Taking the long view

I try to keep up with the news, but as parsing it reveals more and more deliberate misdirection, the exercise seems futile. And it’s not good for my blood pressure. Recently, after giving up and returning to my book, I found solace in this passage:

“The future of the world no longer disturbs me; I do not try still to calculate, with anguish, how long or how short a time the Roman peace will endure; I leave that to the Gods… Catastrophe and ruin will come; disorder will triumph, but order will too, from time to time. Peace will again establish itself between two periods and there regain the meaning which we have tried to give them. Not all our books will perish, nor our statues, if broken, lie unrepaired; other domes and pediments will rise from our domes and pediments; some few men will think and work and feel as we have done, and I venture to count upon such continuators, placed irregularly throughout the centuries, and upon this kind of intermittent immortality.”  Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

Our fictional Hadrian was correct; not all our books will perish, and at least some of our achievements will survive, even if memory of us doesn’t survive with them.  Some monuments remain in tact,

Hadrian’s Pantheon in Rome

while others fall victim to political trends,

Vandalized Confederate monument in Durham, NC

and most things just crumble away in obscurity.

Everything has a story. Find out what you can and save what you can, but don’t worry about it. Everything will work out.

Don’t think I’m giving up on the present — far from it! It’s just that taking the long view helps me endure it with greater equanimity.

Have a grand weekend!