Occasional reflections on the wisdom of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. More atmassimopigliucci.com. Please consider supporting Stoic Meditations. (cover art by Marek Škrabák; original music by Ian Jolin-Rasmussen, www.jolinras.info).
Cicero explains the notions of preferred indifferents and of the dichotomy of control by means of one of the most famous metaphors in Stoic literature: a discussion what is and is not up to an archer attempting to hit a target.
Cicero explains that human beings are naturally drawn to the use of reason, beginning when they are children. He also talks about the Stoic concept of katalepsis, the kind of impression so strong that it is undeniable.
Cicero has Cato the Younger explain a fundamental concept of Stoic developmental psychology: how virtue is rooted in innate self love, and how we do things that are good for us regardless of pleasure and pain.
Marcus Aurelius contemplates two possible scenarios for what happens after we die. Neither one of which justifies our fears on the matter. Better to focus instead on the fact that we are alive, here and now.
It is my delight to keep the ruling faculty sound without turning away from any of the things that happen to people, but looking at and receiving all with welcoming eyes and using everything according to its value.
The wise man will not admire himself even if many rich men admire him; for he knows that they differ in no respect from beggars — nay, are even more wretched than they; for beggars want but a little, whereas rich men want a great deal.
Nobody wants to do what is bad for them. So when the thief steals, he is under the wrong impression about what is and is not good for him. We should therefore pity him, and help him understand, if possible.
A student asks Epictetus whether we should really bother to learn logic. "Would you like me to provide you with an argument?" Yes. "How would you know if my argument is a good one, if you don't understand logic?" QED.
Trust is crucial for intimate relationships, for friendships, and even among fellow citizens. Research shows that nations with the highest degree of self-reported happiness among its citizens are those in which people feel like they can trust each other.
We know how to analyze arguments, and have the skill a person needs to evaluate competent logicians. But in life what do we do? What today we say is good, tomorrow we'll swear is bad. That's because we don't pay attention.