At my present day-job, the majority of my workday is spent performing mundane and routine office work, primarily shuffling papers and performing data entry. Since listening to music can only carry me through so many hours of the day, I was driven to find some other ways to preoccupy all of the mental energy that goes unused by my job duties. A few months back when I still had an Evernote Premium subscription, I was utilizing their text-to-speech engine in their browser extension to have my workstation read back articles from my RSS feed subscriptions. Even though I found another text-to-speech extension (which appears to be the platform that powers Evernote’s) that can be used for free, even the couple steps it takes to get a web page read back to me are too much of an inconvenience to do multiple times throughout the day for 2–7 minutes of audio content. Recently, I started thinking about how I could get around these annoyances. Then, I remembered about podcasts.
As I was keyboard-shortcutting my way through my Feedly feeds, a post from Art of Manliness stood out at me, since it included a SoundCloud player. I read the article body, an overview of their latest podcast episode and had my interest piqued. Lately, I’ve been passively working on collecting an idea bank to have at the ready for this year’s NaNoWriMo, and as a result, I’ve been reading articles and interviews with authors to get some motivational perspective. Being featured on Art of Manliness, the subject matter of book itself was also highly relevant to my interests, and hearing more about it felt like a good passive use of an hour of the work day.
That turned out to be an extremely good decision on my part. As I listened, I realized that stoic is something I’ve become not only in demeanor, but also philosophically. For the past few years, I’ve been deeply engaged in sorting out personal matters and reconnecting with my “true self”. Inspired by the Japanese literary legend of “Musashi”, I modeled my own personal journey after his own, removing myself from the world as much as possible and redefining my identity in near-complete solitude, uninfluenced by the external world. It’s a state I’d been very close with before in my life, a time I recall being very much in tune with myself and the world around me. As I did started doing some investigative reading on the subject, I saw many of the principles I’ve directed myself towards in a formal philosophical ideology. Needless to say, I’m very much interested in learning more about the real-world history of this school of thought. The book by Ryan Holiday discussed in the podcast has been added to my reading list, as has Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.