Gandalf and Heraclitus

I’d been letting my hair grow a little too long for Korea or really for the world until yesterday, when I finally got it cut. I came to work today, and a few people commented on my short hair, and I suddenly confessed to some of them that if I could grow my hair out long, I would. I’d extend my beard as far as it would go, and I’d never wear shoes—to me it’s an incredible expression of freedom to be able to provide for yourself and your family without wearing a suit and without even having to wear shoes. I’d start wearing a ratty gray cloak, get myself a hat with a brim so wide it touches my shoulders, and start hauling around a big gnarled staff that lights up if I stomp it on the ground, one that can even deflect whips made of fire if you know the right spell. Then I’d start whistling and get myself a horse who can tell the world the meaning of speed. And then I’d test that quote I read by Heraclitus last night when I spent an hour talking ultra-basic ultra-fun Greek, German, and French philosophy with two teenage students. Heraclitus said, basically, envy lasts longer than happiness, if you envy a guy for his nice car you’ll feel that envy way longer than the guy feels happiness for owning that car to begin with—I’ll test that three-millennia-old notion with a wizard’s staff and the King of the Horses, and see if it rings true.