East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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First day of the new year

Last night I celebrated the end of 2020 by cutting my left thumb while I was chopping an onion – nothing major, thank goodness, but it led me to spend the last hours of the year reflecting on two important issues

  • first, it is important to always have a well stocked first aid kit at home, especially if the closest emergency ward is 25 KMs away
  • second, we often underestimate the usefulness of our off-hand’s thumb

Apart from this, one hour before the end (or the beginning), I also got a five-star review for my first Garr the Cunning novella, and a royalty payment notification for The House of the Gods, my dinosaur novel.
It was a good way to end 2020 and start 2021.
Well, apart from the plaster-wrapped thumb, that is.

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A Gentle Philosophy

A Gentle Philosophy (or A Kind Philosophy, or A Soft Philosophy, depending on the translation) is the title of a song I like a lot (maybe I’ll put the video below), and is something I thought about after my last post in which I mentioned the philosopher talking of “an alleged emergency” and basically treating the current state of affairs of our species as just another thought experiment.

Through a series of different connections, thinking about philosophy, I came to the usual – my own philosophical gurus, and their teachings. Because we are creatures of science and philosophy, and there’s always something to learn from the classics.

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Making changes (still writing -related)

After the bout of bad health I suffered through early this year, I decided to make a few changes. After all, my life has changed: I was a researcher working in a lab, a teacher moving between universities, now I am a writer spending most of his time sitting in the dark in a room full of books, typing.
So, different life, different problems, time to make some changes.

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Ending and beginning it with a (stoic) bang

After I mentioned Stoicism a few posts back, I downloaded an interesting little handbook from the Modern Stoicism website – the handbook of the Stoic Week 2018, that was held in October. And because I am a curious person, and I’m interested in strange things, I decided I’ll take the week routine, in the next seven days, and see what happens to me. We start tomorrow.

As I said in the past, Stoicism is a philosophy that grows in popularity in times of confusion, and, well, as far as confusion is concerned, we’re living through very interesting times.

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The Tao of Seneca

This post started as something completely different. It started with me trying to put together a list of gift suggestions you guys might like. This led to my decision to send a book as a gift to a friend (let’s hope she likes it), and then through circuitous ways to a book I think I mentioned before, and finally to the author of The 4-Hours Workweek, and finally to Seneca.

Isn’t this world wide web thing a blast?

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Teach Yourself to Live

This post was somewhat instigated by my friend Jim Cornelius, that runs the Frontier Partisans blog. On his Facebook page Jim shared the news about an American gentleman, a Ryan Holiday, that’s bringing about a renewed interest for Stoicism, of all things.
The guy is making big bucks in the self-help department, and is also running conventions, Stoicon, believe it or not, but it looks like he’s selling for big bucks a bastardized version of the original Stoicism.
And in case you missed it, Stoicism is described as…

an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge, and that the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.


Nice and smooth.
Now, on to my post… Continue reading