This is the book I am following.
Another good read.
I like this one also.
Disclaimer: I’m not your Supervisor. These are my opinions after reading through these books a few times.
“We must give up many things to which we are addicted, considering them to be good. Otherwise, courage will vanish, which should continually test itself. Greatness of soul will be lost, which can’t stand out unless it disdains as petty what the mob regards as most desirable.
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 74.12b–13
What am I addicted to? I really like my job and the paycheck lets me indulge in my great addiction, my truck. Am I also addicted to my really nice house on a lake? If I hold this to be the greatest good, do I lose myself? After realizing this might not end, am I ready to lose all this if I refuse the booster? Right now the answer is yes, and I don’t think that will change. If I remain addicted to my financial status and stability, my courage will vanish.
“Some things are in our control, while others are not. We control our opinion, choice, desire, aversion, and, in a word, everything of our own doing. We don’t control our body, property, reputation, position, and, in a word, everything not of our own doing. Even more, the things in our control are by nature free, unhindered, and unobstructed, while those not in our control are weak, slavish, can be hindered, and are not our own.”
—EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 1.1–2
This ties back to knowing what is under your control and what is an external element. It is hard to accept the fact I don’t control my body, but it is reminding me of that fact right now. I also struggle with the fact I don’t control my place in the world. I have come a long way since I was first married and poor, and I am trying to realize if I have to start over, it won’t kill me. I have to understand that’s possible and be ready to deal with the consequences.
“The essence of good is a certain kind of reasoned choice; just as the essence of evil is another kind.
What about externals, then? They are only the raw material for our reasoned choice, which finds its own
good or evil in working with them. How will it find the good? Not by marveling at the material! For if
judgments about the material are straight that makes our choices good, but if those judgments are twisted, our choices turn bad.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.29.1–3
Is the outside world evil? What choices do I make? Are they made using logic and an understanding of what’s under my control? Whatever the world throws at me, sometimes the only thing I have an option in is how do I respond. I’m not always proud of my responses, I still have an unreasoning rage sometimes, so I use this as a reminder that twisted reason makes twisted choices.
“For if a person shifts their caution to their own reasoned choices and the acts of those choices, they
will at the same time gain the will to avoid, but if they shift their caution away from their own reasoned
choices to things not under their control, seeking to avoid what is controlled by others, they will then be
agitated, fearful, and unstable.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.1.12
If I am careful about the choices I make and am fully aware of the consequences of them, it helps me to stay calm and not be worried about the things I can’t control. On the other hand, if I spend a lot of energy and time trying to influence things not under my control, that would add a lot of unnecessary stress.
“Keep this thought at the ready at daybreak, and through the day and night—there is only one path to
happiness, and that is in giving up all outside of your sphere of choice, regarding nothing else as your
possession, surrendering all else to God and Fortune.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 4.4.39
Remember daily not to stress over things you have no control over. If you can make your choices and live with them, no matter what happens you can still be happy. Even in a more challenging environment, and even if it’s not fair. I am trying to get to this point, it seems liberating and scary.
“We control our reasoned choice and all acts that depend on that moral will. What’s not under our
control are the body and any of its parts, our possessions, parents, siblings, children, or country—
anything with which we might associate.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.22.10
As a father, this was a difficult truth to learn. My daughter turned 17 and went insane. My wife and I tried, but we couldn’t do much and as soon as she turned 18 she moved out and married her POS boyfriend.(She’s good now) My mom is currently refusing to see us because my wife isn’t vaccinated. At least I got lucky with my brothers, we all get along great. But I’ve heard and seen enough horror stories to know that is not due to anything in my control, they could be jerks no matter what I do. It’s hard to admit, but all my possessions could disappear tomorrow, regardless of my actions. As far as the country goes, I don’t recognize it from just a few years ago.
“Understand at last that you have something in you more powerful and divine than what causes the
bodily passions and pulls you like a mere puppet. What thoughts now occupy my mind? Is it not fear,
suspicion, desire, or something like that?”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 12.19
I am trying to be aware of the click bait headlines and slanted news stories designed to drum up outrage. That goes double for the ones on “my ” side. It’s easier to be fooled by them because I am already leaning that way. If I let them manipulate me, then I have lost my ability to make a rational decision.
Angus! Angus! My favorite AC?DC song