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”

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?”

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?”

“A Sage wants nothing but needs many things; a fool wants everything.”

At first I found Seneca’s words from his ninth letter to Lucilius confusing. Seneca opens his letter explaining a common misconception: “Lack of feeling” in Stoicism means “a soul which rejects any sensation of evil,” not lack of emotion. That is, Sages “feel their troubles but overcome them.” A Sage has friends but also isContinue reading ““A Sage wants nothing but needs many things; a fool wants everything.””

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”