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The Cardinal Rule of Rome

In languor, potentia.

Audio Companion

Cardinal Rule of Rome Audio Companion

Never Forget the Cardinal Rule of Rome

Don't. Fuck. With. Octavian.

Multiple examples from the same video of why you should reconsider messing with Augustus! is a reader-supported published Zettelkasten. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.

Octavian Was Sickly

In the course of his life he suffered from several severe and dangerous illnesses, especially after the subjugation of Cantabria, when he was in such a desperate plight from abscesses of the liver, that he was forced to submit to an unprecedented and hazardous course of treatment. Since hot fomentations gave him no relief, he was led by the advice of his physician Antonius Musa to try cold ones. (View Highlight)
It is said that his body was covered with spots and that he had birthmarks scattered over his breast and belly, corresponding in form, order and number with the stars of the Bear in the heavens; also numerous callous places resembling ringworm, caused by a constant itching of his body and a vigorous use of the strigil. He was not very strong in his left hip, thigh, and leg, and even limped slightly at times; but he strengthened them by treatment with sand and reeds.​He sometimes found the forefinger of his right hand so weak, when it was numb and shrunken with the cold, that he could hardly use it for writing even with the aid of a finger-stall of horn. He complained of his bladder too, and was relieved of the pain only after passing stones in his urine. (View Highlight)
In winter he protected himself with four tunics and a heavy toga, besides an undershirt, a woollen chest-protector and wraps for his thighs and shins, while in summer he slept with the doors of his bed-room open, oftentimes in the open court near a fountain, besides having someone to fan him. Yet he could not endure the sun even in winter, and never walked in the open air without wearing a broad-brimmed hat, even at home. He travelled in a litter, usually at night, and by such slow and easy stages that he took two days to go to Praeneste or Tibur; and if he could reach his destination by sea, he preferred to sail. Yet in spite of all he made good his weakness by great care, especially by moderation in bathing; for as a rule he was anointed or took sweat by a fire, after which he was doused with water either lukewarm or tepid from long exposure to the sun. When however he had to use hot salt water and sulphur baths for rheumatism, he contented himself with sitting on a wooden bath-seat, which he called by the Spanish name dureta, and plunging his hands and feet in the water one after the other. (View Highlight)

Badass Dying Words

I hope to say something similar, or at least something more epic than: "Like, you should all totally download Obsidian."

Augustus Caesar died in A.D. 14, his empire secured and at peace. His reported last words were twofold: to his subjects he said, “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble,” but to the friends who had stayed with him in his rise to power he added, “Have I played the part well? Then applaud me as I exit.” (View Highlight)

Augustus was a true student of stoicism[1]

Meditation on Dying by the Dalai Lama

What can we learn from the Dalai Lama about facing death and the legacy we leave behind?
meditation on dying quote.png

Death is the root of all fear, anger, and desire in a living creature 202212281353 -- especially in a creature that always lives with one foot in the future, and one in the present.

In a way the Zettelkasten is a role 202212250153, a project with an implicit end date, with the end date being death.

Are projects possessions if they can be shared with others after you're gone? Are possessions possessed if they are passed down through progeny as treasured memorabilia?

What if Newton was alive to still do math?

Another picture taken in the same restaurant 202302100037

The Fear of Death is the Root of All Anger

Fear is the cause of every problem. It’s the root of all prejudices and the negative emotions of anger, jealousy, and possessiveness. If you had no fear, you could be perfectly happy living in this world. Nothing would bother you. You’d be willing to face everything and everyone because you wouldn’t have fear inside of you that could cause you disturbance. (Location 1045)

Ernst Becker philosophized that the fear of death being the root of all fears means the root off all prejudice, anger, etc. is death

A wise person realizes that at any moment they may breathe out, and the breath may not come back in. (Location 2196)
You really don’t need more time before death; what you need is more depth of experience during the time you’re given. (Location 2290)
Never had it been so strangely clear to Siddhartha how closely related passion was to death. (Location 724)

Siddhartha and the River

Siddhartha looked into the river and saw many pictures in the flowing water. He saw his father, lonely, mourning for his son; he saw himself, lonely, also with the bonds of longing for his faraway son; he saw his son, also lonely, the boy eagerly advancing along the burning path of life’s desires; each one concentrating on his goal, each one obsessed by his goal, each one suffering. (Location 1229)


One of my favorite quotes of all time. Captures the intensity of the drama played out on the stage of human life, of hate, cruelty, love, compassion.

Have I have played my part well in the comedy of life? If so, clap your hands and dismiss me from the stage with applause.
He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha. Instead he saw other faces, many faces, a long series, a continuous stream of faces—hundreds, thousands, which all came and disappeared and yet all seemed to be there at the same time, which all continually changed and renewed themselves and which were yet all Siddhartha. He saw the face of a fish, of a carp, with tremendous painfully opened mouth, a dying fish with dimmed eyes. He saw the face of a newly born child, red and full of wrinkles, ready to cry. He saw the face of a murderer, saw him plunge a knife into the body of a man; at the same moment he saw this criminal kneeling down, bound, and his head cut off by an executioner. He saw the naked bodies of men and women in the postures and transports of passionate love. He saw corpses stretched out, still, cold, empty. He saw the heads of animals—boars, crocodiles, elephants, oxen, birds. He saw Krishna and Agni. He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, loving, hating and destroying each other and become newly born. Each one was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that is transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another. And all these forms and faces rested, flowed, reproduced, swam past and merged into each other, and over them all there was continually something thin, unreal and yet existing, stretched across like thin glass or ice, like a transparent skin, shell, form or mask of water—and this mask was Siddhartha’s smiling face which Govinda touched with his lips at that moment. (Location 1375)

If You Protect Your Life Too Preciously Can You Get Serious Work Done?

For a while, he remained silently at the table after the eating was finished. Was he really a coward, as his son had so brutally pointed out? Certainly, in World War I, he considered himself one. He attributed his survival to it. But then, is there cowardice in the acknowledgment of fear? Is there cowardice in being glad that you lived? (Location 1356)
makio serious work.png
To survive, to avert what we have termed future shock, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before. He must search out totally new ways to anchor himself, for all the old roots—religion, nation, community, family, or profession— are now shaking under the hurricane impact of the accelerative thrust. Before he can do so, however, he must understand in greater detail how the effects of acceleration penetrate his personal life, creep into his behavior and alter the quality of existence. He must, in other words, understand transience. (Location 499)

You Choose a Philosophy or One Will Be Chosen for You

In addition to the relaxation responses induced by supportive community, faith in a higher power may also induce positive emotions, which counteract stress and contribute to the state of physiological rest necessary for the body to repair itself. People with faith in a higher power are also likely to experience better health because they are better able to find meaning in the face of loss or trauma. One study showed that religious parents who lost babies to sudden infant death syndrome were better able to cope 18 months later than nonreligious parents.20 Religious people are also more apt to forgive, which alleviates negative emotions such as anger and resentment that trigger the stress response. (Location 1713)

You can choose a religion (philosophy) or one will be chosen for you

The philosophers associated with these schools were unapologetic about their interest in philosophies of life. According to Epicurus, for example, “Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel the suffering of the mind.” (Location 105)
But even though schools of philosophy are a thing of the past, people are in as much need of a philosophy of life as they ever were. The question is, Where can they go to obtain one? If they go to the philosophy department of the local university, they will, as I have explained, probably be disappointed. What if they instead turn to their local church? Their pastor might tell them what they must do to be a good person, that is, what they must do to be morally upstanding. They might be instructed, for example, not to steal or tell lies or (in some religions) have an abortion. Their pastor will also probably explain what they must do to have a good afterlife: They should come to services regularly and pray and (in some religions) tithe. But their pastor will probably have relatively little to say on what they must do to have a good life. Indeed, most religions, after telling adherents what they must do to be morally upstanding and get into heaven, leave it to them to determine what things in life are and aren’t worth pursuing. These religions see nothing wrong with an adherent working hard so he can afford a huge mansion and an expensive sports car, as long as he doesn’t break any laws doing so; nor do they see anything wrong with the adherent forsaking the mansion for a hut and forsaking the car for a bicycle. And if religions do offer adherents advice on what things in life are and aren’t worth pursuing, they tend to offer the advice in such a low-key manner that adherents might regard it as a suggestion rather than a directive about how to live and might therefore ignore the advice. This, one imagines, is why the adherents of the various religions, despite the differences in their religious beliefs, end up with the same impromptu philosophy of life, namely, a form of enlightened hedonism. Thus, although Lutherans, Baptists, Jews, Mormons, and Catholics hold different religious views, they are remarkably alike when encountered outside of church or synagogue. They hold similar jobs and have similar career ambitions. They live in similar homes, furnished in a similar manner. And they lust to the same degree for whatever consumer products are currently in vogue. (Location 300)
It may seem paradoxical, but having a coherent philosophy of life, whether it be Stoicism or some other philosophy, can make us more accepting of death. Someone with a coherent philosophy of life will know what in life is worth attaining, and because this person has spent time trying to attain the thing in life he believed to be worth attaining, he has probably attained it, to the extent that it was possible for him to do so. Consequently, when it comes time for him to die, he will not feel cheated. To the contrary, he will, in the words of Musonius, “be set free from the fear of death.”2 (Location 2342)


Virgil Abloh Teaches Us to Live for Today

Ye and Virgil embracing at Virgil’s first Louis Vuitton show.
An immortal moment (View Tweet)

So much has happened to the people in this video since it was taken. Kanye, Kim, Chadwick in the audience, Virgil. Crazy, man. Life comes at you fast.

The angel of death comes to us and says, “You see everything that exists here is mine; it is not yours. Your house, your spouse, your children, your car, your career, your money — everything is mine and I can take it away when I want to, but for now you can use it.” (Location 972)
What do I care what others think if I am going to die in one week? I’m going to be myself.” (Location 951)

Plans Are Best Case Scenarios

“Plans are best-case scenarios. Let’s avoid anchoring on plans when we forecast actual outcomes. Thinking about ways the plan could go wrong is one way to do it.” (Location 2107)

Unless you are Sydney Sweeney, in which case make a powerpoint that will come true 202212200240

Something to think about while traveling with single point of failure items like medication -- 202301031256

The Folly of Using the Past To Derive the Future

As long ago as pharaonic Egypt, societies have tracked the high-water mark of rivers that periodically flood—and have always prepared accordingly, apparently assuming that floods will not rise higher than the existing high-water mark. (Location 2255)
black swan events, which are extreme, consequential events (that end in things like financial ruin), but which have significantly higher probabilities than you might initially expect. The name is derived from the false belief, held for many centuries in Europe and other places, that black swans did not exist, when in fact they were (and still are) common birds in Australia. (Location 3362)


A reminder that even with all the data possible, prediction is a fool's game 202302110154

The future of civilization is unknowable, because the knowledge that is going to affect it has yet to be created. (Location 3388)

its silly to prepare for what you already know to expect -and you cant prepare for what you cant expect. You can't predict the wheel if it hasn't been created otherwise you could use that knowledge accordingly.

“If you expect that you will know tomorrow with certainty that your boyfriend has been cheating on you all this time, then you know today with certainty that your boyfriend is cheating on you and will take action today, say, by grabbing a pair of scissors and angrily cutting all his Ferragamo ties in half. You won’t tell yourself, This is what I will figure out tomorrow, but today is different so I will ignore the information and have a pleasant dinner.” - The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb