Calmer than you are

There’s a scene from The Big Lebowski where the Dude is upset, and hotheaded Walter brags, “Calmer than you are.” But we all know that Walter is faking it. What does it really mean to not worry about things that are not up to us? I just completed a cross-country move to be closer to family.Continue reading “Calmer than you are”

Stoic Buddhism? Or Buddhist Stoicism? Or neither?

Stoicism and Buddhism have many similarities, but significant differences as well. What follows is my attempt to modify Stoicism with aspects of Buddhism. I also modify aspects of Stoicism I don’t fully agree with, such as describing a spectrum rather than a dichotomy of control, and saying that things that are not up to us (externals)Continue reading “Stoic Buddhism? Or Buddhist Stoicism? Or neither?”

Outrage: Passion as a disease of the mind

What Stoicism says about resisting manipulation. Resisting cultural forces requires constant effort. The unending stream of media and entertainment is background noise that influences us more than we’re aware of or care to admit. And as Russ Roberts points out on his Econtalk podcast, the internet age enables us to customize our newsfeeds to amplifyContinue reading “Outrage: Passion as a disease of the mind”

Stoicism might not be a bummer after all

I’ve heard the Dude is Epicurean. He follows the pleasure principle. Take ‘er easy. And he’s anything but unemotional. I’ve never heard anyone say Mr. Spock is a dude. But wait a minute. The Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski is a tale of the Dude being very unDude. A carpet pisser ruins his rug.Continue reading “Stoicism might not be a bummer after all”

Maybe we can’t get past our pain, but we can get past our tunnel vision

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona © Dave DuBay I just finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary series on the Roosevelts. Eleanor Roosevelt is known to history as a kindhearted person, a woman of character who treated others with human dignity. She was the primary mover behind the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And there’s Mr. Rogers who taughtContinue reading “Maybe we can’t get past our pain, but we can get past our tunnel vision”

Stoic & Epicurean rivalry

Both can agree that a virtuous life is usually more pleasurable. Stoics and Epicureans were ancient rivals. And some modern followers of these philosophies may feel inclined to perpetuate that rivalry. But it’s unnecessary. Stoics and Epicureans have different answers to what it means to live a good life. There’s no objective answer to thisContinue reading “Stoic & Epicurean rivalry”

MS-13 are animals. We all are.

President Donald Trump called MS-13 gang members “animals.” E.J. Dionne from the Washington Post disagreed, saying that “It’s never right to call other human beings ‘animals.’” And writing for the National Review, Dennis Prager responded that Dionne reveals “the moral sickness at the heart of leftism.” Dionne thinks his position is beyond debate: “No matterContinue reading “MS-13 are animals. We all are.”

Is there a link between teen suicide, school shootings, & social media?

Mass shootings—especially at schools—have gotten a lot of attention, but there’s another type of violence that kills far more teens. Suicide. I was talking with a middle school principal the other day. He said teen suicide is increasing at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control agree. The CDC says teen suicide peaked in the earlyContinue reading “Is there a link between teen suicide, school shootings, & social media?”

Who’s the most Stoic Star Trek character?

Mr. Spock is often seen as the ultimate stoic. Yet, Stoic philosopher Epictetus says not to be like a stone statue. Can you be emotional and stoic at the same time? No—that’s a contradiction in terms. But can you be emotional and Stoic at the same time? Yes—Stoicism has a nuanced perspective on emotion. WhetherContinue reading “Who’s the most Stoic Star Trek character?”

Stoicism & Western Buddhism

The similarity of Buddhism and Stoicism is not a new observation. But Patrick Ussher in Stoicism & Western Buddhism offers a more nuanced perspective. The similarities apply more to Western Buddhism and modern Stoicism than to the ancient versions of either. In both cases, Ussher argues, modern Westerners have revised ancient philosophies to fit currentContinue reading “Stoicism & Western Buddhism”