April 29, 2015
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Does someone despise me? That is his own problem. My only concern should be this: that I will never be found doing or saying something that is despicable. Does someone hate me? That is his own problem. But I will be kind and good-natured to everyone, including this person who hates me. For I must be ready to show him the nature of his error. Not in a critical spirit, of course, nor as if I were making a display of my own tolerance and self-control, but sincerely and kindheartedly, like the great politician Phocion, whose last words were instructions to his son to not hold a grudge against the Athenians for executing him. That’s how we should be within our own hearts, and present ourselves to God as someone who is neither ready to become angry nor complain. As long as you do what’s appropriate to your own nature, and accept what the Universal nature has in store—as long as you work, by one means or another, for the common benefit to be brought to fruition—what can harm you?
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 11.13)
Indifferent vs. Ignoring
In this final Meditation from yesterday’s lesson, Marcus pointed out that we should be “kind and good-natured to everyone, including this person who hates me. [And we] must be ready to show him the nature of his error.”
“Show him the nature of his error?” But I thought Stoics were supposed to be indifferent to other people’s bad behavior.
Yes, that’s true. But I venture to say that there is a difference between being indifferent and ignoring someone’s bad behavior. Read more of this post
April 5, 2015
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Crowds generate within us an impulse to follow the majority. It can be difficult to protect the fruits of our efforts in such a situation.
Today is the last day of chapter 2. Finally! We’ll simply be taking a look at two of Seneca’s Letters and writing a response to them.
You can read Letter 7, “On Crowds” here. I’ve paraphrased below. Read more of this post