How to have a good day

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.
-Marcus Aurelius

People are assoles is a pheromone responsible for the cognitive bias fecundity. It’s why a Roman emperor who lived 1900 years before Twitter, can weather forecast your days. What sounds like Marcus shitting on humanity is a prelude to the profundity lacking in the climate of unpeopling our days. Here’s the rest of the quote:

“They [the people] are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”

I think I will be the meddling ungrateful maniac, rather.

To get to the state Marcus talks about requires that you do, as truth usually does, the exact opposite. To wake up and tell yourself:

“The people I deal with today will be kind, honest, helpful, loving, and joyful.”

And you can follow that up with a vomit.

If this sounds like smearing positive thinking bullshit over the ideal fatalism of philosophy, you just heard the BGM of the 21st century. What is left for us are two schools of thought: that’s bullshit, you should die; and that’s me, we should totally have sex.

Our assumption about humanity is that people who don’t believe the same things we do, handle all the evil in the world. It’s the kind of inconsolable history and religious fan fiction we have been fortified with. Of violence, cruelty, and hatred: Of righteousness, guilt, and repentance. Of supremacy by calamity.

It’s why when you come face to face with the beauty of good — with people who in the wake of their existence bring you closer to the divine  — you become uneasy and grope for what’s broken in them.

We are waking up to ask the ceremonial question: what’s wrong with people? And Marcus is saying: when you find the answer, say to them: I love you. Because to be in touch with the part of you capable of love while reminiscing over everything wrong with you is the answer. The manna.

A part of that agreement is knowing everyone has a bad day, but that doesn’t make them bad. That one consideration can make all the difference in how you go about your days. And how you talk to yourself.

If anything, we have had more good days than bad days, and that’s the most simplified way to explain evolution. If we hadn’t the strength to wake up and see the goodness in one another, day after day, despite the distrust fostered by a long spell of bad days, history would be toasting our extinction. 

It’s easy to go into your day assuming everyone is going to be a dick. What’s difficult is to believe in the monotonous miracle that people are capable of love despite having none themselves. Funny how you are going, that’s bullshit when, in fact, that’s you.

Wake up and become a victim of love’s infinite jest. Have a good day.

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