I really loved the Mass Effect video game, the whole trilogy in fact is amazing. One thing I still remember clearly is finishing Mass Effect and having this song come on during the credits:
From the start of the guitar to when the lyrics kick in, the song always spoke to me. While I was perhaps slightly better than in the past in 2008, it was still a pretty big mess. The feeling of longing, nostalgia and what I’ll call hopeful despair that I took from the song really made an impact on me at the time.
I identified with the lyrics, I had always up to that point struggled with being able to be a “full” person on my own. That I shouldn’t need anyone else that I used as a crutch. My happiness, my wisdom, my actions, they shouldn’t rely on there being someone else there with me (in particular as a romantic partner).
And I need you to recover Because I can’t make it on my own
While this quote is again from Seneca, (Or Lucilius I guess?) I think it falls inline with the misattribution bias. Something that I think successful people often fall in the trap of. I am successful clearly because I am better, and not because of some random lucky breaks I go (especially including inherited wealth).
While not the same, I find them similar enough and the comic does a good job of explaining it.
So as much as I say that I’m writing for myself, it’s always interesting to see the traffic patterns. I can see why people become obsessed with Facebook’s algorithm and making it happy since it is what drives so much sporadic traffic. It’s kinda like the rats and birds that become superstitious, you just start to think that certain things will cause traffic.
All that to say, that no one seems to care about Seneca, but sadly for you, I don’t have anything more interesting at the moment (that’s probably a lie, but my thoughts on those topics are a bit scattered right now).
I think it’s also bit apropos that the topic of that post was on accepting and embracing helping one person and not many. Facebook and Twitter have conspired to make sure I really appreciate that point.
I’ve been thinking about this duality for a while, many years in fact. But for some reason, it showed up in multiple ways today.
I have a tendency to be a big picture person, I see it, and I want to get us there. The problem is that along that road there are a lot of small victories that need to be had. It’s often demoralizing if you know where you should be, and know how far ahead it still is.
“One man means as much to me as a multitude, and a multitude only as much as one man.”
“I am content with few, content with one, content with none at all.”
“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”
My take away for today is that while there are many big picture items I will strive towards, it’s only by taking small steps, by helping one person, improving one tool, that I’ll be able to achieve them.
I’ve straight up copy pasted that title from Maria here. I really enjoyed the blog post. I recommend reading all of it, but the tl;dr is this:
If you see someone go through a hard time, don’t feel sorry for them. It deprives them of agency. If you say you’re sorry, you’re saying they’re unable to deal with what is happening.
People are much wiser and stronger than we think. They have the power to use whatever challenge they’re facing as a tool for growth. The best you can do is to be their cheerleader. Say, I know it is hard, but I know you can make it.