Distractions, Aimlessness and Burnout.

Oh my…


Do external things pull you away? Then make time for yourself to keep learning something good, and stop being dragged every which way. But be careful of the other error, for they are also triflers who by actions have worn themselves out in life without any aim where they can direct their every impulse, and every thought.

Here we encounter the difference between translation and interpretation. 99% of the time we aim to be true to the literal ancient Greek text. If Marcus says “elephant,” we say “elephant.”

Sometimes we have a hunch as to what we think…

Cut yourself some slack…

It is one thing to be hard on yourself, it is another let the opinion of others define you. Neither does any good.

Diogenes — Jean-Léon Gérôme 1860

Harm yourself, harm yourself, oh my soul… But the time for honoring yourself will have passed; for a man only has one life, and this for you is almost over, and yet you do not hold yourself in reverence, instead you put your well-being in the souls of others.

In translating this passage, there’s the words, and then there’s the intention behind the words. …

As if it were your last...

Do what you need to do, and do it as if it were the last thing you’ll ever do.

Oil painting by an Italian painter, 1843

Every moment think steadily as a Roman and a person to do what you have at hand with perfect, simple dignity, love, independence, and justice; Give yourself relief from all other thoughts. You will give yourself relief if you do every act of your life as if it were the last, renouncing all carelessness and fervent resistance to the convictions of reason, all hypocrisy, self love, and discontent with your allotted share. You see how few things there are that a…


We’ve all been there…

English: “Skeleton painter in his atelier” (1896), oil on panel by James Ensor (37.5 x 45.5 cm); collection Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp Nederlands: “Het schilderend sketlet” (1896), olie op hout door James Ensor (37,5 x 45,5 cm); collectie Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen
English: “Skeleton painter in his atelier” (1896), oil on panel by James Ensor (37.5 x 45.5 cm); collection Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp Nederlands: “Het schilderend sketlet” (1896), olie op hout door James Ensor (37,5 x 45,5 cm); collectie Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen
Het schilderend sketlet — James Ensor

Think of how often you’ve put this off, how often you were blessed with a new day and didn’t put it to good use. Yet now, if only for the first time, you should appreciate the universe you are a part of and the mystery of how you’ve come into existence. You have limited time here, and if you don’t take the time to illuminate your soul, soon you will run out of chances to do so.

Sometimes nature/timing/coincidence hits the nail on the head. Between work, family, life and the wild circumstances of our modern…

We have stayed on track with our weekly translations, we just haven’t posted progress. This’ll resume tomorrow.

A Disaster at Sea — Joseph Mallord William Turner

On Balance.

Sunrise, Sunset… Everything has a cycle and a balance. And again, throw away your books.

‘The Powerful Arm of Providence’ — James Gillray

Peace and Gratitude.

Everything in this universe is ruled by providence, and this applies to the way things are today and everything is interwoven with luck. Everything comes from this cycle. And in this, all needs are met. There is a balance to how the universe preserves itself. The elements and the things that are affected by them contribute to this preservation. Let this concept be enough for you, and remember this as guidance. …

Marcus asks “what am I?” and concludes he is nothing more than meat and the ability to reason. He then resolves to not distract himself, stress out, complain or be impulsive anymore.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

“Notes to Self,” Book Two, Paragraph Two

All that I am is flesh, breath and the ability to reason. Get rid of your books. You can’t distract yourself with those anymore. Being in the process of dying, disregard this body: all it is is blood and guts and bones, nerves, veins and arteries. Consider breath: what is it? Air, different with each exhale and inhale. And third there is the ability to reason. …

Marcus gets himself psyched up to deal with “that guy” at the office.

Der lästige Kavalier — Berthold Woltze

The “Notes to Self” of Marcus Aurelius: Book Two, Paragraph 1

Each day, remind myself that I’ll encounter nosy, selfish, unappreciative, pushy, ill-intending, envious, rude individuals. They are like this because they don’t know any better. I know that goodness is beautiful and bad is ugly, and that wrong-doers are part of humanity, just like me, not literally related, but children of the same universe… And that I can’t be harmed by them or be forced by them to do harm; nor can I be angry with them or hate them. We’re here to work together: just as…

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to contribute two segments on Steve Karafit’s “The Sunday Stoic” podcast. This is my second installment.

Below is a loose transcript of my contribution: “Good Men.” Slight edits have been made for readability.

Two axes embedded in a plywood target.
Two axes embedded in a plywood target.
J. Basques

In the Bhagavad Gita, a prince named Arjuna is confiding in his charioteer prior to a battle against his own family. He is expressing his desperation over the moral dilemma of being a warrior. His calm charioteer guides him to consider that this is the place divine providence has found him and exposes him to the concept of dharma.

J. Basques

Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds. ~ George Santayana

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