Tuesday, March 22, 2022

C'mon man.

 Like you’ve never cut in line, on purpose or on accident.

Like you’ve never done something selfish or spoken with an attitude.
Like you’ve never been jealous or petty or mean.

Of course you have. You’ve done all these things. We all have.

Yet when other people do them, it’s somehow different. It’s a transgression. A violation. That’s why we stew. We plot. We shower them with insults. Because when they do it, it’s intentional, it’s a sign of bad character, it must be stopped.


Remember when we butt up against someone else’s awfulness, to always remember when we ourselves have behaved like that. Marcus writes patiently about considering the motivations of the person responsible, of trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, of considering the crazy possibility that they aren’t irredeemable assholes. Who knows, they may even think they’re doing the right thing!

So whatever it is that’s pissing you off today, let it go. We are all plenty guilty of our own sins and stupidity. Which is why we need to forgive and forget other people’s. We need to give them the same clemency and patience we grant to ourselves (which is to say, basically, an unlimited amount). This is the essence of the Golden Rule. It’s easy to treat others the way you would like to be treated when everything is looking up. It’s when the chips are down that the Golden Rule is hardest to employ, which of course is when it is most important of all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Live to the fullest

 By thinking, by imagining that we’ve just been given a few months to live, we can see immediately what we should stop doing. We realize we don’t have time to waste. And before you know it there is this urgent emergent need to do the things we love in place of the things we hate.

This is the positive side of the memento mori thought exercise: not “What would I stop doing?” but rather “What would I start doing?” How would I spend the limited time I had left? Where would I find meaning and purpose and joy?

The truth is that none of us know whether we will get to it later (of course, the tricky part is that we don’t know that we won’t either). So we must use this as a test. If you knew you were dying, what would you do more of? What would mortality prioritize for you?

Do more of it today. Because you are mortal. You are dying...fast or slow, nobody knows which.