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    • AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka @mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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stoicism

06 Mar 2021 01:12 - 04 Jan 2022 01:36

    • Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it's enurable, 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.