Business advice, Modern problems, philosophy, Stoic advice

The Reaper


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“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

If, I’d ask you, what would you rather be, wise or stupid? poor or rich? healthy or unhealthy? Easy-going or an asshole? What would you say?

I believe it is pretty straight-forward that we all prefer a good life to a lamenting one, and yet, what keeps us from doing it? Why aren’t we all just doing it?

Ignorance is deadly, it is willful stupidity.

With time, it seems that we are the most ignorant. You cannot grab time, touch it, you cannot put it in your wallet either and I think that’s exactly how we act with it, as if it were free and abundant. It isn’t, time is your single most important resource.

I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself — as if nothing there is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life’s most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap — in fact, almost without any value.

Seneca

The thought of not having time can make you frantic. Memento Mori, can certainly make you feel manic. It’s like a person yelling: You fool! There is no time! You are going to die! Don’t you bloody care?! Ah! The end is near!.

I know, it feels like that. But it is not. Memento Mori is a stoic mind puzzle you have to go through and understand. When the stoics say that there is not time, they are not claiming something false or unimportant, all the opposite, they are disturbingly right.

But there is no time to be preoccupied about not having time either, there isn’t time even for that. That is the puzzle, and that is the stoic wisdom as well. How to enjoy something that’s not precisely enjoyable? ah, but that choice, remains in our control my friend, wonderfully so.

No activity can be successfully pursued by an individual who is preoccupied … since the mind when distracted absorbs nothing deeply, but rejects everything which is, so to speak, crammed into it. Living is the least important activity of the preoccupied man; yet there is nothing which is harder to learn… Learning how to live takes a whole life, and, which may surprise you more, it takes a whole life to learn how to die.

Seneca

Things take time, it’s not so easy as to clicking in your phone and getting the rewards of life, instantaneously.

The rewards of life come with hard work, sweat and sometimes tears. And this you know I’m sure.

Anything worthwhile takes time and effort.

The world we live in

There is something wrong with our “social-digital world” and that is that we only see the rewards of life, constantly, daily. You only see the perfect engagement dinner, the trip to the beach, the smiling faces, you just see the rewards and you don’t see the entirety of life. Naturally, you start craving more and more the rewards and wonder, even subconsciously, why you are not living happily all the freaking time.

But you don’t even want this. Trust me, you don’t want the benefits without the work and it’s just terrible to think that the work and the other parts of life aren’t something to be enjoyed and lived fully.

Reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World:

“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.” 
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


Solving the puzzle

The stoic puzzle: there is no time to concern yourself for not having enough time, so live every day as if it were your last.

Hear this.

You harvest what you sow. Is that easy, and this may be one of the most important advice in life.

You don’t see what you sow immediately, it requires time. Therefore, this may get you thinking: isn’t there enough time?! I must harvest whatever there is then!

But no, because by doing this, you’ve missed the point, the pleasure of living is not in the harvest, but in the whole process. It doesn’t really matter if you’re not able to harvest what you plant, but on the process itself of not wasting your life preoccupied for the harvest, but in living it fully, joy and sadness, work and harvest, pleasure and struggle. It is in the entirety of it, and on how awoke you were to see it the entire time.

The decision remains yours, choose wisely.

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” 
― Aldous Huxley, B

Want something else from Stoic Answers? Read: An antidote for the complaint.

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