photo by smcgee
Read anything good lately? I just finished a book I cannot stop thinking about. It's a short, but really thought-provoking read. Even though I disagree with a few key points of Stoicism, it was still a useful thought exercise in developing my life philosophy.
One stoic technique I found particularly useful is negative visualization, and contemplating impermanence. Sound depressing, huh? It's not, I promise. (Maybe just a tiny bit.)
We need to keep firmly in mind that everything we value and the people we love will someday be lost to us. More generally, any human activity must have a final occurrence. There will be -- or already has been! -- a last time in your life that you brush your teeth, cut your hair, drive a car, mow the lawn, or play hopscotch. There will be a last time you hear the sound of snow falling, watch the moon rise, smell popcorn, feel the warmth of a child falling asleep in your arms, or make love. You will someday eat your last meal, and soon thereafter you will take your last breath.
By contemplating the impermanence of the everything in the world, we are forced to recognize that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent. We will no longer sleepwalk through our life.
- William Irvine in A Guide to the Good Life