The Subtle Art of Giving a F*ck
Being alive is about having things to care about — deeply, genuinely, and devotionally.
Let me begin with a story about Care, Earth, Jupiter (Roman god of the sky), and Saturn (god of time):
One day when Care was crossing a river, she found a ball of clay and shaped it into a being. Jupiter stopped by and Care asked him to give it spirit, and this he gladly granted. But when she wanted to bestow her name upon it, he forbade it as he believed that his name deserved precedence. While Care and Jupiter argued, Earth arose and claimed that her own name be given to the creature since it had been made out of her body. To settle the matter, the three asked Saturn to be their arbiter, to which Saturn said, “Since you, Jupiter, have given its spirit, you shall receive that spirit at its death; and since you, Earth, have given its body, you shall receive its body. But since Care first shaped this creature, she shall possess it as long as it lives. And because there is now a dispute among you as to its name, let it be called “homo”, for it is made out of humus (earth).1
These are the rules of time: we shall return our souls to the sky and our flesh to the dirt, and as long as we breathe, we are called to live with care. Life comes from physical survival, but the good life comes from having things to care about. But what is care? Is it just an emotion? Is modern Stoicism good for us, or is it unintentionally making us detached and hollow? What does it mean for something or someone to matter to us?