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From Vol. 3, Issue 5, May 2021

Stoic thoughts for every day of the month

Stoic Everyday || Editor

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1. Can someone benefit others if he has not received benefits himself? No, not any more than a person who is not a carpenter can give lessons in carpentry or a person who is not a cobbler can give lessons on making footwear. (D 3.23)

2. All things are interconnected. A sacred bond unites them. There is hardly anything that stands on its own. Everything is harmonious. Everything works together to form this one universe. (M 7.9)

3. A person after pleasure postpones everything else, disregards the first essential – liberty. (H 14.4)

4. What people want is what conduces to happiness; but they look for it in the wrong place. (D 3.23)

5. Soon, every material thing disappears into the universal nature... Soon, the memory of everything is buried in eternity. (M7.10)

6. If you grumble and complain and feel sorry for yourself, you will be forced to obey orders. And, much against your will, you will be dragged away anyway. (H 15)

7. If someone acts contrary to nature, don’t think of it as an evil for you. You were not born to share in the humiliations and misfortunes of others. (D3.24)

8. For a rational person, what is according to nature is according to reason. M 7.11)

9. It is foolishness and ignorance of what we are to feel sorry because we have not got something; or something hurt us. (H 15)

10. If someone is unhappy, remember, they are responsible for it. God made us humans to be happy and serene. (D3.24)

11. Stand erect. Don’t be made to stand direct. (M 7.12)

12. Let us nobly bear whatever the universe finds us necessary to bear. (H 15)

13. Why are you unhappy? For what purpose? (D 3.24)

14. Rational beings are made to function together as one, just as limbs in a body function together as one. (D 7.13)

15. Don’t think of anything as good or bad, unless it has something to do with virtue or vice; remain unmoved by good and evil and create your good out of what is good. (H 16)

16. Has God given us any reason for our misfortune and unhappiness, so we can spend our lives in perpetual misery and mourning? (D 3.24)

17. You are being kind because it is the proper thing to do, not realising that you are doing good to yourself. (M7.13)

18. When you are beyond any desire, what can you possibly lack? If all you need is within yourself, how can you need anything from outside? (H 16)

19. We should take delight in those who live with us and not be upset by those who leave. (D 3.24)

20. If something happens, the parts of me that are affected may complain, if they like. But, if I don’t interpret it as bad or evil, I am not harmed. (M 7.14)

21. I am not a wise man… So, don’t expect me to be on par with the best of people, but just better than the worst. I am satisfied if every day I reduce my vices and correct my faults. (H 17)

22. To desire the impossible is slavish and foolish. (D 3.24)

23. No matter what others say or do, it is my job to be good. (M 7.15)

24. [Criticism from others] will not stop me from praising the life I know I should lead, even though I don’t lead it yet. (H 18)

25 The grief of another is not in our power. But your own grief is. You will try to help others to overcome their grief as far as you are able, but not totally. (D3.24)

26. The mind doesn’t disturb itself. It doesn’t scare itself or cause itself pain. If others can frighten it or cause it pain, so be it. (M 7.16)

27. People who are crucified hang from a single pole. But those who punish themselves have as many crosses as they have lusts yet are given to saying evil things. (H 19)

28. Everyone’s life is a campaign, long and changeable. (D 3.24)

29. Let the body do whatever it can to avoid hurt. If it is hurt, let it complain. But, the soul – the part that feels and judges fear and pain – suffers nothing. (M 7.16)

30. People deserve praise for engaging in useful things, even if they stop short of producing any results. (H 20)

31. Don’t you know that wise and good people do things because they are right and not because they look good to others? (D 3.24)

D: Discourses, Epictetus
M: Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
H: On Happiness, Seneca