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A scattering of dried figs and nuts #

Free from hindrance are those things which lie in the sphere of the moral purpose, and subject to hindrance are those which lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose. And so, if he regards his own good and advantage as residing in these things alone, in those, namely, which are free from hindrance and under his control, he will be free, serene, happy, unharmed, high-minded, reverent, giving thanks for all things ta God, under no circumstances finding fault with anything that has happened, nor blaming anything; if, however, he regards his good and advantage as residing in externals and things outside the sphere of his moral purpose, he must needs be hindered and restrained, be a slave to those who have control over these things which he has admired and fears; he must needs be irreverent, forasmuch as he thinks that God is injuring him, and be unfair, always trying to secure for himself more than his share, and must needs be of an abject and mean spirit.

When a man has once grasped all this, what is there to prevent him from living with a light heart and an obedient disposition; with a gentle spirit awaiting anything that may yet befall, and enduring that which has already befallen? "Would you have me bear poverty?" Bring it on and you shall see what poverty is when it finds a good actor to play the part. "Would you have me hold office?" Bring it on. "Would you have me suffer deprivation of office?" Bring it on. "Well, and would you have me bear troubles?" Bring them on too. "Well, and exile?" Wherever I go it will be well with me, for here where I am it was well with me, not because of my location, but because of my judgements, and these I shall carry away with me; nor, indeed, can any man take these away from me, but they are the only things that are mine, and they cannot be taken away, and with the possession of them I am content, wherever I be and whatever I do. "But it is now time to die." Why say "die"? Make no tragic parade of the matter, but speak of it as it is: "It is now tune for the material of which you are constituted to be restored to those elements from which it came." And what is there terrible about that? What one of the things that make up the universe will be lost, what novel or unreasonable thing will have taken place? Is it for this that the tyrant inspires fear? Is it because of this that his guards seem to have long and sharp swords? Let others see to that; I have considered all this, no one has authority over me. I have been set free by God, I know His commands, no one has power any longer to make a slave of me, I have the right kind of emancipator, and the right kind of judges. "Am I not master of your body?" Very well, what is that to me? "Am I not master of your paltry property?" Very well, what is that to me? "Am I not master of exile or bonds?" Again I yield up to you all these things and my whole paltry body itself, whenever you will. Do make trial of your power, and you will find out how far it extends.

Who is there, then, that I can any longer be afraid of? Shall I be afraid of the chamberlains? For fear they do what? Lock the door in my face? If they find me wanting to enter, let them lock the door in my face!—Why, then, do you go to the gate of the palace?—Because I think it fitting for me to join in the game while the game lasts.—How, then, is it that you are not locked out?—Because, if anyone will not receive me, I do not care to go in, but always I wish rather the thing which takes place. For I regard God's will as better than my will. I shall attach myself to Him as a servant and follower, my choice is one with His, my desire one with His, in a word, my will is one with His will. No door is locked in my face, but rather in the face of those who would force themselves in. Why, then, do I not force myself in? Why, because I know that within nothing good is distributed among those who have entered. But when I hear someone called blessed, because he is being honoured by Caesar, I say, "What is his portion? Does he, then, get also a judgement such as he ought to have for governing a province? Does he, then, get also the ability to administer a procuratorship? Why should I any longer push my way in? Somebody is scattering dried figs and nuts; the children snatch them up and fight with one another, the men do not, for they count this a small matter. But if somebody throws potsherds around, not even the children snatch them up. Governorships are being passed around. The children shall see to that. Money. The children shall see to that. A praetorship, a consulship. Let the children snatch them up; let the children have the door locked in their faces, take a beating, kiss the hands of the giver, and the hands of his slaves. As for me, it's a mere scattering of dried figs and nuts." But what, then, if, when the man is throwing them about, a dried fig chances to fall into my lap? I take it up and eat it. For I may properly value even a dried fig as much as that. But neither a dried fig, nor any other of the things not good, which the philosophers have persuaded me not to think good, is of sufficient value to warrant my grovelling and upsetting someone else, or being upset by him, or flattering those who have flung the dried figs among us.

Excerpt from Chapter VII, Of freedom from fear, in Book IV of Epictetus' Discourses.

/misc | Dec 11, 2017

Demi-decennial coworking update* #

WeWork "transforms buildings into beautiful, collaborative workspaces." 237 buildings in 56 cities, for teams of 1 to 500+.

Previously: 2005, 2010

*Yes, this installment is running slightly behind schedule.

/misc | Oct 26, 2017

Veganism in a nutshell #

If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?

-- Pam Ahern of Edgar's Mission

/misc | Sep 03, 2017

Proving the existence and content of a webpage #

ICanProve generates "digitally signed screenshots and session logs for legal evidence, proofs and discovery".

It uses a "remote controlled browser to create screenshots with extended logging of user actions and data transfer to create a timestamped and digitally signed document to give a very reliable proof of the website contents while allowing to selectively exclude sensitive information and transparently decoding ssl (https) sessions".

Would the generated files hold up in court? No idea. I am not a lawyer (thank heavens), this is not legal advice, etc, etc. It may be prudent to have an actual notary (or twelve) verify and notarize as well (after conferring with a phalanx of attorneys, of course).

Related:

/misc | Aug 16, 2017

Resetting an HP OfficeJet 5740 #

Notes

Support and Engineering main menu entries

Support Menu (Press Back/Return 4 times)

Some potentially useful/interesting options:

Engineering Menu (Press Home, Back, Home, Home)

Some potentially useful/interesting options:

Links

/misc | Mar 04, 2017

Still using Yahoo Mail? #

/misc | Feb 10, 2017

Objections to veganism #

Vegan Sidekick has a handy guide to justifications for harming and exploiting animals. TL;DR: this comic covers much of it.

/misc | Jan 23, 2017

Combine an animated GIF with a static image while retaining the animation #

in Adobe ImageReady CS2:
  1. Open both images in ImageReady
  2. Rotate the animated GIF if desired (Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary...)
  3. Make the animated GIF's canvas size larger than the static image's canvas size (Image > Canvas Size...)
  4. Copy and paste the static image as a layer into the animated GIF (Select > All > Edit > Copy > Edit > Paste)
  5. Using the Move Tool (V), drag the static image to the desired position, then use the Crop Tool (C) to crop it
  6. Set the static image as the background (Layer > New > Background From Layer)
  7. Check the delay timers and looping options in the Animation pane (Window > Animation)
  8. Save the new combined GIF (File > Save Optimized As...)

/misc | Oct 19, 2016

All empty boats #

If a man is crossing a river
and an empty boat
collides with his own boat,
he won’t get offended or angry,
however hot-tempered he may be.
But if the boat is manned,
he may flare up, shouting and cursing,
just because there’s a rower.

Realize that all boats are empty
as you cross the river of the world,
and nothing can possibly offend you.

From chapter 43 of Stephen Mitchell's The Second Book of the Tao

/misc | Jul 19, 2016

Copy actual URLs from Google search results, not nested nonsense #

Redirects in Google search results are not only a privacy concern, but also a major pain when trying to simply copy and paste links: These two extensions/add-ons (via HackerNews) help reduce needless suffering:

/misc | Jul 10, 2016


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