Ἄφοβον ὁ θεός,
ἀνύποπτον ὁ θάνατος
καὶ τἀγαθὸν μὲν εὔκτητον,
τὸ δὲ δεινὸν εὐκαρτέρητον
(PhilodemusHerculaneum Papyrus, 1005, 4.9-14)

“The fundamental obstacle to happiness, says Epicurus, is anxiety,” writes D. S. Hutchinson

The Tetrapharmakos (τετραφάρμακος), or, “The four-part cure,” is the Greek philosopher Epicurus‘ (341 BC, Samos – 270 BC, Athens) recipe for leading the happiest possible life. The “tetrapharmakos” was originally a compound of four drugs (waxtallowpitch and resin); the word has been used metaphorically by Epicurus and his disciples to refer to the four remedies for healing the soul.


Shoichi Yokoi

Born in 1915 and conscripted in 1941 to serve in Manchuria, before being sent to Guam in 1944
On his return to Japan he expressed embarrassment at having returned alive, rather than dying in the service of the emperor
Japan had changed utterly during his three-decade absence – some found his stoicism and loyalty inspiring, others found it absurd
He married in 1972, within months of his return and died in 1997, aged 82
He longed to meet Emperor Hirohito – in the end he was granted an audience with Emperor Akihito in 1991

Yokoi’s long ordeal began in July 1944 when US forces stormed Guam as part of their offensive against the Japanese in the Pacific.

Yokoi's eel trapYokoi’s eel trap was one of his prize possessions

The fighting was fierce, casualties were high on both sides, but once the Japanese command was disrupted, soldiers such as Yokoi and others in his platoon were left to fend for themselves.
“From the outset they took enormous care not to be detected, erasing their footprints as they moved through the undergrowth,” Hatashin said.
In the early years the Japanese soldiers, soon reduced to a few dozen in number, caught and killed local cattle to feed off.
There they ate venomous toads, river eels and rats.
Yokoi made a trap from wild reeds for catching eels. He also dug himself an underground shelter, supported by strong bamboo canes.
“He was an extremely resourceful man,” Hatashin says.
Keeping himself busy also kept him from thinking too much about his predicament, or his family back home, his nephew said.
Return to Guam Yokoi’s own memoirs of his time in hiding reveal his desperation not to give up hope, especially in the last eight years when he was totally alone – his last two surviving companions died in floods in 1964.

Yokoi and his handmade loomYokoi demonstrating the handmade loom he used in the jungle

Turning his thoughts to his ageing mother back home, he at one point wrote: “It was pointless to cause my heart pain by dwelling on such things.”
And of another occasion, when he was desperately sick in the jungle, he wrote: “No! I cannot die here. I cannot expose my corpse to the enemy. I must go back to my hole to die. I have so far managed to survive but all is coming to nothing now.”
Two weeks after his discovery in the jungle, Yokoi returned home to Japan to a hero’s welcome.
He was besieged by the media, interviewed on radio and television, and was regularly invited to speak at universities and in schools across the country.
He was unimpressed by the country’s rapid post-war economic development and once commented on seeing a new 10,000 yen bank note that the currency had now become “valueless”.
According to Hatashin, his uncle grew increasingly nostalgic about the past as he grew older, and before his death in 1997 he went back to Guam on several occasions with his wife.


As US forces surged into Iraq in 2003, Chris Kyle was handed a sniper rifle and told to watch as a marine battalion entered an Iraqi town.

A crowd had come out to greet them. Through the scope he saw a woman, with a child close by, approaching his troops. She had a grenade ready to detonate in her hand.

“This was the first time I was going to have to kill someone. I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to do it, man, woman or whatever,” he says.

“You’re running everything through your mind. This is a woman, first of all. Second of all, am I clear to do this, is this right, is it justified? And after I do this, am I going to be fried back home? Are the lawyers going to come after me saying, ‘You killed a woman, you’re going to prison’?”

It’s killing that is very distant but also very personal – I would even say intimate”

But he didn’t have much time to debate these questions.

“She made the decision for me, it was either my fellow Americans die or I take her out.”

He pulled the trigger.

Kyle remained in Iraq until 2009. According to official Pentagon figures, he killed 160 people, the most career sniper kills in the history of the US military. His own estimate is much higher, at 255 kills.

According to army intelligence, he was christened “The Devil” by Iraqi insurgents, who put a $20,000 (£13,000) bounty on his head.

Married with two children, he has now retired from the military and has published a book in which he claims to have no regrets, referring to the people he killed as “savages”.

The US marine sniper course is one of the hardest training courses in the military, with a failure rate of more than 60% and a long list of prerequisites for recruits, including “a high degree of maturity, equanimity and common sense”.

Research in Canada has also found that snipers tend to score lower on tests for post-traumatic stress and higher on tests for job satisfaction than the average soldier.

“By and large, they are very healthy, well-adjusted young men,” says Peter Bradley at the Royal Military College of Canada, who is studying 150 snipers in Afghanistan. “When you meet them you’re taken by how sensible and level-headed they are.”

When former Soviet sniper Ilya Abishev fought in Afghanistan in 1988 he was immersed in Soviet propaganda and was convinced what he was doing was right.

Regret came much later. “We believed we were defending the Afghan people,” he says. “Now I am not proud, I am ashamed of my behaviour.”

For police snipers, who operate within normal society rather than a war zone, doubts, or even trauma, can arise much sooner.

Brian Sain, a sniper and deputy at the sheriff’s department in Texas, says many police and army snipers struggle with having killed in such an intimate way.

“It’s not something you can tell your wife, it’s not something you can tell your pastor,” says Mr Sain, a member of Spotter, an American association that supports traumatised snipers. “Only another sniper understands how that feels.”

But for the US’s deadliest sniper, remorse does not seem to be an issue.

“It is a weird feeling,” he admits. “Seeing an actual dead body… knowing that you’re the one that caused it now to no longer move.”

But that is as far as he goes.

“Every person I killed I strongly believe that they were bad,” he says. “When I do go face God there is going to be lots of things I will have to account for but killing any of those people is not one of them.”



La alerta llega de los consultores médicos del diario británico ‘Neurology’.
Está comprobado que es peligroso, y hasta puede ser fatal conversar por el teléfono apoyándolo en el hombro y aguantándolo con la cabeza.

Generalmente hay una tendencia a hacer eso cuando necesitamos anotar lo que el interlocutor está diciendo. El caso relatado por la publicación científica se refiere a un psiquiatra francés que pasó una hora con el teléfono entre la cabeza y el hombro izquierdo. Cuando terminó, sufrió ceguera temporal y sintió dificultad para hablar, a lo que sobrevino un derrame cerebral.

MOTIVO: Un hueso minúsculo, pero puntiagudo, situado debajo de la oreja izquierda y detrás de la mandíbula, rompió los vasos que llevan la sangre hacia el cerebro. Ese rompimiento se produce porque la persona, sin sentirlo, va presionando cada vez más la cabeza sobre el teléfono y también, involuntariamente, va levantando el hombro.

Como es una práctica muy común este comportamiento, principalmente en las oficinas, muchas veces este problema afecta a las personas con intensidad y puede causar problemas por acumulación. Luego no sabemos el por qué ahora sufren las personas, de tantos derrames cerebrales (Accidente Cerebro Vascular=A.C.V.)