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STOIC POETRY | Explaining "The Pirate Ride"

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

August 29, 2019

Dear Eric,

Let me try to explain The Good Life principle I call "The Pirate Ride." Imagine yourself on an amusement park attraction - a ride such as Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean - where you are moving slowly through a landscape of natural-looking machinery. Nearly everything you see is fake: the plants, the animals, the pirates and even the ride is nothing more than a contrived landscape and circumstance of amusement. Now, imagine that there is no contrivance. Imagine no plan. Imagine no planner. Just picture the landscape "alive" with activity and seeming direction and purpose. Next, consider that you too are just part of the scenery, just another automaton, simply a cog in the great machinery of this vast, unfolding reality. Now, imagine how all the parts of our own reality must interact and work with one "cog" or "gear" truly ever alone in the machinations of the universal "machine"...each acting upon and influencing all the rest...across great expanses of time and distance...from the very moment it all came into existence from a point of outward expanding matter and energy, until the whole "scheme" unwinds into universal heat death a trillion years hence. And then ask yourself if your own mind and seeming will can truly hold even the slightest sway way over such a grand, mindless orchestration? Ask yourself if your smallest decision could ever be made in absence of a thousand billion tugs and pushes from all reality everywhere?

Could you truly ever decide anything alone? And then when you see that you are just another bit of matter and energy, a chemical unfolding with no ghost in the machine, winding down the indifferent path of entropy; and when you put aside your feign illusion of control, and then sit back into your mind to watch your seemingly willful life unfold as you willlessly will it to go...then, - and maybe only for the briefest of moments - will you truly experience the living knowledge - and utter disconnect - of no free will.

It sounds scary. But it's not... It's better always to know the truth - to know, that we too, are simply pirates on the ride.



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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