I’m starting to love this brief moments of writing, it gives me context and understanding, I hope it brings the same to you, in your own personal way.
The other day I was reading Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and he argued that stoicism makes you emotionally antifragile, being antifragile means gaining from disorder and chaos. Stoicism deals with precisely this, it is a manner to embrace destiny, but taking it farther it benefits from destiny as you take it always as a chance to learn. Emotionally speaking, what happens when all emotions are welcomed? You become antifragile as all emotion is there to help you in some way.
Sometimes this does not seem so, sometimes depression, anger and lack of vitality don’t seem so much as an emotion that is trying to help us, I know. But feeling always great, which is what we are taught from very early ages, and today as well, is not what we naturally need. At least not in the way we are constantly showed.
Doing great things is not easy, setting a business up from the ground is hard job, maintaining it is more hard job. Having children is not easy, you have to work twice as hard and having a life with job and children, like climbing mount Everest or being a musician and a writer as well is not easy. You have to find time and you have to find effort, do you really think all these can be achieved feeling just fantastic all the time?
We are not made to have a smile the entire time on our faces, that is just a lie, a lie we tell ourselves because we are to afraid of not smiling all the time and be safe behind fake smiles and behaviors that are not even ours.
But this is not all bad, because, my friend, how else are we going to be real? What is real for you? or for me? what is better, a fake facade or the truth?
The truth is not bad emotion all the time, the truth in fact is liberating, but is going to be hard to be free if we do not let oursleves experience the whole range of emotion, emotion tells us a lot of things and denying it will not work, so what can we do as stoics, well, we can use it for us. This is antifragility, when we care too much about what other people think, we are fragile to their opinions, but, what if we didn’t, ancient wisdom knew how to take it: “Let them talk about me, good or bad, but keep them talking”.
Welcoming every emotion may seem counterintuitive, but really being with it and welcoming it and trying to use it as an ally will give you the jewels it has hidden. Only by taking this approach will the emotion (generally bad) will open up and give you the power it has hidden.
A stoic welcomes everything that happens gladly, this is why he is antifragile, he uses what fate throws upon him. When given Chaos and madness, he gladly molds it into order and brilliance, when given evil, he turns it into good. A stoic is antifragile to life, he is the light that do not fights evil, but uses it and turns it into light.
Just as the lotus flower is born from the mud, the stoic turns everything into virtue, and for that he is happy, not from the outside situation, but for his ability to shine some light, where it is needed.