11 Dec 2021 10:19 - 21 Nov 2023 03:10
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    • Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it's endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it's unendurable...then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well.
      • – Marcus Aurelius' Meditations
    • Pop-stoicism is very popular nowadays. I've found solace and clarity in reading the Meditations, one of the most enduring workes of antiquity, and one with a notable stance of its own – it's basically him giving himself a stern talking-to. As a reader, one feels like one has peered into the privacy of one man's mind, not coincidentally a man who has very little shame, no ignobility to hide:
    • Nothing that goes on in anyone else's mind can harm you. Nor can the shifts and changes in the world around you. Then where is harm to be found? In your capacity to see it. Stop doing that and everything is fine. Let the part of you that makes that judgement keep quiet even if the body it's attached to is stabbed or burnt, or stinking withi pus, or consumed by cancer. (p 46)
    • I'm not a stoic type in the least, I come from Jewish culture where complaining is a virtue, to the point where the dictum to not do it almost feels anti-semitic (and indeed, there is a suspicious fondness for Stoicism in the dank warrens of the alt.right). I find stoicism a bit simple-minded, a bit stodgy and conservative in its view of how mind operates. Too individualistic. And too rational, too dualistic and body-despising. Its emphasis on the autonomous individual is wrong philosophically and bad politically.
    • But that aside, it seems incredibly useful. What a good tool for the toolbox. Such a simple set of practical ideas for triumphing over negativity.
    • Why does stoicism eschew complaining? Aside from the fact that it seems weak, somehow unmanly (and yes stoicism is heavily gendered), complaining is also a refusal to see the world as it is and instead compare it unfavorably to some better, imaginary state of being.
    • This tendency is both a source of much misery and unhappiness and the source of all progress.
    • 42. All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it (I think this is what Heraclitus meant when he said that "those who sleep are also hard at work" – that they too collaborate in what happens.) Some of us work in one way, and some in others. And those who complain and try to obstruct and thwart things – they help as much as anyone. The world needs them as well. So make up your mind who you'll choose to work with. The force that directs all things will make good use of you regardless–will put you on its payroll and set you to work. But make sure it;'s not the job Chrysippus speakcs of: the bad line in the play, put there for laughs.
      • – Meditations Book 6
      • This passage popped up just as I am in the midst of what might euphemistically be called a job transition. No idea who I will work with next, but hope its better than the current gang of shits, even if shits are necessary for the world's project.
      • The mention of Heraclitus is curious because I think of him as the opposite of all this cozy unity, he's a conflict theory guy.