Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Is my character producing a well-flowing life?
The accompanying meditation elaborates: This sort of character results from understanding that you are not the centre of the universe. Whether it’s a “higher power” in the traditional sense of God or gods, or simply an acknowledgement that there are things out there that are bigger than you; whether you feel this power is actively “in control” or simply that there are powers that you by definition cannot control, this acknowledgement helps to better define what you can and cannot actually change in your life. And for me, at least, this is an incredible acknowledgement of the rather improbable fact that I am here at all. The universe is massive, and mysterious in an amazing way. I am here right now, and for this brief, fleeting moment in time, I have just one chance to make the best of this gift of consciousness. That which is greater than me sometimes overwhelms me but always inspires me. It’s the connections I have with others that makes me human. Sometimes those connections are with people I have never or will never meet. Some of them are dead, but have left writing, or music, or art, or architecture to fill my mind with what is possible. Sometimes they are just the people I see just for a moment in the supermarket, giving me just a tiny window into the life of another, and I know that there are billions of people on this planet I will never know. That makes it ever more imperative to cherish those who I do know and love.
Returning to the Shostakovich quartets as played by the Jerusalem Quartet, today, delayed from yesterday, the Twelfth Quartet. There are many amazing things in this, including one hell of an ending (that the audience just eats up), but despite its apparent stellar reputation amongst aficionados, it’s still just not ringing the bells for me that some of the other Shostakovich quartets do. Not that it isn’t still wonderful–it’s just less wonderful to me than some others.
Perhaps this is the right work for a day spent in a kind of unsettling suspense, waiting for election results. There is still no clear winner, although there seems to be momentum for Biden as votes are counted in Pennsylvania. Apparently, the incumbent made a nearly incoherent speech earlier this evening, prompting Anderson Cooper to compare him to “an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the sun”–quite the thing to visualize. And so we continue to hold our collective breaths.