Sunday, 10 June 2012

distracted by baubles

Having made a wholemeal sponge yesterday morning, I made a basic wholemeal sourdough in the evening folding it several times over a four hour period before shaping it in a cane banneton and placing it in the fridge to rise overnight. It never ceases to amuse me that the dough does in fact rise - when I was younger it was instilled into me that you had to place your bread somewhere warm to rise, usually the airing cupboard, but now I am comfortable with this slow fermentation process. This loaf took 26 hours to make and tastes wonderful.

I have a small repertoire of breads I now make but I don't think anything can beat the taste of  crusty wholemeal bread fresh from the oven with melting butter.

Its the weekend and I feel as if I just have a fleeting  few hours free from the treadmill of life. Monday is already looming.

I read the following passage last year from the introduction to a book by William B. Irvine titled "A guide to the good life - The ancient art of stoic joy"

"What do you want out of life? [...] I am asking not for the goals you form as you go about your daily activities but for your grand goal in living. In other words, of the things in life you might pursue, which is the thing you believe to be most valuable? 
[...] Why is it important to have such a philosophy? Because without one, there is a danger that you will mislive - that despite all your activity, despite all the pleasant diversions you might have enjoyed while alive, you will end up having a bad life. There is, in other words, a danger that when you are on your deathbed, you will look back and realise that you wasted your one chance at living. Instead of spending your life pursuing something genuinely valuable, you squandered it because you allowed yourself to be distracted by the various baubles life has to offer. 
Suppose you can identify your grand goal in living. Suppose, too, that you can explain why this goal is worth attaining. Even then, there is a danger you will mislive. In particular, if you lack an effective strategy for attaining your goal, it is unlikely you will attain it. Thus, the second component of a philosophy of life is a strategy for attaining your grand goal in living. This strategy will specify what you must do, as you go about your daily activities, to maximise your chances of gaining the thing in life that you take to be ultimately valuable." 
It struck a chord with me. But I closed the book, placed it back on the bookshelf and have not read it since. Still, the passage haunts me.

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