Courage

Stoic advice

Unconquerable men.


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I have to admit that as I write this words a painful hangover accompanies me. And because of it, I felt the need to sit sat down and write to remind myself and hopefully you as well some important stoic lessons.

37It’s easy to say that living with virtue is the supreme good but what about health and wealth? Are those things not needed? Have you ever been sick or hungover? Has it ever happened to you that you want to do something, like going to a trip for the weekend and not being able to do so because of work? Have you ever been furious cause no matter how hard you try to do something, a thing happens and you are no longer able to do it? Have you ever been mad for not having a better house or car or cellphone? Have you ever been angry for not being as handsome or pretty as you’d like?

But more deeply, have you ever been impatient or just feeling down for not having the life-situation you’d wish to have. I mean I am having one of those not so pretty situations right now, my hangover is pretty annoying and i do wish for it to end and living with virtue is hard when fortune is not on your side, but this is why the stoics scorned fortune and now that I write about it I begin to understand why.

We must scorn fortune because it is not ours, fortune belongs to itself. It’s not up to us to decide what happens to us, but it is for us to decide how to act and use what fortune gives us. That power, the power of virtue (to act from within) is what’s rightfully ours.

Here’s a short story from the letter to Lucilius from Seneca that exemplifies what I’m trying to say:

For Stilbo, after his country was captured and his children and his wife lost, as he emerged from the general desolation alone and yet happy, spoke as follows to Demetrius, called Sacker of Cities because of the destruction he brought upon them, in answer to the question whether he had lost anything : ” I have all my goods with me!” There is a brave and stout-hearted man for you ! The enemy conquered, but Stilbo conquered his conqueror. ” I have lost nothing ! ” Aye, he forced Demetrius to wonder whether he himself had conquered after all. ” My goods are all with me ! ” In other words, he deemed nothing that might be taken from him to be a good. We marvel at certain animals because they can pass through fire and suffer no bodily harm ; but how much more marvellous is a man who has marched forth unhurt and unscathed through fire and sword and devastation ! Do you understand now how much easier it is to conquer a whole tribe than to conquer one man ?

This is how a man becomes unconquerable, nothing can be taken from him, he is the chess-1.jpgconqueror not the conquered. A stoic man has literally nothing to lose, and everything to win. There is just upside.

I know it sounds hard and I really do hope that neither you nor I have to ever go through situation so harsh as the one seneca just narrated but nevertheless we have to understand just what it means to be truly stoic.

For practical matters, this way of being is unquestionably the best way of being we can aim for. Think about it, most people are angry because they don’t have what they want download (1)(and will never be, cause they’ll just want something else). Even worse, instant gratification has made our culture exponentially worse in this matter. Men has become the more anxious as we are getting instant gratification all the time and we are being programmed to want stuff tirelessly. We are being constantly bombarded with food (not necessarily good for us), an with sex in every advertising that makes us anxious of things that we don’t even know we needed. It has come to a situation in which  needs are literally being manufactured for us. But we have to remember:

The good that could be given, can be removed.

Seneca

I’m not saying we most live in a cave and use nothing and want nothing. But to better explain it, let us see what Seneca has to say about this.  

“On the other hand,” he says, “nothing is needed by the fool, for he does not understand how to use anything, but he is in want of everything.”

The wise man needs hands, eyes, and many things that are necessary for his daily use ; but he is in want of nothing.

The Supreme Good calls for no practical aids from outside ; it is developed at home, and arises entirely within itself. If the good seeks any portion of itself from without, it begins to be subject to the play of Fortune.

Seneca

Practically speaking, if our actions spring from within, anxiety will vanish and we will start to enjoy everything more (the process). A finished painting is a beautiful thing, the artist that makes it admires it and feels quite happy about it but if you ask him what does he enjoyed the most, he will certainly tell  you that the most enjoyable was the work itself, painting it.  

download (2).jpgIn this case, stoically, you admire the man you are and the man that becomes, value is not place in fortune or in external things but to the capacity we already have which is our power to live accordingly. Stoically, we begin to develop a sweet taste for the work and for our powers more than for our gainings and what fortune gives us. Our inner wealth is what will always be the most important to us.

I want to finish with this passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson Self Reliance. Farewell.

“The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide. Him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him because he did not need it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson,

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Stoic advice

Virtue is the sole good


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What is the ultimate goal? When is it that you finally “made it”? Is it maybe when you finish school? When you marry? When you have children? When you retire? Please think, when is it that you’ll say: I’m complete, now I can start living as intended, as it is supposed to be. When is that time coming?

Let me tell you a secret, that moment is never going to arrive.

It may seem as so, when we get success or a great relationship or something but just as trainthat came, another thing will come after that will promise us the same thing: completion.

We are never going to be complete, we are never going to be perfect. We will never have our life in complete order. Change will do what it does best, change everything. If your relationships are great but you become too comfortable, they will start fail. If your business is doing great and you stop putting attention to it, it will too surely fail. If you don’t take care of your body, daily, you’ll die quicker.

Does this sounds a bit to harsh? A bit to real? Well, It’s better to be informed. What then, is worthy?

Virtue is the supreme good. I want to make something clear.

_84010986_zeno-chest-976What do you understand for virtue? In our times, virtue can sound lame right? Like, there are so many cool things out there constantly appearing on facebook and instagram. Friends at the beachor hot women everywhere on instagram. Our friends are marrying and the photos show just pure joy and love. Dan Bilzerian riding a tank with a chick on his side. We see perfect lives everywhere, everywhere we look it looks like people has made it. And what does virtue offer? how in the world can virtue be the supreme good? This is a very, very, good question.

When we see all this amazing stuff in social media we fall into a trap, the trap of completion. This trap tells us that when we have achieved, the success, the marriage, that trip or anything else, then we’ll be complete. The secret is as we already know, that there is no completion, that is a game we are never going to win. Even getting all that stuff will not be fun and we will not be able to enjoy it if we remain in that state of mind.

If we are never going to be complete while pursuing all that amazing stuff, what then? We have to realize that how we are right now, with imperfections and everything, is enough. We have already arrived. There is no more running. Virtue is the only good and you have it right now. You don’t need to wait to have all that stuff, and you can be who you want to be right now. This is why virtue is the sole good, this is what being virtuous means. Being a virtuous man means not getting played with the game everyone is playing like mindless rats running the endless circle.

What is the answer then? Not wanting anything and just being content with a smile all the time? not pursuing anything?

Not at all. We can have all that stuff but we do not longer seek it to feel we are enough or complete. We focus more on the process, on the journey than in the goal itself. Only then can we start truly living. Only then can we be free to do what is actually important, not being limited by some worldly thing but being able to grab all those things from the abundance of our soul. All those things become a bonus, not an end to pursue. This is Freedom.

Once we start truly living, we see life for what it is, magnificence. Such an infinitesimal universe-explosion-star-flowersprobability that we are blessed to have.

For this reason I am all the more angry that some men claim the major portion of this time for superfluous things,—time which, no matter how carefully

it is guarded, cannot suffice even for necessary

things. Seneca

Once we realize that our life is now and not in some other place in the future, our time becomes precious. We realize that it is now that we live, not at some other point in time. This knowledge is essential. What is important now? To live as fully as possible.

Bring it to pass that I shall cease trying

To escape from death, and that life may cease to escape from me.

Seneca

We have to accept death in our lives. It can be today, or it can be tomorrow or ten years from now. But we have to accept that there is no time, there is no time to waste, waiting for something to truly start living.

It is not everywhere that death shows himself so near at hand ; yet everywhere he is as near at hand.

Seneca

Those amazing projects you have in mind? The time is now.

That girl you want to ask out? The time is now.

“If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Only when you accept death, you will stop escaping life.

Open your eyes to infinity. Accept that you are enough as imperfect as you are right now  and strive forever to perfection. This is what being a human being is all about.

Donation for the cause

A stoic boldly leaps into life, he does not question himself whether to act or not, the decision has already been made, we want to help you become a stoic. Thanks for the support

$3.00