My friend, Marcus Aurelius

Today, however, there are no models of good retainers. In light of this, it would be good to make a model to learn from. To do this, one should look at many people and choose from each person his best point only. For example, one person for politeness, one for bravery, one for the proper way of speaking, one for correct conduct and one for steadiness of mind. Thus will the model be made. — Hagakure“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?” — Marcus Aurelius [More Catalog]

My father: consistency; incomparable commitment; doing what needs to be done; the valuable lesson of how to like yourself.

My mother: the limits intelligence and ambition; responsibility; doing what is difficult; to always read; how to turn adversity into growth. How unpardonable it would have been of you to turn out a blockhead.

My grandmother: prudence, and planning. Her complete inability to do harm, or even conceive of doing it. There’s always more toothpaste in the tube.

My oldest brother: how to start over; to do what you really want to do.

My middle brother: sarcasm; the art of arguing; jazz; how to stand up for yourself. Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.

James: my love of drawing, and later, my love of art; emotional intensity and sensitivity; mildness; eternal friendship. Laundry Lights.

Dr. Rappaport: mentorship; philosophical inquiry — the nature of goodness, beauty, love; a titan of scholarly thought; the value of what is old. What moved you?

Dr. Pelletier: not to believe everything Dr. Rappaport says. Albert, quit telling God what to do!

Lazar: how to study; loyalty and friendship.

Russ: expanding the boundaries of my conception of humor.

Quincy: that happiness is a choice we make every day.

Mrs. Dandlicker: sometimes the only solution is drilling, endless, repetition. I’ll see you after school.

Fitzgerald: the dream defines you. Sure it may not be possible, but it might be — there’s only a chance if you can imagine it. He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling.

Dr. Lucic: that true intelligence is a zen-like clarity that cannot be taught, but can be embodied. Is this necessary?

Dr. Adams: how to discuss 3-dimensional space. Sometimes I think the whole of art history could be rewritten as an analysis of corners. Yes, corners: the way in which one plane intersects …another.

Dr. Epstein: how to talk about subjects I know nothing about. You can’t learn during a first reading. You can’t learn in a second reading. You have to read an reread and reread again. One who has read a portion on hundred times cannot compare with one who has read that portion 101 times.

Mr. Reedy: how to look at objects; how to render the abstract image in your head onto paper.

Dr. Peck: kindness; soft spoken success; the subtle victory. Are you using your gifts for or against the people?

Dr. Kane: that it’s only natural. Nature’s first green is gold.

Dr. Frank: that a guitar is so much cheaper than a shrink; for teaching me the challenges of expertise; that I can become intensely interested in just about anything.

Misha: the value of a dinner party; hospitality. Deipnosophist

Mr. Mulgrew: how to read (as a high schooler); a tremendous gift. We are what we read.

Dr. Weedin: how to read (as an undergraduate) every single jot and tittle. How true is it that words are but vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feeling and purposes.

Dr. Updegraff: for Latin. He has a shield of lion’s hide, a lance with gleaming iron tip, and a javelin–and, better than all arms–his daring soul.

Aeneas: you don’t have to be perfect to be a hero; everyone does the very best they can, which is often very poor. Aeneas wept.

Mr. Feliu: that movies are a legitimate art form, not just a pass time. 

Socrates: so long as his character is unchanged, no one can harm the virtuous man. Socrates thinks he knows all the questions.

Melville: for a firm grasp of the ungraspable, an understanding of the unknowable, a measuring of the unfathomable; the awesome manliness of refusing to quit wrestling with these questions; the possibility of being consumed by them. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.

Rome: that how a society is built fundamentally defines its character.

Tatyana: the silliness of pretension. The universe might go to the devil, so long as I could go on drinking tea!

Violetta: how to master your emotions, even the most consuming of them all — jealousy; loneliness.

Shi Heng Jun: the limits of a physical body. How to convert negative energy into positive outcomes. How to summon unrealized energy. How little I need to live.

Remo: local pride.

Jarow: Tarot; astrology; divine order; the tenuousness of reality, reason.

Lia: poetry; not to overlook what is small. Puddle-wonderful.

Robby: how very limiting academia is; the importance of not deceiving yourself.

Allie: classical music; how to feel a note. Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor.

Nate: that anything can be a musical instrument, and anyone a musician.

Emily: love; kindness; the capability to open. And the heart of the boy beat, and he lowered his glance for the first time in his life and turned his modest eyes to the ground. And his glance sank to the river and rested on the image of the girl as it reflected with the morning star. (Scroll of Fire).

To writing: because I cannot comprehend what I cannot put into words. Let me speak, then, and find some relief.

To the world: your harmony is mine. Whatever time you choose is the right time. Not late, not early.

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