Month: June 2019

Conquering Fears, Modern problems, philosophy, Reflections

The Hard to Get, at First, Good Life


“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” 
― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

Think about a philosopher, what comes to mind?

When you think about Seneca or Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus? About Plato or Thoreau?

Books! Knowledge! Education! Wisdom!

And of course. A person that embarks himself on the journey of an examined life is naturally prone to grab the writings of the great masters that came before him and wonder in amazement of their mighty, courageous and truly worthy lives. Not one person that reads a few passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson or Seneca can pass inadvertently the tremendously cunning remarks about life and humanity they so accurately write. As such:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

When one thinks of philosophy and philosophers, there is a common misconception that needs to be addressed.

The misconception is thinking that Seneca or Emerson “possessed” knowledge and therefore, due to this “possessing”, they were considered philosophers. So, then, a philosopher is the bearer of knowledge, you could say?

Knowledge is one part of the equation, but not everything, and certainly not the most important part. What is the most important part then? What makes a philosopher, a philosopher?

To begin, Marcus and Seneca not only possessed knowledge, they practiced it. Philosophy is not a possession, it is a practice, a constant, unending, practice. An endless strive for a never fully attainable perfection.

Like playing a musical instrument.

Philosophy is not a nice table or a beautiful painting you can hang among the corridors of your conscience. Philosophy is the instrument with which you live your life, it is the strum of your fingers in the guitar strings. And just so, you can play either beautifully or horribly.

First, you read, then, you reflect and then, more importantly, you live and put to the test your reflections, only to reflect again and continue the cycle. Simple, but not easy of course.

To be a Stoic is to be a practitioner. A person who lives philosophy.

It gets harder before it gets easier

Like all great things, a life well lived is hard to come by, it gets harder before it gets easier. The great filter, the “Worthy Filter” you could call it.

Learning to play the violin, master the mind as a Yogi does, learning the trades of a business consultant or mastering the financial markets require great amounts of time, attention, energy, and will. Anyone can do it, but not everyone will do it, just so with an examined life.

In this context, wondering if it’s worth it to live a life of philosophy is blatantly out of question. There is no point of comparison between and examined life and a life of quiet desperation as Thoreau would describe.A life of philosophy is a life of true amazement and deep appreciation, a life of meaning.

When you begin to do anything, you will suck at it or at least, supposing you have unnatural talent for whatever it is you are doing, you will not be great at it at least. You need to practice.

Eventually, things get easier, a musician, when practiced, does not have to worry about simple chords anymore. He develops his mastery to a point in which he thinks instead about emotions and the meaning he intends to portray instead of basic, beginner, music theory.

An examined life, a life of philosophy, is just the same.

This is the same reason why Marcus Aurelius wrote daily in his diary that we now read with amazement and appraisal. He did not thought the same of himself though, he writes often in his meditations about how he had not yet was accomplished in becoming a full man of philosophy.

Perfection, as I’m sure you know, will always be around the corner. Marcus Aurelius was not perfect, but you cannot deny that he was great. And this is what we want, not perfection, but betterment, constant betterment (you cannot keep playing a game if you end it!).

Unknowingly, little by little, you to can become as great in your own life and make it easier after a while.

Little acts matter, practice matter. Suddenly, living a life led by stoic values will feel like walking, you’ll just do it, but you have to read, reflect and most importantly, live.

A great complement to this read: START

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Conquering Fears, Personage, philosophy, Uncategorized

Stoic Personages, David Fucking Goggins


“No one is going to come help you. No one’s coming to save you.” 
― David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

So, who the fuck is David Goggins?

David Goggins swears a lot. For him, in order to be able to explain how hard things really were for him and are for anyone seeking mastery, he needs to use every word available in his vocabulary, including fuck, fuckin, fucked.

But why? Who is him? What happened to him? Why does he has to swear so much?

I think it is fair to say that David Goggins, today, is as he proclaims himself, is: “The hardest motherfucker in planet earth”.

This man has no equal. Truly.

Born into violence, racism, poverty, in short, adversity. He narrates in his book: “Can’t hurt me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.” how he came out of being everything he was told he was going to be, a nobody, a loser, just another statistic of failed men.

Everything in life, as it is unfortunately for many as well, appeared to be against him. He narrates terrifying stories of his dad punching his mother in the face, while he watched with the inevitable incapacity of a child. Horrible, horrible things that he describes with painful detail in his book.

What’s interesting about this man is precisely this, according to statistics, whenever a child is born in the situation similar to the one David was born, you’ll just become another bum, furthering the hideous vicious cycle many find themselves stuck in. But not for Goggins, Goggins rose from adversity like a fiery phoenix. He thrived and still thrives today in adversity.

Today, Goggins, Navy Seal, is considered one of the best endurance-athletes in the entire world. He completed 3 hell weeks, considered the toughest warrior training in the world. Adding to that, he has completed more than 60 Ultra races, one of them Badwater 135 Death Valley- considered the world’s toughest foot race. He also held the Guinness World Record for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours completing 4,030 in 17 hours.

David Goggins is the living proof on the gargantuan capacity for greatness a human has by controlling his mind.

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason? You have been given the principles that you ought to endorse, and you have endorsed them. What kind of teacher, then, are you still waiting for in order to refer your self-improvement to him? You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.
From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.” 
― Epictetus (From Manual 51)

David Goggins, a man of truly Stoic character, I urge you to check him out.

A great complement to this read: 

Subscribe and receive for free the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism.

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Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.