The greater the difficulty, the more glory in overcoming it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.
We are not under a king; let each one claim his own freedom.
Bear in mind that everything that exists is already fraying at the edges, and in transition, subject to fragmentation and to rot.
Or that everything was born to die.
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (trans. Gregory Hays)
If a cucumber is bitter, don’t eat it; if there are briars on the road, avoid them. Do not complain about such aspects of Nature for you will be ridiculed; better you should ridicule yourself for asking a question you can answer and for causing yourself needless trouble.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (VIII:49)
… as Plato has admirably expressed it, we are not born for ourselves alone, but our country claims a share of our being, and our friends a share; and since, as the Stoics hold, everything that the earth produces is created for man’s use; and as men, too, are born for the sake of men, that they may be able mutually to help one another; in this direction we ought to follow Nature as our guide, to contribute to the general good by an interchange of acts of kindness, by giving and receiving, and thus by our skill, our industry, and our talents to cement human society more closely together…
When insulted, people typically become angry. Because anger is a negative emotion that can upset our tranquility, the Stoics thought it worthwhile to develop strategies to prevent insults from angering us—strategies for removing, as it were, the sting of an insult. One of their sting-elimination strategies is to pause, when insulted, to consider whether what the insulter said is true. If it is, there is little reason to be upset. Suppose, for example, that someone mocks us for being bald when we in fact are bald: “Why is it an insult,” Seneca asks, “to be told what is self-evident?” … Suppose, however, that I don’t respect the source of an insult; indeed, suppose that I take him to be a thoroughly contemptible individual. Under such circumstances, rather than feeling hurt by his insults, I should feel relieved: If he disapproves of what I am doing, then what I am doing is doubtless the right thing to do. What should worry me is if this contemptible person approved of what I am doing. If I say anything at all in response to his insults, the most appropriate comment would be , “I am relieved that you feel that way about me.”
'Insults: On Putting Up with Put-Downs' in “A Guide To The Good Life, The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” by William B. Irvine (via lounaaaa
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
Why am I diving into something I’m so unsure of?