This year, many holidays will probably be on obvious grounds rather than with the Greeks. Still, we can learn a lot from them, especially from the ancient Greeks. Not for school, but for life, as Seneca, another great Stoic, noted, and that includes holidays. For the ancient Greek philosophers were not rapturous swashbucklers of abstract spirals of thought around meaningful questions such as why the banana is crooked, but founders and mediators of practical life insights that can give us direction, speed and spin even today.
And then, on cue, Epictetus speaks up again: "There are two guests you always entertain: your body and your soul. What you offer the body you soon give away. But what you offer the soul, you keep forever."
The part about giving back will be contradicted by all those who offer lifelong sacrifices of atonement to the gods of the rich holiday buffet and their curse: "A moment on the lips - a lifetime on the hips" with louder hip gold. And so, at some point in life, the question "What was your best holiday experience?" mutates into the question "How much weight did you gain on holiday?", which also explains why people talk about increasing age. But that's another story.
Either way, it is important to be mindful of what we stuff into our heads or allow to be stuffed into our heads.
On holiday, we could let some of it out, or let it out again, and afterwards even emerge lighter, freer and more self-determined in our old world, because, for example, we finally stop drowning in distractions and behavioural addictions. I don't know about you, but I suffer from it - in both senses - and I'm definitely treating myself to a digital detox programme. I want to make that the new standard and not also be present on TikTok from autumn onwards in a yo-yo effect.
In these situations, it often helps to take something that's too much for you, and to take it again until it makes you sick. From then on it gets better. This kick-off won't help if you're Keith Richards, but for the rest of us it's definitely worth a try.
Amazon* says: "Alter gives a stark warning about the threatening rise of behavioural addictions in the digital age - and shows how we can resist them. About half of the western population is addicted to at least one behaviour. As if under compulsion, we hang on to our emails, Instagram likes and Facebook posts; we shoot ourselves into a coma with TV series, can't stop online shopping, work a few more hours every year; we stare at our smartphones for an average of three hours a day. One reason for this is the addictive design of these technologies. The age of behavioural addictions is still young, but it is becoming increasingly clear how much of a socially relevant problem it is - with destructive effects on our well-being and especially on the health and happiness of our children. Psychologist Adam Alter shows why behavioural addictions are proliferating so wildly, how they capitalise on the human psyche, and what we need to do to make it easier for us and our children to resist them. Because the good news is that we are not irrevocably at the mercy of behavioural addictions."
At my level of consciousness, Adam Alter is carrying owls to Athens, but since I'm not Keith Richards, this seems to me to be a good start for the liberation strike, which should not be a dive, but still leaves open the question of how to deal with these media, if one wants to use them again as a means of communication with the community. I hope that "Irresistible" also provides information about this!
What do you say?
If all this sounds like a summer break for my newsletter, blog & podcast as well as for my social media channels, then you have heard the interjection, because that's how it is. I'm not on this list of break makers myself, because El Storyduderino & his playmates continue to work diligently, but will also crawl away to foreign holiday destinations in between. Not to Greece, though, but to the land of reading anyway, because two things have not changed to this day, which means that this summer, despite all the adversities, remains a summer just like back then:
1. for my birthday at the beginning of the holidays, all kinds of book joy washed up in my heart.
2. there is so much to discover, and nothing stands in the way of the most wonderful holiday experiences.
Which brings us back to the Stoics and Seneca's thoughts on the two handles. The quote reads in full: "Every thing has two handles. By one you can touch it, by the other you cannot. If your brother wrongs you, do not grab him by his wrong - for he cannot be touched by this handle - but rather by the other handle, which says that he is your brother and grew up with you; then you will grab him where he can be grabbed." This is ideally matched by "Basically Good. A New History of Humanity." by Rutger Bregmann
Yuval Noah Harari said about it: "'Basically Good' made me look at humanity from a new perspective. I highly recommend it." I am not the right person to contradict Prof. Harari, so I sincerely wish us that Rutger Bregmann is right and remains so. Because then we would all have an easier time with each other. And we would also have good reasons, despite what is already going on in many resorts, to believe that we will continue to exist on this planet and that it makes sense.
Perspective on what is - that is the story we tell ourselves, that drives our inner story and that drives our outer story towards what could be. Often it simply takes a new perspective, a "What if ...?" to wake us up, to make us emerge, to set off into our next chapter and get closer to our truth. For this too, a thought from a great stoic is within reach: "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not a truth," our favourite Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius knew.
Our perspective is our truth. This is what Zeno of Kition is said to have said when he shared stories about life with my grandmother, old Story Dudette, on the Stoa, which she always commented on with the words: No Story. No Glory.
In "No Story. No Glory. - The Podcast" we have a current episode to accompany you on holiday. The sea and seafaring, with all the mysteries, myths and unbridled forces of nature associated with them, have fascinated us humans since the beginning of time. New shores, unknown worlds - of the sea and the waves of love ... The sea and seafaring - an endless treasure of stories, rich in metaphors for our journey through life, into the unknown, into hope. Somewhere, for each of us, there is a lighthouse that attracts us: our destiny in our port of destination, which we head for even when the wind is against us. If we are wise, wisely guided, wisely guiding ourselves.
In this holiday episode in a strange time, I share some thoughts with you about the sea, purpose, values and goals - accompanied by Ernest Hemingway, Eros Ramazzotti, The Police and Pier Paolo Pasolini, among others. How does it all turn out? Listen in and sail along to the last episode before the summer break. Don't forget sunscreen, please!!!