November 12, 2008

Being there

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that one of the wisest single sentences of philosophy I have ever found came from the ancient Stoic Epictetus. It simply said,

Some things are in our control and others not.

When sufficiently unpacked, I believe that little nugget has profound personal and political (in the broad sense) implications. Think how much stress and anxiety we suffer--with all the attendant health implications--by obsessing about things not in our control.

Jesus, who knew a thing or two about a thing or two, made the same point in the Sermon on the Mount:

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

One of the saddest consequences of doing this is that while we're absorbed in worrying about things we can't effect we're probably missing out on a whole bunch of things we really can. This is true at a social as well as individual level.

Being focused on something we don't immediately control, even if it's a laudable goal, takes us away from where we are here and now, where we might actually be able to seize opportunities and avoid threats.

As the saying goes, you must be present to win.

ENERGY will be one of the biggest challenges for the foreseeable future. Here's a look at the problems and the options.

CORNOGRAPHY. It's what's for dinner.

CLIMATE CHANGE. Here's an item from Time about what the public doesn't yet realize about it.

MINE SAFETY. Here's the latest on the Aracoma mine fire case.

OH THE WATER. Undersea life is richer and stranger than many scientists imagined. Here's hoping it lasts.



Anonymous said...

Cuz, I hate to post to your blog, as I'm no intellectual, and my comments usually run to bland phrases like "I liked your blog today." But I've especially liked the recent ones, and they do relate to me also. Maybe that's why I like them. Very good food for thought.
I also love people who decorate for Halloween. And maybe even go overboard. I go overboard myself, so that kind of thing must be in the genes, also.

El Cabrero said...

Thanks, Cuz! I think luck is fascinating too, since it (she) has us all in her grasp.

Speaking of Halloween, we went to this huge pumpkin house display a while back. There were literally thousands of cut up pumpkins looking like all kinds of things. Some even lit up with music. Way cool. You would have loved it!