On Advice

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Sun, 12/03/2017 - 14:35

You know how advice is - you only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyways. - John Steinbeck

Advice has value only when the recipient sees themselves as having something to learn. This state of openness, of humility, is so uncommon, the act of giving unsolicited advice will almost always fall on deaf ears. In fact, the obvious intimation, that the recipient does not already know what they need to, that they should be humble and accept this wisdom, is almost always taken as an insult.

Practical Stoicism: Seek Your Own Approval

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Sat, 09/30/2017 - 10:33

Often I marvel at how men love themselves more than others while at the same time caring more about what others think of them than what they think of themselves. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Book XII)

If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented, then, in everything with being a philosopher; and, if you wish to be thought so likewise by anyone, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you. (Epictetus, Enchiridion 23)


Practical Stoicism: Play Your Role Well

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Sat, 09/23/2017 - 14:10

Remember that you are an actor in a drama, of such a kind as the author pleases to make it. If short, of a short one; if long, of a long one. If it is his pleasure you should act a poor man, a cripple, a governor, or a private person, see that you act it naturally. For this is your business, to act well the character assigned you; to choose it is another's. (Epictetus, Endichirion 17)

Practical Stoicism: Consider Worst Case Scenarios

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Wed, 08/02/2017 - 19:17

Yet another re-write.  Hopefully, this one flows a little better, with a little less drama.  The take away needs to be that this is like exercising your misfortune muscle.  You really don't want to wait until you need it to see if you are strong enough.

"We should remind our spirits all the time that they love things that will leave - no, better, things that are already leaving.  You possess whatever is given by Fortune without a guarantor."  (Seneca – Consolation to Marcia)


In the Beginning

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Wed, 01/25/2017 - 19:30
This one thing I know: Everything happens for a reason. Not in the sense that it happens for some desired end, but in that something happened before to make it happen. This is not something I have to take on faith because it perfectly matches up with my observations. Everything follows what came before it, and laws surrounding cause and effect are ubiquitous and unstoppable.

Practical Stoicism: Reconsider the Wrong

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Sat, 01/21/2017 - 15:08

Here's another rewrite. The original was okay, but it was very short and didn't, IMHO, truly press home the point. Or at least my take on the point: That we are really not well positioned to even know when another has done wrong. And it's not in anyone's best interests for us to act like we are.

If any man has done wrong, the harm is his own. But perhaps he has not done wrong. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditations IX.38)


On Natural Solutions

Submitted by c0c0c0 on Sun, 01/15/2017 - 14:11

"If it ain’t natural, it ain’t worth a damn." - Ray Wray

Taoism has an interesting concept called “wei wu wei”, which means something like  "action without action" or "effortless doing".   There are very large books written on what that means, practically, but the simplest and most useful Western term I would translate it to is, “Go with the flow.”  Like much of Taoism, it sounds pretty passive, and I wouldn’t implement it in my life in its most literal reading.  But there is a sense where I definitely would.