Tag: Marcus Aurelius

Echoes through time: whatever is, is in some sense the seed…

Observe how all things are continually being born of change; teach yourself to see that Nature’s highest happiness lies in changing the things that are, and forming new things after their kind. Whatever is, is in some sense the seed of what is to emerge from it. Nothing can become a philosopher less than to imagine that seed can only be something that is planted in the earth or the womb.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (4.36)

Echoes through time: a brief sojourning in an alien land

In the life of man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful. In short, all that is of the body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapours; life a warfare, a brief sojourning in an alien land; and after repute, oblivion.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations, Book 2, verse 17

Thriving in Uncertainty #stoicism

Throw off the corporate comfort blanket? Why would you?

Your cosy company role gives you pension, healthcare, (usually) decent equipment when your working and paid holidays when you’re not. And, if you’re a creative, you don’t worry about all that tawdry sales stuff. If you’re in sales, you can dodge the tedious admin.

But, we do. The ranks of the sovereign professional continue to swell.

The thinking sovereign plans and deals with all of the above. But, uncertainty is unavoidable. Being independent is enormously thrilling, but it’s scary too. All the things you never worried about – like regular money – are no longer a given.

You need strategies to cope. Happily, the Art of Manliness blog has five tools for thriving in uncertainty.

Unsurprisingly, stoicism, of simply keeping things in perspective, is top of the list.

The rest of the list is interesting, too. The common thread is frame of mind: staying agile, generating options, maintaining perspective.

It reminds me of a valuable, little book I read years ago, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson.

Other useful resources include:

Beyond that, you should:

  • Laugh regularly
  • Play great music daily
  • Walk outdoors, feel the rain and the wind and hear the trees

Read the full piece, here.

 

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Something for the weekend? @dailystoic has the ultimate stoic reading list

The Daily Stoic suggests 28 must-read books on stoicism.

I’ve only read one.

My Amazon wish-list has exploded.

Ones that caught my eye include:

It might be a busy weekend.

 

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Wabi-sabi, fresh bread and stoicism

Another thing we should remark is the grace and fascination that there is even in the incidentals of Nature’s processes. When a loaf of bread, for instance, is in the oven, cracks appear in it here and there; and these flaws, though not intended in the baking, have a rightness of their own, and sharpen the appetite. Figs, again, at their ripest will also crack open. When olives are on the verge of falling, the very imminence of decay adds its peculiar beauty to the fruit.

I’m no expert on either concept, but this passage from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (book 3, verse 1) seems to get to the essence of the Japanese concept. As Wikipedia has it: “a world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.”

 

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Routine is everything – @DailyStoic

I liked this, from the Daily Stoic email of 29th August:

Epictetus once said that “every habit and capability is confirmed and grows in its corresponding actions, walking by walking, and running by running . . . therefore, if you want to do something, make a habit of it.” If you don’t want to do something, he said, make a habit of doing the opposite.

Habits, routines and rituals are flagstones on the path to achieving big projects and long-term goals.

It reminds me, too, of Marcus Aurelius:

Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.

 

The mind is like a 3D printer, slowly creating impossible things layer by layer by layer.

You can find the The Daily Stoic, here.

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