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Atlas Minor • Tired:

What is the best strategy for surviving the 21st-century? Does it require some sort of cool detachment? Bertrand Russell notes that Stoicism naturally took root during “a tired age” when Rome began to decay, a time when “the future, they felt, would be at best a weariness, at worst a horror. In a hopeful age, great present evils can be endured, because it is thought they will pass; but in a tired age even real goods lose their savour.” Philosophies such as Stoicism suit a tired age because “its gospel is one of endurance rather than hope.” Maybe we’ve entered an absolutely exhausted age. But here’s why I often turn to Russell for comfort: “There is, in fact, an element of sour grapes in Stoicism. We can’t be happy, but we can be good; let us therefore pretend that, so long as we are good, it doesn’t matter being unhappy. This doctrine is heroic, and, in a bad world, useful; but it is neither quite true nor, in a fundamental sense, quite sincere.” So I’m thinking about what it means to be sincere on and off the screen in 2021, which feels more productive than contemplating how to endure. another weblog