Recent Stoic Meditations, #5

When Fortuna allows, I publish a short morning meditation based on a short quote from a Stoic writer, seeking to apply that ancient wisdom to life in the 21st century. Here are the most recent entries:

Marcus Aurelius argues that when we do something right we shouldn’t expect either recognition or a return. Otherwise, we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason. (listen here)

Seneca reminds us that we do not actually know when “the remorseless law of Fate” has fixed the time of our death. Therefore, we should prioritize what’s important, postpone nothing, and balance our life’s account every day. (listen here)

Seneca agrees with Epicurus: there is no sense in fearing what happens after death, since we won’t be there to experience it. Therefore, we should not allow religious and political authorities to manipulate us through that fear. (listen here)

Seneca talks to his friend Lucilius about how to console the bereaved, dispelling the stereotype of Stoics as individuals who go through life with a stiff upper lip. (listen here)

Seneca says that good and evil are not in the world per se, but in our judgments about the world, and the actions we take as a consequence of those judgments. Which is why training ourselves to arrive at better judgments is so crucial. (listen here)

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Massimo

Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at platofootnote.org and howtobeastoic.org. He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

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