“Whenever you get an impression of some pleasure, as with any impression, guard yourself from being carried away by it, let it await your action, give yourself a pause. After that, bring to mind both times, first when you have enjoyed the pleasure and later when you will regret it and hate yourself. Then compare to those the joy and satisfaction you’d feel for abstaining altogether. However, if a seemingly appropriate time arises to act on it, don’t be overcome by its comfort, pleasantness, and allure—but against all of this, how much better the consciousness of conquering it.”
— EPICTETUS FROM THE ENCHIRIDION
What bothers me on a daily basis?
Honestly, a lot. When one looks at how vast the possible experiences of life there is, anyone can be bombarded by things that are annoying, depressing or just plain disruptive to the peace of mind one has.
There will always be bad news, or terrible life events, or just the weather not going the way I would like it. But Epictetus says that these are the reasons I should be vigilant and protect the peace I keep.
Seneca talks about the duality of the soul today. Where in one that is uncontrolled, over-indulged and fueled by desire is likened to a tyrant, and it’s opposite is that of a king. A Stoic therefore must strive towards becoming a king, who is benevolent and rules with virtue.
The question that remains is: “How?”
A common stoic mantra: “Anger almost never solves anything”.
What happens when I’m angry? I become extremely motivated, to prove someone wrong, to make others see things my way. When I’m angry, I could summon so much energy that I could accomplish so much. But does that mean that I should be angry all the time?
Today’s reflection is all about that. Anger can drive people to do almost anything positive in their life, but it isn’t really the best fuel for your desires, in fact, it’s a terrible fuel.
This is an open letter to myself