A Pattern in the Cosmos.

A Pattern in the Cosmos.

A Pattern in the Cosmos.

I often like to look at the night sky, to see the heavens ablaze with the light of distant suns. It provokes a feeling of awe and makes me think of the bigger questions in life, drawing me into the mystery of existence as I stare out into eternity. The universe and I and you are all undoubtedly one thing. How that thing got started is an enigma, it’s the primordial mystery. If we zoom out to the very largest of cosmic scales we can see that the universe has a structure and is made up of increasingly smaller things

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Marcus Aurelius on time, entropy, history and the love of life…

Marcus Aurelius on time, entropy, history and the love of life…

I absolutely love Marcus Aurelius, I’ve never met him of course (I’m much too young for that), but I’ve read his works and in a sense, the spirit of the man lives on. His spirit is noble, simple, lonely and kind. Marcus is my favourite stoic, I admire him because he put his duty to the people and senate of Rome before all other things. His devotion to his office is why we remember him as one of the Four Great Emperors of Rome. What’s also evident in his notes to himself (the Meditations), is that Marcus was full of

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The Internet and Free Speech

The Internet and Free Speech

We live in a polarized age, mainly thanks to the internet. It’s a double-edged sword and like all gifts of the gods, it can cut both ways. It can bring good things and also bad things, just like the original and first gift of the gods, namely fire. Fire can warm you, and be used to cook your food, burn your enemies and be nice to look at, but it can burn your crops too, destroy your household and consume all in its path, badly handled fire is a terrible thing, and so it is with the internet which is

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What is Philosophy For? (According to the Stoics)

What is Philosophy For? (According to the Stoics)

It’s amazing, that one of the things that I treasure about getting older (for me at least,) is that I have an increased sense of gratitude for the life that I have. I really value the experience of living. Every moment is precious. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” Marcus Aurelius. It’s not that the clock is running down, although it certainly is for me, compared to someone born yesterday or even twenty or thirty years ago. It’s simply that I am grateful

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10 Ways to deal with your enemies like a Roman Emperor

10 Ways to deal with your enemies like a Roman Emperor

I’ve always been the type of guy who thought that he didn’t have enemies in life. I was the nice guy, I did nice things, I was kind to everyone, cheerful, polite, a bit of a loner, self-reliant, solitary, with a few good friends and determined to do good. Why would anyone be an enemy to me? The argument from determinism. I’ve turned the other cheek, tried to see the best in people and whilst I haven’t always agreed or supported their actions, I’ve taken the view that if I had lived completely in their shoes and experienced what they

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Socrates the Athenian whom I admire…

Socrates the Athenian whom I admire…

I’ve recently finished reading and re-reading the Apology of Socrates, which is a highly recommended read and full of sage advice and insights into how one should live a good life and in particular how one should face our impending doom. The dignity of the man’s defence of his life and the equanimity with which he faced his doom is a powerful lesson to us all. Plato’s description of Socrates clearly revealed him to be the wisest man in Athens whose greatness has never been realised since. Socrates refused to be consumed by fear, brushed aside the superstitious beliefs of

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God for Beginners.

God for Beginners.

A sharp line has been drawn right the way down the middle of reality where mind meets matter, where the objective external world of ‘things,’ and ‘events,’ meets the inner subjective world of thoughts, feelings, sensations and awareness. The world of self-awareness (mind) does not hold the whip hand over matter. The objective world of atoms, molecules, particles and waves is in no way superior to mind, both are needed for an experience of reality to take place. ‘Mind,’ is the opposite of matter and is in many ways the sense organ of God as is empty space. Matter cannot

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Epictetus on insulting behavior and character assassination…

Epictetus on insulting behavior and character assassination…

When I was a kid, going to school and growing up in the 1970’s the adults around us used to encourage us to be unbothered or indifferent to the name calling of others. My mother had a mantra which went like this. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me…” If any other children in the playground tried to belittle me with an insult I was advised to simply repeat the above to them. Without knowing how exactly, my mother was and today remains a natural stoic. Stoicism requires honesty to oneself and a willingness

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The Tyranny of Positive Thinking

The Tyranny of Positive Thinking

I’ve got an app on my desktop that helpfully shows me little philosophical proverbs and quotes, every day. It’s been very good in the recent past but has crossed the line lately by outputting one-liners like this… “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right,” Author – Unknown. As respectable stoic I disapprove of and would ask everyone to ignore ‘happy-clappy, you can do it,’ nonsense such as this because we have no need of philosophical pornography. Whilst well intentioned and undoubtedly sincere, trippy one-liners that are exuberantly positive contribute endlessly

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Little Blue Men

Little Blue Men

Derek started the truck, it’s electric engines powered up with a gentle whine, as the headlamps came on, illuminating the courtyard fence. He hated starting early, it was something about the eerily large eyes of the Little Blue Men, glistening in the dark, black as tar, but reflective nonetheless, almost too large for their child-sized skulls… The Boss was ‘the Boss,’ for a reason, whatever the old man said, had to be done. It was Derek’s turn to get out of bed and do the early shift, he daren’t give the fat, old, bastard any excuse to replace him with

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