Monday, December 05, 2016

The First Snowfall

Dr. BB and I often have entire conversations with no words. Just last week he walked into my office, pointed to the police blotter in the student newspaper, and I widened my eyes as much as I could after I read it, right before he nodded at me and walked back out. We, along with the entire campus population, now know something about someone that we didn't know before and probably would be better off still not knowing.  We also knew exactly what the other was thinking about this information we probably didn't really want to know without a syllable.
Sometimes we also just have shorthand.  Why say "do you want to watch another episode of Longmire before bed tonight?" when you can just point at the remote and say "Walt?"?
Our newest shorthand is "of things."

"Of things some are in our power, and other are not. In our power are opinion, movement toward a thing, desire, aversion (turning from a thing); and in a word, whatever are our own acts: not in our power are the body, property, reputation, offices (magisterial power), and in a word, whatever are not our own acts." - The Enchiridion, or Manual, of Epictetus

When compulsively checking the headlines, I whisper to myself "of things." When driving behind someone doing exactly two miles per hour below the speed limit I remember "of things." When the endless email requests for extra credit back up and back up and back up, I try to breathe in "of" and breathe out "things." 

I actually thing the Stoics didn't understand human psychology very well and I have a lot of problems with it as a philosophy, but I do appreciate this reminder every now and then. I can only really control what I do and what I think and what I do because of what I think.  The rest is for some other poor lowly human to figure out. 

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