Trust In Fate, Rely On Your Abilities, And Keep Moving

There are times in life when we need to have blind faith in forward momentum.  We need cease the deliberations, the doubts, the equivocations, and the rationalizations.  We should, instead, resolve to maintain a steady forward pace, trusting to our own abilities and the favorable intercession of Fortune.  We may not have contingency plans for every eventuality, but we must press on with blind faith nonetheless.  Momentum creates its own dynamic, and its own outcomes.  It was precisely this principle that the great Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés brought to bear in the early stages of the conquest of Mexico in 1519.

Continue reading

The Man Of Action Should Not Expect Gratitude From Others

We have recently discussed ways of handling a lack of appreciation.  A certain independence of spirit–a soaring greatness of soul–is one of the main ways we can limit our expectations of appreciation from others.  Consider again, if you need to, the verses of Ibn Munir on this subject, which capture perfectly this spiritual independence.  As I see it, no more powerful statement of this ethic has ever been put into poetic form.

Continue reading

How To Deal With Feeling Underappreciated (Podcast)

A reader who is doing volunteer work says he’s feeling underappreciated and taken advantage of in his work. He wants to know to maintain his focus and positivity, and at the same protect himself from being used. We discuss some strategies and insights.

Continue reading

At What Point Can A Man Be Called Happy?

The historian Herodotus (I.30) relates an anecdote involving a conversation between the Lydian king Croesus and the Athenian statesman Solon.  Solon once found himself as a guest at Croesus’s court.  The king knew that Solon was renowned for his wise judgment and careful consideration of life’s important questions.  So he could not resist asking the Athenian a question that was troubling him.  The question he asked him was this:  “Who, Solon, was the happiest man you have ever seen?”  It was expected for royal visitors to tell the king what he wanted to hear, of course.  Croesus was expecting some words of flattery from Solon to reassure himself that he was living a meaningful life.

Continue reading

John Ireland: Captured By Cannibals In The South Seas

We have here related incredible tales of suffering, adventure, and endurance.  The little-known account of the adventures of John Ireland ranks high on the list of harrowing stories of nineteenth century explorations.  The world was a larger place then, vastly less explored than now, and some places in the remoter regions of the globe were as isolated as they had been for thousands of years.  Just how isolated and remote, the reader here will soon discover.

Continue reading

Dealing With Treachery And Treason

Betrayal, treachery, and treason are among the most hated of crimes.  From antiquity until our own time, commanders have devised numerous ways to prevent or limit them.  Some examples are presented here.  The reader will discover that all of them involve either incentives or punishments; sometimes a mixture of the two is employed.  The Roman commander Frontinus, in his Stratagems (III.16), provides us with several examples.

Continue reading

Why You Should See “Blade Runner 2049” (Podcast)

In this podcast we talk about Denis Villenueve’s new film, the visually dazzling Blade Runner 2049.  In conception and execution, this film accomplishes the rare feat of being a sequel that is entirely worthy of its predecessor.  We’ll give a few reasons why this movie is worth a careful viewing, and why I think it is a triumph of cinematic art.

Continue reading