Recent Stoic Meditations, #17

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:

Fortune sometimes favors villains and turns against good people. That’s why our happiness should depend on our own decisions, not the vagaries of chance. (listen here)

We take a lot of things for granted, when life is going well for us. But — fools that we are — we really appreciate what we had only once we’ve lost it. That’s why the Stoics devised a series of exercises in mild self-deprivation. (listen here)

Here is a basic Stoic equation: external thing or activity + virtue = good, while its opposite is: external thing or activity + vice = bad. So, is your profession good or bad, according to this approach? (listen here)

People think that externals are good, and then, after having won their wish, and suffered much, they find them evil, or empty, or less important than they had expected. (listen here)

In order to live a meaningful life (ethics) we need to reason well about things (logic), and we need to have a good grasp of how the world works (science). How are your logic and science, then? (listen here)


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