Today, Examiners, We shall continue to explore the lesson taught to us by Chekov last week.

That lesson shall be continued by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Hegel was born in 1770 in the territory of the Holy Roman Empire. He died in Berlin in 1831. His most famous achievement is hardly comprehensible… it was his development of a distinctive articulation of idealism–often called absolute idealism. In absolute idealism, the dualisms of mind, nature, subject and object are overcome.

That is some seriously complicated stuff.

So… what does it all mean? And how is that relevant to us?

Well… according to Hegel himself, the most important thing a human can achieve through philosophy is not knowledge, wisdom, power, will, or an unshakeable code of ethics and morals, no… the most valuable thing that one can achieve is… a good mood.

“A good mood?” you may ask “how could that possibly be the best thing to achieve in life?”

Again, Hegel has the answer for us.

He says that the greatest mentality one can have is that of good humour and that such a mentality can only be arrived at through a good mood.

He explains that good humour is important because it enables a person to understand everything. Through good humour, anything and everything can be digested, empathized with, and related to.

Hegel writes:

“True humour is inconceivable without an infinite good mood. Not teasing, not satire, not sarcasm. Only from the heights of an infinite good mood can you observe below you anything, even the eternal stupidity of men, and laugh over it.”

So, according to one of the most famous analytic philosophers in the world, the most important thing to humanity is merely a good mood.

It sounds so simple doesn’t it?

And so the question is begged:

How do we achieve this good mood? That is less simple to answer.

Perhaps this mood can be gained through good company… close friends… spending time with your family… reading a good book… going out into nature…

And what do all of those things have in common?

Freedom.

The freedom to spend your time as you wish.

As most of you reading this are associated with Alta West, you understand one of the ultimate goals of investment: to gain the freedom of time through the power of money. You have made your money through hard work, force of will, and concentration. To put it in Hegel’s terms: through an infinite determined mood.

Alta West’s goal is to allow you, through investment, to turn your determined mood into a good mood.

And how do we achieve this good mood?

The Golden Scribe

Good Morning Examiner,

Today we shall examine the work of one of the world’s favourite playwrights:

Anton Chekov.

Chekov was born in 1860, and died in 1904.

He is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. This remarkable achievement is made even more remarkable by the fact that he practiced as a doctor almost the entire time he was a playwright. He is quoted to have said, “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress.”

Due to his family’s financial troubles while he was growing up, Chekov was left alone, at the age of 16, to finish his education while his family moved to Moscow.

During the time that he was alone, he wrote his first short story, made money by catching and selling goldfinches, and had an incredible amount of love affairs; he even had one with the wife of his high school teacher!

Chekov devoured philosophy, literature and poetry (just like us!). He read it constantly and voraciously.

Chekov was a master of the serious and unserious, of severity and levity… of philosophy and youthful escapades of love and knavishness.

So, as we read advice that Chekov wrote for the world, keep in mind how the man lived his life…

“Do silly things. Foolishness is a great deal more vital and healthy than our straining and striving after a meaningful life.”

This quote always resonates with me. The man who dedicated his life to medicine and art–both widely considered to be very serious things– praises silliness more than sternness as the key to a healthy life. Why could this be? And in what ways could we ourselves strive to bring more foolishness into our lives? As most of you reading this have invested with Alta West, you understand the necessity of seriousness; that’s how you have made your money: through masterful attention to the industry in which you work and through an intrepid work ethic.


But, in spite of all this, Chekov tells us to be silly! To take the time to just play. To relax and act childishly! How bizarre!

So, ask yourself this, Dear examiner: how can you be less serious and more foolish today?


By playing with your children, by endearingly teasing your loved ones, by listening to music, by watching an old movie that you love?

Whatever the case may be, ensure that you are able to instil a dose of foolery into your life, as well as seriousness.


The Golden Scribe

What Does it mean to transcend?

The verb implies escalation; rising above something.

But the word is actually much deeper than that, isn’t it?

It connotes overcoming something that is more ethereal than corporeal… more of the spirit than of the body.

We traverse a mountain, but we transcend reality.

The word is–without a doubt– an interesting one.

And it interested no one more than it did the Transcendentalists.

This group of poets, writers, scholars and artists was founded in the mid-1800s.

Transcendentalism was firmly rooted in the power and capability of the individual. Its primary belief was in personal freedom and its primary goal was to bridge the relationship between the emotionality of art and the empiricism of science.

Transcendentalists argued that society and its institutions inevitably corrupt the purity of the individual. They believed that people can only achieve their truest self when they are wholly “self-reliant.” They further argue that it is only from such real individuals that true community can form. Despite this high valuation of individualism, transcendentalists also argue that every human is inextricably entwined with one another by the soul.

Though it may feel contradictory, this connection, as explained by Walt Whitman (renowned transcendentalist) serves to reinforce both the individual and the community. The poem Darest Thou Now O Soul details the relationship between the individual, their soul, achieving their truest self and finally, join their community once they have become their truest self. (The Examined Life reviewed another Whitman poem several months ago.)

Read on, O Transcendental Examiner…

Darest Thou Now O Soul
Walk out with me toward the unknown region,
Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to follow?

No map there, nor guide.
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

I know it not O soul,
Nor dost thou, all is a blank before us,
All waits undream’d of in that region, that inaccessible land.

Till when the ties loosen,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds bounding us.

Then we burst forth, we float,
In Time and Space O soul, prepared for them,
Equal, equipt at last, (O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil O
Soul.

An interesting poem to say the least…

Walt is talking about the realm of the soul, but all the while asking his own soul if it is brave enough to travel there with him.

He is attempting to explain the inscrutable complication of one’s own emotions.


They are not straightforward. In fact, they are rarely able to be communicated through words.

Sometimes you can only understand something through a feeling.

Sometimes that feeling cannot even be understood, and we have to prod at it to get to some sort of explanation…

Sometimes, in order to understand ourselves, we have to ask our soul “Darest thou now walk out with me toward the unknown region?”

I ask you this now, O examiner, as the sun rises to greet the young Thursday born in the middle of a dry, crackling summer:

What does it mean to Transcend?

The Golden Scribe

Good morning, Examiners.

Today we will be reading the work of a Canadian legend in literature: Margaret Atwood (1939–now).

The woman is a poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. She has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of nonfiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children’s books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction. Atwood is–in a word–prolific.

Today we will be examining one of my favourite poems of hers.

It is about the finality of a single life, and the eternality of Life as a whole; Life–uppercase L, if you will; or: nature.

She forces you to look at yourself through the eyes of nature: ultimately a speck in comparison to its incomprehensibly massive expanse.

She repudiates (word of the day: to deny the truth or validity of something) your worldly accomplishments, negating them in the light of the natural sun.

She humbles you, as she has humbled herself. She does this not with the intention of scolding, but rather to remind; a reminder told by an experienced elder to an ambitious child. She understands the world as it is, and for a few brief seconds, she invites you to see it through her eyes.

Here, dear Examiner, are her glasses:

THE MOMENT

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
you were a visitor, time after time,
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

A beautiful poem that ultimately prods the question: do you agree with Atwood or do you disagree?

If you disagree, what are the eyes you use to see the world?

The Golden Scribe

Good morning Examiners.

Today we will be looking at the paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Famous for his drip-style and splatter paintings, Pollock was a forerunner of the modernist era of art.

In 1912, Jackson was born into a poor family in Tingley, Iowa. He was an angry child; angry at society, at the systems within it, and at himself. He was expelled from 3 high schools before he moved to New York with his older brother to study art under the tutelage of Thomas Hart Benton, a painter famous for creating this:

and this.

“Arts of the West”

Pollock said that Benton’s rural subject matter had little influence on his work, but that Benton’s rhythmic use of paint and his fervent (word of the day: passionate or intense in spirit) independence had a lasting impact on him.

By the mid-30s, Pollock had internalized the same fierce independence of Benton, and began to experiment with the style he would later become known for…

This

And this:

Beautiful to some and monstrous to others, Pollock’s work would prove to be incredibly divisive in the art community. One side argued that he was creating art that had never before been created.
The other side argued that it had never before been created for a good reason: it sucked.

While some felt his work to be incredibly emotional and evocative, others felt that it demonstrated no utilization of technique, skill or prowess. Nonetheless, Peggy Guggenheim (a famous art collector at the time and founder of the Guggenheim Art Museum) began to sponsor and display his works; Pollock’s name exploded throughout America.

Do you think deservedly?

Image property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Each painting was met with great praise by many, and greater scorn by more. This became so terrible at one point that Pollock said he couldn’t even tell if his own work was good or not, and he would simply send his art to Peggy and have her decide.

Pollock’s most famous paintings were made from 1945-1950.

In 1950, what art historians argue was the peak of Pollock’s fame, two things happened. The first was a four-page article published by Life that asked if “Jackson Pollock was the greatest living painter in America.” The second was that Jackson abruptly stopped painting.

For several years, Pollock made almost nothing. His family reported that his life-long struggle with alcoholism was becoming much worse and he wouldn’t respond to Peggy’s letters or calls.

He gave up.

It seemed like fame had been too much for the troubled painter; that it had taken an irreparable toll on the man.

But in 1953, at the implorings of his friends, the Guggenheims, and his family, Jackson would create once more. The painting he made never would become as famous as his earlier work, but to me, it is his most profound. To me, it is the encapsulation of the life of an artist, it is a picture of the human soul.

In 1953, Pollock painted

The Deep:

3 years later, Pollock would meet an untimely death.

Born in 1912, Dying in 1956, Pollock’s work will remain eternally preserved in the corridors of Humankind’s memory. Whether his art is loved or hated retrospectively, Pollock will always be remembered as someone who did something new, and ultimately never succumbed to the hate he received.

And if that isn’t the way to measure a man, what is?

Go forth, Examiners,

Into the deep.

The Golden Scribe

The Gay Science.

What does that make you think about?

Maybe the first image that comes to mind is Freddie Mercury in a lab coat… you’re not wrong for thinking that–that’s what I first thought of…

The Gay Science–I would learn–is actually a book by Friedrich Nietzsche containing maxims, essays, poems and all sorts of other contemplations.

The title has arguably experienced the greatest change in understanding due to colloquialism than any other book.

Published in 1882, it was meant to be derived from a common German saying at the time which itself was based on a Provençal expression “gai saber” meaning the technical skill required to write poetry.

But regardless of connotations, it is easy to appreciate the power and scale of this book as well as the intent of the title.

In it, Nietzsche explains his notion of AMOR FATI; Latin for ‘a love of fate’. This was meant to invoke a sense of appreciation for one’s life as a whole. No matter the suffering, the pain, the chaos, the sorrow or the feeling of meaninglessness one may–at some point or another–be overwhelmed by, Amor Fati could enable them to appreciate the bigger picture of their life.

Nietzsche writes:

For the new year.

“I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. (translated literally from Latin, this means ‘I am, therefore I think: I think therefore I am’ he is half-quoting Descartes’ famous saying: ‘I think, therefore I am’) Today everybody permits themselves the expression of their wish and their dearest thought; hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year–what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of my life henceforth? I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful; a poet. Amor Fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: someday I wish to be only a Yes-sayer!”

Nietzsche is famous for being confusing. You may have felt this after reading his passage. To clarify, I shall provide a passage by Heinrich Heine, a writer who was a great influencer of Nietzsche

And she answered with a tender voice: “Let us be good friends.” But what I have told you here, dear reader, that is not an event of yesterday or the day before. . . . For time is infinite, but the things in time, the concrete bodies, are finite. They may indeed disperse into the smallest particles; but these particles, the atoms, have their determinate number, and the number of configurations that, all of themselves, are formed out of them is also determinate. Now, however long a time may pass, according to the eternal laws governing the combinations of this eternal play of repetition, all configurations that have previously existed on this earth must yet meet, attract. repulse, kiss, and corrupt each other again. . . . And thus it will happen one day that a man will be born again, just like me, and a woman will be born, just like Mary–only that it is to be hoped that the head of this man may contain a little less foolishness–and in a better land they will meet and contemplate each other a long time; and finally the woman will give her hand to the man and say with a tender voice: “Let us be good friends.”

This passage is certainly more poetic and perhaps more illuminating. The underlying notion is the same as Nietzsche’s: This moment, the one you are inhaling and consuming, expelling and rejecting, impassioned and saddened by, is the most important moment of your life. The seconds in which you experience anything, no matter what it is, are more important than anything else. And that finally begs the question… why was this book about living life given a title that referred to the technical and artistic skill of writing poetry?

Think on that, my friend…

Cherish your life, O Examiner

And love your fate.

The Golden Scribe

Good morning, Examiner

Today is a landmark day for The Examined Life…

Today I have finally succumbed to that all-invading, profound truth that I have, until this point, felt to be beneath me:

Sex sells.

“But,” you may ask, “this is a journal meant to enrich the readers… how can you possibly do that while at the same time appealing to our base desires?”

Well, my answer to you is contained in the following two words:

Sexy Germans.

You read that right. As it turns out, Germans are some of the sexiest people out there; and, more specifically, Germans from the late 18th century are… well, it’s almost indescribable how sexy they are…

The best way I can put it is that they are to diamonds, what diamonds are to us…

And to that, you may ask: “…diamonds to diamonds? What does that even mean, you raving lunatic?”
My response is the following series of pictures:

If Looks could kill, we would never die

Oh sorry…am I interrupting something?

The Look of a man who knows he’s got it.

A silver fox if there ever was one!

Have you ever beheld something so rawly beautiful with such untamed virility? Pure, unmitigated sexiness??

I certainly haven’t!


(As a side note: another question that can be applied here is this: did I just show you 4 pictures of four different people, one single german man at different stages of life, or two different people drawn poorly, twice?)

So as we have discovered,

These old german dudes are irrefutably as hot as pavement during a Texan summer.

But who were they, and are they more than just their dashing good looks?

They are!

The Photos used were those of Mozart and Goethe… Specifically, it went: Goethe, Mozart, Mozart, Goethe.

As well as sharing the spotlight in today’s TEL, the men had many things in common. Goethe even called himself and Mozart kindred spirits. They even shared the same awesome name: Wolfgang.

Both were men of incredible intellect in their pursuits; Mozart, a student of music and Goethe, a student of drama and poetry.

Both were renowned all around the world for their achievements, and are still remembered today for the mark they made on the world.

The lesson today is a simple one. One taught by Goethe and enriched by Mozart.

Goethes tells us:

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

Well, we’ve already seen several fine pictures…

What about the poem?

Goethe himself may provide us with our good poem

Delve into deep mountain caverns,

Follow clouds towards the heavens:

Muses call, to stream and valley,

Many a thousand times, oh, many.

As soon as fresh flowers meet the eye,

New songs our efforts earn:

And though fleeting time goes by,

The seasons they return.

Beautiful!

And how about Mozart provides us with a little song?

https://go.awcapital.ca/e/710023/watch-v-9nRTD4aGCgU/5lrdn/17583505?h=NfYULcGKm2JzT2JD6RXZiSJH5kEFWgSVhHWLoZ87SXg

As for the speaking of a few reasonable words…

Well, my friend… That part is up to you!

The Golden Scribe

Good Morning Examiner.

Though perhaps your morning is not a good one…

Perhaps it is another impossible morning amidst a sea of impossible days.

You may be run down, mentally exhausted, physically fatigued and/or emotionally drained.

You may feel like you’re in a deep disharmony with your very self.

You may feel out of your element, overwhelmed or just plain anxious.

Pictured: Your inner-self right now (maybe)

Well, I have this advice for you:

Buck Up.

Just kidding. That is terrible, meaningless advice.

My real advice comes from Longfellow.

Born in 1807 and dying in 1882, this poet was no stranger to tragedy and exhaustion. He supported the abolition of slavery and watched his country– America– tear itself apart in one of the most gruesome wars this planet ever bore witness to — the American Civil War.

He lost many friends and even his own son to the conflict.
And he wrote the following poem in response…

Read on examiner; may you find a renewed resolve in Longfellow’s poetry:

The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,

But at every gust, the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,

But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life, some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

A poem full of power…

Longfellow laments the loss of his youth, the loss of those he loved, and he whines about the inexorable march of time. He points out the darkness in his life and in the life of the world and despairs over it.

But before he succumbs to complete hopelessness, he counters his sorrow with these words of assurance: Behind the clouds, the sun is shining.

Even though we may not see its light at the present, we can be assured that it is still shining somewhere and that the light will outlast the darkness and the dreariness.

Go forth Examiners,

And know that the sun still shines behind the storm.

The Golden Scribe

Good morning, my fellow Examiners.

Today we shall explore the universal law of human thought.

There is only one law that truly governs the consciousness of humanity, underlying all attitudes, motivations and desires. That law is power.

Power is the common denominator that can be deduced from any situation.

For example:

What motivates politicians to do what they do and say what they say?

To maintain power.

What motivates large corporations to act as they do?

To obtain more power. (You may have said money, and this is true, but money is merely an instrument of it; a means of quantifying power.)

When looking at most situations, it is usually pretty easy to note that the obvious motive was driven by the desire for power, subconsciously or not.

Even consider your crazy ex… what do you think their driving force was? Probably control over you in some way, which can be boiled down to power; power over you.

The Ancient Athenians share their thoughts on this when discussing the loyalty of the Melians (a community of people who lived on the island of Melos) to the Athenian empire. The Melians express their desire for freedom; the ability to govern themselves according to their own customs and policies. They want to leave the Athenian Empire because they feel the Athenians to be oppressive and unjust. They state their belief to the Athenians that, because their pursuit is noble, the gods will favour them if their debate with Athens turns into an all-out war. The Athenians laugh at this, pointing out the overwhelming superiority of their army, navy and numbers.

 Read the dialogue between the Melian and Athenian Diplomats below: 

Athenians: When you speak of the favour of the gods, we may as fairly hope for that as yourselves; neither our pretensions nor our conduct being in any way contrary to what men believe of the gods, or practise among themselves. Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon it when made: we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to exist forever after us; all we do is to make use of it, knowing that you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do the same as we do. Thus, as far as the gods are concerned, we have no fear and no reason to fear that we shall be at a disadvantage.

It is the same now as it was for the Melians and Athenians in the mid 5th century BCE. Power rules all and power motivates all. It has no regard for justice or nobility, just control.

What do you search for, Examiner? Are you like the Athenians, only looking for wealth and control? Or are you pursuing something else? For although power governs the mind, it has no sway over the soul.
  
And the soul is governed by no laws; to the soul belongs yearning, passion, curiosity, desire, wisdom and Love.
Good day, Examiner,

The Golden Scribe

Philosophy.

A word older than the english language itself. Translated literally from the original Ancient Greek, it means “love of knowledge.”

And that is what draws many to its vast pools of wisdom and the sprawling corridors of its schools of thought. 

It provides us with answers we never thought we could attain and questions we’d never thought of.

To most, that is what draws them to the wonderful and wild forest that is philosophy.

To me, however, I am drawn to philosophy for an entirely different but no less noble reason: the hotties.
I mean, just look at these sexy philosophers!

Ayn Rand, a babe amongst babes.

The Silver fox himself: Schopenhauer.

Who doesn’t love the ‘either recently dead or the face of death itself’ that Bertrand Russell Rocked?!

And the namesake of this journal, The Examined Life, Socrates himself was known in Athens for being exceptionally good-looking thanks to his snub-nose!

And the sexiest philosopher of them all: Sartre

Image result for sartre

Now of course, I have been entirely facetious this entire time…

Most philosophers look like they made a deal with the devil and exchanged their soul and part of their lifeforce for intelligence.

There is however, one famous exception to this club of homeliness: Camus:


Famous for his philosophy of absurdism which proclaimed that life is worth living and that the only way to truly enjoy it and to overcome nihilism is to devote yourself to love, friendship, passion, yearning, and doing whatever your lot in life is in the best way that you can. ​​​​He’s also famous for being the only philosopher ever who could actually get a date.

After looking at the picture of Camus, and then looking at the picture of his contemporary and rival, Sartre, the following sentence is quite unbelievable.

A beautiful dancer dated Sartre (really?), left him for Camus (understandable), then went BACK to Sartre! (what?!)

Her name was Wanda Kosakiewicz she was a student of the esteemed Simone de Beauvoir: a contemporary of Camus and Sartre who wrote most of her work in the early 1940s.

Sartre had agonized over this half-Russian dancer named Wanda for quite some time. She was an object of passion for the young philosopher and he couldn’t live to have her reject him

Wanda reportedly said that she found Sartre “repulsive,” but that he could “teach her something about the world…” and thus enjoyed spending time with him. As the attempted seduction continued, Wanda actually found Sartre quite fun to be around. He was an optimist, had a poet’s soul and found joy in the littlest things, like the reflection of streetlights in a puddle on the street.

Wanda began to grow to enjoy her relationship with him.

Until she met Camus.

Ironically, it was at the debut of Sartre’s play The Flies, that the two met and, much to Sartre’s chagrin (word of the day: great distress), Wanda quickly became interested in Camus.

Despite all of the time Sartre had put into this relationship, all of the humour, passion and wit he had brought, it seemed Wanda had found all of that and more with Camus.

Until she didn’t.

According to contemporary sources, Camus was a natural depressive, and Wanda found that after some time, he was a pain to be around. Complaining, bitter and scornful, Camus was often overcome by melancholy.

And from this even his extraordinary good looks could not save him

Wanda became so fed up with Camus’ depressive temperament, that she left him, and begged Sartre to take her back, apologizing profusely to the lazy-eyed writer. He, of course, accepted her again without any hesitation, and they continued their relationship for quite some time.

The most unbelievable thing to me about this is that, even though Camus entire philosophy was about living life to the fullest and cultivating a better self, he could not practice what he preached.

Seriously, can you imagine how terrible this must have been: 

And how amazing this must have been

To have chosen the latter over the former?

The Golden Scribe

George Botros
Chief Executive Officer

George Botros was appointed as CEO of Alta West Capital in April 2021. Prior to his role as CEO, George served as Alta West Capital’s CFO and CCO from 2014 to 2021. He has over 20 years in the lending business, participating in residential, commercial, mezzanine, and interim financing related activities.

 

George is also a Director of the funds Alta West administers. Prior to joining Alta West Capital, he managed Toro Financial Corporation which amalgamated with AWM Diversified MIC, an entity managed by AWC, in 2014. George was also a University Professor teaching Finance and Economics for University of Lethbridge.

 

George holds a Bachelor of Economics and an MBA.