Why Worrying Is Pointless

For a good part of my life I used to worry excessively about things.  When I was in college I worried about keeping up my grade point average and being able to complete Marine Corps Officer Candidate School; when I was on active duty I worried about doing my job well; when I started my law practice many years ago I worried about all the various thing related to establishing oneself in one’s profession.  And there are other examples of worrying that I need not rattle off here.  All of this worry, all of this stress, was largely self-inflicted.

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“Italy Is Excellent In All Things”

The Roman engineer and architect Vitruvius believed that one of Italy’s special gifts was its geographical location.  The nation was so situated, he believed, to combine the positive aspects of both cool and warm climates.  In his treatise De Architectura (VI.11), he notes that

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We Should Seize The Present Hour For Action

At the beginning of this month I bought the special director’s cut of the Michael Mann film Collateral.  I don’t usually buy movies, having learned from past experience that it makes more sense to rent them.  But every rule should have exceptions; and it is a good thing to collect those movies that transport you to a specific place or mood.  And when you recall the mood, you revisit certain pleasurable sensations.  There is just something about the way Collateral is shot, the way it glimmers, that gives it a cool but intense patina.

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We Can’t Expect Too Much From People (Podcast)

One big frustration we can experience in life is having unrealistic expectations of other people.  That is, we can want people to behave in ways that are just not within their desires or capabilities.  What is the best way to deal with this?  We use the example of the humanist Petrarch’s strained relationship with his son.

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Limits Must Be Imposed On Our Desires

Among the many problems that we are faced with today is the lack of restraint, the lack of moderation, that is actively supported and encouraged by our culture.  If you have something, you are told that you deserve more.  If you want something, you are told that you deserve to have it.  If something stands in the way of your getting something you think you deserve, you are told how to obtain that thing you desire.  Few people pause to think that what they crave may carry a heavy burden in the long run.

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Why We Study Great Exemplars Of History

You may ask yourself why we study the lives and experiences of great exemplars.  When I say “exemplar” I mean a person of substance and distinction, a person of notoriety in some field of endeavor.  There are many reasons for this; I will attempt to give a few of them here.

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The Hedonistic Philosophy Of Yang Zhu

It is an unhappy fate for a philosopher to be known to posterity only through his enemies.  Quotes may be taken out of context, writings may be warped or obfuscated, and conclusions may be cherry-picked to present a picture far out of accord from the writer’s original intention.  We do not know if this is precisely the fate of the Chinese philosopher Yang Zhu (440-360 B.C.), but one suspects that if more of his writings had come down to us, we might have a more favorable view of his doctrines.  But we have what we have, and this does not exactly inspire man’s noblest sentiments.  Or does it?  Each reader will have to judge for himself.  It would be wrong to ignore him, even if we disagree with his doctrines.

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Six Ethical Principles To Rejuvenate Societal Health

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I read recently that a very rare animal was observed in the wild in the state of Iowa for the first time in over one hundred fifty years.  It is called a fisher; I had never heard of it before, but the biologists tell us that it is a predatory mammal related distantly to the mink and the otter.  The story reminded me of a similar one I had heard about some years ago, when a bird believed to have been long extinct was spotted in Arkansas.

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The Shortness Of Life, And The Second Death

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There is a passage in Cicero’s treatise Tusculan Disputations I was thinking about today while driving home from work.  The passage begins as a parable, then closes with a glorious invocation to action.  Cicero makes an analogy from nature observed near the River Hypanis, then draws some conclusions from that analogy.  He says:

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