Toni Erdmann and the view from above.

I recently watched the acclaimed German comedy, Toni Erdmann and it struck a chord with me. Its ridicule of our daily traditions of worry and ambition reminded me of one of the greatest teachers to have ever lived, who taught the same lessons in taking life less seriously.

There are many wise teachers that have come and gone through time – but none have spoke truer than one Marcus Aurelius. Roman Emperor. Ruler. Thinker.

Take a view from above — look at the thousands of flocks and herds, the thousands of human ceremonies, every sort of voyage in storm or calm, the range of creation, combination, and extinction. Consider too the lives once lived by others long before you, the lives that will be lived after you, the lives lived now among foreign tribes; and how many have never even heard your name, how many will soon forget it, how many may praise you now but quickly turn to blame. Reflect that neither memory nor fame, nor anything else at all, has any importance worth thinking of.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.28

When I find myself in troubled waters and times of stress, I often go to Marcus and his words to bring life and reality back to scale for me. Something that Toni Erdmann does beautifully.

Here is Marcus’s thesis, The View From Above. A reminder to me and the rest of us.

Life is short. Nothing matters. Relax, bro.