Now is as good of a time as any to get perspective.

The Stoic practice of the view from above concerns getting an objective and broad perspective: seeing things from the perspective of a whole and how they fit together.

Seeing things from above allows us to get a sense of what is truly important and what is not.

Here is Marcus Aurelius:

For all things are swift to fade and become mere matter for tales, and swiftly to complete oblivion covers their every trace.

Everything is ephemeral. The narratives that we cling tightly too are too parochial. If you take an objective, outside perspective you can note that to too will come to pass. Your struggles are not unique, they have been faced by thousands of humans before you. The same story is being told again and again.

One way to practice this is through meditation.

An underrated way to practice is through selective reading. The Stoics are helpful with this. But there are other kinds of books that are useful still.

One such book is Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens. It's a long form history of how we've become who we are as a species. The section on the development of early humanity is especially rich. Humans have been around for a thousands of years. We've evolved, of course biologically, but also culturally. Each of us plays a small part of the story. These facts are obvious, but internalizing them is another thing altogether. Reading through Sapiens is one way to do this.

The argument with your partner, the feelings of loneliness, the creativity that comes with time alone -- all of these things have happened to us before and will happen to us again.

Harari focuses on the human capability to construct intersubjective reality. Government, money, religion only work if everything believes in them. The dollar would become useless if everyone believed that it was no longer a representation of value. The human ability to construct fictions has been useful, it allows us to coordinate. However, often our myths sieze control of us, distracting ourselves from what is really important.

Consider the ideas of nobility, government power, and status. In Marcus Aurelius's such ideas were displayed through fine tunics and other such clothing. But, as Marcus reminds himself, a tunic is merely dyed blood of a shellfish. It get's it's power only because we believe that everyone else believes that tunics convey nobility, powerful positions, and high status.

Sapiens allows us to step outside of this narrative.

Another such work, is Liu Cixin's Three Body Problem trilogy. This is a work of fiction. How can reading it be a way to reinforce the view from above?

It's an epic story. It spans across centuries and planets. It's larger than anyone individual.

In that way, it's not much different from our own story.

There are many such books like it. When you're thinking what to read, consider reading what expands your sense of time and space. Whatever helps you take the view from above.