“Robbers, perverts, killers, and tyrants—gather for your inspection their so-called pleasures!”
— MARCUS AURELIUS
Marcus declares that those who invites us to indulge in their pleasures are commonly those we don’t wish to associate with, or worse, to emulate. In so many times a day, we are interacting with people who invite us to share their pleasures.
But as a Stoic? What should I do?
What are the rules of life?
As a Catholic Christian, the morals are pretty straight forward: “Do unto others what you wish they do unto you”. This saying is predominant in many other beliefs and philosophies, but it implies that a certain reciprocity is expected as you deal with other people. If I am treated badly, it could mean simply that I treat people bad.
But of course life isn’t as black and white as that, and the way to deal with life is much more complex. Epictetus gives me a rather weird metaphor on how life should be treated.
Can you anticipate an emotion?
Epictetus challenges me today with that question. Because in a lot of cases, feeling something is just what we react when something happens. I’m happy because something happy happened. But what if I can already prepare the emotion before something happens?
What makes me unhappy?
Lately, it’s because I’m not moving yet, because I don’t have access to new games I want to play, because I can’t do what I like since I have no money, I can’t learn new things because I can’t have access to my resources.
But does these limitations say that I shouldn’t be happy?
Philosophers will say Occam’s Razor is a terrible argument because it denies so many premises that are outright complicated. But in general, ‘Occam’s Razor‘ is important when dealing with day to day problems.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
This translates ‘More things should not be used than necessary‘. Or the simplest explanation is likely the truth. And a Stoic needs simplicity in his life, because trying to explain an event by mixing in too many concepts could be bewildering and a Stoic should not dwell on bewilderment.