A Stoic Letter For The Fathers And The Mothers

Jeff Bezos has around 183 billion dollars, that son of a B%&CH. It’s funny how that amount of money seems so unrelatable. It’s funny as well how some people will tell you: you’ll never get anywhere near that with that mindset!

You’re right, I need to read The Secret all over again, I guess. I’m being sarcastic, please don’t read that. 

“Parenthesis”

(((((((I’ll give you better advice, right now. 

“First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do.”
Epictetus

I’d stick with the do part, more than just thinking that merely thinking is going to get you anywhere. Hey, maybe “The Secret” actually does work, but without the “do” part it is pretty worthless. 

Sorry, “The Secret” always makes me cringe a bit, a lot. 

)))))) End of parenthesis.

But back to Bezos, let’s complain a bit more, shall we? 

Do you know how many people die of hunger each day? 25,000. It’s true, I looked it up, look

Jesus, can you believe that? I mean, just yesterday, 25,000 people died of hunger, all the while I ate three slices of pizza and two sushi rolls, out of pure pleasure. Let me frame this a little bit better. 25,000 people are around 5000 families, considering two parents and three children per family. That’s 5,000 brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers dying each day, most likely, not alone, but rather watching each other die of hunger. This is fucked up, this is incredibly fucked up. Realize that this is all happening in the 21st century as well. It’s truly incredible. 

Jeff Bezos should end it, shouldn’t he? He has so much money. He should, I don’t know, just give money to non-profits and save all those poor people from that terrible fate. That bastard, that shameless egoist.

I read this argument yesterday somewhere on Medium. Sorry, I lost the article. But it basically said what I just told you. 

At first, she made me really angry about the situation, and about Bezos not doing anything, I felt angry. Amazing sophist that girl is. She almost got me on her side. She almost made me join her angry mob, grab my whatever and go and destroy Amazon headquarters. 

But, come on. After a few seconds of being done reading, I thought to myself, It’s obviously not that simple, is it?. Sure, Jeff Bezos is in a position in which he can do amazing things, big things indeed, going to the moon or, I don’t know, mining an asteroid. What he cannot do, is go to his house, look beneath his mattress, take out 7 billion dollars, buy a shit ton of food and distribute it accordingly. 

Thinking this way is not really thinking. What about the supply chains needed to distribute the food? What about whether there’s enough food to buy in that region without unbalancing prices? You’re not thinking about which type of food you are going to give them, are you? You’re not thinking about whether just giving away food is sustainable, and the true reasons of why we’re having that problem. 

The argument: “Jeff Bezos should give away his wealth to end world hunger” is shallow and dumb. If you’re going to write about that, you need to do your due diligence, not just saying someone should solve the problems of the world.

So, in the end, the article did get me angry, but not against Bezos (although I do think that bastard could be doing more, I mean, he is not Iron Man, nor Batman, and he should be by now) but rather against stupidity.

The World Is A Complicated Place, You, As A Father And A Mother, Should Act Accordingly

Complex, complex, complex. 

Quantum mechanics, programming, the interestingly unnecessarily complicated world of finance. The world is a complex place and it is getting even more so by the minute. 

How can you prepare your kids for this? What is more important?

Do you remember what being a kid is like? As in being told that there is a chubby man that hops on a sled every year to deliver gifts to millions and millions of other kids, all with the all-mighty power of magic, and believing it?. I actually believed that was possible. 

When you’re a kid, you don’t know shit. Your mind is thirsting for knowledge though, and so the role of a father and a mother is crucial. 

I remember secondary school all too well. Lots of changes, girls, bullying, my body. Haha, I don’t know how I survived that stage. I remember having problems due to a lack of understanding in a lot of spheres of my life. Specifically, the ethical part. What to do about all of my problems, and why? Why do I have to have so many problems? That’s a hardly ever discussed question. Understandably so, it is a hard question.

All the ethics classes I remember, all they talked about, were concerned with what I shouldn’t do. Just like religion. It tells you everything that is wrong, but it never tells you how to actually have a good time while you’re here, and what’s the best way to go about it. 

What’s the best way to go about it? 

We can kill two birds with the same bullet here. One, having your kid have the best life possible, given his circumstances, second, solving world problems, such as world hunger, from a solid base.

The world is a complicated place, but we shouldn’t overcomplicate it. The solid base I’m talking about is philosophy.

We should get the basics right first. 

“Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.”
Epictetus

The concept above, is, is, is, liberating. It is constructive, it is rational. It is also a tool. A tool that can enable the person armed with its knowledge to act in a better way in the world, not only for himself but for others as well. Get enough minds straight, and the complex problems that we face, such as the world hunger problem I described above, become much easier to solve. 

Philosophy, in the way I’m conceiving it here, means simply to think straight, given the facts of the world. 

I don’t see that being taught anywhere but on the internet. 

Which is why I come up to you. You have the power to get your kid, not only to have as great a life as he can have within fortune’s constraints but also to become a force of reason in the world. 

Stoicism would be my philosophy of choice. But it can be whatever, honestly. Just get him to think.

Don’t teach your kid in a punishment reward way if you don’t want to ruin him, you’ll only get an obedient citizen that way. But rather tell him why, why is it better to behave one way or the other? Get him to reason, to understand, and to make his own decisions. 

You’ll need to learn and embrace a philosophy of life yourself first, of course. 

What I want you to take from this is this: 

Few things are as important in your kid’s education as a philosophy of life, and that’s your job. 

Do it for the kids.

Thanks for reading, 

Ricardo Guaderrama

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