https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias gives two versions of "Ozymandias" (scroll to halfway to read them.) They are both rather good and should speak loud across the centuries.
There are many simmering tensions (and quite a few outright wars) around the world. Some of those simmering tensions, that involve the really big proponents, are starting to look quite close to the boil.
Remember Ozymandias and the futility of conceit. Romans getting a slave to murmur stuff is what we might call "value signalling" these days.
We are enjoying a relatively peaceful period in human history. It would be nice if that continued. When I say enjoying, I'm obviously not referring to Syria, Yemen and other war zones or zones of continual atrocity.
> The Stoic Epictetus told his students that when kissing their child, brother, or friend, they should remind themselves that they are mortal, curbing their pleasure, as do "those who stand behind men in their triumphs and remind them that they are mortal"
Reminding yourself that something negative can happen might strengthen your control over your emotions.
Stoicism has never stopped me at enjoying my life, in fact it made me enjoy my life more.
I have a situation with my girlfriend, she is always worried that she might lose me. I tell her I'm not afraid of losing her and she might think it is because she loves me more. But to me losing her was always a possibility due to my stoic mindset. It is not because I don't love her or appreciate time with her. I'm just at peace with possibility of something bad happening to me.
I think this is the key thing to understand, as well as not worrying about things which are outside of your own control. If your own personal actions did not or will not be a factor in the outcome of something, whatever that something is, then it is pointless to worry or fret about it. Be concerned and happy about what is in your control!
Newer stoic philosophy may be different.
I think you're right about this. But there's nothing to say you couldn't take the useful aspects of a particular philosophy and discard the rest. For example, Cato the Younger adopted the fortitude of stoic principles to filibuster the senate, though I believe he didn't behave in the manner of the stoics during his lifetime.
But, as you say, Aurelius was particularly proud of his ability to forgo pleasure, especially when it was readily available to him. I don't think this is at-all necessary to forgo pleasure in order to reduce one's own suffering. That a buddhist monk can sit still while being set alight seems to be strong evidence that pain can be assuaged by mind training alone.
Edit: I looked up self-immolation, and it turns out 'self-mummification' is a thing too.
I dunno, your “amplify love” interpretation seems diametrically opposed to the “curb pleasure” writing of the stoic philosophers
I don't know enough about stoicism to defend it fully here, but it is similar to Buddhism in it's prescription of asceticism and tempering of emotions. So taking the Buddhist angle to 'attachments', the idea is not that you do not enjoy the pleasure of others, but you don't burden yourself with the attachment itself. That is, spend time with your loved ones and enjoy their company, but if they leave you tomorrow, avail yourself of your attachment to their presence, so that you can better live in their absence.
I think with stoicism, also, it's not about living a joyless existence, in order to dampen the painful moments, but to steel yourself to the reality that all things are impermanent. Keep in mind that many stoics, including Epictetus, Aurelius, and later, Seneca, lived in a bloody times. In particular, Nero ordered Seneca to kill himself, and by most accounts, he did so dispassionately. It's perhaps the character of these times that suicide is thought about differently between stoicism and Buddhism.
"The power of attachment should be as strong as the power of detachment", which is of course a much harder task than just detaching from everything.
? Virtue Signalling is when people brag, or indirectly brag, or overtly indicate their support for some cause, so as to highlight their virtue. It's used in a derogatory sense when people do it in a vapid manner, i.e. write things on Instagram, but otherwise their actions are shallow.
That said, that literally a slave was there to remind a General to not believe his own hype is just an incredible degree of self-awareness and social understanding of human nature by the Romans - and an amazing ability to act on it.
Could you imagine something along the lines of that these days for celebs, CEOs or in the White House?
He was arguably the most powerful and successful Pharaoh in all of Egyptian history. He became Pharaoh as a teenager, led an invasion of the Levant against the Hittites, and almost single handedly through great personal bravery turned what would have been a crushing defeat into a stalemate at the Battle of Kadesh. He also extended the Egyptian power south into Sudan. Egypt probably reached the pinnacle of her wealth and power under him. He is thought to have lived into his 90's and reigned 66 years. He fathered roughly 100 children (~50 sons and ~50 daughters). His whole life, he was treated as god on earth.
The reason I bring this up is that the person Shelley is referring to is not some obscure person. In our wildest dreams, none of us could ever hope to reach the level of significance of Rameses II. In terms of reaching the pinnacle of success, Rameses did it: famous, powerful, rich, huge family, beloved by everyone around him, long life, etc.
Yet he died. His accomplishments decayed. His kingdom eventually fell. His statues fell over and went into decay (though some are around and his temple at Abu Simbel is still amazing).
Remember, all our greatest accomplishments and any fame we could hope to accomplish are all ultimately fleeting. In our quest for significance, we should not forget to enjoy the moments we have now.
While the film doesn't focus on any particular person, it covers society at large. It portrays the build-up of a modern, global society and eventually shows shots of ancient Egypt ruins. We are no different. One too all of this will be gone.
Is the 2nd law really the only truth?
Could it be locally false for long enough to not matter?
What's the point of thinking this way? At the end of the day the Sun will destroy the Earth and nobody will ever remember anyone because there will no trace of us all. If you keep looking at things this way, this is rather depressing.
If all our ancestors thought that "let's forget about investing in building something better because ultimately it does not matter", we would not even be having computers to write on by now.
I hope that your expedition was more than a search for other universes to use as reservoirs.
Maybe not. Our descendants might just move the Earth, or fix the sun to prevent it becoming a red giant. We've got billion of years to work it out.
The tusks which clashed in mighty brawls
Of mastodons, are billiard balls.
The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.
The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,
Was feared by all, is now a rug.
Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
And I don't feel so well myself.
Even This Shall Pass Away by Theodore Tilton
Once in Persia reigned a king,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they;
“Even this shall pass away.”
Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these;
But he counted not his gain
Treasures of the mine or main;
“What is wealth?” the king would say;
“Even this shall pass away.”
‘Mid the revels of his court,
At the zenith of his sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried, “O loving friends of mine;
Pleasures come, but do not stay;
‘Even this shall pass away.’”
Lady, fairest ever seen,
Was the bride he crowned the queen.
Pillowed on his marriage bed,
Softly to his soul he said:
“Though no bridegroom ever pressed
Fairer bossom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay –
Even this shall pass away.”
Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield;
Soldiers, with a loud lament,
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,
“Pain is hard to bear,” he cried;
“But with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away.”
Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in stone.
Then the king, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptured name,
Musing meekly: “What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay;
Even this shall pass away.”
Struck with palsy, sore and old,
Waiting at the Gates of Gold,
Said he with his dying breath,
“Life is done, but what is Death?”
Then, in answer to the king,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray,
“Even this shall pass away.”
The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people
Yet the ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
Not another poem on that theme, but something cool I remembered related to Ozymandias: Gilbert Adair, somewhere in his amazing translation (A Void) of Georges Perec's work La Disparition — written entirely without a single instance of the letter 'e' — has this rewrite of Ozymandias that maintains the lipogram constraint (and rhyme):
I know a pilgrim from a distant land
Who said: Two vast and sawn-off limbs of quartz
Stand on an arid plain. Not far, in sand
Half sunk, I found a facial stump, drawn warts
And all; its curling lips of cold command
Show that its sculptor passions could portray
Which still outlast, stamp’d on unliving things,
A mocking hand that no constraint would sway:
And on its plinth this lordly boast is shown:
“Lo, I am Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, O Mighty, and bow down!”
‘Tis all that is intact. Around that crust
Of a colossal ruin, now windblown,
A sandstorm swirls and grinds it into dust.
He does similar things in some places in the book with other works, such as Poe's The Raven: http://whatwouldpuskasdo.blogspot.com/2004/07/dropping-e.htm...
And on the original theme, see also https://abstrusegoose.com/89
It’s a sobering thought. We are incredibly lucky enough to live at a crucial inflection point in the story of our species. I suspect we may not be far from achieving close to the limits of what is technologically possible, within the next few centuries. What will our statues be, and how shall we write our civilisation’s epitaph?
Probably on a rad-hard zettabyte USB drive buried in a giant black slab, with a backup on the moon.
We have the tools to destroy civilization in a matter of days.
IIRC it didn't require any fancy future tech or bombs. It just required the will with current tech. Like sending up 10000 balloons full of a certain kind of existing chemical into the upper atmosphere.
IIRC the article was about governments deciding they need to take planet wide effecting geo hacking steps for global warming but what if they're wrong. Following some of those steps it was clear that a modestly rich individual could implement some of them on their own.
I can't remember which website or podcast I heard this from. It could have been 80000 Hours or Making Sense or Slate Star Codex
Don't know how to make the shortened archive.is urls.
"Dr Wagner suggests that the most efficient way to deliver it would be for geoengineering aircraft to be loaded with solid sulphur, which they would burn at altitude in their engines to produce SO2. All this would cost around $3.5bn a year (at today’s prices) to deploy."
Granted, this is about altering global temperature a few degrees, not destroying the world. Also, it would take some time, and they would have to contend with the powers that be. Maybe there's another way though...
I would personally be more worried about another global pandemic and/or biowarfare/bioterrorism. An infection with the virility of SARS-CoV-2 but the case fatality rate of Ebola or MERS would end civilization. What'll keep you up at night is realizing that this is almost at the point where a biology grad student could engineer such a thing in their dorm room.
It should be noted that people who think about these things are also worried about AI existential risk. Personally I think that while there is reason to have some concern, it doesn't hold a candle to the above two risks.
If we can't get AI to reliably drive a car, it wont be taking over the world any time soon.
Also, looking at an aging Ozymandias, played by Jeremy Irons, in the new Watchmen show made me think of the poem again.
In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:—
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—
Naught but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
It was an illustration by Shelley of the problems of a certain school of literary thought at the time which held that the author of a text is the ultimate arbiter of its meaning. That Shelley was able to make such an elegant counter-argument and encode it as one of the most lyrically and thematically beautiful poems of all time puts me in awe every time I think of it.
The Death of the Author came about in 1967, even New Criticism, which foreshadowed Death, came about only at the earliest the 1930s-40s, after IA Richards published his Practical Criticism.
Shelley wrote in the Romantic period, when the artist's personal "genius" was paramount as a conduit to the "sublime". Saying that he somehow whipped up a criticism of "author as the arbiter of meaning" in what is practically a product of a friendly poetry contest is plainly absurd.
Strangely you also attributed this anachronistic reading to Shelley, making it somehow the author's intent to be counter-author-intent. Just... why?
Where it is pronounced “the”, it wasn't really a shorthand for “th” it was a rendering of “þe”, because the cursive “þ” came to look like “y”. Because we don't use “
But, actually, in Ozymandias it's not that form, it's the pronoun, which was actually pronounced “ye” and spelled “ye”, an alternative form of “you”, not the article pronounced “the” and spelled “þe”.
>>King of Kings am I, Osymandyas. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.
Have we checked the quote? There seems to be just the upper half in the museum but the other half should be lying somewhere.
You have to watch the whole series linearly though; if you skip to those episodes they won't mean anything.
This one -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMySF1nkN8o worked for me in Australia
The trailer was basically sequences from the desert (which is also where the series starts. Very, very well done show) while he talks.
I almost wonder if Gilligan started off with that poem and constructed a loose version of the story which grew into the layered thing that it is.
I remember wanting to be very disinterested in it due to the meth subject matter, but geez, the sub plots, the symbolism, all of it was just exceptionally well done.
My name is Homo sapiens, hominid of hominids;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
So this poem filled the middle (staying in Ithaca until leaving) missing part!
In addition to being a fantastic poem in itself, it felt great to see how a whole story could develop through different authors over so many centuries.
And every secret woe The shuddering waters saw— Willed and fulfilled by highh and low— Let them relearn the Law”
Exerpt from Justice, RUDYARD KIPLING 1918
Edit: it is Sugarland “Stay”
(Thanks for asking! It's difficult to sustain a conversation here, but I intermittently check comments up to a few days back in case they're in need of expansion.)
Oh, and I don't want to spoil the ending for those who may not know, but it has some significance besides its poetic beauty.
my nam is King
of ancient land
and haf my face
is under sand
and on a stone
it can be read
“the World is mine”
but now I’m ded
This seems to go a little bit against the idea of the internet.