Recent Stoic Meditations, #39

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:

“But the way by which we are asked to climb is steep and uneven.” What then? Can heights be reached by a level path? Yet they are not so sheer and precipitous as some think. (listen here)

“For Cato did not outlive freedom, nor did freedom outlive Cato.” On the Stoic conception of suicide. (listen here)

Invulnerable is not that which is never struck, but that which is never wounded. In this class I will show you the wise person. (listen here)

Fortune can take nothing away save what she gave. Now fortune does not give virtue; therefore she does not take it away. (listen here)

Bear adversity with calm and prosperity with moderation, neither yielding to the former nor trusting to the latter. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #38

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:

What sets aside human beings from the rest of the animal world is our ability to reason and our propensity to be pro-social. So let’s reason well, and be helpful to fellow humans. (listen here)

If someone gets the habit of writing ungrammatically, their art is bound to be destroyed and perish. In the same way the person of honor keeps their character by honest acts and loses it by dishonest. (listen here)

According to Epictetus, the root of our problems is that we don’t know, or refuse to acknowledge, how the world works. As opposed as to how we wished it worked. (listen here)

A student asks Epictetus whether we should really bother to learn logic. “Would you like me to provide you with an argument?” Yes. “How would you know if my argument is a good one, if you don’t understand logic?” QED. (listen here)

Nobody wants to do what is bad for them. So when the thief steals, he is under the wrong impression about what is and is not good for him. We should therefore pity him, and help him understand, if possible. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #37

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 I see that one thing, virtue, is supreme and most important, I cannot say that something else is, just to make you happy. (listen here)

We know how to analyze arguments, and have the skill a person needs to evaluate competent logicians. But in life what do we do? What today we say is good, tomorrow we’ll swear is bad. That’s because we don’t pay attention. (listen here)

Trust is crucial for intimate relationships, for friendships, and even among fellow citizens. Research shows that nations with the highest degree of self-reported happiness among its citizens are those in which people feel like they can trust each other. (listen here)

Material things per se are indifferent, but the use we make of them is not indifferent. (listen here)

A nice analogy from Epictetus between our choices in life and those we have when we go on a trip. Even when the trip doesn’t end well… (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #36

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:

Seneca gives us a rationale and detailed instructions on how too keep a philosophical journal. And modern cognitive science confirms that it works in order to improve self-analysis and let go of negative emotions. (listen here)

Is anyone surprised at being cold in winter? At being sick at sea? Or at being jostled in the street? The mind is strong enough to bear those evils for which it is prepared. (listen here)

Why should we, as though we were born to live forever, waste our tiny span of life in declaring anger against any one? Life is a matter which does not admit of waste, and we have no spare time to throw away. (listen here)

People act like a traveller headed for home who stops at an inn and, finding it comfortable, decides to remain there. You’ve lost sight of your goal, man. You were supposed to drive through the inn, not park there. (listen here)

Some become captivated by all these things and don’t want to proceed further. One is captivated by deductive or equivocal arguments, someone else by yet another ‘inn’ of this kind; and there they stay and rot as if seduced by the Sirens. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #35

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:

Revenge takes up much time, and throws itself in the way of many injuries while it is smarting under one. We all retain our anger longer than we feel our hurt. (listen here)

It makes no sense to get angry with children or non-human animals, because they can’t reason. So why get angry with an adult who has temporarily lost the use of reason? (listen here)

A person will never be well off to whom it is a torture to see any one better off than themselves. Have I less than I hoped for? Well, perhaps I hoped for more than I ought. (listen here)

Do you ask, what is your greatest fault? It is, that you keep your accounts wrongly: you set a high value upon what you give, and a low one upon what you receive. (listen here)

Money is what wearies out the law-courts, sows strife between father and son, concocts poisons, and gives swords to murderers just as to soldiers: it is stained with our blood. (listen here)

Recent Stoic Meditations, #33

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:

Anger pays a penalty at the same moment that it exacts one: it forswears human feelings. The latter urge us to love, anger urges us to hatred: the latter bid us do good, anger bids us do harm. (listen here)

We should live with the quietest and easiest-tempered persons, not with anxious or with sullen ones: for our own habits are copied from those with whom we associate. (listen here)

Do something that relaxes you, change your environment to make it soothing, and most importantly don’t engage in anything major if you are tired, stressed, or hungry. (listen here)

It is said that Socrates when he was given a box on the ear, merely said that it was a pity a man could not tell when he ought to wear his helmet out walking. (listen here)

While you are angry, you ought not to be allowed to do anything. Why?, do you ask? Because when you are angry there is nothing that you do not wish to be allowed to do. (listen here)

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)