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STOIC POETRY | A prison of consequence

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

I keep forgetting - fooling myself, really - that I could be in any circumstance other than the one in which I find myself now. It's fun to imagine that I am in control, and can really guide my own way in any truly independent sense. This illusion is important if we are to keep up the game of life, and participate as though we have much - or even any - say in what we are and then become, or what story is told across the course of our lives. We do have the power to decide for ourselves during every moment we are alive, which fact is the cause of such confusion, only we cannot have made any choice ever other than what we do make.

Yesterday, My way led me to today, Like today must yield tomorrow. So too, My every moment, Into the next.

Ours is a prison of consequence: a universal consequence of great precedent set into motion long before we were born. And we are just the biological levers of action being swung by great, inanimate forces beyond our control. We acquiesce by virtue of illusion, pretending to drive our own lives as though we can make any decisions other than what we do, regretting our seeming folly and proud of our success, wondering if we could have done better, and planning indeed to be and do better. And maybe we will be better for the lesson of our mistakes, and become satisfied over improved ends, and credit ourselves improved also - forgetting all the while that though we did indeed decide to become better, we could then never have chosen to become something worse.

Our lives are only seemingly our own. Our ends less something we possess, as much as fulfill on behalf of everything that has ever been or occurred from the beginning until now. Our pride of purpose - and independence - are an illusion, as is the sense of our life course being in any real sense our own; for while we each do have the power to decide, none of us can ever make any decisions other than the ones we did actually make.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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