Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to keep myself good; just as a gold piece, or an emerald, or a purple robe insists perpetually, ‘Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to remain an emerald and keep my colour true.’
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.15)
The Hammock Papers offers some sound stoic advice from Georgia O’Keeffe:
I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.
An empty pageant; a stage play; flocks of sheep, herds of cattle; a tussle of spearmen; a bone flung among a pack of curs; a crumb tossed into a pond of fish; ants, loaded and labouring; mice, scared and scampering; puppets, jerking on their strings – that is life. In the midst of it all you must take your stand, good-temperedly and without disdain, yet always aware that a man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambition.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.3)
When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (6.11)
If you missed Stoic Week, but have an interest in stoicism, this is a good introduction. Massimo Pigliucci, K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at City University of New York, is a contributor to Modern Stoicism, the organisation behind Stoic Week.
Just under an hour long and well worth a watch:
Another jagged thought (number 324) from Nicholas Bate. It reminds me of the stoic practice of journaling.
It’s tempting not to write the problem down for fear of making it real.
But the process of writing it down starts the process of reducing the problem, taming its power and identifying a solution.
Sometimes saying it, writing it, places boundaries on an otherwise infinite worry.
Read Nicholas, here.
Photo by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash
Animals in the wild flee the dangers they see and are tranquil once they have escaped; we, though, are tormented both by what is to come and what has been. Often, our goods do us harm: memory recalls the stab of fear; foresight anticipates it. No one is made wretched merely by the present.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (5.9)