You've Got to be Hellenistic

2008-07-01

In a comment on my last post, my friend Deb asked me how I stay so mellow despite the fact that the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. I somewhat flippantly answered as follows:

  1. Find some good sand.
  2. Stick your head in it.

Perhaps it would help if I explained what I mean. :-)

I used to find it easy to get caught up in national politics, the ever-present crisis-mongering of politicians and the media, and other distractions outside my span of control. Then I started to tune all that out, read more history to gain some long-run context, read more science to gain a stronger foundation in facts instead of opinions, focus on my work and my family, and in general cultivate my own garden. Call it sticking my head in the sand, tuning in / turning on / dropping out, or just good old fashioned Epicurean lathe biosas. Yes, finding eudaimonia (or perhaps ataraxia) within the interstices of a corrupt and declining civilization may seem overly Hellenistic, but it works for me. Maybe it'll work for you, too. :-)

(And yes, the title of this post pays homage to the great American stride pianist James P. Johnson, specifically his tune "You've Got to be Modernistic".)


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal