Man Adrift: A Short Story

Man Adrift: A Short Story

Even warm memories couldn't rid him of the chill seeping into his core.

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His eyes opened to the forbidding gray of an overcast sky, the burn of salt and dehydration on his lips. Gentle winds caressed his matted hair. As he began to come to, he realized he was adrift on open waters, rough-hewn wood pressed against his back. He did not know who he was or how he had gotten there.

Heaving himself onto his side, he realized he was in some makeshift boat. There was a small cloth bag in the corner with a waterskin inside it. He reached for it hastily, before remembering that this was likely his only source of drinking water. Hesitantly, he took two sips and replaced it.

Other memories began to return, too. Light laughter under sparkling chandeliers, the tinkling of wine glasses and china plates. The churning in his stomach as the ship rocked on rough waves. The feeling of Emily's skin under his hands as she fell into him, unsteady on her stilettoes. "I must not have gotten my sea legs yet." She had grinned up at him, eyes alight with mischief.

The warmth of the memories slightly alleviated the chill he was beginning to feel. His coat had been thoroughly soaked and offered little comfort. Without any instruments, he had no means of telling where he was. Not that a compass or sextant would have done him much good. He had been a banker, not a sailor. Another gust of wind came, its cold fingers reaching through to his bones.

Another remembrance assailed him, then. A bitter wind, carrying smoke and screams as passengers scrambled for the lifeboats. Emily, her hair whipped into a loose frenzy as she was bundled away with a few of the others. His own cold hand, clenched around a drawstring bag as he was lowered into the swirling black void of the sea.

The chill that rocked him now had nothing to do with the winds. There had been five people to a boat. Where had all the others gone?

A particularly fierce wave set his boat rocking, and he grabbed the sides for support. His flailing foot struck a single oar. He scrabbled for it, atrophied muscles aching. A slight throbbing began to make itself known, a persistent rhythm pounding against the inside of his skull.

He could hardly see through the thick sheets of rain that came hurtling down. The oilskin could only hold out for so long, and he had cast it off to begin bailing water from his boat. But he could swear that the shadowy mass had not been there before.

Something bumped against the underside of his boat and he let out a croak, too parched to scream. Something beat wetly against the hull. Again it struck, this time harder. Whether he was feeling nauseous from fear or seasickness he did not know.

The horror that had settled like a dark cloud over his mind escalated into a full-on panic when a pair of tentacles flopped over the edge, their pustulant flesh covered in wickedly curved black barbs that left pale gashes on the sides of the boat. Another two came over the other side, effectively securing the wooden vessel in place.

If he had been rational, he would have no doubt realized that his pitiful oar stood little chance against some horrific monstrosity whose limbs were longer than his entire boat. As it was, the terror had overtaken all capacity for rational thought and he lashed out, striking the tentacles with wet, leathery slaps. The tentacles seemed to recoil for a moment, one of them slipping below the dark waters again. With renewed adrenaline coursing through his veins, he began beating back the other with vigor.

His frenzied exertions were halted when six more barbed limbs came shooting out of the water and snatched away the oar. In a matter of seconds, all that remained of his one weapon was a handful of splinters adrift on the open sea.

His eyes were wet, salt crystals lashed on his face. There was no hope, no way out. He opened his arms and succumbed to the dark void opening over his head. There was a flash of lightning, and then the waters were still.

Nothing remained but a few broken planks, adrift on open and unforgiving seas.

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5 Reasons Why Ancient Philosophy Is Still Relevant Today

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle founded ideas that stand the test of time.
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Ancient Greece brought many gifts to the world, whether it be democracy or philosophy. Although ancient history may seem archaic and irrelevant at first glance, that is really not the case upon further contemplation. Greeks were quite advanced for their times, bringing along revolutionary contributions to civilization, politics, science and the arts.

1. Socratic Method of Inquiry

"The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others."

Socrates encouraged people to question everything and anything, including themselves. He strongly believed that by being free of assumptions, humans can better themselves. Socrates was unapologetic about his beliefs and always stood his ground, even when it cost him his life. Basically, he wasn't afraid to speak the truth, and if that meant hurting people's feelings occasionally, then so be it.

In particular, Socrates was famous for his method of inquiry in which he would break the subject matter down and ask questions to stimulate critical thinking in intellectual discussions. This way, all presumptions could be cleared and all parties partaking in the debate could engage in the search for the same truth. Socratic circles and debates are based on these principles.

Socrates was one of the first philosophers to develop ethics. Till date, people continue to engage extensively in the debate of the human condition— about what is right and wrong, good and evil. By actively listening and participating in intellectual discourse, people can avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary arguments. Two things to remember are to ask questions and think critically. You do not have to take everything at face value and blindly agree with everyone else. It's okay to question things and have doubts because trust me, you are not alone.

Socrates prided himself on the fact that "he knew nothing." He always wanted to learn, and for simply recognizing that he was not all-knowing, he was smarter than everyone else. That recognition and acceptance is something more people could use today.

2. Plato's Allegory of the Cave

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

Plato introduced the idea of an ideal Republic and human blindness to the truth. He wanted people to climb out of their “caves” of darkness and ignorance, and step into reality and truth. In a world saturated with polarization and bias, his beliefs couldn’t be more relevant today. By accepting that people’s ideas of reality are inevitably filtered by subjectivity and ignorance, Plato encourages to actively seek transcendental reality. Not to mention, a term commonly used today, Platonic love takes its name from Plato himself.

In an era of alternative facts and media bias, it doesn't hurt to fact check for yourself. The world is filled with people living in their own bubbles. Ignorance is everywhere, but here is the good news. It is never too late to leave the cave and find your reality. Learning and acquiring knowledge is a lifelong process, definitely not limited to first twelve years of schooling. It can be hard to admit to others and yourself that you are unaware of certain things in the world, but the only way to fix it is your willingness to seek out the truth for yourself.

3. A Competitive Spirit

More than 3000 years ago, Ancient Greece laid the foundation for the Olympic Games. The Olympics demonstrate strength and performance, but also capture human competitiveness. The competitive spirit continues today in schools, workplace, and athletics to push limits, motivate people, and secure rewards. Fair competition also promotes cooperation and teamwork— all of which are part of our daily lives today.

4. Aristotle's Method of Logic

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

Aristotle believed that we live in a world made of facts, and in order to perceive knowledge, people need logical and methodical discourse. Logic and reasoning paved the way for modern sciences, including biology, psychology, and physics. Aristotle's ideas conflict with Plato's in that not everything in life is subjective and open to interpretation. Instead of finding your truth, he encourages people to find the truth.

5. A Search for Happiness

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Socrates firmly believed in human virtue and goodness. He felt that the world could always use more kindness, and that notion stands just as true today. In particular, a school of thought known as Stoicism emerged as a way to respond to daily endeavors in human lives. In modern-day language, Stoicism means to "keep your cool" in chaotic situations. The main points that Stoics focus on are:

1. How can we lead a fulfilling, happy life?
2. How can we become better human beings?

A search for inner peace and happiness are the goals. People are encouraged to overcome difficulties, recognize their impulses, and understand what is within their control. Introspective thinking and being present in the moment are two principles that stand the test of time.

Whether it was introducing critical thinking, analyzing human nature, or questioning the moral compass, early philosophers asked and answered essential questions about life. Ancient philosophy is still relevant today, not only because it tells us how to think, but also what is important to think about in life.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Pretty: A Poem

I'm not just a pretty face.

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There's no point

Just being a pretty face

For people to gawk at

And laugh thinking about what they wanna do to me

In their bed, at night,

Under the sheets, all rosy and nice


A porcelain doll

Waiting for guys to touch and feel me

As if I am just a toy

Wide open

My fruits

Open and bare

Or

Wild and dangerous, hidden deep below the surface


Then,

They just do a hit and run

While I lay on the flat surface of the cold, hardened floor

Thinking someone would just pick me up again

In this cold, cold world

Of male superiority

And

The real patriarchal system

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