Stoic Week (Wednesday): Mind The…Things. I Guess.

You do realize that dogs can't read, right?

You do realize that dogs can’t read, right?

Today’s theme is “mindfulness,” but I find myself not particularly mindful this morning. I mean, not yet. It’s still early. I could improve. Maybe after some cocoa, and a little nap before lunch. And, you know, if I have some time after doing some work after lunch. Maybe.

That right there is the problem.

Why do I want a nap already? Why do I think this way?

Before it is possible to make of one’s own mind a kind of refuge (as the reading from Marcus Aurelius suggests this morning), it is first necessary to take stock of what’s already going on in there. To fail to do this seriously is to risk mistaking garden-variety apathy for proper apatheia.

So: There are things I have to do. Lots of things. Important things, so very many of them that they pile up like a mountain of importance over which it is quite impossible to climb (which makes a nap look pretty nice right about now…).

Why are they important? Why do you have to do them?

Because I have committed to doing them. Because they are important to me, to what I want and need and imagine myself to be.

Why is this mountain so high?

(Of course it isn’t, really. It’s just a set of things that need to be done. Put in order, prepared well, it’s no obstacle at all. If you just do them, they go away.)

But why does it still seem so high?

Why is that your impression?

Ah. Right.



About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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