Tag: Stoicism

Downtime: Happy by @DerrenBrown

Stoicism for the modern world, death to the self-help book industry, and a healthy scepticism towards social media.

Happy: Why more or less everything is absolutely fine by Derren Brown is superb. It’s beautifully written, wonderfully observed, both philosophical and practical (which once upon a time were one and the same thing). Very thought-provoking.

I think I first heard of Happy from a Donald Robertson interview and it treads similar ground to How to Think Like A Roman Emperor. However, it does so in a completely different way.

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 5, A (Very) Brief History of Happiness.

Thoroughly recommended.

Echoes through time: he who chooses his plan

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties. … Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.

John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873), On Liberty

Echoes through time: for what task were you created?

Everything – a horse, a vine – is created for some duty. This is nothing to wonder at: even the sun-god himself will tell you, ‘There is a work that I am here to do,’ and so will the other sky-dwellers. For what task, then, were you yourself created? For pleasure? Can such a thought be tolerated?

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.19)