Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’

How did you come across the book?

It was a book that has been on my list because I’m really interested in Stoic Philosophy; I really like reading Plato and Aristotle and all that… and so I hadn’t read this one… and so I put it on the list!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oh… that’s a tough one! A lot of… you know… practical ideas about the human condition are spoken about in this book and it’s really… well, one of the interesting perspectives is how universal it is, after thousands and thousands of years! You can pick up this book and realize, Wow! Things haven't really changed in the human psyche all that much! Click To TweetSo, that’s been my main take away and kind of using some of these lessons and concepts to inform my own life.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Oh… that’s a tough question… another one! These are good! Umm… I would recommend it if you’re looking into thinking deep and thinking about society… thinking about people… thinking about yourself… and examining it in a different lens, and kind of questioning the world around you. So, that’s who’d I recommend it to… anyone who’s looking for answers… or looking to ask more questions!

 

Reality’s Delusion: How Sure Are We?

“Reflect often on the speed with which all things in being, or coming into being, are carried past and swept away.”

Recently, in conversation with a new acquaintance, a perspective was shared with me, or rather towards me, depicting the substance of a situation in context of our exchange; “There is reality and there is delusion of situation, and this is an example of the latter”. It didn’t hit me then, but as I pondered his statement later on, a thought stirred about in my mind indicating error in his chosen insight, not in accordance with his intent but rather with the concepts entirety. Be it ignorance or ambition on my part, nonetheless, this narrow inclination is one far too often shared, justified, believed and cast onto others as definitive truth that the self-appointed arbitrator has deemed reality; be aware of this, but ignore it. However, for sake of digression, pressing on, though not spoken aloud for auditory consumption, thoughts of internal reserve contain the ability to produce a noise much louder, within the individual at first and potential for the greater good second, if expressed effectively and with collective intent. Now, in this text, I hope to give opportunity for its communicable understanding.

“Existence is like a river in ceaseless flow, its actions a constant succession of change, its causes innumerable  in their variety”

– Marcus Aurelius

This reality so often spoken about, one thrown around with such strong and confident conviction, remains in a constant state of change, for the concept of reality itself understands the weakness of its own stable and the dubious fluidity of its mere arguable grasp. This is not a new understanding, for it is truthfully the product of many great minds of before, and of our worlds observatory nature; thought of, understood and communicated through the ages by virtue of mediums of both presenter’s choice and of the times expressible permit. However, for sake of skeptics needed assurance of example, one relevant to our current moment of existence, ponder on the following:

Reality is negotiable. Scarcely anything stands still, even what is most immediate. - Tim Ferriss Click To Tweet

Far too often we are fed to belief against this, having been taught by others who have been fed the same. I am not ignorant enough to fail to realize that this is not the case with all, as there are numerous examples to look upon, expressing themselves no matter the field nor their pursuit. Artists, creators, musicians, innovators of business, trade, architecture, industry, fashion, scientists of all studies, writers, poets, inventors, and so on; the list remains unending. What do they have in common? What sets them apart apart from the rest? What grabs our attention of their pursuits fruition? They question one thing; reality! Then, they make the choice to ignore the commotion, to make their own noise in this world, to follow their own unique beat in line with their visions rhythm.

“We should not, like sheep, follow the herd of creatures in front of us, making our way where others go, not where we ought to go.”

– Seneca

Reality in this context represents a paradigm of nature; the two are the same, both in mystery and in question. But, for the majority conditioned to leave nature, and in accordance reality, left alone, how do we begin the revealing? In these moments, we shall turn to others, towards their examples and towards their work, and in this moment, as I struggle with this myself, I turn to none other than Hans Selye, MD, otherwise known as the Father of Stress. Without now taking the exploratory dive into his life’s impressive and profoundly progressive work, I instead want to share with you what lead him down his own road of unknown, towards the unraveling of his own questioning, shared in an excerpt from his famous classic ‘The Stress of Life’, a book about stress in the applicable sense and of our unique ability and innate quality to adapt. Though the language is relevant in regard to his particular question, the concept shared and practiced is appropriate no matter your contemplate:

How to Question Nature

What is disease – not one disease, just disease in general? This question lingered on in my mind, as it undoubtedly has in the minds of most physicians of all nations throughout history. But there was no hope for an early answer, for Nature – the source of all knowledge – rarely replies to questions unless they are put to her in the form of experiments to which she can say “yes” or “no.” She is not loquacious ; she merely nods in the affirmative or in the negative…

Occasionally, if we ask, “What would you do in these circumstances?” or, “What is in such and such a place?” she will silently show us a picture. But, she never explains. You have to work things out yourself first, aided only by instinct and the feeble powers of the human brain, until you can ask precise questions, to which Nature can answer in her precise but silent sign language of nods and pictures. Understanding grows out of a mosaic of such answers. It is up to the scientist to draw a blueprint of the questions he has to ask before the mosaic makes sense. It is curious how few laymen, or even physicians, understand this…

Only those blessed with the understanding that comes from a sincere and profound love of Nature will, by an intuitive feeling for her ways, succeed in constructing a blue print of the many questions that need to be asked to get even an approximate answer to such a question. Only those cursed with a consuming, uncontrollable curiosity for Nature’s secrets will be able to – because they will have to – spend their lives working out patiently, one by one, the innumerable technical problems involved in performing each of the countless experiments required.

What is disease? – What is stress?

I did not know how to ask the first of these questions; I did not even think of asking the second.

In closing, do not be afraid to question reality nor apprehensive in your questionings implement. Reality is largely, by its own nature, negotiable and plastic, and we as humans were meant to explore every facet of our enigmatic undergo. If you do not know where to start, in form with the ones who have found their paths continued questioning, start with an interest, and if that one doesn’t work, start again with another. You do not need to know much to begin, other than to begin is the only way. And, to keep equipped in mind, parallel with what’s to come:

Remember that all is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius Click To Tweet

Howl’s Moving Castle

How did you come across the book?

You know what? I’m a big Miyazaki fan… I don’t know if you’re familiar with him or not. He is an animator and makes movies… and he turned this one into a movie a while back. But… I’ve seen the movie a couple times, and you know what?… It just… it was literally face up on a table in a bookstore labeled “Your Next Favorite Book“… and I had just finished reading something else, so I was like, “yeah, alright, I’ll give that a shot… why not?” I’ve always dug the movie so I guess I’ll give the book a try.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oh man! Perspective I have gained from the book? Umm… I mean… perspective. Well, ok… so listen this book is about magic and how magic works… and, I think more than perspective what this one has done is actually really confirm a lot of things that are going on in my life. You know... every once in awhile you pick up a book that you just needed to pick up... Click To Tweet …and it sort of starts talking to you, and through the book you start having a conversation with yourself about what you’re up to… and so this book is about magic. It’s about how most magic is rooted in belief, cause I mean like… duh! Most magic is… if you want to think of prayer as magic, then you know, that’s how it works… faith. And also, the main character in this is sort of trying to reconcile where he’s from, where he’s going, what he’s doing… all from the same place. So… I guess it’s just got me really thinking about who I am and where I am and where I’m heading and what I’m doing…. if that makes sense.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Oh, so far so good… yeah! If you’re a fan of fantasy… it’s definitely YA fantasy… and then it’s like there’s some coming of age elements in it. One of the main characters is someone who is sort of figuring out how powerful she is… and in her particular society, they have always told her that… so she’s the oldest of three sisters and the caveat in their society is the oldest of three sisters will never amount to anything. And so, one day she sort of accidentally goes off to seek her fortune and continues to find out more and more how powerful she actually is… and how much she can get done. So, I think I would recommend it to anyone who's a little lost... Click To Tweet anyone who knows that they belief in some things but isn’t quite sure why… and really anybody who wants just to take a trip… I mean… it is a trip! It is just a really, really great world. It’s so hard, I mean… this book is fairly old but it’s so difficult now that fantasy has become so mainstream to happen upon  a world that feels different than Hogwarts or Middle Earth… and it’s really nice and refreshing to be sort of bamfing in and out of… and also one of the fantasy worlds is rooted in our own reality which I always really enjoyed how Hogwarts does as well… I guess Middle Earth does as well…you’ve gotta die and sail across the seas to us… but uh, yeah… so I guess really, anybody who wants to sort of expand their horizons… pick it up and give it a read. I do not read quickly and I am crushing this!