It seems we are in need of a little Stoicism….
A friend texted today, someone I have never met in person. Yes, a friend, because that is the amazing, unprecedented advantage of this thing we call connectivity.
He texted of Stoicism. And yeah, we could use a little right now.
I ‘d been away from the teachings. Hadn’t visited Daily Stoic in a while, but reading this piece by Ryan Holiday was helpful, because due to my profession I go to work day-to-day now wondering “what’s next?” in full knowledge that those leaders aren’t always there to stand up, just political pogues who really don’t know what to do, and who react simply by waiting to react, “waiting ’til we get there to make that decision,” which is sometimes the proper course of action.
But it usually isn’t the best course to take.
We all would do well to remember the words of Marcus Aurelius:
“To bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before, and will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging. Produce them in your mind, as you know them from experience or from history: the court of Hadrian, of Antoninus. The courts of Philip, Alexander, Croesus. All just the same. Only the people different.”
Are we so special? That we are immune from something like the Spanish Plague? Even The Great Depression? That we still do not select and elect sometimes incompetent, sometimes mercurial, too frequently banally corrupt stewards to guide us?
Of course we are not. For evidence of all of this just check your news feed.
And then remember that despite all of this the human race is still here, and, maybe because of it, has continued to thrive and progress to unimagined levels. Were we transported back to Marcus’ time we would be as gods. Think about that.
And we are caught up on what to call this thing because of where it came from? Panic buying toilet paper and Hot Pockets? Maybe not so different after all…
“So many terrible things have happened to me. I must be cursed!”
Oh, but it’s quite the opposite. “I am actually blessed, because while all of these terrible things have happened to me, I remain unfazed. For I have not been defeated by the present, nor do I fear the future.”
Some of us are shell shocked. Some are preparing for dire straits indeed. Almost all of us are looking forward to a life that is probably going to be quite a bit different than the one we thought we were going to be living – retirement plans literally drained away.
With so much facile preaching and teaching in the tactical community on “mindset,” now is a time where we can actually practice it.
Welcome to the lesson.