Stoicism; or how Clark Kent was the key to getting through 2020.

From Superman/Wonder-Woman #4, written by Charles Soule with art by Tony Daniel

On December 28’s entry in the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, I noticed a disparity in quotations from Marcus Aurelius from Meditations Book 4, number 35. The quote at the top of the page in the Daily Stoic says:

“Everything last for a day, the one who remembers and the remembered.”

The entry shares the same quote on a placard on the sidewalk of Manhattan’s 41st Street’s Library Way. It as “Everything is only for a day, both that which remembers, and that which is remembered.” (Italics are mine to show the difference.)

So I decided to pull out my copy of Meditations and went to Book 4, number 35, in which Gregory Hays translates the line as, “Everything transitory—the knower and the known.” (45)

This proves the Daily Stoic’s point for December 28. The translation is transitory. Everything differs, and “all of us, including Marcus—who is passed over by just as many pedestrians—last for just a day at most.” (Holiday, et al. 384)

So, I guess, make today a good one.

This time last year, we were down to one car. Now we have only one car. The kids have been home for four of the previous five weeks, and the tether to normalcy and the Adirondack Mountains is nearly gone. But in the last year, I’ve come to realize that an outgrowth of my Asperger’s Syndrome is not quite getting social cues, which represents mild-manners, sarcasm, social awkwardness. Combine that with an extrovert, and it makes for some weird and funny social situations.

Do you know who else is like that? Clark Kent.

Every time I think of Clark Kent, I see this clip from Superman: The Movie.

Then I think about Clark Kent, I see the original reason I wanted to become a journalist. When, in fact, I wanted to write books and comics. This was a representation of my awkwardness and High Functioning Autism. To understand people and cling to them, I was using this as an opportunity to understand them, and what better way than asking questions.

Also, M & D wanted me to find a real job because finding a creative writing career was not a steady idea.

Thirty years later, they’re still mostly right.

Still—Clark Kent is a Stoic. Just look at the panel at the top of this post. Writing for Clark / Superman is what helps him become more human. To care about people who are not him. At the end of the day, his physical gifts can’t really help him as a writer. Sure, being able to type fast is helpful, but it does not make a you a good writer. Because if there’s one thing that Superman and Clark get is the Stoic ideal is that we were made for each other–to help each other. Writing for him is the best way for him to identify with the people he fights for as Superman every day. He does it intentionally because it’s hard to be a human being and being Superman is just something he can do physically. Clark Kent is what makes Superman a good man.

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