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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


September 27th, 2018

Imagine for a moment being on an unsinkable boat that has no sails and no engine.  What would life be like?


Calm days on the sea could very easily be wonderful.  But then when storms come, the boat would toss and roll in the huge waves and chances are the experience would be miserable.


Let’s add something to this image.  Below the deck in the main cabin is an endless supply of raw materials.  There’s wood, there’s fabric, there’s metal and machine tools, saws, drills, it’s a complete workshop that, given the right knowledge, anything could be built.  We could do nothing, and just drift.  Sure the storms would be uncomfortable as the boat would roll down the face of huge waves over and over, but storms pass.


Or we could get busy.  With the right knowledge, an engine could be built and attached to the boat, and if we could find some way to power it, we could get on our way in any direction no matter what.


Or, we could build a mast and affix it to the boat.  Cut and sew sails, raise them, and then slowly learn how the wind pushes the sails and how we must trim and steer the boat.  Waves would no longer be random events that push the boat this way or that way.  With sails and some wind and some slowly growing know-how, we could cut those waves and steer in some direction, course correcting as we go.


This unsinkable boat with infinite resources is the human mind.


We can dilly-dally doing nothing and drift through life, letting the storms of life throw our minds into chaos, waves tossing us this way and that way.


Or we can get busy.  We can discover or invent any concept we need to get our mind sailing in a better direction.  We can hone our ability to question ourselves, and create motivation, create wind to fill whatever sails we’ve fashioned.


We can see what works, and then make improvements.  Add another mast, more sails, different shapes, and trim them with more sensitivity, with a greater intuition about the waves and the wind.


Our ability to course correct can become fine-tuned so that we can steer calmly through storms or avoid them altogether.


Perhaps we managed to build some measly little sail, but we’ve got the steering wheel hard over and stuck.  Perhaps we’re just stubbornly sailing in circles because we’re unwilling to learn more about how to steer and what to look for, and maybe what better sort of set of sails we could make.  Perhaps we’re too afraid to set more sail and see what will happen….



Imagine someone admirable.  What would they look like in this circumstance?  Would they have one dinky sail up and the wheel hard over and unattended?


Or would they look like the saltiest sailor alive, with a boat heeled over from the largest set of sails they could get the boat to handle filled with wind, cutting the water furiously, flying towards some beautiful horizon.


We might go back below decks.  Back to the drawing board and wonder.  What else can I do to get myself where I want to go?

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

Dive in to the Archives

Podcast Ep. 165: Set Sail

Tinkered Thinking

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