Today was kind of a weird day because I got a lot done, but not by my usual metrics.
Tomorrow I really need to get into shape on working on those, because they do tend to reflect how I’m making money currently.
We are never so happy or so unhappy as we suppose. (Maxim 49)François de La Rochefoucauld
There’s a long way down, and there’s a long way up.
I like the notion that there’s a metaphysical heaven and hell that reside below the depths and above the peaks of what the world can hold. Because there is the sacred, we cannot know true hell, and because there is the profane we cannot know true heaven.
The one way to alter this would be if one or the other were to vanish from the world, and neither seems like a likely outcome.
At the same time, we are limited by our history and our context in how we perceive the world around us.
I think that this comes up a lot in modern politics; we see the world around us and think that it’s really awful, but the whole situation is really not all that worse than what people have been used to a long time. In fact, we live in a blessed golden age compared to not just some but probably any of our predecessors.
There are examples I could give here that would be more politically charged than they need to be to make my point, so I’ll focus on the idea of nuclear war bringing an end to humanity.
First, the estimates are apocalyptic in their scope, but overlook the fact that a lot of the dangerous of a nuclear war are centralized in particular zones. We’d possibly see a return to a dark age, but probably not the end of the species.
This is not good, but when you look at it in context it’s immediately obvious that there are far worse things that have happened throughout history. Think of the plagues and wars that spanned continents, famines that took out massive portions of the population.
Humanity has always faced existential threats, and always will. They take on new forms because we’ve been fortunate enough to transcend the old ones, and our means of doing so have been imperfect and driven by base motivations.
We also overestimate our prosperity.
I don’t want to diminish our accomplishments, since they’re almost always a reflection of what happens when virtues are practiced consistently and sacrifices are made to improve our condition over a long period of time, but at the same time it is important to realize that our current state of being is one of a potential multitudes.
If we were serious with ourselves and pursued virtue with the same dogmatic obsession that we tend to pursue the things that we want, we would see outcomes we can only dream of.
Don’t obsess over the pain of the day. It is a reminder of imperfection, of virtue unfulfilled. Nothing more.
Don’t presume that there is something fundamentally different between now and the collected past.