Stoic wisdom from the cradle of Western civilisation is at odds with the 21st century global mindset of chasing short-term pleasure and avoiding discomfort at all costs, but it resonates strongly with principles from the East. It has improved countless lives across varied cultures and eras, suggesting that it might still have value for us today.
As persons, we are objects, with pasts much greater than our age and futures more enduring than our life expectancy. But we are special objects, each with a unique subjective window on the world. And within your window is yourself, both as subject and as object.
Kurt Gödel’s world is relentlessly logical. It explores and defines the reaches of certainty, the realm of provability. Here, our logic proves its own limits, which is humbling. But it’s also beautiful because we wake to the creative power of our stories, and we open them to living adaptation.
As you read the book in your hands, you follow Harry Potter’s journey from indistinct and unloved orphan to powerful wizard. But while Harry exists as this beguiling character, he does not exist as that which the story makes him out to be — a real boy wizard in the real world, a boy who experiences what is happening like you do.
slumberfogey: Readers are going to think my old man humour is contagious. Now, remind me who you are. I need to see whether we need to backtrack at all after our break.
pilgrim: I don’t think we do! I am the experiencer of my experience.
slumberfogey: Who are you?
pilgrim: You recognise me, don’t you? I’m Gary, but you always call me pilgrim.
slumberfogey: So “Gary” is your name or “pilgrim” labels you, but is either who you are?
slumberfogey: You’re handling this moment with the precision of a World War II bombardier. Imagine yourself more like a laser eye surgeon. What Is Happening?
pilgrim: I’m imagining myself as a laser eye surgeon.
slumberfogey: Are you taking the piss? Okay. How are you certain you’re imagining yourself as a laser eye surgeon?
pilgrim: Well, the ad said I could get enlightenment, or something like that?
slumberfogey: Is that what I said? Bit naughty of me. Felt like I needed to talk up the product to get people’s attention. Do you want your money back?
pilgrim: I didn’t pay anything.
slumberfogey: Ah. Just as well.