Well this is a first in a long time where I’m writing this without prompt from anxious thoughts. Pretty nice, rocking out to some music, clacking away at the keys. I’ve started taking a few minutes here and there to get back to meditation, getting back to the skills of noting my thoughts and not trying to rationalise/fight with them. Sometimes letting them do their thing is the way to go it seems.
I’m aware that anxiety often stems from irrationality, so trying to rationalise your way out may be a losing battle. It often feels like trying to change someone’s mind by shouting at them. Sometimes you just need to nod along then wave goodbye and leave.
But as usual, if it’s not mental pain it’s physical. This divine providence laid out by the stoics seems to contain challenges at every corner! That’s one part of Stoicism I don’t subscribe to; divine providence, fate, goes against the notion that you have control over your thoughts for me. In quantum mechanics, when two particles interact, their respective clouds of probabilities collapse in that moment, and some of their features can be measured. If particles didn’t follow the manifestations of quantum uncertainty, then I think it would be possible to eventually predict to 100% accuracy the future. Model every atom in someone’s brain, and you’d be able to predict what they’ll think and when depending on the rest of the atoms particles and fields interacting with them. Of course, that’s assuming there would be a capable enough simulator, but according to Google we’ve reached quantum supremacy so it’s only a matter of time before Google will be searching our brains instead of us searching it. Anyway, what I’m getting at is there is this fundamental element of uncertainty in all interactions of everything: space-time, energy (those are really all there is though right? Unless you classify thought or consciousness as its own thing) This element of uncertainty doesn’t allow me to think that everything is determined. I find solace in this, even though I have the vast fear of freedom and the weight of consequence to my choices, there is this infinitesimally small chance that it doesn’t matter, and small probabilities produce weird and wonderful outcomes on their own. I know it sounds like nonsense, and it really is, but it was fun for me to type out anyway.
There is a funny story I read about quantum survival, the belief that if the most probable thing that happens is the end of the universe, due to some massive black hole or the unstable Higg’s Boson Universal Collapse, then the entirety of the universe “hops” into the next most probable state. The reality that Trump is president, Brexit is happening, all this madness you see around in the media, is proposed to be the result of the Large Hadron Collider. The first time scientists turned on that switch, they created an unstable Higg’s Boson particle that resulted in the immediate, terminal end of the universe. So we jumped to a slightly less probable version of the universe. Every time that an experiment is run in the LHC, we jump further and further into improbability to avoid the end of existence, and so the world is crazy! I find it a really funny and silly explanation for the current order of things, of course I don’t think that the LHC is to blame, but I don’t know enought about quantum mechanics to either agree or disagree with this quantum survival theory.
Right, enough about stuff I don’t know. Time to write about other stuff I don’t know, like self-betterment.
“People aren’t in awe of your sharp mind? So be it. But you have many other qualities you can’t claim to have been deprived of at birth. Display then those qualities in your own power: honesty, dignity, endurance, chastity, contentment, frugality, kindness, freedom, persistence, avoiding gossip, and magnanimity.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.5
I’ve been quite active in physical training in the past few weeks. Eating well, some form of exercise almost daily. I can see the changes, feel the strength increasing. I used to really think that if I had better genetics, I’d be stronger, look better. More flexible, more talented. Sadly I wasn’t born this way. In reality though almost nobody is, and until you start achieving things you didn’t know you could, it’s very difficult to see otherwise! I’m probably stronger physically than I’ve ever been in my life, and honestly it hasn’t required as much raw effort as I thought it would. What is currently key, is consistency. Eat well every day. Sleep well as much as possible. Spend those 5 minutes in the morning doing a few pushups, even if it’s the only exercise you’ll do all day. Unlike in most table top RPG systems, in real life bonuses from the same source stack up! I’m in a good position where I have the ability to eat well, the time to work out and the time to rest. I know that it’s not always possible, I’ve been there the past few years. But in hindsight, there were many chances to take care of myself in between those busy periods, but I spent them in depression and avoidance. I’m not guilt tripping myself, it was a difficult spot, I’m glad that I have a chance even now to start investing in my health for the future.
Good old Marcus once again helped drive home the point that the skills, abilities and qualities to strive for come from dedication and consistency, not birth. This is why fate is meaningless to me, there are chances to improve, and leaving things to chance would have had me in the same emotional hole I was last year.
Well, the point is, I’ve injured my injured shoulder. Previously I would have nursed it and done some half arse stretches. Lo and behold this pain keeps coming back. This time I’ll cultivate another skill, rehabilitation and temperance towards exercise. There is no point in rushing, I got too excited seeing all the gains in strength and looks so I overdid things. It’s necessary to take a break even when you feel great I think. So I’ll take some time to rehab my shoulder, plan my training and hopefully cement down some qualities I admire.