Stoicism

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Re: Stoicism

Postby grzegorz on Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:18 am

Mr_Wood wrote:Thanks. Part of the talk discussed how we are only responsible for ourselves and our thoughts. Yes it sounds a bit brutal and uncaring which I don't think is the message, only that a lot of mental energy is wasted on things which we should not really be concerning ourselves with.

However, I would add that taking complete responsibility for your actions, and place in the world, is one of the few routes to being content/happy/fulfilled that I've ever found.


I couldn't agree more. I find it funny how people blame others for things they dont like or when things dont go the way they want them too. Its always somebody else's fault.


I heard a great interview with a writer on Stoicism and I was surprised to find out that my own belief system were along the same lines.

This thread serves as a good reminder to find and read that book.

It is interesting that I am often a liberal on the forum. Politically yes, I believe if you have a government they should be concerned with helping people instead of waging wars which is the direction almost all world powers go in. Individually I believe in self-reliance.
Last edited by grzegorz on Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby grzegorz on Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:10 pm

vadaga wrote:I enjoyed Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, great book.


Fun little 6 minute video.

.

https://youtu.be/3QztdN4hUKA
Last edited by grzegorz on Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Leimeng on Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:08 pm

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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:51 am

GrahamB wrote:On the subject of Meditations, this is a great article - Reflections on reading it every year for 10 years by Ryan Holiday

http://observer.com/2016/10/100-things- ... ditations/

I like the point he makes about not going the cheap route and getting a free translation. He's right, the free ones aren't as good.



I enjoyed reading the article, however for me the writer seems to miss the underlying message sometimes, not always. I dunno, maybe im wrong and not grasped the concept of stoicism yet but for example -

-“So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize?” I answer in blue pen in one read, “To embrace and to resist our nature.” What do I—what did Marcus—mean by that? I think it’s encouraging what is good about us and to fight against what is bad. To encourage the parts of ourselves that are moral, helpful, honest and aware and to fight against what is selfish, petty, shortsighted and wrong.


To me this is similar to Zen or something Musashi would write in terns of not seeking others recognition and letting go of ego.

and then

-In that same passage, Marcus also writes “If you can’t stop prizing a lot of other things? Then you’ll never be free—free, independent, imperturbable.” I have in my copy a jotted note from Fight Club, “Only when you’ve lost everything, you are free to do anything.”


For me this is consciously making the decision to let go, its a choice, rather than how the writer sees it as 'losing' everything. Maybe I am being too critical and like I said, not grasped the concept fully but there is quite a lot of the article I dont totally agree with.

-In Book Four, Marcus reminds himself to think about all the doctors who “died, after furrowing their brows over how many deathbeds, how many astrologers, after pompous forecasts about other’s ends.” In black pen—somewhat recently it looks like—I added “or plotters, schemers and strategists, outsmarted, outmaneuvered and destroyed.”


Book Six, about how if you were sparring with someone and they hurt you, you wouldn’t yell at them or whine or hold it against them—you’d just make a mental note about it and act accordingly in the future. I can see where I actually wrote the name of my roommates down to explicitly make this connection. “Do not hate them,” I wrote to myself, “remain aloof.”


Seems to me he is taking the lessons and using them as mental strategy lessons for dealing with people he is doing business with or just dislikes. I realise these meditations are there for a guide and can be interpreted in slightly different ways but I would be surprised to find out later if a fundamental concept of the philosophy is to outwit others.

If I was to put a different one on my desk, I’d choose from Book Ten, “If you seek tranquility, do less.”


Again he attaches this quote after speaking of motivation to do things with your day but for me, doing less means not involving yourself in squabbles or engaging in intellectual battles, but rather let them play out on their own accord and the natural outcome will be achieved.

What do you think ? Maybe Im way off. Im aware these meditations mean different things to different people. Just this guys interpretations seem a bit focused on being better than other people. I think he's missing something :/
Last edited by Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Peacedog on Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:05 am

The hardest part of using ancient philosophical texts is coming to terms with the fact that the person who wrote the text originally viewed the world through an entirely different lens that the modern reader does.

The differences are frequently so profound as to leave even a perfect translation useless.

It is one of the reasons why I no longer use Buddhist texts. As a 21st century Westerner an ancient Buddhist view of the world simply does not represent the reality I live in.

Stoic texts are much more accessible as they were originally written by a Western mind. However, the world in which the author existed was far different than mine.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby vadaga on Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:53 am

Along similar lines I really always dug the Dokkodo:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokkōdō
一、世々の道をそむく事なし。
一、身にたのしみをたくまず。
一、よろづに依枯(えこ)の心なし。
一、身をあさく思、世をふかく思ふ。
一、一生の間よくしん(欲心)思はず。
一、我事におゐて後悔をせず。
一、善悪に他をねたむ心なし。
一、いづれの道にも、わかれをかなしまず。
一、自他共にうらみかこつ心なし。
一、れんぼ(恋慕)の道思ひよるこゝろなし。
一、物毎にすき(数奇)このむ事なし。
一、私宅におゐてのぞむ心なし。
一、身ひとつに美食をこのまず。
一、末々代物なる古き道具所持せず。
一、わが身にいたり物いみする事なし。
一、兵具は各(格)別、よ(余)の道具たしなまず。
一、道におゐては、死をいとはず思ふ。
一、老身に財宝所領もちゆる心なし。
一、仏神は貴し、仏神をたのまず。
一、身を捨ても名利はすてず。
一、常に兵法の道をはなれず。
Last edited by vadaga on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby GrahamB on Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:48 pm

Mr wood,

I just don't think I'm expert enough at Stoicism to offer any opinion that might not be strewn with errors on what Marcus actually meant. Having said that....

I have a few thoughts though. The chief concern of the Stoic was his virtue. To us, in modern times that word sounds weird, but it might be something akin to 'peace of mind'. I would therefore suspect that Marcus was more concerned with protecting his virtue when dealing with others than trying to get the better of them. So, like you I wouldn't interpret his words in that way.

You mentioned zen. I think the big difference between zen writing and stoic writing is that zen writing is designed to undo the intellect at every turn. The idea is that you can't think your way out of life. In contrast, Stoic writing is about actively using your intellect to think your way out of the problem of life using logic. You are encouraged to reflect on the day's events and how they might have gone better.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:25 pm

simply does not represent the reality I live in.


how does it differ ? The fundamentals of life are still the same as far as I can see. We still do business, we still have relationships, we still live on the same planet, our basic drive is still the same as it was 6 million years ago, survival.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:25 pm

The differences are frequently so profound as to leave even a perfect translation useless.


good point.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Peacedog on Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:46 am

It is pretty easy to not care about what others think when most of the people in your society are slaves and as such don't matter. In the context of stoic works this comes across as more of a reminder to not allowing yourself to get drawn in to things that waste your time as the other people simply don't matter. Most people in the modern world look at this as some form of psychopathic disorder.

Likewise, the ancient Greeks looked at the current world as the past taking concrete form. Interestingly, they viewed the future as a black and terrifying void largely filled with danger. The past, and it's structure, was considered a safe place and something to be maintained versus changed. This would lead a person to very different conclusions regarding improving the future world.

Even concepts of love become much different when your wife is basically your property.

On a personal basis, working with the egregore of a meditative system based off of the late medieval period provided sufficient mind-fuckery that it almost resulted in my getting fired from work and made being around other people very difficult. And that egregore was speaking with a Western voice that was only 500-600 years old.

I have been repeatedly warned not to engage the egregores from older systems by my teachers as the influences are considered very harsh. Not unintelligent mind you, just not appropriate to a modern age.

While not exactly the same thing as what is being discussed here, it forced me to confront the rather important differences in how reality is viewed based upon your operating system culturally speaking.

Even what most people consider to be universal values such as virtue, beauty, love, wisdom, etc can take on a very different shade when this is considered.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:19 pm

You mentioned zen. I think the big difference between zen writing and stoic writing is that zen writing is designed to undo the intellect at every turn. The idea is that you can't think your way out of life. In contrast, Stoic writing is about actively using your intellect to think your way out of the problem of life using logic. You are encouraged to reflect on the day's events and how they might have gone better.


Cheers Graham, I hadn't thought about it like that.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:52 pm

I have been repeatedly warned not to engage the egregores from older systems by my teachers as the influences are considered very harsh. Not unintelligent mind you, just not appropriate to a modern age.

While not exactly the same thing as what is being discussed here, it forced me to confront the rather important differences in how reality is viewed based upon your operating system culturally speaking.


Your reply is very interesting Peacedog, thanks for that.

The differences are frequently so profound as to leave even a perfect translation useless.


I guess any translation is extremely personal, if we are to follow any of the examples given mostly we will tailor it to how it fits best with our life now, to take an old text and follow it literally, word for word and apply it, to this day and age is obviously going to be problematic.

For me I take what works and leave the rest.
Last edited by Mr_Wood on Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby grzegorz on Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:52 am

vadaga wrote:Along similar lines I really always dug the Dokkodo:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokk%C5%8Dd%C5%8D
一、世々の道をそむく事なし。
一、身にたのしみをたくまず。
一、よろづに依枯(えこ)の心なし。
一、身をあさく思、世をふかく思ふ。
一、一生の間よくしん(欲心)思はず。
一、我事におゐて後悔をせず。
一、善悪に他をねたむ心なし。
一、いづれの道にも、わかれをかなしまず。
一、自他共にうらみかこつ心なし。
一、れんぼ(恋慕)の道思ひよるこゝろなし。
一、物毎にすき(数奇)このむ事なし。
一、私宅におゐてのぞむ心なし。
一、身ひとつに美食をこのまず。
一、末々代物なる古き道具所持せず。
一、わが身にいたり物いみする事なし。
一、兵具は各(格)別、よ(余)の道具たしなまず。
一、道におゐては、死をいとはず思ふ。
一、老身に財宝所領もちゆる心なし。
一、仏神は貴し、仏神をたのまず。
一、身を捨ても名利はすてず。
一、常に兵法の道をはなれず。


Thanks for posting, I have always enjoyed Hagakure.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:02 am

Ah, the Hagakure, dictated by Yamamoto Tsumetomo, a man who never faced combat in his life. He also broke with tradition and didn't commit junshi (ritual suicide following one's lord in death) because his lord supposedly held disdain for the practice. He then, well before dictating his treatise on loyalty and embracing death, had to move into exile after a prolonged disagreement with his new lord.

Strangely, the Hagakure was then used in the Meiji Restoration as well as the attempted Shōwa Restoration as an excuse to embrace ideologies and carry out activities that embodied the exact opposite of loyalty.

Yeah, I agree studying the strange origins and utilization of the Hagakure is interesting, but it's largely misrepresented both in Japan and in the West.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with the post from Musashi's work, which I can't really comment on as I'm not sure how much of what is written on Musashi is based on reliable documentation.
Last edited by Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby vadaga on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:31 am

I own two bicycles now, so much for 末々代物なる古き道具所持せず - narf!
Last edited by vadaga on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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