My New Coat


I read a lot. I like to read fiction. Usually something that stretches me a little. Like the classics. But lately I’ve ventured into another reading arena. I’m reading nonfiction classics, mostly of the philosophical bent.

I’m wading through selected readings from Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx. I’ve started reading Plato and Charles Darwin. Soon I’ll delve into Rene Descartes, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and others. I’m vaguely familiar with some of these writings, but most of it is new material for me.

As I expose myself to the ideas of each of these writers, I try each of them on as if it were a new coat. I wear it for a while, and see how it fits. Parts of them fit great, others I discard. If I ever finish this experiment, I expect my coat to be a great patchwork of ideas that I have made my own. A very colorful quilt of a coat that always has room for another patch.

Learning about these ideas in the context of their times helps me understand how we got where we are today. I can draw on these ideas, and from the luxury of hindsight, see what worked and what didn’t. I’m finding many correlations in the history of those times and the times we are going through now. What worked then might work now.

Study the writings of these men. Think about the historical context in which they were written. Try on their ideas for a while. Do you see any similarities with today? Do you think some of their ideas might be relevant today?

Mind Wasters

Wasting time = wasting mind. Do any of these apply to you?

  • Busy work: the stuff that fills our hours but does nothing to fulfill our existence. Mindless TV, surfing the internet, reading vacuous novels. These are passive activities that occupy our time with mindless entertainment. These things are fine in moderation.
  • Letting others’ wants and needs dictate the path you take. This is ok as long as you are aware of it. If their goals coincide with yours, or at least come close to your goals, then go for it. But if you are just along for the ride because there’s nothing better, spend some time doing a little soul-searching.
  • Not having goals. Set your sites on a goal that you can achieve in a year or so. And then do it. Define your life’s mission, and setting goals will be easy.
  • Not having a life mission. This is the biggest mind waster. If you have a mission, then the previous problems will be nonexistent for you.

Think about where you invest your energy and effort. Is it aligned with your core beliefs and mission? Are you working toward what you want to accomplish? Are you taking the direction you want in your life?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)

Time is your treasure. Where is your heart? Do you need to change it?