Crazy hair

If I’m lucky enough to live to be old and crotchety (well… lets go with more crotchety) I would like to have crazy hair. My go-to look would be that of Arthur Schopenhauer…

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…complete with mutton chops and a look that suggests he might ‘cut you’ if you mess with him.

I love Schopenhauer. He was convinced that humanity was some sort of ‘mistake’. A notion I could likely get behind. He raged about people who arrive late in theaters and complained bitterly to management that people who coughed during performances should be censured (if not banned). He also loved his dogs. In these things we are simpatico.

In 1813 Arthur Schopenhauer was introduced to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe by his mother. Von Goethe is fascinated by the young Schopenhauer and composes a couplet for him:

Willst du duch des Lebens freuen
So musst der Welt du Werth verleihen

If you wish to find pleasure in life
You should attach value to the world

Schopenhauer is unimpressed by Goethe’s verse and writes in the margin a quote from Nicolas Chamfort that can be translated as

‘Better to accept men for what they are, that to take them for something that they are not’.  

Misanthropy level, expert.

How to address a conqueror

I’m a big fan of Steven Pressfield. The War of Art is one of the best ‘business’ books I’ve ever read. (I’m not sure the word ‘business’ is an entirely fair niche to get pigeonholed into… but a book about being a professional and getting your shit-together feels a little wordy). In any event he’s written loads of great books I’ve liked.

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In The Virtues of War, a fictional historical account of Alexander the Great’s life, Alexander comes to a ford in a river only to be blocked by the philosopher Diogenes. One of Alexander’s men shouts at Diogenes, ‘Get out of the way, this man has conquered the world’. ‘What have you done?’. Diogenes calmly responds, ‘I have conquered the need to conquer the world’.

I love this line.

And even if it is a work of fiction. I can imagine the barrel dwelling Cynic saying something along these lines. It has a similar feel to the famous ‘You’re blocking my sun’ remark historically attributed to Diogenes when addressing Alexander for the first time.

High noon equivalency

I tend to favor Western Philosophy. Likely for the reason that I’ve just been exposed to more of it. That’s not to say I don’t ‘culturally appropriate’ concepts from Taoism or Buddhism, or any other -ism that I like and find compatible with my Joey-OS… its just that when it comes down to fundamentals it tends to be predominantly Greek in origin (and then further paired down to Stoicism, because I like the label)

The internet these days feels a lot like the domain of madmen and gunslingers where civil discourse seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Venture a political opinion or engage in satire anywhere and you’ll soon find yourself being called out onto Main street to settle things with six shooters.

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‘All I said was *insert name here* makes some good points’. ‘Shut up you #$%@&* Nazi/Libtard/whatever other slur seems ‘appropriate’’.

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The Tao of Playstation

I was playing PlayStation. Until my controller ran out of juice. Which depending on your school of thought may have been a fortuitous occurrence because now I’m forced to do something else (possibly something productive even). I’ve recently been feeling guilty (not guilty enough to actually do anything about it, maybe more of a mild malaise in more accurate) about my more mindless hobbies, PlayStation in particular.

There always seems to be an opportunity cost to playing games. (something ‘productive’ people are very quick to point out) Whether that is reading, or working or even exercising. PlayStation is probably broadly considered the least efficient use of the time available to us. Has killing an end of level boss ever improved your life? Not really. Possibly a small hit of dopamine. But it’s fleeting. On my deathbed it seems unlikely I will look back fondly on all the hours I sunk into… Damn… I was going to say The Witcher… but that is an experience hovering just below my wedding day in terms of general awesomeness. #$%& it. I have no regrets!!!

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I received some positive reinforcement in the book store earlier. I was dilly dallying in Philosophy, wedged unceremoniously around a bend between Judica and Science where I was trying to find a book on Proust (which I couldn’t find, because the philosophy section is a sad, sad* place) but I did see this…

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Siderophobia

For a six year old I find Calvin quite philosophic…

But I think dust speck is being quite generous…

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You know… in the grand scheme or schism of things.

Siderophobia (from the Latin sīdus meaning “star constellation”) is the fear of stars. Individuals avoid venturing outside at night, tending to stay indoors with all the curtains drawn. People suffering from siderophobia upon seeing stars may faint, feel nauseous, sweat, tremble and suffer panic attacks.

As phobias go, I think I am most empathetic towards Siderophobia. I mean looking up into the night sky and seeing tiny, pin pricks of light (some of which don’t even exist anymore) as a visual representation of an infinite expanse laid out before you… how can you not feel like everything you think you understand about existence and your (supposed) role in all of it makes any sense?

Of course there are those of us that look up at the night sky and feel wonder and amazement… and while clearly not phobic, should you not reasonably be considered any less unwell?

I likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes. While ruminating space makes me feel a little tingly and light headed… I still want to poke it with a stick.

Probably because I’m a boy.

Girls, girls, girls, girls are so polite
They don’t crush everything that they see
You can take ’em to a funky funky forest with big glass spiderwebs
Hangin’ from the ceilin’
They wouldn’t feel the uncontrollable urge
To tip and push and kick and rip and tear and smash and squish and…
Poke and destroy
-Presidents of the USA

‘Despite all my rage…’

‘…I am still just a rat in a cage’ – Smashing Pumpkins, Bullet with Butterfly wings. 

It is still, after all these years, one of my favorite songs. Even if I don’t lace up my sixteen hole doc Martens and step into the mosh-pit anymore… Mostly because that’ll mean a week of ibuprofen and misery afterwards… also lets be completely honest, at the venerable age of thirty nine, anything that may result in hard living happens WAY after my bed time (these days).

Speaking of hard living, enter stage left, Louis CK, comic, ginger and chronic, serial masturbator.

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… I’ve wasted a lot of time just being angry at people I don’t know. You know its amazing how nasty we can get as people, depending on the situation. Like most people are okay… as long as they’re okay. But if you put people in certain contexts they just change. Like when I’m in my car I have a different set of values. I am the worst person I can be when I’m behind the wheel, which is when I’m at my most dangerous. When you’re driving that’s when you need to be the most compassionate and responsible of any other time of your life, because you are fucking driving a weapon among WEAPONS. And yet its the worst people get… and I am the worst. 

Continue reading “‘Despite all my rage…’”