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We are all comfortable in our little worlds. People who are different from us and who differ with us create in us some insecurity. This type of insecurity is sometimes nurtured for political purposes.
A curious philosophy
Stoicism is a curious philosophy. At its core is the strong conviction that we need nothing and need no one to be happy. Epictetus clearly summarizes this conviction.
How do we react when unexpected things—such as a job loss or a health problem—happen to us? How do we react to predictable daily events? We often react to events in a way that causes more misery. Many people get depressed by they way they habitually react to things.
Developing the virtue of courage
This is the nineteenth excerpt from our 10-week course on Stoicism. The book covering all course material, readings, and exercises is available from https://amzn.to/2Ck0fje.
This is the first chapter of Seneca’s discourse On Tranquility. It is an excerpt from Stoic Tranquility, a plain English version of the discourse, published by The Stoic Gym. https://amzn.to/337K6Mn
In 2018, Tonya Illman, walking around sand dunes on a remote beach in Western Australia, picked up a bottle, It contained a message written 132 years prior, thrown from a German ship called Paula. The note was still readable and was later confirmed authentic. That was the oldest message ever found in a bottle.
As I write this, more than 250,000 around the world have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 3,500,000 have been diagnosed with it. Compared to the world’s population of 7.5 billion people these are small numbers.
In the last chapter of his discourse On The Happy Life, Seneca tells us that to be happy we should stop pursuing pleasure, and instead pursue virtue.
Long ago, a thirty-something philosopher strode up the steps of a porch on the north end of the Athenian agora. It was the meeting place for all and sundry—jugglers, fire eaters, vendors, fishmongers, beggars, hawkers, and layabouts. The porch was decorated with beautiful paintings but it was also tainted with human blood. It was the site where hundreds had been executed.
Manual of Reformed Stoicism by Piotr Stankiewicz is a tightly structured, well-written, and beautifully produced book. It deserves to be among the top three modern books on applied Stoicism. It covers the same ground as most modern books on applied Stoicism, only better.
Stoicism in the Time of a Pandemic
Since the time of Hierocles, the Stoics suggested that we are a part of a larger community. Steeped in our self-centered everyday concerns, we ignore others and devote our lives to our selfish pursuits.
In this issue, Greg Sadler poses an interesting question. Why is it, in many Stoic forums, people ask questions like
- Is Batman Stoic?
- Is Donald Trump Stoic?
- Is Mickey Mouse Stoic?
- Is feminism Stoic?
- Is traveling around the world Stoic?
You read a book on Stoicism. Or listen to a lecture, read a blog, or see a post on social media. You are inspired. You are going to practice Stoicism. You are going to be happy, virtuous, and invincible.
Everything Marcus Aurelius inherited from his father, he gave to his sister.
I know, I know, it is not good form to be pleased with yourself. Even less so to announce it to others. But today I am pleased with myself and I am not hiding it. Let me explain why.