Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Care for the soul


My friend, have you noticed how much care we take when walking? Rightly so! After all, a foot, though small, carries us through the world. So, we avoid stepping on nails, and we walk around mud puddles. We protect this valuable possession. Yet, when it comes to the soul (or character), are we not just as vulnerable to missteps?

Is it not true, my friend, that as we walk through life, we risk stepping into superstitions, or tripping on fears that lie hidden in our path? Biases can cling to us like mud. Xenophobia, prejudice, and greed lurk around every corner, ready to damage our character, turning us into the very monsters we despise.

Insofar as it makes sense to watch our steps to avoid damaging our feet, should we not also tread carefully with our souls? Let us examine the paths we walk in life, the beliefs we hold, and the words we speak. For the unexamined life is not worth living. But the examined life can improve the worthiness of our character, and this can lead to a more just world.

- S

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Your Call to Adventure

Living is rough, like traveling across the sea. One minute all is calm, but then the storm sets in, and we get thrown about as the waves force us dangerously close to the jagged rocks of the shoreline.

How can we cope with the ups and downs of life? Should we hide? Should we avoid challenges? Some of the best stories involve heroes who accept the call to adventure. They don't hide. They assess the risks and take on the challenges of life. We can do this too. If we keep a steady mind, develop a strong sense of self, and build inner peace, we can become the adventurers in our own story.

Accept the call to adventure. Be your own hero.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Live as if your life is a gift

Imagine that you died this morning. All has come to an end. No more music; no more friendship or love; no more thought. It is gone. 

But, now imagine that by some miracle you are granted bonus time. You have your life back. How will you live it now? By arguing with strangers online? By spending countless hours at a job you don’t like? By obsessing over the accumulation of wealth? 

Perhaps a second chance would shift your focus to other priorities. Think about what they might be and live your life well.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Happiness - Short dialogue

OSCAR: Socrates, Socrates, slow down. Give me a chance to catch up. Where are you going in such a hurry?


SOCRATES: It is good to see you, my friend. I am on my way to listen to a political rhetorician. There is an election coming up, and I am eager to hear what the politicians have to say.


OSCAR: May I join you? I would like to talk.


SOCRATES: My fine fellow. You know I will never turn down an opportunity to dialogue. What’s on your mind?


OSCAR: I have been thinking about our recent conversations concerning happiness and wealth. You said that “money can’t buy happiness”, but I think that is not true. I think money can buy happiness.


SOCRATES: That is an interesting thought, Oscar. I would very much like to learn more. Can you provide an example to support your claim?


OSCAR: Certainly I can. I have bought a new TV, a phone, a laptop, a painting, a Lego model, and a great many other things that have made me happy.


SOCRATES: Would you mind showing me one of your products, so that I may see the happiness for myself?


OSCAR: Well, it so happens that I have one here in my backpack. I am taking it to show a friend.


[They stop walking and Oscar carefully pulls a Lego model from his bag]


OSCAR: Here you go, Socrates. Take a look at this model.


[Socrates examines the model]


SOCRATES: Can you confirm that this is an example of money buying happiness?


OSCAR: Yes, indeed it is.


SOCRATES: I must be blind in my old age. Can you please show me? Can you point to the happiness?


OSCAR: What do you mean?


SOCRATES: You claim that this is an example of happiness which you have bought with money. Well, where is it? All I see is a collection of plastic bricks. Can you point to the ‘happiness’ that you’ve purchased?


OSCAR: Are you acting deliberately foolish, Socrates? I can’t point to it. It’s a feeling. An experience. I felt a sense of happiness while working with the bricks.


SOCRATES: Is this feeling guaranteed when someone buys bricks?


OSCAR: No, of course not.


SOCRATES: Ah, I understand. So, would you agree that happiness is not a thing contained in the bricks. It comes from the person using the bricks—in this case, you?


OSCAR: It is as you say, Socrates.


SOCRATES: It seems, then, that money can buy pieces of plastic but not happiness itself. Something more is required to achieve happiness. Perhaps you could experience the same level of happiness by stacking pebbles or building sandcastles. Happiness is not a property of any of these things. Rather, it is a thing you create for yourself.


OSCAR: I must agree with your assessment Socrates. Perhaps you are right, after all. Money alone is no guarantee of happiness.