed a tempered level of apathy, I popped like a shook up coke can.

The situation is inconsequential, of course. I am the only one to blame for my own emotions and reactions to stimuli considering all my talk of philosophy and what not.

“You need to sort that temper out.” – X

Of course I do, hence my philosophy in training. Of course being temperamental is probably the only impression I’ve given this week considering the two incidents. Is this what my philosophy boils down to? Losing my temper when pushed to it’s limit, with familial bonds being pushed to the edge of my own reason?

I’ve been told that I did the right thing and that I’m not in the wrong and that it was understandable, how I reacted. Yet, I cannot understand myself. It feels like a disservice to the self in the end my own standards. I am grateful to the support I received but in the end the only person who’s opinion matters on the intricacies of my own mind is me, and I failed myself. In the stoic sense, it’s a lesson for me to learn from and move on. I’ve already moved on quite literally to another accommodation and foresee myself here for some time, at least 3 weeks. But, that, in the end, inconsequential to the philosophy within.

“My soul, will you ever be good, simple, individual, bare, brighter than the body that covers you? Will you ever taste the disposition to love and affection? Will you ever be complete and free of need, missing nothing, desiring nothing live or lifeless for the enjoyment of pleasure? Or time for longer enjoyment, or amenity, space and climate? Or good company? No, will you not rather be satisfied with your present state and take pleasure in all that is presently yours? Will you not convince yourself that all your experience comes from the gods, that all is well and all will be well for you, all that the gods see fit to give you, now and hereafter, in the maintenance of that perfect Being which is good and just and beautiful, which generate all things, sustains and contains all things, embraces all things as they dissolve into the generations of others like them? Will you ever such as to share the society of gods and men without any criticism of them or condemnation by them?” – Meditations 10.1

For now, the focus, is as ever, the moment and moving forward in the moment. It’s all I have in my control now, and all I will ever have – until the time it isn’t and then, will be time to learn once more.

Z3N0

Quick Quote Post: 12

Today I found myself at a loss, trying to understand the motivations of other people in both my professional and personal sphere. I found myself wanting answers locked within minds that I would never be able to access. So of course, I look to my handbook and guide:

“Do not look around at the directing minds of other people, but keep looking straight ahead to where nature leading you – both universal nature, in what happens to you, and your own nature, in what you must do yourself. Every creature must do what follows from its own constitution. Every creature must do what follows from its own constitution. The rest of creation is constituted to serve rational beings (just as in everything else the lower exists for the higher), but rational beings are here to serve each other. So the main principle in man’s constitution is the social. The second is resistance to the promptings of the flesh. It is the specific property of rational beings and intelligent by the activity of the senses or impulses: both these are of the animal order, and it is the aim of intelligent activity to be sovereign over them and never yield them the mastery – and rightly so, as it is the very nature of intelligence to put all these things to its own use. The third element in a rational constitution is judgement unhurried and deceived. So let your directing mind hold fast to these principles and follow the straight road ahead: then it has what belongs to it.” – Meditations 7.55

Things are as they are and will be as they will be. Worrying about the nature of this and that is a fallacy and slows us down on the path. We can’t walk properly looking back or looking about. We look forward, fall forward and walk forward. This is The Way.

Z3N0