I was watching the movie Hot Fuzz after work a few days ago. I’ve seen it before and there was no real reason for me to be watching it. There were certainly more important things to be doing. In the film, this picturesque village carries a dark secret, and the villager’s have a mantra they often say in a brainwashed drone, “the greater good.”
Every weekday morning, I start my day by journaling and then reading from Ryan Holiday’s book, The Daily Stoic. The Stoic concept, sympatheia, was mentioned in today’s reading which the book describes as “the notion of an interconnected cosmos in which everything in the universe is a part of a larger whole.” In other words, “the greater good.”
Last night my daughter wrote my wife and I an amazing letter. It was full of radical candor – clear, concise, specific, and accurate. She’s 12! It called us out on all the ways we are failing her as parents, and she was right. There was no blame in her letter, just critical objective truth. Oddly enough, it didn’t sting or hurt to read her words, because her motivation was to inform us of how we are showing up, not to shame us. It’s foolish to argue against the truth and pointless to be hurt by it.
I am 100% guilty of shaming others through the veil of humor. Humor is my defense mechanism – it’s how I fortify my walls to keep from getting hurt by others. That’s the bullshit excuse I tell myself anyway. At times, my wife tells my daughter, “what he’s saying to you is how he really feels about himself,” and she’s absolutely right. My daughter is at a fragile age and I need to be better for her. I cannot let my daily struggles and the haunts of my past show up as sarcastic commentary that prevents me from modeling the behavior that will help my daughter become a kind, compassionate, empathetic adult.
This intention of this blog is never to preach, but share, in my way, the conflicts I experience daily. It exists as a means for me to teach myself, while processing what ails my brain through the process of writing.
From the sardonic use of “the greater good” in Hot Fuzz, to my daughter’s letter, to the happenings that inspired her to write her letter, to the stoic path that led me to the following quotes this morning, the synchronicity holds weight that I will shoulder.
“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself” – Epictetus
“Waste No More Time Arguing What A Good Man Should Be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius