A Puff of Absurdity: Taking Comfort in Stoicism

When thing take a turn for the worst, no philosophy helps me like re-reading the writings of Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius. I had a dream last night that I was at a bike show (about bicycles, not motorcycles), talking to a distance rider, when, after a long conversation, I noticed that his one arm ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On the Philosophy of Mr. Money Moustache

A friend pointed me towards this podcast in which Tim Ferriss interviews Mr. Money Moustache (MMM), a man who retired from work in his 30s to live on the interest from his investments and then got a significant following as a blogger. The podcast describes the kind of life I’ve tried to live (except for ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Justified Worry

I’m going to be writing more personally for a bit. I have a lot to get off my chest. Literally. I’m getting a double mastectomy today and an oophorectomy for good measure (which sounds to me like something Willy Wonka might do), because I have all the fancy genes that make my body a ticking ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Desires and Commodities

I’ve just been reading books and watching films lately. I’ll write again soon. But check out this passage from The Obsolescence of Man by Gunther Anders, first published in 1956: *** The mere fact that I had no car and therefore could be caught in flagrante not buying anything and, ultimately, of having no needs, was ...

A Puff of Absurdity: What’s a Mother to Do?

It’s always harder to have something taken away than to never have it in the first place.  But still… A local high school is removing a few dozen students from the school bus route because the board realized the kids are within official walking distance to the school – 3.2 km.  Families are upset because ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On John Stuart Mill, Free Speech, and Climate Change

I got caught up in a few arguments about climate change recently that just reinforced to me, that there’s still such a strong bashlash against the entire idea that we’re unlikely to move forward quickly enough to be effective. Paper is trees! My school board is fundraising for the Philippines, and I’m totally on board ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Stoic Environmentalism

I’m doing the Stoic Week thing this week.  It’s just a matter of contemplating specific quotations each day.  Even though I studied them years ago, and teach about them even, and maybe should have figured this all out long ago, I’m still stuck on the first reading.  I’m a slow thinker. Here’s the reading from ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Humans: Too Invasive or Too Compassionate to Survive

In my last post, and elsewhere over the years, I went all Agent Smith and suggested that humans are a virus that can’t be contained. All other animals work within their environment to regulate their population.  As long as people don’t mess things up by moving animals around (like bringing rabbits to Australia where they have ...

A Puff of Absurdity: A Stoic Resurgence

In reading a few other blogs lately, Stoicism has come up a few times, and I’m seeing it in a few books I’ve been reading lately too.  Maybe it’ll stick this time. In Robin Hanson’s blog discussing why middle aged people are most pessimistic, I suggested that maybe it’s a point in life where we ...