Monday, July 26, 2021
It has been a very challenging few weeks. I decided to take comfort in this thought from the great and eloquent Vala Afshar to remind myself of all that I am blessed. I pulled some #RandomThoughts on Iran along with other thoughts as I look forward to the ongoing engagement at hand:
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. -Mae West
When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
It’s interesting how infrequently money comes up in Meditations. Here was a guy who had incredible wealth, whose predecessors obsessed over it and found it to be a source of both pleasure and conflict, and yet in his private meditations, it hardly comes up at all.
In his actions, we see Marcus was conscious of money, but primarily as a means to an end not as an end to itself. He was more interested in what it could do for other people. He declined gifts and inheritances. He gave liberally to the poor. He sold off palace furnishings at Rome’s lowest point.
But perhaps these attitudes are related. Because Marcus did not think particularly highly of money, he was comfortable in his ability to be generous. At one point, he told the Senate that he did not regard himself in possession of any of his wealth. It belongs to the people, he said, even the house I live in is not mine.
There can be virtue in frugality. Cleanthes seemed to be an incredibly hard worker—a manual laborer, no less—who spent little of what he earned. But frugality and diligence with money can also be a vice. It makes finances loom large in our lives, makes us throw good time after bad (after all, it’s not enough just to earn money, then we have to manage it and make it grow). We can come to identify with the fruits of our labor and our success, which makes it hard to spend (even on necessary things), hard to be generous, hard to share.
Money isn’t rare. There is nothing precious about precious stones. It is all incredibly common. Most of the people who have it are not impressive, most of the great fortunes are, in fact, the opposite of great. The way to think about money is as a tool, and what did the Stoics use their tools for? To do good. To get better. To make the world better.
We can do the same
Sunday, July 4, 2021
It is Independence Day here in the United States. I was working away gearing up for the new week of commitments, finalize planning in support of the Daily Outsider along with other projects as my mind yet again drifted away towards Iran as I saw the overnight developments. The two images I note above captures how a Grand Canyon continues to persist as a new "clique" takes power in Iran in a few weeks.
I have been looking and finally found two very simple yet profound tweets that explain the true realities in Iran right now--it is sad and tragic how a country that was bound to be in the First Tier of Countries has sunk so low that its' passport is now 189 in the World, 50 million (according to the regime's own officials) are expected to be Environmental Refugees, how over 150,000 of the best and brightest have left as regime officials peddle self-sufficiency in Vaccines (even though less than 10% of the population has been vaccinated) and as this persists:
"We have no water to drink. Please help us"— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 3, 2021
This is what poverty, deprivation, and being neglected looks like.
Listen to the helpless cries of this girl from Sistan Balouchestan, Iran's poorest province.
The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't care about these people. pic.twitter.com/KAecY3b4de
برای واکسن به ارمنستان بروید، برای ویزا به ابوظبی، برای امتحان تافل به گرجستان، برای کنسرت به آنتالیا، برای خوردن مشروب به استانبول، برای تجربه دریا به دبی، برای تجربه آزادی… برای زندگی نرمال باید از مرز رد شد. از سایه جمهوری اسلامی دور شد.— Sharareh Azizi شراره عزیزی (@sharareh_azizi) July 4, 2021