April 22, 2015
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If you didn’t read the previous post (short) about why we should love those who wrong us, you absolutely must.
If you want to read the Christian application, then you need to start with the
previous post, then read through this one.
If you don't want to read the Christian application, then you need to start with
the previous post and then skip down to the section in this post titled
Today’s lesson in Stoic Serenity about accepting others who wrong us struck something in me. I was cooking lunch and thinking how Marcus gave such a simple but compelling reason about why we should love those who wrong us: because they simply don’t know any better. Goodness, if I think of it this way, then it really seems much easier to let go of the troubles caused by even my “worst enemies.” Read more of this post
April 7, 2015
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Yesterday in Seneca’s Letter 5, Seneca desperately tried to get the point across to Lucilius that it’s not our outward appearances and actions that are important; we should focus on our motives. (Quick little comparison to Christianity; consider these two Bible verses in which Jesus is teaching):
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement…”
“…You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
(Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28)
Jesus also taught about the importance of motives. Before Jesus, people concerned themselves with “following the rules” simply for the sake of “following the rules.” They didn’t understand what was behind it. Seneca is trying to make sure Lucilius doesn’t fall prey to the same type of lesser understanding. Read more of this post
April 3, 2015
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I do hope you’ll forgive me for spending so much time on Epictetus’ dichotomy of control, but understanding it is essential to our progress as Stoics. While the message may seem gloomy at first (considering everything we don’t have power over), the trade-off is more than worth it: we know that our souls are invincible and that we can overcome anything. How empowering!
Once we accept the reality that things happen in the world and that we just don’t have power over it, we begin to catch of glimpse of the meaning of our textbook title, Stoic Serenity. The weight of the world has been lifted from our shoulders. We know that we aren’t expected to make everything “work out in the end,” because that’s simply impossible and therefore a foolish expectation to entertain. Read more of this post