Time Capsule #84
On choices, thankfulness, and statistical heterogeneity.
Welcome to the Time Capsule — a weekly newsletter that serves as both my public journal and personal scrapbook. I write about the things on my mind and close to my heart in hopes that those who read it find value and enjoyment in it, and perhaps some solace too.
💭 Quote(s) of the Week
Nous sommes nos choix.
✏️ The Road to Shukr
In the name of God,
Merciful to all,
Compassionate to each!
If you are thankful, I will surely give you more; but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is terrible indeed.
What does it mean to be thankful?
Shukr is the Arabic word for thankfulness, gratitude, or acknowledgement. An individual expressing shukr shows gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon him by God. Showing thankfulness for good deeds received, appreciating the life God has given you, and giving to the needy are some ways we can exhibit shukr.
The highest form of shukr does not come when the skies are clear and the blessings are apparent — it comes when one is facing trials and tribulations. Very few people can show true gratitude for their trials and tribulations — at best, they may show patience, or even resignation. However, if we wish to be like Abraham, who was of strong faith, or Noah, we must be willing to trust that our trials and tribulations are in fact blessings from God. When we are able to take such a perspective, we immediately see the great works of God in our lives. Some of my greatest blessings have come when I did not receive or achieve the things I wanted at the time. If I had trusted that God, seeing my future so clearly, provided me with those trials to prepare my mind, body, and soul for better things to come, I would not have suffered as much as I did.
I am starting to move towards this level of faith (I have yet to attain it). I am starting to believe that when God gives and takes away, He does so knowing what is best for me and what I need to prepare me for a greater future. I should trust what God wants for me more than what I want for myself. In doing so, I will be able to see trials and tribulations as blessings, as things to be grateful for — God tests each according to their faith.
To be tested is a blessing. Do not shy away from adversity or conflict or tribulation. Have shukr, knowing you are being cast into something stronger and greater than you were before.
📸 Photo(s) of the Week
My personal sunset.
📖 Book of the Week — The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, and the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humour and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.
A historical murder mystery novel originally published in Italian in 1980, questioning the meaning of truth from a theological, philosophical, scholarly, and historical perspective.
A real treat for those with knowledge and interest in Medieval theology & philosophy.
💡 Food for Thought
We are happy when we are growing.
What are you doing every day to grow?
🔭 Sunday Best
A Guide to CS Lewis’ Abolition of Man — with Father Michael Ward, on the Moral Imagination Podcast. Father Ward is a literary critic and theologian at Oxford University, who is well known for his works on CS Lewis. Check out last week’s newsletter for a link to the original text!
High statistical heterogeneity is more frequent in meta-analysis of continuous than binary outcomes — by Alba et. al in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (2016)
Meta-analyses evaluating continuous outcomes showed substantially higher I(2) than meta-analyses of binary outcomes. Results suggest differing standards for interpreting I(2) in continuous vs. binary outcomes may be appropriate.
“Ambitious” is a word that I’ve been hearing a lot lately. It’s often used descriptively when talking about people, but also prescriptively when talking about desirable characteristics in a friend/partner.
I think both of these are misguided, and that “ambitious” is a word that we should remove from our vocabularies.
Placing value on “ambition” lets society decide what’s important to us, and encourages us to inherit the desires of others.
Living intentionally is what actually matters. For you, that might correspond to what society considers ambitious. But it also might not. Both are fine!
Let’s thank God for our blessings.