Dialogue on Proper Living

What does one forget?

“His headphones at the gym?”

That, yes. But also: his own smallness, is what. And the insignificance of his troubles. And the imminence of his death.

“And this is a relief, somehow?”

Entirely. Everyday, we go around with the thought in our heads — implicitly or explicitly — with the thought “I need to leave my mark on the world.” And that impulse alone is destructive to our well-being.

Also, it’s an absurd notion. All legacies are fleeting. We consider, say, Plato a success in this regard, that his name and works have been recognized for ca. 2,500 years. That’s an embarrassingly short period of time about which to be proud — relative to the age of the universe, certainly. Nor is it as though Plato is actively benefiting from whatever fame he has.

“That point is simpleminded.”

Perhaps. Although, there’s no correlation of which I’m aware between the complexity of an idea and its merit.

“I don’t care for self-help and flaccid affirmations.”

Call it ethical philosophy, then. It’s of no concern to me. In any case, there’s no shame in making a study of proper living. Nothing could be more reasonable, really.

“Your prose style is affected.”

A potentially valid point. But also I don’t have another, so this is the one I use.


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