March 15, 2017 – The Present Is All We Possess


“Were you to live three thousand years, or even a countless multiple of that, keep in mind that no one ever loses a life other than the one they are living, and no one ever lives a life other than the one they are losing. The longest and shortest life, then, amount to the same, for the present moment last the same for all and is all anyone can possess. No one can lose either the past or the future, for how can someone be deprived of what’s not theirs?” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.14

Fight Club. Great movie. Full of so many quotable lines. One that fits this meditation:

Tyler Durden: The things you own end up owning you.

There is an obvious perception of the “things” Durden speaks of. It’s the idea that material positions consume us. We come to rely on them. We have to maintain them. For their service, we become their slaves. But let’s look at this from a Stoic perspective. What does it mean to “own” something? What are the things we can possess?

Money allows us to buy things. Laws afford us ownership of those things, or at the very least offer us a degree of insurance that if taken from us we might have some retribution. Maybe we don’t get the thing back, but we do get justice as a form of trade. Through such a purchase we know this: before we bought it the thing was not ours (past), and there is no assurance it will be in our possession any second beyond the moment in which we possess it (future). At best ownership is a temporary experience, and the thing itself is an external that can be a distraction.

Getting lost in regrets, and being disappointed with a life not lived serves no purpose. What then do we do with the past and how should we approach the future? Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard may help us with this question. The past is a way of understanding who we are. It should be nothing more. The future is a destination within which future moments will be lived.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Marcus is reminding us that what has passed us by has been lost.  Let the future be unknown. We no longer possess those moments already lived. We cannot change the past. In turn, there is nothing in the future that is ours beyond speculation of who we will become. If the future life doesn’t come to be we have lost nothing. The moment is our life. It is our very self. We must be aware of how important the moment is. We must treasure it.

January 22, 2017 – The Day in Review


“I will keep constant watch over myself and-most usefully-will put each day up for review. For this is what makes us evil-that none of us looks back upon our own lives. we reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from the past.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 83.2

When I read forward to “The Day in Review” I knew I had to use it more as a “Three Days in Review”, focused on America’s peaceful transition of power from Obama to Trump. It stood out as the meditation of closure. From choice of where you’re going to reigniting thoughts, to morning ritual, and finally to review, these past meditations are ones I wish the whole country had read. How did we, as a country, treat each other?

Yesterday’s meditation disclosed a seed of today’s. Epictetus’ list can be your way to start the day or your way to end it. Today’s meditation takes it one step further by reminding us that our self is predicated on our ability to recall what we’ve done. Did I do something that improved me? Did I do something that needs improvement? If we’re not thinking about what we’ve done we cannot expect clarity of what contributed to our happiness, or sorrow.

In a nutshell, over the course of time, we are building a self. Consider building a self like building a house. A plan is created, and construction begins. Do they simply move forward, or do they continually refer back to the blueprints? Things can cause deviations from the plan, and if the blueprints are not consulted the house may never get built, or it will do so at grave risk. Our self is like building a house. We have a plan of who we want to be, but if we move through life without reflection we may find ourselves not progressing, or left with a person we don’t recognize.

What if we were all keeping a journal of the things we said to others throughout our day? Are we missing opportunities to be a better self? Soren Kierkegaard writes:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

As I review how I handled the election season I see times in which I angered friends and possibly ruined friendships. Hopefully not the latter. Is it not evil for me to not consider how I acted and work to not be that person in the future? If someone refers to a Liberal as a “libtard” or a Conservative as  “nazi”, is that really the best way to act as a person and a citizen?

Treat every day as an opportunity to be better. Start the day with that thought in mind. End every day with a review of your progress.

 

Jaguars Wind Sprints: You Earn It


I read a review of Blaine Gabbert prior to the opening game against the Minnesota Vikings. In a nut shell the writer claimed Gabbert would be a bust, thereby closing the casket on the body of hope. My contention was that the writer was basing his evaluation solely on last season and on his direct experience of following the Missouri quarterback through college.

The scope of his analysis is not relevant. He took the position, made it public and thereby was open to criticism from those who might read it. After week one my Twitter feed was silent. However, last night I get a tweet stating “Hey, how was Gabbert today? I know, I know…. We don’t know what we’re talking about… Ha.”

Convenient.

This is a perfect example of what grinds my gears. It is a key element of what strips credibility from any writer or blogger. Do not hide behind internet anonymity when the evidence is against you and then prairie dog someone’s timeline/inbox/message board when the performance favors you. Be man enough to earn your accolades and your rebukes.

So here we sit, just 24 hours past a beating so bad all meat and poultry in my refrigerator was tenderized and my eggs were scrambled. Many of us, myself included, bemoaned the preseason power rankings which placed our beloved Jaguars at or near the number 32. Look, we can make the argument the team is injured but rankings do not care what your reason is for why you are. Take a long hard look at where the teams stand at this point in the season and be honest with yourself. What have the Jaguars earned and be man enough to accept it. The rankings are not personal.

But I have to ask, why are you still looking at power rankings!? To each his own. Let’s sprint!

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