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”

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”

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”

“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.””

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”