This is not a post on what I accomplished this year, or what I would like to accomplish next year. That’ll come later. Frankly I’m feeling more introspective and would rather spend the time pondering other things.
I’ve been reading a lot this year. Reading has always been an escape for me, and as I get older I find that I appreciate the stories I’ve always loved for different reasons. I’ve just finished re-reading War & Peace. The first time I read it, it became one of my favorite books. In re-reading it, I came to love it even more because I was able to focus on the philosophy that Tolstoy expounded on.
I won’t go in to the whole allegory of being at war with yourself, or the struggles that go along with that – I think that philosophy is pretty obvious. What struck me this time was the continued conversation Tolstoy has about judging situations. Essentially he says that it’s impossible for one person to understand a situation entirely because of personal bias. You may see some elements, but it’s impossible for one person to understand the entire scope of any situation. In order to get that broader understanding, many people must converge and converse with open minds. Obviously there is a lot more to this, and Tolstoy’s view was decidedly focused on the recanting of military history and the judgements that were passed on Napoleon and the war of 1812. But it got me thinking about how easy it is to fall in to a linear path of thinking, and how that is counterproductive to gaining a true understanding of anything – whether it’s something as concrete as solving a problem to something as etherial as understanding why you may be generally not happy. It’s made me slow down to think about things differently.
As I have been thinking about a variety of things lately, I think this song sums up how I feel lately: