There is a saying that says: “Man begins his life with an epicurean philosophy and ends it with a stoic philosophy”
In the beginning, humans are in the full pursuit of pleasure, uninhibited pleasure as Freud would describe it. There is a constant hedonistic pursuit in food, love, and entertainment, you can notice this by the painfully persistent push of the kid at the line of Walmart for a chocolate. Later we begin to realize that this frenetic endeavor is not the best option for a good life, as there are consequences for the reckless pursuit of pleasure, sometimes ending in drug addiction, sex addiction or any other addiction that tries to hide the real and raw dilemma of humanity.
Then, if we are lucky, we begin to comprehend that the blind pursuit of pleasure might not be the smartest idea to live a good life, at this point, philosophy, starts making his illuminating way into the mind. Rationality starts kicking in, our most beautiful gift.
What do I have to do to live a good life if not pursue blindly pleasure?
I don’t know if there are people that come to stoic conclusions on their own, I’m sure there are, but for the most of us, reading Marcus Aurelius or Seneca, illuminates us into a new dimension of living. The stoic life then begins.
Answer the question, what is and what is not under my control, if I choose to act with what is under my control, I’m living a good and stoic life.
One issue I keep stumbling on is that of coming to grips with the fact that nothing but myself can bring true joy into my life and into my every moment, nobody but me has control over this.
Why do we need to be accepted all the time? To feel that others think the best of us all the time? Have you passed this petty need already?
This enslaving feeling of needing acceptance is stoically speaking, despicable. What is and what is not within your control? Within your control is to be lovable, to be an incredible friend, and to be a great man or woman. What is not under your power, however, is the power to control what other people think.
Caring about what other people think is a worthless activity.
Another worthless activity is pitying other people, you only have control over yourself, as they have over themselves. The highest form of insult you can give to anyone is that of pity. What we say when we pity someone is basically: “poor creature, I don’t think of yourself capable of doing anything, you are basically worthless”
Virtue dictates to act in the highest possible manner. This means being paramount ourselves, only by giving the example of the mountain is that the other people will become peaks in themselves.
The only think we should be concerned with is living a virtuous life. That is always, all the time completely at our dispositions.
This is relieving, this is freedom.
The only worthy goal is freedom
Stoic answers aim is to provide answers to the deepest human questions, which sadly, are almost always never asked.
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