Kindness: Marcus Aurelius

Stoics are not unemotional: they value emotions that make the world a better place. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Speak the truth as you see it, but with kindness, humility, and without hypocrisy (8.5). Wash yourself clean with simplicity, humility, and indifference to everything but right and wrong. Care for other human beings. Follow God (7.31).Continue reading “Kindness: Marcus Aurelius”

Why “toxic masculinity” is nonsense

Abuse, not gender, creates pathology. Every day we look at the headlines, only to find bad news. Another mass shooting. Another sexual assault. More abused children. Toxic masculinity. It’s so bad that men are even sitting improperly on the subway (“manspreading”) and expressing their opinions in condescending ways (“mansplaining”). Does that seem to trivialize theContinue reading “Why “toxic masculinity” is nonsense”

Why it’s hard to talk about men’s issues

Competing ideological filters disincentivize nuance. November 19 was international men’s day. And world toilet day. Both passed largely unnoticed. It’s challenging to talk about men’s issues without appearing to play the victim. The progressive solution is to focus on how men can support women. For example, domestic violence is a men’s issue because men mustContinue reading “Why it’s hard to talk about men’s issues”

Mindfulness: Marcus Aurelius

A Stoic and Buddhist overlap. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts (5.16). It’s not external things that trouble you but your judgement of them—and this you can erase immediately (8.47). Stick to what’s in front of you—idea,Continue reading “Mindfulness: Marcus Aurelius”

Who cares what people think?: Marcus Aurelius

Other people’s thoughts are not up to us. But whether we value their opinions is up to us. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Do you want praise from people who kick themselves every fifteen minutes, or the approval of people who can’t please themselves? Is it a sign of self-respect to regret nearly everything you do?Continue reading “Who cares what people think?: Marcus Aurelius”

Are human rights natural—or a social construct?

Either way, universal human rights are essential for human flourishing. The Declaration of Independence says “all men are created equal”—“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—because of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Trees exist whether human societies exist or not. But money doesn’t exist outside of human societies. Money is aContinue reading “Are human rights natural—or a social construct?”

Fearing change: Marcus Aurelius

Life is change. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Frightened of change? What can exist without it? What’s closer to nature’s heart? Can you eat food without transforming it? (7.18) There is nothing bad in undergoing change — or good in emerging from it (4.42). What follows is always in affinity with what went before. Not aContinue reading “Fearing change: Marcus Aurelius”

Does goodness really exist?

It’s a question of faith. What is “the good”? We’ve debated this question since ancient times. More to the point, is goodness objective? That is, does goodness go beyond personal opinion? The morass of opinion If goodness is subjective then it’s relative. There would be contradictory notions of goodness, negating the existence of goodness asContinue reading “Does goodness really exist?”

Anger: Marcus Aurelius

Stoicism is not about repressing emotions — it’s about not allowing emotion to override reason. But emotions such as anger and fear most easily override reason. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Why feel anger at the world? It’s not like the world would notice (7.38). When you lose your temper, or even feel irritated, remember thatContinue reading “Anger: Marcus Aurelius”

A Mani-Cure

Sometimes a guy needs to have his nails done. I’m obsessed with filing my fingernails’ sharp corners. I even buy sandpaper sticks. It’s all because I broke my wrist six years ago this month. Breaking a wrist doesn’t hurt as much as you might think. It didn’t hurt at all until later that night. ClumsyContinue reading “A Mani-Cure”