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Today's Lesson:
The Motionless Transient Stoic

    "Are you surprised, as if it were a novelty, that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate. . . . Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself. You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you."
- Seneca

    "Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "That trouble once removed, all change of scene will become pleasant; though you may be driven to the uttermost ends of the earth, in whatever corner of a savage land you may find yourself, that place, however forbidding, will be to you a hospitable abode. The person you are matters more than the place to which you go; for that reason we should not make the mind a bondsman to any one place. Live in this belief: 'I am not born for any one corner of the universe; this whole world is my country.' If you saw this fact clearly, you would not be surprised at getting no benefit from the fresh scenes to which you roam each time through weariness of the old scenes. For the first would have pleased you in each case, had you believed it wholly yours."
- Seneca

    "Where a man can live, he can also live well."
- Marcus Aurelius

   "For anyone who didn't hit it big in the Bitcoin boom, this must feel kind of problematic at face value. Maybe it feels pretty darned privileged to discuss travel with such dismissive terms. Perhaps it's not quite right to ponder the soul-enriching act of cultural hopscotch with such malaise. I've personally observed something of a paradigm shift directly related to the pedestal upon which we place the worldly voyageur. It would seem to me that with the expansion of social media, we have ushered in an era in which experiential status displays (such as a trip through the halls of Europe's classical galleries, or I suppose, a less cultured journey to some sort of party rave) have replaced the material status expressions of the past... but that's something for another day. For now, I'll just apologize for indulging myself and figuring out this cryptic old Greek as soot-covered normals struggled to feed my locomotive’s firebox. "Faster you peasants!" I shouted, eager for my first glimpse of the snow-covered Alps outside my sleeper cabin window. The day was young and as I dipped my feathered quill into my carefully secured ivory inkwell... I must admit that a certain oneness fell upon me as I stroked out these very thoughts.

    I think the act of travel here is really just the most concrete illustration of a much broader idea. It boils down to an escapism which can be manifested in all sorts of trips from one’s self. The sort of escapism I believe I once overheard those very engine workers engaged in as I passed above their basement living quarters. How one can stand with their filthy cobbled shoes upon a table meant for dinning revolts me.

    I do suppose their infectious Irish song and dance has a certain... rustic appeal.

    Nevertheless, it's been my observation that everybody worth knowing has a giant or two at their heels. No matter how much geography we've been privileged to see; we've all tried to out run it one way or another. Only when we stop the foot chase can we recognize that the giant will require an uncomfortably close proximity to tackle. The good news seems to be that no matter how far along we are in defeating the problem, just this realisation can provide us with a sense of arrival and comfort in our hometown/self.

    Some seem so completely driven by the giant that they've fully embraced it's role as navigator. Although there seems to be many examples of success with this narrative, maybe most who try just never get a chance to grasp the microphone. I think there is an underrated power in allowing a sober recollection of your battle be the final guide to your journey.

    Seneca's conclusion is important. Once our heels have been lightened, we can erase the distinction between here and there or us and them. With the entire horizon now our home, we can appreciate our own piece of it without idealising the scenery of somebody else's. We can freely move where life takes us without the burden of a desire for change.

    Marcus takes it one step further. He challenges us to live without the consideration of a better location. He asks us why the heck we need an external change of scenery when there is a more profound accomplishment in creating that change internally. I've scripted this one above my exotic mammal spine collection because it helps me continue to be a Londoner when I sometimes really doubt this place. I think there is deep karmic value in living in the community that you grew up in and playing a role in it's future stewardship.

- Edwin

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