Lewis’s Time Management Advice

clock

Every day, each person is confronted with a kaleidoscope of choices: what to do, what not to do, how to fill the seconds and minutes and hours in a day. Interestingly enough, C.S. Lewis wrote about “time management” in this excerpt from a letter to his goddaughter:

“Oh—I’d nearly forgotten—I have one other piece of advice. Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do. (1) Things we ought to do (2) Things we’ve got to do (3) Things we like doing. I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of the three reasons, things like reading books they don’t like because other people read them. Things you ought to do are things like doing one’s school work or being nice to people. Things one has got to do are things like dressing and undressing, or household shopping. Things one likes doing—but of course I don’t know what you like. Perhaps you’ll write and tell me one day”

I for one have often been inclined to piddle away my time doing things that I ought not do, I haven’t got to do, and I don’t even like to do (when I stop to think). This is apt advice for young people in particular, but also for anyone in any walk of life!

Hope

Dove
Hope

Although it may seem frail, hope is in fact powerful, tenacious, and enduring.  When people are prepared to give up a fruitless task or stop fighting a failing conflict, hope enables them to continue.  Hope is trusting in a promise, believing in progress, and not stopping until that progress is attained.  Without hope men would never have outlasted the Black Death, would never have explored the oceans, deserts, and jungles of the world, and would never have walked on the moon.  Hope empowers mankind to achieve great things.

According to the dictionary, hope can be a verb and a noun.  As a verb, hope means “to wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment” or “to have confidence.”  As a noun, it means “a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment,” “trust,” or “the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God’s help” (“Hope” 622).  Many idioms talk about hope, such as “hoping against hope” and “hoping for the best.”  Hope also has many synonyms:  expectation, desire, longing, want, wish, trust, faith.  The word hope is derived from the Middle English word hopen, which comes from the Old English word hopian.

Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope

Many writings expound upon the dictionary definition of hope.  A Scottish proverb declares, “He who lives on hope lives on a very lean diet.”  This proverb emphasizes the deficient aspect of hope; hope by its very nature is always accompanied by lack.  In An Essay on Man, Alexander Pope mentions hope multiple times, writing, “Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore!/What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,/But gives that Hope to be thy blessing now…Hope springs eternal in the human breast” (“Alexander Pope”).  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow puts his finger on an important aspect of hope in this description: “Hope has as many lifes [sic] as a cat or a king.”  In Letters to Atticus, Cicero states that “While there’s life, there’s hope,” which is similar to the Latin phrase “Dum spiro, spero,” or “while I breathe, I hope.”  The Book of Proverbs appears to agree with Cicero’s connection of hope and life when it says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (13:12).  Another part of Proverbs declares, “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death” (14:32).

Even though it is a part of most stories in history, hope rarely appears in a definite form.  One of the most famous stories directly involving hope is a Greek myth about Pandora, a beautiful maiden created by the gods, to whom Zeus gave an insatiable curiosity and a sealed jar, which he forbade her to open.  After being sent to live on earth, Pandora’s curiosity overcomes her, and she peeks into the jar, inadvertently releasing a multitude of miseries on mankind:  greed, vanity, slander, envy.  Horrified, Pandora shuts the jar, and hope, which is at the bottom of the jar, remains safe from the monsters Pandora has loosed upon the world (D’Aulaire 74).

Mayflower
Mayflower

In both Christian and pagan cultures, hope has always played an important role.  The Pilgrims’ voyage to America exemplifies this very well.  If these devout Christians had not possessed hope for a better land where they could worship God freely, they would never have set sail across the turbulent Atlantic Ocean or survived the savage wilderness that met them when they landed.  Without hope the Egyptians might never have constructed their great pyramids, for they built these gargantuan tombs out of belief in a life after death and the possibility of future happiness.

However, hope is not only important in great matters, like building monuments and settling new lands, but it is also significant in everyday life.  If a student has no hope of benefiting from education, he will not bother trying to do well.  Likewise, if a teacher does not hope that his students will learn the material he teaches, or improve because of his instruction, he will almost undoubtedly quit his job.  When people lack hope, they stop believing that good things will happen, and when they stop believing this, they will not try to make good things happen:  why bother trying, if something is impossible?  Hope is belief in possibility and its attainability.

The Scottish proverb that “He who lives on hope lives on a very lean diet” may be correct in one sense, but it is even truer that “He who lives without hope lives on a very lean diet.”  Without hope progress appears out of reach.  Hopelessness would lead all men to commit suicide, for what is the point of living if there is no hope of success or a better life or an afterlife?  Hope is vital to mankind.  This small, unseen power enables men to complete the ordinary tasks of life, suffer the insufferable, overcome mountains, win battles, build wonders, and accomplish the impossible.

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Works Cited

D’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin.  Book of Greek Myths.  New York City: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1962.

“Hope.”  The American Heritage Dictionary.  2nd ed.  1985.

Pope, Alexander.  The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope.  Ed. Henry W. Boynton.  Cambridge Edition.  New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1903.  13 November 2013.  <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/2278&gt;.

The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: Oxford Edition: 1769; King James Bible Online, 2008.  13 November 2013.  <http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/&gt;.

Here’s A Great Webcomic for Your Reading Pleasure

Well, I know all you normal people out there are still in the middle of a semester, but here at La Tech we are already heading into finals. However, whether you’re heading into last days of class and overwhelmed by your workload, or just cruising along through your semester, college life always demands a little satire/humor, and today I want to share one of my favorite webcomics with you for the next time you feel the need to read something humorous but truthful.

Adam4D is a digital comic published by Adam Ford (hence the title) who expresses a Christian, Bible-centric critique of different subjects. Although he deals with serious topics in his comics (sin, total depravity, justification by faith, etc…), Mr. Ford’s unique art style and dialogue keep things relatively humorous and lighthearted. Here is one of my favorite examples titled If We Talked To People the Way We Talk to God:

talkedtoPeople_waywetalktoGod

However, as was made apparent in the previous image, Mr. Ford also uses satire effectively and makes biting critiques of viewpoints or ways of life. I found the following critique of the modern ‘prosperity gospel’ to be quite effective and somewhat uncomfortable –as it should be:

WhytheProsperityGospelDidNOTexist

WhytheProsperityGospelDidNOTexist2

I find Mr. Ford’s art style to be very effective. Its greatest strength is its simplicity. In the previous panels, the main thing  that  changed was the expression of the person listening the  ‘prosperity  gospel’ being preached. Since the images are so clean and uncluttered, it enabled Mr. Ford to effectively communicate ideas and emotions without having to use the extreme  exaggeration  found in other art styles.

Well, I need to get back to studying for that final. Have a great week, and the next time you need some good, generally lighthearted, Christian reading, just head over to Adam4D.com to see what new things Mr. Ford is up to.

You can find the Adam4D facebook page here.

Wasteland Ethics, Part 2

“He goes by Wicker,” Piotr said, speaking with one of the rookie stalkers in the burnt-out village outside of Sidorovich’s bunker. “Have you heard of him?”

The rookie looked as though he was weighing his options. “Maybe I have, Fox, maybe I haven’t. What’s it worth to you?” The man didn’t seem to realize who he was dealing with.

“Bigger men than you have tried to shake me down before, Roach. Don’t make your way off of my ‘nice’ list,” Piotr growled.

Chyort, ok, ok. I’ll tell you for a spot of breakfast,” the young man said. Piotr saw desperation in the green eyes that stared back. Glaring, Piotr reached into a side pocket on his pack and produced a hunk of bread and a can of sausages. Roach reached out and took the meal, grateful that he had another one.

“Wicker often spends time at the abandoned car park, but I’ve seen him go elsewhere to hide his goods. The collapsed tunnel to the east of the car park, the derailed locomotive to the north, and out by the old farmhouse north of the tracks. I’ve heard he has some local haunts in the Garbage and the science research facility west of that, but I’ve never been to either. If I was to look for clues as to his whereabouts, I’d start there.”

“Good. Who are his friends?” Piotr was going to need as many details as he could get if he was going to track the man down.

“He hasn’t made many. The only one I know who has been able to stand him for much time is Rust. He headed out to the park a few days ago and hasn’t been seen since. I’m a little worried about him, Fox. He has a propensity for getting into trouble.”

Piotr nodded. “I’ll relay your concerns should I see him.”

“Fox,” the rookie said, “is there any way I could go with you if you’re headed to the car park? I want to make sure Rust has not done anything foolish.”

The veteran stalker stiffened. “I work better on my own,” he said tersely.

“Please, Fox. He’s my friend.”

Piotr sighed. “Ok. Gear up. But I expect you to do exactly as I say when I say, and I get first pick on any good finds, got it? Senior privileges and all that.”

Roach nodded. “Let me just grab my pack and my pistol,” the young man said. Piotr was uneasy about this. The rookie was poorly equipped, but if worst came to worse he could always be used as a distraction. Besides, there was no way these greenhorns were going to learn unless they were shown how to survive in the zone.

* * * * * * *

 

The car park sat about a kilometer away from the Rookie Village, as it had come to be known. It sat in a depression off to the right side of the main road leading towards Chernobyl, and had a bus stop that used to run there back when this area was a thriving area of the Ukraine. Now the paint was flaking off in large chunks, and the roads showed obvious signs of distress. Gravity anomalies dotted the landscape. All of this Fox and Roach surveyed from the top of a hill overlooking the park, peeking out gingerly from behind a gnarled oak tree.

“No sign of movement,” Fox murmured as he scanned the area with his binoculars. That was particularly odd for this area. Bandits and other malcontents usually stopped in here for a respite, but there was no sign of cooking fires, sleeping bags, or drunken carousing. There didn’t even appear to be any guards set on watch. Piotr lowered the binoculars and ducked back behind the tree.

“Ok Roach. Here is what we are going to do. You see that truck over there by the close corner?”

The rookie nodded. “Yes. That is where you want me to go?”

Fox grunted and gave a slight nod. “Keep your pistol out. I will cover you. There are no anomalies between here and there. On my signal.” Swinging back around to cover the area in front of him, Piotr raised his AK-74. “Go.”

Roach cautiously darted out from behind the tree, bending slightly at the waist and looking left and right. The kid has some smarts about him, Piotr let himself admit. Roach knelt down beside the cab of the destroyed truck, and peered around the corner with pistol in hand. He looked back, and made an “all clear” sign with his free hand. Fox nodded, then jogged over to join the rookie.

Patting Roach on the shoulder, the two started communicating with hand signals. If there were someone waiting in ambush, the veteran stalker didn’t want to give them any advance notice of the pair’s plans. Fox pointed at his eyes and his ears, then motioned between the two of them, indicating Roach should follow him. The rookie acknowledged, and the pair moved out carefully from behind the truck and into a crumbling brick building in front of them. They swept the corners, and found no signs of recent activity. There was a fire-pit in one corner of the L-shaped building, but its ashes were cold. There was a ladder leading up to a landing. Fox snapped to get Roaches attention, then pointed upwards with his left hand. The rookie clambered up the ladder, then reappeared a second later, shaking his head.

No dice there, Piotr mused as the rookie rejoined him on the ground. They moved to the next building, one that had once been a repair station. The main door was slightly ajar. Weapons at the ready, the pair pushed in.

Sunlight drifted lazily in through holes in the ceiling, accentuating the thick dust which hung in the air. The pair were about in the middle of the room when they heard a creaking noise from the floor above. Fox called a quick halt, then motioned for the rookie to take cover behind some crates on the left side of the room. Carefully and quietly, the veteran moved towards the right side of the room and set up behind a supporting wall. There they stood, weapons readied for a few seconds which were pregnant with tension. Roach slowly eased out. “Fox,” he whispered, “I think it’s all…”

The rookie was cut off by the sounds of heavy breathing. A pair of glowing yellow eyes materialized right in front of him. Screaming, Roach fired. The creature was on him in a flash, appearing from the shadows the way a lizard would change colors. The beast was the same height and build as a man, but whatever humanity may have once resided within it was long gone. It had long, sharp talons and a mouth that had mutated to be like four arms of an octopus, only covered in teeth. The small rounds of Roach’s pistol only seemed to infuriate the monster, who lashed out at him with razor-like claws. The rookie stumbled backward, and his pistol was knocked away into the vehicle crew pit. The young man was sure he was going to die, when the aggressive belching of Fox’s Kalashnikov spewed forth a hail of bullets, shredding the beast’s upper chest and neck. Howling and bleeding, the monster tried to limp away as another burst from Fox put it down for good.

Roach swore as he held onto his freely bleeding shoulder. “Let me see,” Piotr said as he knelt beside his wounded comrade. “Hmmm…this won’t be too bad,” he said as he fished in his pack for a medical kit. “It’s deep in the muscle, but there’s no major blood vessels where he hit.”

Forcing a few swigs of vodka down Roach’s throat, Fox poured sulfa drugs over the lacerations. “This will sting,” he warned, pulling out a suture set and addressing the wound. Fifteen minutes, a few sutures, bandages, and a painkiller later, Roach was back on his feet.

“What was that thing?” the rookie asked, staring at the body.

“The locals call that a bloodsucker, and for good reason. It hunts solely to drink the blood of its prey. They prefer the neck and head region of young stalkers, but they’ll get any blood they can: human, pig, dog, anything. I think that was the reason we didn’t see any fresh camps here.”

Roach nodded, wincing through the stinging pain. “That makes sense. We should check upstairs, where the beast came from.”

A few minutes later, and both of them wished they hadn’t checked. Corpses of various beasts lay strewn about. Towards the back of the room was one stalker Roach recognized.

“That’s Rust,” he said, voice trembling. Fox nodded, and went to the corpse. He began checking through the dead man’s pockets.

“What are you doing?” Roach said. “You can’t just steal from the dead!”

“First of all rookie, I’m looking for clues about where to find Wicker. Second of all,” the veteran said, lifting up Rust’s head to expose the teeth marks and other gouges, “Does this look like the face of a man who will be able to use any of this equipment? Come on, he’s got some useable stuff still on him.”

Roach hesitated, then slowly walked over to where Fox was rummaging. “I still feel bad about this,” the rookie said. “We should give him a proper burial.”

Fox nodded in agreement. “True. This is no way to leave a friend.” Piotr pulled a PDA out of the dead stalker’s backpack. He removed the memory card and inserted it into his own. Scrolling through, he found some interesting data – dates and times of dead-drops, as well as a map marking suspected stash locations. It looked like the trail to Wicker hadn’t yet gone cold after all. Fox looked back up at Roach, who looked like he was going to be ill.

“Ok. Quick, grab anything of his that you need. It looks like he still had some spare ammunition, food, and medicine. That’s yours. The data’s mine. Now quick, let’s get the poor sod downstairs and dig him a place to rest before the dogs get to him.”

* * * * * * *

After a few hours’ work, Rust was laid to rest, with the top of a crate to mark the site. Roach carved the Orthodox cross into the headboard, as well as the man’s name. The pair stood in silence for a while.

“Do you intend to follow me further into the zone?” Piotr asked.

After a few seconds silence, Roach answered “No. At least not now. It’s apparent that I still have a lot to learn, and that bloodsucker scared the life out of me. I need to go back to the village and rest a bit.” Roach fished a cigarette out of his pocket, held it up to his lips with trembling hands, and lit it. “I’m not sure I’ll be up to snuff for a few days.”

Fox nodded. “I understand. But don’t fret, rookie. This gets easier.” The veteran stalker turned and began to walk away north, the afternoon sun trickling down through the trees outside the car park.

“That’s kind of what I’m afraid of,” said Roach to no one in particular. After a few more puffs, the rookie made the sign of the cross over his chest and walked away, his heart heavy.

Photo taken by mrtoby from oblivionstate.com. Though no direct copyright was contained in his forum post which included this photo, it is assumed that all rights to the photo are reserved to him. Photo is used for atmospheric purposes only and not for profit.