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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


March 31st, 2019

One of the very faintest memories that Lucilius often wondered about -as perhaps a dream- was an image of his two hands, each with a rock, ramming one into the other at careful angles, cracking off flakes.  The finished piece was a crude edge, slowly inspected while a small scatter of rocky shards littered the forest ground.


He thought of this hazy image as he carefully ran a blade along a wet stone block.  He flipped the blade and brought it back towards him.  Slowly, the thin layer of water grew murky as he swept the water back and forth with the blade.  The whole knife used to be much bigger, but over the many years it has dulled and sharpened, by the stone and by the task it lost and found it’s edge, always by losing more and more of itself.


Lucilius could also remember a crude copper knife, and later on, iron.  Every blade he’d made and honed through the centuries had slowly ground down to nothing or snapped.  Each time he honed his skills at the forge, bending bright metal onto itself under great heat, pounding the softened metals, then grinding down edges.


As he sharpened the small blade he now had, he wondered: how many such tools had grown by the hands of man and withered under the same hand to stay sharp.


He flipped the blade and dragged it slowly against the smooth stone. 


His phone rang, but he did not hear it.


He flipped the blade once more.


The TV’s talking head droned on with new alarm, but Lucilius did not hear it.


He only concentrated, keeping the blade at the right angle.


Even the thoughts of past tools he had built and used, melted away as he concentrated more deeply.


He brought the blade to pass once more.


And once more.


And there was nothing in his mind save for the task at hand.


Soon this knife would be used up and gone too, but Lucilius did not think of it.


Both the past and all that might still happen were sheared from his mind.


He only moved the blade across the stone,


merely holding it at the perfect angle.

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

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Podcast Ep. 350: A Lucilius Parable: Entropy Sharpening

Tinkered Thinking

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