Being a prince is a rip-off

I’d rather be the Lone Ranger. Once I was at a wedding when a three-year-old girl looked in awe at the bride. She asked her mommy if she could meet the princess. I’ve heard women say they tried to steer their daughters away from the whole princess thing, but to no avail. And having threeContinue reading “Being a prince is a rip-off”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Book review: How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci

If you’re interested in the philosophy of Stoicism, Massimo Pigliucci’s How to Be a Stoic is the place to start. Don’t let the fact that it’s philosophy stop you – Pigliucci’s conversational, straightforward writing style makes Stoicism easily accessible. Donald Robertson’s Stoicism and the Art of Happiness is also a good introduction. But while Robertson is moreContinue reading “Book review: How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci”