My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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Fill in the Blank: “The Mind Is Rarely So Disturbed But That __ Will Restore It to Tranquility.”

“The mind…is rarely so disturbed, but that the company of a friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.” –Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments Agree, disagree? Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: strong relationships are a key to happiness. We usually get a little lift from engaging with other people.


Can a Vine Behave like an Olive Tree? No.

A vine cannot behave olively, nor an olive tree vinely—it is impossible, inconceivable. No more can a human being wholly efface his native disposition. –Epictetus, Discourses, 2.20.18 This is what has struck me most in my study of habits. We can’t change our fundamental nature. We have to form the habits that work for us. An Owl shouldn’t bother trying …


“A Rush of Superiority Which Afflicts All Those Who Are Astir Earlier Than Other People.”

“He looked up at the grey house; all the blinds were down, and he instantly despised his guests for being still asleep, in a rush of that superiority which afflicts all those who are astir earlier than other people.” — Vita Sackville-West, The Edwardians I’m an early riser, and I love getting up early — and I also definitely feel …


“From the Gods Who Sit in Grandeur/Grace Comes Somehow Violent.”

Zeus, who guided men to think, who has laid it down that wisdom comes alone through suffering. Still there drips in sleep against the heart grief of memory; against our pleasure we are temperate. From the gods who sit in grandeur grace comes somehow violent. — Aeschylus, “Agamemnon,” translated by Richmond Lattimore I’ve remembered the last two lines of this …


Guess: Which Virtue Gives Other Virtues Their “Principal Lustre”?

“Self-command is not only itself a great virtue, but from it all the other virtues seem to derive their principal lustre.” –Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments Agree, disagree? I was trying to figure out what Smith means, exactly, and I think it’s this: when we consider the possessions of virtues, without self-command, they shrink. Courage without self-command, consideration …