Category Archives: Psychology

Stewie the Stoic: Advice

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[Quotes courtesy of Seneca]

[Seneca advises Lucilius that were he to disseminate his wisdom en masse, that those he might affect would be barely help, than were he to single out a lone recipient and focus his persuasions upon them.

Generally, like posting a blog to the world, those one might influence cannot be considered counseled, enfolded beneath the wing, as chance, though possible, does not render one advised.]


Wouldn’t it be fun – to believe

In anything.

Everything.

It doesn’t matter what. Believe in fairies, pink elephants, ET, fusion, equality or Gods (take your pick). Believing is what matters. It’s the charm that tingles your bones. It’s the glitter in your eyes, the spur that kicks you out of bed in the morning. Believing—in anything—would be a relief, a welcome relief, to this vacuous hole that sucks continuously at my spirit.

Well, not so continuously. Sporadically, now, I’d say. From time to time. Why this inconsistency? It’s a cycle. Times are better for me right now. I’m afforded a respectable distance from the Absurdly Universal Void that beckons all matter and energy. I’ve got other things to occupy my mind, like Stewie the Stoic and Seneca’s bloviating blathering about death and age and Epicurus. (Seriously, Seneca wants to “do” Epicurus, if you know what I mean.)

And, not that I *believe* in anything at the moment (otherwise, you know…), but I can *imagine* believing, slipping a ladder rung or two down the “I’ve discovered Oblivion and it is me” climb I’ve taken up to the elevated view of The Nothing.

Down here, where the believers live, I’d imagine that they are happier than I am (generally). They have purpose, regardless of how futile it undoubtedly is, (they don’t care—or know—how futile). A Purpose is what they live for. Why they wake up. Why they brush their teeth and put on shoes and kiss their children. They Believe.

I think that would be fun. Sometimes, I even think I’d like to abandon this Nietzschean view of existence and join them. But…

Once you’ve seen The Nothing, you can’t unsee it.

But, you can ignore it. Find alternate diversions to take up your time. Archery, cats, archery & cats, knitting, knitting cats. You get the picture.

There are thousands of diversions one can adopt. And, for a time, believe in them, their purpose, their reason for existence… shhh, don’t say it, The Nothing is listening.


Stewie the Stoic: Travel

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[Quotes provided by Seneca]

[Those who travel to escape, Seneca would tell you, bring their prisons with them.

Traipsing  from place to place, tiring of one, yearning for the next, is evidence that one has not come to terms with one’s own understanding of peace within a place.

Only those who might travel, or stay put, can claim that the world is theirs to take or leave, as they will.]


Stewie the Stoic: I die a little

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[Quotes, this time, by Lucilius, Seneca’s acolyte.]

[More momento mori thoughts, which we’ll end up seeing often, I’m afraid. But this one is not by Seneca. Seneca quotes his friend and confidant, Lucilius. Quote might be a strong word (as are all of these “quotes”) as I believe Seneca paraphrases the younger man’s words. Nonetheless, my time ticks ever onward: oh to stay that second hand, for a moment, for a lifetime.]

 

[Have you guys noticed the tags in all the Stewie the Stoic posts? They’re all names generated by my python name engine. Some are worthy of novels in their own rights : “Xboki”, “Nizix”, “Ooya”, “Wac”, “Iolen”, “Zuki”, “Moox”]


Stewie the Stoic: Joy

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[Quotes by Seneca]

[Ode to Joy.

NOT!

Seneca even puts constraints on feeling joy. He does relinquish some of his draconian control on this topic. But “joy” to him is more akin to absence of conflicting thoughts rather than that of a child’s-Christmas-morning joy.

What I find that tempers Seneca’s oppressive views is that he realizes how strict his doctrines must be viewed: “Do you think that I am now robbing you of many pleasures when I try to do away with the gifts of chance, when I counsel the avoidance of hope, the sweetest thing that gladdens our hearts? ” — Uh, YEAH!

And he continues… “Or can one thus open his door to poverty, or hold the curb on his pleasures, or contemplate the endurance of pain? He who ponders these things in his heart is indeed full of joy; but it is not a cheerful joy.” — WHAT? Then what kind of joy are you talking about?

Ah, it’s the resolved, almost acquiescent joy of the Buddha who surrenders the frivolous joys in favor of the placid, taciturn joys of self-sufficiency.]


Stewie the Stoic: Memento Mori

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[Quotes courtesy of Seneca]

[Just when we thought we’d never get to the tasty parts of Seneca…

In this letter Seneca alludes, finally, to a noble death. Pleasantly, in getting to it, he gives us a few useful tidbits. The first is that the things we cherish, involve ourselves with, obsess over, can become chains: ” … there are a few men whom slavery holds fast, but there are many more who hold fast to slavery.” Consider our addictions. Are we compelled to be pawns of our social life? For we certainly relinquish control, submitting and embracing our digital masters.

When it comes to aging gracefully: surrendering our treasures, gifting those things we find dear, rather than chasing down the last morsel of profit or acquisition: “No man can swim ashore and take his baggage with him.”

Lastly, the title Memento Mori: Remember that you will die. This, among all themes in the Stoic’s philosophical arsenal, is the most powerful. The cares to which we grasp as we die have no bearing on our place in the universe. You had nothing coming in — you will have nothing going out.
“Free yourself of the fear of loss for the final loss negates them all.” – Anonymole
]

 

 


Stewie the Stoic: Appetites

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[Quotes by Seneca]

[Seneca quotes Epicurus incessantly. For contrast perhaps? Or maybe Seneca is a closet Epicurian? Here we examine just what we should allow in our indulgences and whether they verge on the extreme. Our bellies, Seneca would tell us, can be filled with gruel, and we should accept it. How often did Seneca eat gruel, I wonder?]