Asides

Daily Stoicism: Marcus Aurelius

Be a Rational Sociable Creature:

Do not regard anything to be advantageous if it shall require you to cast away your faith or your modesty. Do not engage in something that causes you to hate, suspect, or curse any other man. Do not lust after anything that requires secrecy; if it cannot be spoken of comfortably in public, do not partake in it. He who pursues a virtuous life shall never grieve, cry out, nor sigh to others. Be indifferent, you should not prefer solitude or company and you should live without fears and desires. Always occupy your mind with the intention of being a proper and sociable man.

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Daily Stoicism: Epictetus

Do Not Shame Others Nor Yourself:

In the last few Daily Stoicism posts, we have learned that it is not the event that causes us emotional distress, but our attitudes towards them. The same applies to people. Small minded people are always quick to point their fingers to others for their downfalls. A man gains nothing by blaming others or even himself. Daily awareness of our attitudes are needed to make sure we are not overtaken by emotional outbursts.

Daily Stoicism: Epictetus

See Things For What They Really Are:

Take what you get, things won’t always meet your expectations. Events occur the way they do. People behave the way they do. Become aware of this and you save yourself from fake attachments and avoidable sadness. Think about those closest to you. They are mortals, so they shall pass. Now think about your favorite cup, if it were to break you could cope. So, if death is to arise you should be able to bear it in the same manner. It takes practice and you have to practice coping with things building up from the cup. When “devastation” occurs, the only control we have is over our mentality. It’s not the events that stress us, but our interpretation of them. Things, events, and people are not how you desire them to be.

Daily Stoicism: Epictetus

Desire Demands Its Own Attainment:

Most of the time, our desires are just habit so we must train ourselves to abandon these habits. When we have desires that are unattained, we become upset, and when we attain something we’ve tried to avoid, we become stressed. The Stoics teach to only avoid undesirable things that harm your mental, physical, and spiritual health that are within your control. If you avoid uncontrollable events like death, illness, or other similar misfortunes, you only suffer more than you need to. Be superior to your desires. If you desire something out of your control you only set yourself up for disappointment. That energy trying to get/avoid something out of your control can be put to much better use. Focus your desires only on what you can control and go about it with great prowess

Daily Stoicism: Marcus Aurelius

Have True Liberty and Unvariable Steadfastness:

Do not esteem anything at all but right and reason. Also, no matter what ailments may come of you, whether a loss of family or disease, remain the same man. Be both vehement and remiss; do not be fretted and offended by your peers inability to understand your discourses. No matter how highly you are regarded by others you must not overly esteem yourself. You will achieve the highest freedom when you are self-reliant

Daily Stoicism: Epictetus

Stick With Your Own Business:

Other people’s business does not concern you. Once you abolish all desires to know others’ business, you are immune to the persuasion of others. You are unable to be held back by the trivial accounts of others. You are free from their concerns and able to focus solely on your affairs. You can now approach life in the most effective manner. By not immersing yourself in others quarrels, you don’t hurt yourself or attain enemies.

 

Daily Stoicism: Epictetus

Know What You Can Control and What You Can Not

You can achieve freedom and felicity once you realize this. The only things that you have direct control over are your thoughts, dreams, and opinion of events. Things that we cannot control are circumstances we are born into (such as Epictetus who was born into slavery), The anatomy you have, and your status among others. The common theme here is that you can control only what is internal, not external and controlled by the whims of others. Depression occurs when we obsess over externalities.