Category Archives: Philosophy

Another Benefit From Mediation

It is the ability to glimpse the wonder inherent in things.

The presence of something phenomenal is not required. In the face of pure attention, the banal becomes magical. The blinking cursor on the page, the shape of the symbols on the keyboard, the noise of the computer fan. Even the sound of typing on the keyboard.

Once again: Practicing meditation is learning to see, hear, and feel the world in high definition.

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Money and Perception

“One day, Yahya was out riding with the caliph Harun Al-Rashid. A man appeared before the caliph and said to him, “My mule is dead.”

Upon hearing this, the caliph commanded that the poor man be given five hundred dirhams. But Yahya signaled the caliph to dismount, and then took him aside.

“Father!” said Harun. “You made a sign to me about something I do not understand.” Yahya said in response, “A caliph should never lower himself to mention so small a sum of money, even as a gift. When it is necessary to give, it is better to give five thousand, or ten thousand.

Harun said to him, “So what should I have done in this situation?” Yahya said, “Simply offer to get him a new mule.””

— The Wisdom And Generosity Of Yahya Ibn Khalid (translation by Quintus Curtius)

The value of money is different for each of us. This is why a gift of money is often met with ingratitude: it is rare for our perception of value to match that of the others.

The monetary largesse of one man may resemble the avarice of another; and even if both parties are satisfied with the gift, the judgment of those who witness it is always up for grabs.

More sensible, then, is to find out what the other person desires, and, being within our possibility, to offer it.

No more, no less; the art of generosity is an art demanding of precision.

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In Hindsight

As people, we are an amalgam of biology and experience.

Biology is directly deterministic. Experience is not.

The possession of a particular set of data and the interaction of this set of data with a person’s biology is what will shape their personality, cognitive ability, tastes, choices, and everything that defines them as an individual.

What experiences do is insert data into the system that is us.

The person we are is a consequence of the experiences to which our biological entity has been exposed.

So the person we are after a (striking? special?) experience is different from the person who initiated the action, who was on the receiving end of that experience.

This is why it makes no sense to feel regret for the mistakes of the past.

Learn from them, yes. That’s an imperative. It is a tragedy when we don’t learn from the past. But to feel regret over what was done?

What is the point of regretting something that was done by someone else?

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