Time Capsule #3: Out with the Old, In with the New

Really old cave art, action in the St. Bernard Pass, and a cool German library.


I hope you are all keeping well. A bit of rest and recovery over the Christmas holidays is a good way to reflect, and recalibrate your actions with your values and goals. After what I thought was a productive year, I have taken the time over the last 2 weeks to do as little work as possible in hopes that I can start 2021 with fully charged batteries.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend doing a yearly review for 2020 and set goals for the coming year. Reflection and assessment is key to optimizing improvement.

Anyhow, on to the first edition of the new year!

I - Pre-History

Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave: Located in southeastern France, this cave is home to some of the oldest cave paintings ever discovered, dating back to over 30,000 years ago. The paintings are mostly of animals such as lions, rhinos, deers, and mammoths. In addition to the paintings, the remains of cave bears and other animals have been found in the cave. You can find a gallery of some of the paintings here.

II - Classical

Battle of Octodurus: In the winter of 57-56 BC, Caesar sent his subordinate Servius Galba with the 12th legion to the Alps to open the St Bernard Pass, looking to put an end to the heavy taxation and harassment of Roman traders by the Gaulic settlers in the region. Upon arrival, Galba set up his winter camp in the town of Octodurus, home of the Veragri, giving a portion of the town to the Gauls and using the other as a base. With a ditch and a rampart being constructed by the legionaries, he presumed he was safe, however, he was attacked by a large Gaulic force before he could complete his defences. The Romans fought doggedly against the aggressors for hours, only achieving victory after a bold sortie. Following the battle, Galba, running low on supplies and clearly in hostile territory, packed up his things, burned down the town and ditched the Alps to winter in the land of the Allobroges.

Napoleon would be famously depicted crossing the same Great St. Bernard Pass in a painting by Jacques-Louis David.

III - Middle Ages

Saladin: The founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, Saladin is remembered as one of the most important and influential Muslim politicians and military commanders. His conquests in the Middle East, including retaking the holy city of Jerusalem, resulted in the Third Crusade (1189-1192 AD) against the Christians, led by the legendary Richard the Lionheart. He died of fever, giving away the majority of his wealth to the poor.

IV - Early Modern

La Terreur (The Terror): Following the French Revolution in 1793, The Terror was a period of mass imprisonments and executions against those perceived to be enemies of the revolution. The current government, particularly the Committee of Public Safety, empowered themselves with near-dictatorial power in an attempt to control counter-revolutionary fervour and enforce ‘revolutionary ideals’. With spies everywhere and neighbours turning in their neighbours, many were sent to the guillotines, often without trial.

V - Modern

Lochnagar Mine Crater: Leading up to the Battle of the Somme in July of 1916, British tunnelling teams laid a massive 60,000-pound mine, divided into 2 chambers, under an important German defensive position near the town of La Boisselle in Northern France. Intended to ease the infantry’s advance at the start of the battle, the mine was detonated at 7:28 am on 1 July 1916 — it left a crater 30 metres deep and 100 metres wide. 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Lewis, who interestingly became an eventual co-founder of both the BBC and ITV, was a pilot sent to observe the Lochnagar mine explosion, as well as another nearby mine. He described the scene in his memoir:

The whole earth heaved and flashed, a tremendous and magnificent column rose up into the sky. There was an ear-splitting roar, drowning all the guns, flinging the machine sideways in the repercussing air like a scrap of paper in a gale. The earth column rose higher and higher to almost 4,000-ft. There it hung, or seemed to hang, for a moment in the air, like a silhoutte of some great cyprus tree, then fell away in a widening cone of dust and debris. A moment later came the second mine. Then the dust cleared and we saw the two white eyes of the craters.

Photo of the Week 📸

The only thing it’s okay to hoard is books.

Book of the Week 📖 — Awareness: The Key to Living in Balance by Osho

A text I found from a recommendation by Naval Ravikant — Osho’s teachings about the need for awareness and being present in the moment has never been more relevant. In the age of home offices, screens, and social media, we tend to pay attention to everything but ourselves. Understanding how the mind works and learning to simply watch and listen to your thoughts instead of actively engaging them is a useful and necessary tool to maintain good mental health.

The past is actuality, the future is potentiality, all you have is the present — focus on experiencing the present to the fullest.

Quote of the Week 💭

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I found 2020 to be exactly what I needed at the right time. The quarantine gave me the space I needed to assess my situation and start building a foundation for the future. Let’s hope 2021 brings us both exactly what we need as well.

That wraps up episode number three. Same time next week.


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