Recent Stoic Meditations, #30

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:

People who do wrong should be treated like sick patients. By all means, restrain them if they are liable to hurt others. But do not be angry with them. They need help. (listen here)

Seneca uses Aristotle’s own analogy between negative emotions and weapons to show that it is flawed: we control our weapons, but destructive emotions control us. (listen here)

Reason wishes to give a just decision; anger wishes its decision to be thought just. (listen here)

The Stoics’ opinion is that anger can venture upon nothing by itself, without the approval of mind. It follows that we are in charge, not whatever circumstances happen to trigger our initial reactions. (listen here)

To avoid being angry with individuals, you must pardon the whole mass, you must grant forgiveness to the entire human race. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #29

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:

When someone is wandering about our city because they have lost their way, it is better to place then on the right path than to drive them away. (listen here)

Seneca responds somewhat sarcastically to the Aristotelian suggestion that a bit of anger is good because it makes soldiers more willing to fight. So does being drunk, but no general would want a drunken army. (listen here)

Defenders of the right to be angry say that we should be angered by injustice. But why is it that positive emotions, like love, concern for others, and a well developed sense of justice, aren’t enough? (listen here)

The best plan is to reject straightway the first incentives to anger, to resist its very beginnings, and to take care not to be betrayed into it: for if once it begins to carry us away, it is hard to get back again into a healthy condition. (listen here)

Anger is very like a falling rock which breaks itself to pieces upon the very thing which it crushes. That you may know that they whom anger possesses are not sane, look at their appearance. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #28

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:

Life is short, and we should thread lightly, mindful of the fact that it is up to us to leave the place in good conditions, so that the next travelers will enjoy it as much as we did. (listen here)

Unless you believe in miracles, you agree that events are regulated by cause and effect. In which case the notion that someone dies “too soon” is highly problematic. Not just metaphysically, but for your own mental well being. (listen here)

To have lived 60 years, or 70, or 100 is an interesting factoid, but the real question is: have you lived well? (listen here)

An eye, when open, has no option but to see. The decision whether to look at a particular man’s wife, however, and how, belongs to the will. (listen here)

Stoics have no problem with wealth. We are not Cynics, after all. So long as it is not ill-gotten, or ill-used, it represents yet another preferred indifferent, yet another occasion to exercise virtue. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #27

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:

If sickness had carried off that glory and support of the empire Gnaeus Pompeius, at Naples, he would have died the undoubted head of the Roman people, but as it was, a short extension of time cast him down from his pinnacle of fame. (listen here)

If anyone pities the dead, he ought also to pity those who have not been born. Death is neither a good nor a bad thing, for that alone which is something can be a good or a bad thing. (listen here)

He who dies need fear no darkness, no prison, no blazing streams of fire, no river of Lethe, no judgment seat before which he must appear, and that Death is such utter freedom that he need fear no more despots. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #26

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:

Everything we think we have is actually on loan from the universe, so to speak, and we need to be ready to give it back whenever the universe recalls the loan, no matter in what form it does it. (listen here)

Seneca reminds his friend Marcia, who had lost a son a couple of years later, that it is better to be thankful for what she had, rather than resentful for what she has lost. (listen here)

Believe me — says Seneca to Marcia — [women] have the same intellectual power as men, and the same capacity for honorable and generous action. (listen here)

Every time we lose a loved one it means that we have, in fact, loved. So we should not be resentful for what the universe has taken, but rather thankful for what it has given. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #25

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:

Stoicism leads us to a life of benevolence toward other human beings, in pursuit of a constant refinement of our  judgments and understanding of how the world actually works — so that we can more effectively live in it. (listen here)

Our feelings may end up feeding upon their own bitterness, until the unhappy mind takes a morbid delight in grief. But we can challenge the cognitive component of our own emotions and move forward. (listen here)

In consoling Marcia, Seneca reminds her that one’s virtue is on display when the universe challenges with adversity, not when life glides easily with a favoring current. (listen here)

Feeling grief and sorrow at the loss of a loved one is natural and inevitable. Dwelling on it to the point of becoming paralyzed and not being able to resume an active role in society is something we need to avoid. (listen here)

One way to prepare for setbacks in life is to pay attention when they happen to others. We are not exceptions to the fabric of the universe, we are an integral part of it. What happens to others may or will happen to us. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #24

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:

Aristo of Chios disagreed with the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, in pretty fundamental ways. A powerful reminder that Stoic philosophy isn’t written in stone, and never was. (listen here)

According to Chrysippus, when it’s all said and done, there are only three conceptions of the chief good for human beings. (listen here)

Cicero’s reports a famous metaphor used by Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, to explain the progression from perception to assent to comprehension to knowledge. Which is then used as a reminder about the limits of our own knowledge. (listen here)

Plato said that “every soul is deprived of the truth against its will.” Which means that we need to treat people who make mistakes with sympathy, not criticize and dismiss them. (listen here)