Time Capsule #70
Scoping reviews, von Goethe, and a short story.
Welcome to the Time Capsule — a weekly newsletter that discusses the practicalities of life and explores the wisdom, ideas, and events of the past to help you build a better future.
💭 Quote of the Week
Man’s purpose in life is to save his soul; in order to save his soul he must live according to God. In order to live according to God one must renounce all the comforts of life; work, be humble, suffer and be merciful.
All rules for study are summed up in this one: learn only in order to create.
Friedrich von Schelling
✏️ Chapter 1
Human connection is so dangerous because, knowingly or unknowingly, both parties agree to be transformed, to never be the same again. For better or worse, there is no turning back once two souls are joined, even if only for a moment.
It was a gloomy, Thursday morning. The sky was blanketed entirely in a grey haze, and a heavy fog weighed on the streets and on the fresh, green, April grass. It was spring: a time of plans and expectations.
Elijah had fallen into a monotonous routine. Mornings were always slow to start — with the window slightly ajar, enough to hear the birds singing but not so much as to let the wind and the rain inside, he lay in bed to gather his strength for the coming day. Routine is a great thing, a powerful tool, but it removes the shine and radiance of life. His work was of a simple kind, not in such a way that anyone could do it but in a way that made it dull and tiresome after many years at the job. Wrapping himself in a blue robe hanging from a rusted hook on the bathroom door, he flew down the stairs on his lean, powerful legs and prepared himself his usual breakfast.
His wife had woken up early, to take the children to work and to collect something needed for dinner later in the afternoon. Johnson, his childhood friend with whom he had spent many hours playing in the fields and, as they grew older, making the mistakes that young men do, was visiting for the week. Both men were ambitious in their youth, from similar backgrounds, and wanted the same things in life. But as time passed and they saw each other less and less, Elijah began to feel they in fact had nothing in common, and despite their similarities in upbringing had entirely different outlooks on life. This made him uneasy; although Johnson was his best man at his wedding and someone whom he felt he could call upon in dire circumstances, this disconnection in what felt like moral philosophy did not sit well with him.
Family life had always been something Elijah took great pleasure in. To wake up to the sound of noisy, energetic children with the smell of maple bacon diffusing through the house was for him something to look forward to and a reason for being. It was principally this family life, or the lack thereof, which raised doubts within Elijah as to the goodness of his friend’s lifestyle. Johnson was a bachelor of about 40 years in age — he was at that age at which family, friends, and society began to quizzically observe the lack of a spouse and offspring. Considered by most a successful man, Johnson made his small fortune in the construction business, working at the head office for a publicly listed multinational firm. He was a well travelled and talkative man — not only was he a conversationalist but was able, through his likeable demeanour and handsome features, to draw others in and to speak their mind without fear of judgement.
Elijah was finishing his breakfast and settling himself in the study with a black coffee and his most recent literary fascination, Flaubert, when the doorbell rang.
📸 Photo of the Week
📖 Book of the Week — The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
No one is willing to believe that adults too, like children, wander about this earth in a daze and, like children, do not know where they come from or where they are going, act as rarely as they do according to genuine motives, and are as thoroughly governed as they are by biscuits and cake and the rod.
Well-respected in German circles prior, The Sorrows of Young Werther propelled von Goethe to international fame with its intensity and introspection. In essence, it is the story of a man in love with a woman he can never have. It is deeply rooted in the real world, stealing many events and feelings from his own life and those around him. This novel, his first, left a strong impression on readers at the time and is an early example of Romantic literature.
💡 Food for Thought
Innovation is creativity implemented.
🔭 Sunday Best
To Live Fully in the Face of Death — by Erik Rittenberry
[…] people who feel intensely alive are the ones who’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness or those who have endured a near-death experience. They’ve come to terms with death and live with death at the forefront of their lives. With death acknowledged rather than suppressed, it’s been shown that people live livelier and more grateful lives.
Scoping Studies: Advancing the Methodology — an enhancement of the Arksey-O’Malley methodological framework for scoping reviews, by Levac et. al (2010)
A Writer’s Job is to Create Questions, Not Give Answers — a great channel on screenwriting, directing, and storytelling from the world of film & television