Updates from April, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Doug Belshaw 4:43 pm on April 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Vigdis Hjorth,   

    Sybille Bedford writes somewhere that when you’re young you don’t feel that you’re a part of the whole, of the fundamental premise for humanity, that when you’re young you try out lots of things because life is just a rehearsal, an exercise to be put right when the curtain finally goes up. And then, one day you realise that they curtain was up all along. That it was the actual performance.

    Vigdis Hjorth, ‘Will and Treatment: a novel’

  • Doug Belshaw 12:30 pm on April 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    This is a privilege I take advantage of, and every day I plead my case before myself as a judge. When the lamp has been removed from my sight, and my wife, no stranger now to my habit, has fallen silent, I examine the whole of my day and retrace my actions and words; I hide nothing from myself, pass over nothing. For why should I be afraid of any of my mistakes, when I can say: ‘Beware of doing that again, and this time I pardon you. In that discussion you spoke too aggressively: do not, after this, clash with people of no experience; those who have never learned make unwilling pupils. You were more outspoken in criticizing that man than you should have been, and so you offended, rather than improved him: in the future have regard not only for the truth of what you say but for the question whether the man you are addressing can accept the truth: a good man welcomes criticism, but the worse a man is, the fiercer his resentment of the person correcting him’?

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

  • Doug Belshaw 10:30 am on April 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    If you were to offer me all the money from all the mines we work so energetically at this time, if you were to throw down at my feet all the money that lies in buried treasure, as greed restores once more to the earth what it once wickedly extracted, I would not think all that gathered hoard worthy even of a good man’s frown. How loudly we should greet with laughter the things that now make our tears run!

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

  • Doug Belshaw 8:30 am on April 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    You ask what is the greatest failing in you? You keep accounts badly: you rate high what you have paid out, but low what you have been paid.

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

  • Doug Belshaw 6:19 am on April 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , possessions,   

    No one who looks at another man’s possessions takes pleasure in his own: for this reason we grow angry even with the gods, because someone is in front of us, forgetting how many men are behind us and what a massive load of envy follows at the back of those who envy a few. But so arrogant are humans that, however much they have received, they take offence is they might have received more.

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

  • Doug Belshaw 7:42 pm on April 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

    Lockdown reading list 

    Last night, I tweeted that I’d finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and that it had such a profound effect on me that I didn’t feel like the same person I was when I started it.

    I asked for novels that had had a similar effect on others. When I woke up, there were so many replies! Partly as a service to those who replied, and partly because I delete my tweets every 30 days, I’ve collated the recommendations into a list.

    I’ve removed some, either because they’re non-fiction (which I know I didn’t specify, but it’s my list, so my rules), because the tweeter must have given an incorrect title (and no author), or because they merely listed their favourite books, rather than ‘life changing’ ones. Some books were recommended more than once. Apologies if I missed any.

    Can’t get to the library? Not so bothered about copyright? Try ZLibrary.

  • Doug Belshaw 8:45 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: intention, Slavoj Zizek   

    You should do something you have to do as something you intended to do all along. Or: If you have to do something, do it as if you meant it.

    Slavoj Zizek

  • Doug Belshaw 8:00 pm on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Not all men are wounded in the same place; and so you ought to know what part of you is weak, so you can give it the most protection.

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

  • Doug Belshaw 6:00 pm on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , choice,   

    Choose men who are honest, easygoing, and have self-control, the sort who will not arouse your anger and yet will tolerate it; more useful still will be men who are amenable, kind, and charming, but not to the point of flattery, for those given to anger are offended by fawning agreement: I, at any rate, had a friend who was a good man, but too quick to feel anger, and it was no more safe to flatter him than to abuse him.

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

  • Doug Belshaw 4:00 pm on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , burden, ,   

    We shall find that well-grounded doctrine of Democritus of benefit to us, in which he shows that a tranquil state of mind is only possible if we devote relatively little time to private or public affairs, or at least to those that are too great for our strength. When a man busies himself with many duties, the day never passes so happily for him that he fails to encounter some problem, arising from a person or situation, which makes his mind ripe for anger. Just as a man hurrying through the busy districts of the city must collide with many people, and will inevitably lose his footing in some places, and be held back in others, and, in others still, be splashed, so in this activity of life, with all its variety and inconstancy, many hindrances, many causes for complaint cross our path. One man cheats our hopes, another postpones them, a third dashes them; our designs do not proceed as we had planned. No man finds Fortune so compliant that she responds on each occasion to his many overtures; it follows, therefore, that when a man finds that some of his plans have fallen out contrary to his wishes, he grows impatient with men and the world, and on the slightest of pretexts becomes angry, now with a person, now with his occupation, now with where he lives, now with his luck, now with himself. And so, in order that the mind can achieve peace, it must not be tossed about, or, as I said, worn out by activity in many enterprises, or ones that are demanding and place too great a strain on its powers. It is easy to fit light burdens to our shoulders, and to move them from one side to another without their slipping, but what has been placed on us by the hands of others we find hard to support, and owning defeat, we shed our load onto the next man; even while we stand beneath the baggage, we stagger, finding ourselves unequal to the burden.

    Seneca, ‘On Anger’

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