We live in increasingly stupid times. I use this word “stupid” in its most base and pejorative meaning: Willful ignorance.
Couple that tendency with a habit of making snap judgments and the glorification of “assholes” and “bitches” (role models for our internet age!), and you have accurately described the state of our collective mind.
A necessary consequence of this is the “cult of the now” which fetishizes youth and infantilizes our intellect, dumbing down the quality of our consumable content, and devaluing the wisdom that can only come with time.
Little wonder, then, than so many Americans have fallen prey to the myth that your “best years” were in the past. CASE IN POINT: Never trust anyone who tells you that High School was the best time of their life — anyone who devalues themselves in this way will be of no value to you.
My Grandmother is 83, and she is full of thoughts of what she is excited to do next. (This includes learning Linux 😉 ) My uncle Jerry, an engineer who worked for NASA, spent his entire life learning new science and mathematics.
Your best years are what you want them to be. Besides… what the hell does “best” even mean?
The Cult Of Children, OR, Why Modern Music Makes You Dumb
While listening to most of what passes as music certainly isn’t helping your synapses, I don’t mean that listening to this music is the problem. Rather, the problem is the myth that modern music perpetuates.
Imagine the aging rock star. What flashes are being conjured up in your mind? At what point are you forced to begin laughing at this old dudes obsessive (and failed) attempts at recreating his past?
The very existence of Rod Stewart perpetuates the fantasy that if you are going to do something with your life, something you can be proud of, if you are going to reach your goals, turn your dreams into reality, and fulfill your potential… it must be done before you turn 40. (Preferably, before you turn 25.)
That is a cute notion. But it doesn’t carry any weight. And on this blog, if you can’t carry weight, what is the point?
Today I’ll give you just one imminently wonderful example of a person who didn’t even get started on his life’s most ambitious journey until after the age of 40: The great English Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.
A Life In Defense Of Starting Late
“Leviathan is the greatest, perhaps the sole, masterpiece of political philosophy written in the English language.”
— Michael Oakeshott on the most important work of Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes was born in Malmesbury, England in the spring of 1588 (keep this year of birth in mind).
He went to school there and excelled in Greek and Latin. He went to Oxford where he spent 5 years studying the classics, but only had a crude look at logic, mathematics, and science (three areas that would consume his later life).
In 1628 (age: 40), he accepted a position as tutor to the son of Sir Gervase Clinton, which was the first time he began to take a serious look at Mathematics and Geometry.
In 1640 (age: 52), he completed work on his first important piece of philosophical writing, Elements of Law.
In 1642 (age: 54), he published De Cive, his philosophy of nature.
In 1651 (age: 63), he finally published his masterpiece, Leviathan.
He didn’t die until 1679, at the age of 91. During those intervening years he published more and studied incessantly.
The man who wrote, “Life is brutish and short”, succeeded at living long and prospering well into his old age, spending that part of life in which most humans slow down, in feverish activity, flourishing.
Dreams Are Evil, Kill Them
I hate the idea of a “bucket list” containing myriad dreams that are sure to drown under the weight of their own fantasy.
Action cannot come from dreaming.
You want goals, actionable plans, clear steps to be taken, and the wherewithal to begin TODAY. Your best years are ahead of you — if only you will take the steps necessary to live them.
Here is a way to make sure that happens:
- Decide which of your dreams can be made into concrete goals — kill the rest
Set two sub-goals for each of the big goals you have: first, the distant big one (big enough to scare you); second, the immediate next step (immediate enough to scare you).
Take the step.
When you walk into the gym, your mind should be thinking exclusively of putting your shoes on. Then the next step. Then the next. Nothing more. Do it.
Now go lift something heavy,