‘It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows’ – Epictetus
One of the (many) disappointing things about getting older is realizing all the things that you used to believe are no longer true. For example, I am starting to doubt the authenticity (and generally held convention) that a mega-fauna Cottontail perennially dispenses chocolate eggs (I’ve probably said too much already).
The older I get the less I know, which makes me yearn for my youth where I knew everything. I also wish I could still hang upside down on the monkey bars without something snapping in my back…
I have recently decided that in lieu of killing-stuff on PlayStation I will now instead try and further myself first by reading books that make me feel stupid. Then, once I’ve realized the futility of my actions I can proceed to aggressively murder pretend people and sate my feelings of inadequacy.
Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite poem was the Nibelungenlied (the story of Siegfried the Dragon-slayer) which he read in the original German. Jan Smuts loved Prometheus Unbound by Shelly and read Greek Tragedies in their original format. Joey likes… books with pictures in them. (preferably with little speech bubbles and lots of onomatopoeia)
Behold my Kryptonite *hits head on the edge of his desk* If ever there was something that can tear any remnants of ego from the dark recesses of my brain this is it. This book is making me feel more stupid than I ever thought possible.
I read it line by line and think, oh that’s a nice line or cool word combination. But by the end of the page (which takes me about five minutes) I can’t remember what happened at the top of the page. Let alone the previous page. I mean I have a general sense… that God was hanging out with his Arch Angles and Mephistopheles comes to visit and that God says ‘Want to bet you can’t tempt Faust?’ And Mephistopheles says ‘Hold my beer’. But the nuances are generally lost on me.
This book is kicking my butt. I can confidently attest to Epictetus that he shouldn’t worry, I don’t really know anything about anything.
I get the sense that I could read this entire book, spend all this time and only ever understand it from a Wikipedia summary point of view. I would never be able to have an intellectual conversation about it. I find that quite disheartening as it starkly illustrates my limitations.
To be fair I am at least trying. And that’s something. Even if it does feel like an exercise in futility. I just wish I was a bit smarter.
And maybe better looking.
With a slightly smaller (less intimidating) penis.