*tap tap tap* Is this thing on? So…. I have a blog. And haven’t written in it for over a year. People, THIS IS WHAT WRITING A BOOK DOES TO YOU. Sadly, this blog is not the only thing I’ve neglected over the past year, but let’s not talk about my mental well-being or the cleanliness of our apartment. But here I am, resurrecting this blog because I’m really feeling the desire to write about my little one-off thoughts again. I was so focused the past year on writing my book, thinking I would be done last December (HAHAHAHAHA), but as I continue to refine ideas and wrestle words into submission, I realize that my standards are far too high and this book will take quite a bit longer than anticipated. Originally I created this blog thinking I’d be done writing the book by the end of 2016 and this would serve as a nice landing place, of sorts, for my two readers who might want to engage more with the ideas in the book, in a more personal or casual way. Well, the end of 2016 came and went and I have been editing and refining and cutting and adding and on top of all that I just this week realized what the heck I’m actually doing in the book…. so the end is not exactly in sight. Even after having written over 200 pages. Sigh. Such is the writerly life.
Anyway, because I am apparently taking 2017 to refine my book, I found myself really longing to write the things this blog was created to house. I have so many little thoughts that I want to write or talk about and I think I’d like to prioritize them a little better than when I was on the fast-track to self-publishing. I’m officially off the fast-track (both happily and disappointingly so), so now the blog is a thing again.
For my legions of readers out there, YOU’RE WELCOME.
My thought moment: I was thinking about stoicism (slash Buddhism) this week and how it works as a prescriptive philosophy. I think some of its tenets are immensely valuable for a world that is irredeemably difficult, uncomfortable, frustrating, and painful. Stoicism is a strange blend of pessimism (life is going to suck) and optimism (there is a way to mitigate the suck). Western stoicism is a challenging, beautiful philosophy for an individual to adopt.
On the other hand, it seems a flaccid, perhaps even cruel philosophy in the face of evil. We have an ethical responsibility is to fight injustice, right wrongs, and alleviate suffering as much as we can. (I believe so, anyway.) Stoicism doesn’t seem to do a whole lot to provide a path forward for the outwardly ethical life in extreme circumstances. Can you imagine simply offering up the philosophy of stoicism to someone in a concentration camp when you sit on the other side of the fence and do nothing to rescue them? Terrible. I haven’t read a lot of contemporary stoic writings, but if my memory serves (and to be fair, it often doesn’t), a pursuit of the Good (rather than just making personal good out of circumstances beyond our power to control) seems to be lacking in the philosophy, even while being an incredibly instructive, beneficial philosophy for one to adopt on one’s own.
I am very open to having my understanding of stoicism expanded, however, if this assessment is off-base! I do plan to read more of the stoics eventually, but my need-to-read shelf is a little too deep at the moment to withstand the stoics cutting in line (which is so contrary to their ethos, anyway!).
So with that, I’m off to read some more narrative psychology, eat some braised short ribs for dinner (THE APARTMENT CURRENTLY SMELLS AMAZING), and eat way too much homemade lemon pound cake for dessert while watching Last Week Tonight with the hubby. Just doing my best to enjoy the crap out of the last bits of the weekend.