« Philosophize This!

Episode #012 ... The Hellenistic Age Pt. 3 - Hallmarks of Stoic Ethics

2013-12-20 | 🔗

On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of Stoicism, this time focusing on ethics. We learn about the three most noteworthy contributors to Stoic ethics--a crippled slave, a statesman, and the emperor of Rome--and find out how much they actually had in common. We discuss what angry sports fans and Stephen's English bulldog could learn from Stoic ethics, as well as why you should start each day expecting the worst. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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common ones, Athens, Athens was was with Boca and and usually took place in a town called rope us so feeling confident they invaded. They tried to annex the city, they stole some stuff, they destroyed some stuff and No big deal right well for Rome, it was a big deal see. Rome. Was the overbearing dad trying to keep his sanity on a long road trip and Athens was was the kid kid in the seat, who he's told to keep it down several times now they needed to be punished, so the Romans find them five hundred pounds, a talent, is a unit of measurement. Back then in this context- one talent would have referred to seventy one pounds of gold, the Athena and so the Romans five hundred of those will. Of course, Athens doesn't want to pay that more. So in one piece five b c they gather up the leaders. The senior ranking officials of the three philosophical schools in Athens and said
them to Rome to try to appeal to their better nature and try to get the fine reduced, the three men were Carnea des the head master, the academy at the time follower of Plato, Crib Elias, the head of the peripatetic school, which really were followers of Aristotle at the time, Third guy was someone named Diogenes. Who was the head? the stoic school at the time and, of course, is not any of the The three Diane genies we ve talked about before. There's, no doubt These three men were a really persuasive bunch, You talk to the Roman Senate and got the fine reduced only one hundred talents for the record, but that wasn't he. The most important thing they did in Rome Sea, because once they arrived in Rome? They had a few where they were just waiting around doing nothing and the rom, I had heard of athenian philosophy before they gathered around these guys by the hundreds just to hear them talk about their respective philosophical teachings. The story goes in. On the first day, Carnea DES head of the academy stands up in front of everybody,
and delivers a beautiful speech Harold. Justice, as the Supreme Virtue commending Rome for their adherence to justice and the rule of law, everyone erupts and applause? He really resonates with the roman people, everyone's agreeing with him and the very next day. All those same people gather around to hear what he asked to see the next day and he stands up and with perfect eloquence. Just as convincing as the first day proceeds to deliver the complete opposite viewpoint. He argued that justice is unnecessary and at Rome built Empire on injustice. Long story short, the Romans ended up really taking a liking to the stoic school, but after this little stump Cornelius pulled, the three heads of the schools were quickly sent home to Athens, but not before making a big enough impact on the people of Rome to start a thought revolution in the year, one fifty five b c, the law,
ass. If he came to Rome, hello, everyone, I'm Stephen West. This is philosophize this, how you doing it this week, if you get a free couple, minutes and you're thinking about the show and how you'd like to contend. Please consider checking out audible, theirs, Salute me. No downside of this. You go to our link. You get a free book. You support the show. And now you have twelve hours of audio to listen to about anything. You want it's pretty wonderful. They have every book imaginable and, in my experience, almost a hundred percent of the time great voice actors to do that in fact, the only found a couple voice actors over the course of hundreds of books were just annoying, but here's separate audible from your run of the mill audio book providing empire. They but you listened to a sample of everything before you buy it see. You know what the reader sounds like sometimes even have celebrities reading books at here's a protest from someone uses. Honourable way, too much by the way. There's a book called the adventures of huckleberry fin
narrated by Eliza would in what I do I'd go into the audible app on my phone, and I play the book at point. Five speed and at certain parts of the book actually sounds like I'm hanging out with they like a drunk racist, Frodo baggage. Some of this stuff, Eliza would says in that book is ridiculous. I laughed for a good ten seconds and you can do with your favorite celebrity voice actor look in all seriousness, if you like audio programming, please support the show and go to audible, podcast com, west and sign up for a free trial. I couldn't do this without you guys. Thank you. That brings me to the winner of the Facebook content. Look guys my wife doesn't even listen to the show she's the manager of a cupcake bakery. I want the pick, the winner, so that its as unbiased as possible. That's the whole point of me: don't she it was obvious that most people put a lot of fun. Into their interests and it's rough having to choose just one, because it
plies at the other ones are worse or something, but when a really is just how she was feeling at the time. I think I might do so. Sort of random number generator winner of a contest in the future. That way, everyone has a perfectly equal shot, I'm not sure what we're gonna do it, but real quick. I just want to say thank you very much for taking your time to like the post and to craft and tree? It really helps the show grow on Facebook, and I deeply appreciate guys that said Joe Pace is the winner of the contest with his But if a story about his friend living in Mexico, my wife, one To give an honourable mention two Brian Smith and his twit bike service, she said the chief thought that was kind of funny and she also wanted to make it clear that she thought Darren Graham had the worst entry she's ever seen in her life, speaking of which there was a very insightful question on Facebook. This week it was only I've words long, but I think it really encapsulated what we're all thinking this guy must,
when, referring to the very end of last episode, where I talked about Zenos way of describing stoic epistemology with his hand being fully opened and then varying degrees of close handedness, representing varying degrees of knowledge, and the common said. But how do I passed him? Ology well, first offer any one else wondering the pistol. Malagigi is not a verb. It's a noun and even if it was a verb, it wouldn't be anywhere near specific enough. That would be like going up to Lebron James and saying. Excuse me, Mr James, how do I basketball look? Your real question should What is knowledge to Zeno? How do we perceive things? What is this comprehension he's describing I'm glad you brought it up because it reminds me of how excited I am for the coming weeks. If you thought we be done with I dont Aristotle this soon. You are wrong. There's a couple ways to do it I could have done.
Several episodes on each of them talking about all the influential stuff they wrote, but I think it is Billy devolves into what most philosophy programmes become me. Droning on reading facts using Terms you ve never heard and you're, not remembering much because you don't have anything to relate it to anyway. We're gonna be talking about some of these later commentators on Plato and Aristotle, and really flesh now, not only our understanding of those whom and butter and standing of terms like a pistol ology. The nuts and bolts that are gonna, give us a solid base to work from when heading into the renaissance. We are going to talk about stoic, epistemology and lots more detail just in relation to the skeptics, but before we do that, I
We have to have a solid understanding of stoic ethics, most philosophy curriculums at universities, don't go into hellenistic stoicism and very much detail, especially the roman stoics, the big three Seneca Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, and there's a couple reasons for this one. Is that there's a rebirth of stoicism in the sixteen hundreds of comes widely discussed and if you're, an academic and you're going to choose whether to studies, some ambiguous, re, translated, fragments from ancient times or a relatively modern wealth of debate. The choice becomes very easy. The second reason is that the stone ethics at those three men are known for many philosophers, wouldn't even consider them ethics, at least not complete ethics. They're not similar to what we read if we read aristotelian ethics are platonist ethics. Usually ethics consists of some one right recommending or making a case for what the good life is. This is the wait alive. Here's why all these
the guy's a wrong and what they think the best life is, and here is why I'm right, but Seneca, Tis and Marcus Aurelius, they don't really talk about that stuff at all. They don't dedicate much time to arguing why other people, or wrong or introducing a new system of ethics that they created. They all seem to adopt the requisite understanding that stoic ethics are correct, They spend most of their time saying well, okay, once you've accepted that, what does this mean for you? What does it mean to be a stoic in everyday life and at most this is only one branch of ethics as a modern philosophy, professor Would see it stoic ethics can be thought of as a means of protecting us from any external adversity that could possibly be thrown our way. If you were doing a late night infomercial for stoicism during the political. Couple of the Hellenistic age trying to convey its people. That stoicism is for everyone, no matter what walk of life you come from. You can't really ask for three betters
people with more diversity between them than Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius coming from three completely different backgrounds gives them three completely unique types of adversity to deal with that were completely different from each other. See Epictetus was a slave, who spent most of his life crippled. He spent his life teaching other people to apply stoicism, so they wouldn't be enslaved within their minds. Stoicism helped him over come. The tribulations of being a slave Seneca was a roman statesman who later became the tutor and the political advisor to the murderous crazed emperor Nero where, despite trying to get out of politics, was forced by Nero to continue working for him and was later forced by nearer to commit suicide. This sort of terrifying existence at the mercy of a crane. The person obviously presented its own unique set of adversity. That stoicism helped him through Marcus Aurelius was the most powerful man in the
the emperor of Rome is often cited as the last good emperor of Rome and hidden we add anything to stoicism as Seneca Epictetus did, but he was seen as a great example of stoicism when applied to a unique set of problems and the stuff he wrote down gives us a pig beyond the curtains into the thoughts of a dedicated practising stoic living back then now at first you might think. While he was the emperor of Rome, what kind of problems could he possibly have about? The problems of an entire empire like most embers of Rome, he was come. Currently at war dealing with border disputes or just outright enemies. Men had germanic barbarians to the north parthians to the east and plagues wiping people out, He himself was sick for most of his life and all, but one of his kids died during his lifetime, not to mention he had the entire
asked of the roman empire to run in the meantime, there's a reason. Your hair starts. Turning gray when you're the king of the world stoicism was kind of like just for men, Marcus Aurelius, damned around his temples to keep his youthful appearance, plus have you seen the movie gladiator Walking Phoenix was pretty annoying, any indication of what is only surviving son was like he needed stoicism the passage of time between zero of city. I'm in Marcus Aurelius is a long time and the variants between their opinions on it. The visual issues can also be pretty big and, as a pod, castor, I have to make a judge. The call on where to draw certain lines when you guys are talking to other people about the stoics or trying to apply stoicism in your lives are comparing the stoics with future or past philosophers. You probably aren't interested in the difference, but small things that are only relevant in a very narrow context. For example me rambling on about something like cynical view of virtue
you in comparison to epictetus its view of virtue, and I think, even if I did do that, what you guys would ultimately have is an idea of who each man was what contributions they made, the stoic ethics and the general idea of who the stoics were, and what the stoics Raul about. All three of these men had areas of strength with instead the Catholics where they made larger contributions in the other two guys in those areas will dedicate more time to what they had to sound the topic, but because this Oh much overlap between them. I think this episode is gonna work best. If we talk about the tenants of stoic ethics the common threads among them all that forge the definition of what a Stoic is, and then refer back to quote from each man did not only embellish what we ve already laid out but to offer insight. That said, the central point, the that all stoic ethics are centred around is the idea of Kosis. This word is an adaptation of the greek word Oikos, which roughly translates to house
or orientation. It was referring to the idea that each thing, whether it's an insect and animal a plant or a human for that matter, These things have a disposition assigned to it by nature. Certain things that it was put here to do for an animal like a skunk. It was easy survival, self preservation eat sleep reproduce, but for human It was more. It certainly included all that it included self preservation, but it also includes polluted rationality. We have a very Unique ability to reason- and we should use it- we were put here to use it- there are tv I was out there like the real world or Jersey Shore, where the cost is made up of young people, go on out drinkin and party in most nights, with a bound as many priorities set in their proper place, as they have IQ points combined between the group of em and there's this recurring, character that shows up on these shows once every couple seasons where there.
Living in the real World House, but they have a boyfriend or girlfriend at home, and yet we still feel calm I want to go out drinking and start flirting with other people, and rightly so,. To do their seven shot of the night. The show cut to them in an interview from earlier and they say something like. Hopefully I don't cheat on my boyfriend tonight. Hopefully, nothing happens, they're just sitting there. Blankly staring at the camera shrugging as they say it is I'm nothing's going to happen, but behold everyone, the stoics, we see this human is one that's acting like it has the Oy coast of a skunk or any animal for that matter. These people don't see themselves as creatures with an Oi coast of reason. With the the lady to make rational decisions that are in harmony with nature. These people see themselves as passengers, whatever happens, happens in this is the same point I was talking about last time with the scene from lost. The pig trapped in the net has a much different cost than
Charlie the drug addict, rockstar and John Locke was trying to help him realise this. Marcus Aurelius says that everything- whether it's a horse or a vine, is created for some duty and man's true delighted to do the things he was made. For all right so remember this concept of our oil coastguard. We haven't fully discussed what it is yet and will be, returning to it a little later. But this sets a nice base for talking about stoicism applied to our everyday lives, one of the most important topics of stoic ethics, one that they repeatedly hammer home and make it clear that its very important is understanding the distinction between things we can control and things we can't control. The stoics thought that and of all the areas we dedicate thought to. This is the one we get wrong the most. Let me give you an example of this that you ve, probably seen before in some capacity, some people are die, hard sports fans. Some people have a team that their loyalty, they know all their players. They know all the stats. The
where they're autographed Jersey to work on casual Friday and when they were a game and their favorite player hits the game winning shot or their team is playing really well together there walking on sunshine for the rest of the day, but when their is Ain't, bad or the rough We make a bad call against their team in the team loses built yell at the tv so I am doors, get angry, make the rest People living in the house uncomfortable these people are allowing themselves to be made either happy or angry by the decisions of a select few people that dont know that their fan, they don't care about their opinion and they were trade. Their favorite play. When a heartbeat, if it meant a better bottom line for them, the stoics would say they have absolutely zero control over anything that happening there. Why would they allowed themselves to be so negatively affected by it? Now most of us come this conclusion without the help of the stoics, but the same concept applies to everything, no matter a small like I said, the stoics
created all things into two categories: things we do control and things we dont control the things we do. Control are our thoughts and actions. The things we don't control are well everything else see because, as humans we are survival oriented creatures. We like stability. We like predictable I mean this is why people typically say that we have a fear of the unknown we like to have a patent, go away that we react to a particular circumstance. We don't like the fact that at any point in time we could get hit by a city, bus. Or someone could stab us or a friend of ours could betray us. We don't like it, but it's reality. We don't actually control anything that happens external to us. But that does not mean we should walk around being scared of this stuff, all the time, the stoic softly
recognize how out of our control it actually. Is we like to think that things, like our body, our bank account balance our car, our reputation, we like to think that were in control of these things. But the stoics make the case that all those things really aren't in our control, because at any time someone could steal your car. Someone could destroy your reputation, your body could randomly have a brain aneurysm into base your happiness on something that you have no control, clover is a recipe for disaster. They called all of these things, even things that happened in your past. All of these external things that we no control over, they called them indifference being an estate free of some because you understand which things are in and out of your control was called apathy, but be careful, dont mistake. This the modern word that just sounds a lot like it apathy which
modern times would mean not caring about what happens one way or another. The stoics did have a preference. There were preferred indifference and unprepared indifference. Let me in even though we want these indifference like to be healthy or to have a good reputation these things are good in themselves. This is an eye. Here, the goes all the way back to the cynics, the only thing that is intrinsically good or good in itself, not requiring anything else to be considered good. Our wisdom, in virtue. Even the idea of qualifying something as intrinsically good, goes all the way back to something. Plato said in his veto that, if something is truly good, it would never even assist something. That's bad, so did the stoics, even something like health. An indifferent, because it's only good in relation to the person who is making healthy, like the health of Adolf Hitler nineteen thirty, nine wasn't a very good thing right, so good health and
any other things would be considered, preferred indifference, outcomes that are typically good for us, but we have no control over, but just because we didn't control win or if they happen to us, doesn't mean that we can't make choices about how we perceive them. Remember the things we do, control our thoughts and actions. The stoics thought that all of our thoughts and actions about things that happen to us in our lives. False some on on a large spectrum between what they called virtue and vice in modern times, would more think of it as spectrum between rational thinking in irrational thinking, the guy for, The sports analogy that we were talking about before the guy that puts a trash can on his head runs into the nearest wall because his team lost that guy's thoughts and actions are, leaning towards the irrational side of the spectrum our goal is humans is to be as close to the rational side of the spectrum is possible. Ever heard. Someone say there's no manual or handbook for living life. What they teach us would beg to differ. His students collected a tonne
of his most insightful and why statements and compiled them into a book called the insurer, Sheridan or the handbook. He contributed a lot to this discussion about things we can control and things we can't And it makes sense, I mean he was a slave for years of his life. He had no choice but to just grin and bear the fact that he was shackled and forced to do manual labor for somebody he talks about the importance and potential gain. When you understand the things you can and can't control here in his discourses, and we pick up the quote right after you just got done describing something terrible happening to someone that was completely out of their control, quote what then should a man have in readiness to such circumstances. What else then What is mine and what is not mine and permitted to me and what is not permitted to me. Let's say I must die. must I then die lamenting. Let's say I must be put in chains Must I then also lament let's say I must go into exile.
Does any man hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment? Tell me the secret, which you possess one I will not for this is in my power, someone says, but I will put you in chains, man. What are you talking about be in chains. You may better my leg, but my will not even Zeus himself can overpower. While I will throw you went to prison my poor body, you mean well, I will cut your head off win then. Have I, told you that my head alone cannot be cut off. These are the things which fully, a should meditate on which they should write daily in which they should exercise themselves input once we realise, what's in and out of control, then the stoic say that we can use our ability to reason to not walk around expecting instead, our out of our control to happen or not happen once your perception reality is closer to reality than your expectations will become closer to reality.
Some guy that lived on the other side of town from you, a guy that you don't know it all, suddenly decides that he's going to change his career from the president of a bank to a circus performer. Would it bother you that you can't for all his job situation now Thank you would be at all knock yourself out, president of the bank, but that same guy if, when he was on his way to his new job as a circus performer cuts us off on the freeway walls sudden we're really angry about that. The truth is we have about as much control over his decision to change from bank president to circus performer I do over his decision to cut us off on the freeway. Why do we react differently? Well, it's an expectation right. We have an x taxation that that guy's gonna follow some unspent in set of rules that all drivers have consented to without exception, and he's never to make a mistake. The stokes would say that this isn't realistic. This isn't a realistic expectation.
Can, because we don't have any control over what he does anyway. So what good is being said about it. S a really as talks about the idea of expectations, a lot in his meditations quote, if you work at that, which is before you following right reason seriously vigorously calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you but keeping your divine part, pure as if you are bound to give it back immediately. If you hold the this expecting, nothing but satisfied to live now. According to nature, speaking heroic truth in every word that you utter, you will live and there was no man able to prevent this end quote. He also said get rid of the judgement, get rid of the I am hurt and you are rid of the herd. Self. They may be sand yourself. That so far stoicism sounds a lot like Buddhism, while you're right. This is actually a really common thing that people note
there are a lot of similarities between the two, not the least of which is the whole idea. There aren't any things that are inherently favourable or unfavourable to us in themselves. It's our interpretation of those things that determine what they are. Not to mention sudatta gotta, suggested that people practice meditation to stay in the present moment. Assist you on your quest to happiness, and so did the stoics. They just had a much more proactive and pessimistic approach Remember I said in the last show that stoicism was kind of like an obstacle course or training. Regimen Epictetus said then, should each of us say when each hardship befalls us? It was for this I was exercising. It was for this that I was training. Will the stoics thought of it this way? They didn't think it was good enough to just know what stoic beliefs were. To understand their ethics philosophy was an active process. One. Were you constantly remind yourself of the tenants of stoicism and by all
having them. On the top of your mind, you create new habits of thinking that are in line with the tenants of stoicism. One of the practical methods of doing this at the stoic suggest is a sort of premeditation Marcus, Aurelius describes it here quote. Begin each day by telling yourself today, I shall be meeting with interference in gratitude. Insolence disloyalty, ill will and selfishness all of them due to the offenders. Ignorance of what is good or evil. End quote: let's go back to the sports fan example from earlier the way it stands now, this guy watch his sports games and, at some level, doesn't expect anything bad to happen at all, despite the fact that, every weekend, when he watches the game, something bad happens, what mark To really is talking about, and I quote, and many of the stoics talked about this- is that
Every morning the sports fan should prepare himself for what inevitably will come. He should tell himself today my team will lose the coin toss today. My team will have a terrible injury that ruins our chances for the rest of the season. The rest, will make a terrible call and we will lose the game because of it. What are you a cop? pushing by saying all that. What are the stoics teaching you to do. For teaching you to lower your expectations. If you approach the big game on Sunday pessimistically. If you truly expect that all those terrible things are gonna happen, then when they do happen, it was to be expected and when they don't happen, you're pleasantly surprised. Well, this practice isn't just useful for sports games. The Stoke thought you should start every day with the sort of mentality and that the same guy that gets upset about things he can't control when watching sports probably gets upset about things he can't control
on the road in his office. In his marriage, etc, this is the area of stoicism that Seneca really excelled in. He famously said that that which fortune has not given, she cannot take away. He has a book called on the shortness of life, where it's all about the common. Human misconception. That life is too short. Words. Seneca says that it's not that we work given enough time to live. It's that we waste so much of it. He tells a story about a prisoner who was locked up in his cell. He was awaiting his punishment for a crime and the emperor of Rome at the time, Caligula sentences him to death, and when the guards come to get the prisoner from a cell, to kill him he's playing a game and with a guard that was assigned to watch over- and these are the guard show up and tell him he's sentenced to death and are dragging them away to be killed and as these guards dragging him away. He says to them, you guys are my witnesses. I was up by one peace there. I beetle,
sort of calmness in the face of problems is a hallmark of stoicism. When we think of the word stoic in modern times, we typically think of someone who's unaffected or ostensibly unaffected, and that may be true, but it's important to note that it's not like the stoics didn't feel emotions. They were just complete the masters of their emotions. Some stokes even take this mastery of emotions to the absolute extreme and claim that emotions. Don't even exist to them. Cynical said that the idea, of moderate emotions is about is real because the idea of moderate insanity, the act fuel emotions themselves are irrational. There's no use trying the moderate them which had just train our brain to think rationally, the important part as this. Don't let a single, positive or negative emotion affect you too much dont, let a single compliment go to your head and make you think you're the greatest ever and don't let us insult get you down and make you think you're a loser. I mean back to the sports analogy
don't let a single win, let you think your team is destined to the championship without issue let a single loss? Let you get down on future prospects. Being a slave epictetus had some good things to say on this topic to he said quote: men are disturbed not by things by the principles and notions which they form. Concerning things, he also said: if someone gave your body, to any stranger. He met on his way. You would say. We be angry and You feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to virtually attack. You end quote our thoughts, create our negative emotions, the most common and arguably, most destructive of all these negative emotions is anger. By far the most popular work by Seneca and my favorite to read, is
hold on anger. It's an entire book dedicated to analyzing and dealing with anger. He famously said that no plague has past the human race, more than anger, according to Seneca there for primary emotions to emotions, thinking about the present time and to thinking about the future pleasure which thinks that something is good right now, pain which thinks that something is bad right now desire which thinks that something will be good in the future and fear which thinks that something will be banned in the future. Will anger, The seneca is a type of desire, because an angry person is always thinking about revenge in the future. He compares the Iraq nationality of anger with proper rational thought. Here quote: anger is altogether inconsistent. Sometimes it goes further than it should. Sometimes it stops short. It indulges itself. Judges capriciously refuses to listen, leaves no room for defence, clings to what it has seized and will not have it jack.
even even a wrong judgment taken from it gives time to eat their side and then demands a further adjournment to give itself room to tease out the truth, is in a hurry reason wishes to pass a fair judgment. Anger wishes. The judgment which it has already passed to seem fair reason, considers nothing save the matter at issue. Anger is roused by IRAN trifles end quote: he spent a good deal of time in on anger, addressing the common misconception that people have the angry, something that is entirely out of their control, as though its involuntary some sort of instinct with programmed in us, and he makes a good case for why the two are not the same here quote: take the way that we shiver when cold water is sprinkled on us or recoil at that, patch of something's take the way that bad news makes our hair stand on end and indeed language brings on a blush. None of these is in our power
no amount of reasoning can induce them not to happen, but anger is put to flight by precept for It is a voluntary fault, the mind and not one of those which occur through some quirk of the human condition which therefore can happen to the very wisest of men input he said that most people see the process of anger as something bad happens to you and the now. I need to get back at that person, but Seneca says that is much more complex than that. There are actually forced stages to anger, whether we realize it or not, the four stages are realization, indignation, condemnation and retribution. He says it well here quote to receive an impression of wrong done to one to lust for retribution to put together the two propositions that the damage ought not to have been done and that punishment ought to be inflicted
is not the work of a mere involuntary impulse? That would be a simple process. What we have here is a complex with several constituents, realisation, indignation, condemnation and retribution these cannot occur without a sent by the mind to whatever has struck it. End quote. The first step is realistic. This is the moment you realize someone has done something bad deal. This is them but you realize a referee just made a terrible call on the television against your team. The second step is indignation that bad thing just happened to you, and now you have contempt for the person that wrong. Do the referee just cost my team, the game, and now I hate them in the third step, as condemnation Now that this person is contemptible, now you label them as a bad person that deserves punishment for how they wrong do in the sports exam
this? Is u saying that the referee should lose his job for the bad call that he should keep his rough uniform and just go work at foot locker where he belongs? The fourth step is ready. Abuse, and this is the childish idea of exacting revenge. You know I need to get back at them for what they ve done to me, in the referee example, there's all sorts of things and do here, but I guess one of them would be: u organizing a petition to into the inner failed to get the referee fired for his terrible mistake. Just for example, now the point Seneca was making hears that anger is actually a pretty lengthy process, even though it happened so quick in the moment, it certainly isn't the the same as that volunteer, Harry Shiver, that happens when cold water sprinkled on us, like Seneca, said he gives Several recommendations throughout the book. One of them is adjusting the way you look at the world too.
You have more realistic expectations of. What's going to happen to you, you know adopting that more pessimistic view like we talked about before that use of mental gymnastics. Reading a mantra to yourself at the beginning of the day expecting bad things to happen, constantly referencing the principles of stoicism in your mind, to form good of thought of thought things like that. So this idea of having realistic expectations is definitely powerful. Don't know some of you guys are saying well look: I can change My worldview and have realistic expectations of the world, but what, if even those expectations get broken, then I should really be mad right that same note, what about someone who has unrealistic expectations, but they have the ability to accept the fact that expectations won't be met, sometimes this point is the exact reason why I believe that happiness doesn't lie in low expectations. Like a lot of people say, it lie and acceptance, and this acceptance
of everything that happens to you. The acceptance of your fate is a hallmark of stoicism. This is not the place to have a comprehensive discussion of fate, but let me talk about, Something real, quick determinism is a very broad concept in philosophy that says that when something happens, something is the case what makes it so that nothing else could have happened now there are tons of different kinds of determinism. Many them differing in their idea of what that thing is. That makes it so that nothing else could have happened. Things are destined now when you say things are destined summit, but my instantly think that this implies some kind of magical thinking, but not necessarily. Yes, it could be the providential plan of a God at work. But it could also be entirely non magical. Let consider the idea that your brain is a computer basically and based on input. You received so far in your experiences, is a reaction that will happen. You think you're making it conscious decision, but really it was
inevitable process of the brain you ve been given combined with your experiences. This is a very broad topic, with many different varieties, these, all of which have names that are just gonna, served to confuse people here and the relationship between free will in determinism is one of the most why we discussed topics and olive philosophy and trust me? The works of the stoics are not our best option of content to reference when talking about it. We have much better options that come a little later, not dimension within stoicism. It's one of the most controversial topics. The most important thing to take from their views on the matter is that they were compatible as they believe that the idea of determinism and the idea of free will are compatible with each other. There, not mutually exclusive, as many people think they believed in the idea of fate, but the important part to that fact
is not the seemingly magical aspect of fate, the important part is the acceptance that you get from that mentality, Xeno and Christ sipis compared humans, going throughout their life on planet earth, to dogs that were tied to the back of a moving cart. Just imagine that visual for a second, a big cart tied to the back of a horse, is moving along a path and someone tied a dog to the back of it. The movement of that cart forward represents fate, God's plan. The reason that governs all things and we as humans are the dock, we're going wherever that card's going, there's no fighting it. The question is: how much are we going to whine and complain and struggle along
the way. Think of yourself as a foot. That's part of a human. Do you know what I'm talking about? What, if you were a foot? If you were a foot, you'd just be one small part of a giant body doing its purpose until you stop working one day, it would be completely ridiculous for you to say to the body. No, I'm not speaking to you today. I refuse to walk around anymore. I refuse to do my foot duties. No that's but be ridiculous right, because the foot needs to realise that what's in the best interest of the body is really in the best interest of the foot, it needs to fulfil its role and not complain. The stoics thought that this is the way humans should look at themselves in relation to the world. One small part doing its duty for the greater whole. Several years ago I got an english bulldog. I named him Charlie and he is adorable and that's really is good quality, if I put him out in the wilderness, he'd be hopeless, but if you've never never had
english bulldog, before they are in it curiously stubborn breed the very difficult to train. They just don't want to do what you tell them to some people can do it. I've seen people that teach their english Bob talk to do stuff before and I got massive respect for you if you can do it, but I sit there with a treat in my hand, telling him to sit, and I just look at his eyes and they are blank. He has no idea what I'm saying and after four five times of tat, Sid I just given the tree. I probably why never learned to sit. It's probably my fault, but one day I made a huge mistake: with them. Whenever we go anywhere, I put him in the laundry room just so he hasn't can find place where we feel safe in its it's quiet and a couple years ago, just looked at me when I told him to get in the line room and he refused to go in he just stared at me. So I went to the cupboard. I got a
I coached him into the laundry room, gave him the treat close the door problem solved right, that's evolution. I felt triumphant, it seemed wonderful, but it wasn't wonderful. Now he refuses to come into the laundry room unless if he gets a treat, I sit there I look at him by the door of the laundry room and I say getting your Charlie and he looks at me and doesn't move. He wants a treat and he's not moving until he gets that treat it's like a reverse hunger strike. So I looked at him again, I say get in your room, Charlie now, for the past couple, once you ve been doing this thing when I say it a second time Regos like yeah, he's like really displeased, with one: I'm telling how many wants to tell me this next since it's gonna make me sound crazy If Charley was a human and the stoics around to see this kind of behaviour. They would give him a stern talkin. To I mean I give him an endless waterfall of food an endless tank of water, a couch to sleep on
He has one job to get in the laundry room when we're leaving the house and like the dog tied to the back of the cart like humans tied to the inevitable process of fate. He wine then struggles, but eventually he gets in the laundry room right, he always does stones. Some says that we should have resigned acceptance and just cut out that hope process of whining and struggling like my dog does and just get in the laundry room. There's a great call by Epictetus on this. He says: don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that, happen as they do happen. We'll go on well, Marcus Aurelius says the Good man's. Only singularity lies in his approving welcome to every expire reinstall looms of fate. May we for him now here's a quote from Spain where he's not only talking about resigned acceptance of fate, but he's touching on something else. Here we go quote what nature deal with matter, which is her own as she pleases. Let us be cheerful,
brave in the face of everything reflecting that it nothing of our own. That parishes end quote now what Senecas touch on here. The idea that accepting your place in nature, as a very small part of a massive faded process, not We can bring you comfort in times of the political adversity of the hellenistic age, but it can also bring you comfort if something is taken away from you or if a loved one dies. This is an interesting alternative to the purpose that an afterlife typically serves when someone loses a friend or a child or a parent, that's very close to them there's a void left in her absence? It turns out it's a great consolation to tell that person that you're gonna see that person real soon and you guys are going to live forever together and everything's going to be perfect, it's a very comforting notion. Well, the stoics talked about thinking of everything from your most prized possessions to your
family members as really belonging to nature. Just as you think, you're right foot belongs to you and not to its best friend. Your left foot. Think of these people and things as being all a innocence, then there won't be any unrealistic attachment to these things. The relations too Buddhism are obvious. There is a great quote by Epictetus that encapsulates all of it quote, never say about anything. I have lost it, but only I have given it back is your child dead. It has been given back. Is your wife dead? She has been given back. I've had my farm taken away very well. This too been given back yet it was a rascal who took it away, but what concern is it of yours by whose instrumentality the giver called for its return so long as he gives it to? You
care of it as a thing that is not your own, as travellers treat their in end quote to the epicurean pleasure was the most important thing to shoot for to the stoics. Virtue was the most important thing to shoot for pleasure and various other things. People think are the end goal typically are seen as after thoughts and stoicism. They say that if you live virtue Firstly, you will experience pleasure, but the real thing to focus on his virtue, so in other words, A little like my dog Charlie, not wanting to get into the laundry room you should get into the laundry room. Just because you get a treat. If you do it, you shouldn't do the right thing, because it brings about happiness, although it probably will you shouldn't, do the right thing, because it brings you pleasure, although it probably will you do the right thing simply because it is the right thing it's in harmony, with the reason that governs all things. If the only things we have can rule over our thoughts and actions. Then the only thing we have control
over is our mind or so whatever you want to call it and the sea. Let's say that, if our mind is the only thing we control, we should try to do it as best as possible. Seneca says the point is not how long you live, but how nobly live virtue is nothing else than right reason. Epictetus says he who is free in the body, but bound in the soul is a slave, but on the contrary, he who is bound in the bar the but free in the soul, is truly free. Marcus Aurelius gives us some pretty compelling thought On the matter coming from the emperor of Rome, he says very What is needed to make a happy life? It's within yourself in your way of thinking. We can arrive at a time with this episode. I really want to end with one of my favorite parts of stoicism, and it brings us back the idea of our oil coast that we said we'd returned to at the beginning of the show, we'll talk in one of them,
next episodes on stoic natural law and much more detail, but one of the implications of it is the idea of having compassion for your fellow humans and fellow animals. Like we said at the beginning, the Oi cost of something like a skunk is very simple. You know eat sleep, reproduce, self preservation and occasionally chasing around a cat with the white paint stripe on it and teaching kids about the consequences of sexual harassment for humans. It's part of our oil coasts to not interfere with other creatures and their ability to carry out their oil coast. It certainly wouldn't make much sense for a foot to sabotage or inhibit. The quality for the hands to do their job and the stoic saw inhibiting the abilities of other humans and animals is equally as ridiculous. We should help other human, the exercise, their rationality, pre, other humans and animals with compassion. Now we're gonna end with a
belong quote by Marcus Aurelius, but it's my favorite part of any of his meditations and Erika quote, do not waste what remains of your life and speculating about your neighbors. Unless, with view to some mutual benefit to wonder what so so is doing, and why or but he is saying, or thinking or scheming. If something distracts you from fatigue, ready to the ruler within you it means a loss of opportunity for some other task. See, then that the flow of your thoughts is kept free from idle or random fancies, particularly those of an inquisitive or uncharitable nature, a man. Habituate himself to such a way. Thinking that if suddenly asked what is on your mind at this minute, he could respond frankly and without hesitation, thus prove that all his thoughts were simple and kindly, as becomes a social being with no taste for the pleasures of sensual, imaginings, jealousies, envies so
is or any other sentiments that he would blush to acknowledge in himself such a man Urmand here and now to aspire to. The heights is indeed a priest and minister of the gods, for he is making full use of that in dwelling, power which can keep a man unsullied by pleasures proof against pain untouched by insult impervious to evil. He is a competitor in the greatest of all contests the struggle against passions mastery he is imbued through and through with uprightness, welcoming heartedly, whatever falls to his lot and really asking himself what others may be saying or doing or thinking, except when the public interest requires it, he can I'm his operations to his own concerns having his attention fixed on his own particular threat of the universal web, seeing to it that his actions are honorable and convince what befalls him must be for the best for his own directing fate? Is it under a higher direction. He does not forget the boy, motherhood of all rational beings, nor
The concern for every man is proper to humanity, and he knows that it's not the world's opinions he should follow, but only those of men whose lives confessedly accord with nature, as for other, whose lives are not so ordered. Europe in himself constantly of the characters they exhibit daily and nightly at home and abroad the sort of society they frequent in the approval of such men. Dont even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him. End quote now it's time for the question of the week, the stoics talked about retraining habits of the mind that warrant based entirely. In reality, my quest, this week, a simple: are there any thoughts you carry around that art productive? What can you do to retrain those mental habits and be a happier and more efficient person for the process? Thank you for listening. Hey guys, if you'll love, philosophize this and want to make sure you never misses episode, consider signing
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Transcript generated on 2020-10-01.