Dia de los muertos

We would not be here were it not for those who went before us. I was at an October Día de los Muertos event in Arizona when my phone rang. The Day of the Dead is an ancient Aztec holiday honoring those who have gone before us. Historically celebrated in August, the holiday was moved to coincideContinue reading “Dia de los muertos”

Anxiety and locus of control

Do you focus on your choices or on events you don’t control? In book two part thirteen of his Discourses Epictetus makes an astute observation: When I see someone in a state of anxiety I say, “What is it that he wants?” For unless he wanted something that was not within his power, how could he stillContinue reading “Anxiety and locus of control”

My disagreements with MGTOW

What does it mean to be independent? A few months back I wrote that men’s roles are changing in unexpected ways. One example I gave are men going their own way (MGTOW). MGTOW are against marriage, and many eschew relationships with women altogether. They claim society is gynocentric: men being expected to accommodate feminism whileContinue reading “My disagreements with MGTOW”

Judgmentalism reveals our insecurities

And that also puts other people’s judgmentalism into perspective. Everyone knows that a stronger person can overpower you. But perhaps that’s not quite true. Physically, yes, you can be overpowered. But even if they threaten to kill you they still can’t make you do something that you think is wrong. Socrates chose to die rather thanContinue reading “Judgmentalism reveals our insecurities”

Self-interest isn’t anti-social

But where we locate our self-interest matters. It’s controversial to say self-interest is our primary motivation for whatever we do. This claim seems to advocate selfishness. And what would a society built on selfishness be like? Besides, there are examples of people taking great risks or even sacrificing themselves for people they don’t even know. HowContinue reading “Self-interest isn’t anti-social”

A Stoic perspective on the sexual assault crisis

Only we are responsible for our actions. That’s where sexual assault prevention starts.  What started with the downfall of one Hollywood mogul has become an avalanche of revelations of what we’ve known all along but have avoided acknowledging—sexual assault is rampant, especially by powerful men. Sexual harassment is even more widespread. Epictetus opens his handbookContinue reading “A Stoic perspective on the sexual assault crisis”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me

Being civil doesn’t mean you have to hide your contempt for someone. The latest addition to the growing body of modern Stoic literature is William Ferraiolo’s Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure. A series of personal reflections, it’s a book in the tradition of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. I’ve just begun reading it, so in this andContinue reading “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me”

Stoic compassion

Stoic compassion isn’t an oxymoron. Because being stoic (in common parlance) is equated with a lack of feeling, the notion that Stoicism promotes compassion may seem like a contradiction. After all, Epictetus counseled his students not to get caught up in other people’s psychodramas: When you see someone weeping in sorrow…don’t hesitate to sympathize withContinue reading “Stoic compassion”

Stoicism & the problem of Nature

Ancient Stoic beliefs about Nature face challenges in the modern era. Stoicism is experiencing a renaissance after fading away with the fall of the Roman Empire. But modern Stoicism departs from its ancient ancestor in important ways. Modern Stoicism is effectively agnostic. That is, some modern Stoics believe in God while others are atheists. ContraryContinue reading “Stoicism & the problem of Nature”