gladiator

The Future is Coming

And we rarely stop worrying about it. But it’s coming all the same.

And it’s going to arrive dressed in the clothes of the present. And you’re going to deal with it just like you dealt with each new day that arrived for all the years you’ve been blinking & breathing.

More on that in a second. For now, allow me to make a quick diversion.

My favorite of the Stoics is Marcus Aurelius. Besides being portrayed (however briefly) in the movie Gladiator, he wrote a pretty dope book called Meditations. Really, it was his personal journal, and the title translates as “to himself.”

I came across the book while haunting the stacks at Barnes & Noble when I was 18. It was exactly what I needed that no one knew to mention. A loose guide to living written by a hyper-intelligent guy towards the end of his life.

I scribbled down in my journal the following entry from Meditations:

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

How baller is that?

“You will meet it, if you have to…” Yo! This dude implies that you might be dead before you run into some of the stuff you’re worrying about, and he’s right! How many people have dreaded extinction-level events only to get hit by a truck before the third act of Armageddon? What’s the point of all of that worrying?

“The same weapons of reason…?” This Caesar has bars! This makes sense since he bears more than a passing resemblance to the professional rapper, Lil Dicky.

Marcus Aurelius as he might have looked
Rapper Lil Dicky aka Dave Bund

He’s saying that if you meet the future you’ll face it with the wits that got you to the present. More importantly, I take it as a call to upgrade your weaponry, so to speak. Reading, conversing, debating; doing the things that will increase your baseline intelligence and problem-solving skills is crucial to meeting the future (if necessary) in a favorable light.

I’ve given away more copies of Meditations than any other book over the last 20 years as it’s incredibly accessible to everyone. Flip to any page and you get hits of wisdom – bangers, all. From Book 8, (I’ll paraphrase):

What a shame to be surprised that a fig tree should produce figs. What a shame that a physician should be surprised by a man with a fever, or the helmsman surprised by an unfavorable wind.”

He’s imploring himself to remember the nature of things. The world produces plenty, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be deluded into poor expectations. If you’re Charlie Brown and Lucy pulls the football away, that’s really something you should have seen coming.

Never let the future disturb you. You’ve got this. If you don’t, go get it.