Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Holy fuck! I practice stoicism and didn't even know it...

So I found myself reading a book review about A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B. Irvine. Reading the snippets is all I can afford to do, with my self diagnosed A.D.D. But since I hold myself at such a high esteem, I can pretty much say I've soaked up all the book had to offer and can confidently expand on the topic...

So Irvine talks about how stoicism is living the act of living life free of "anger, anxiety, fear, grief, and envy." by exercising the "paradoxical recipe for happiness," that includes the practice of "negative visualization." This is done by vividly imagining worst-case scenarios -- the death of a child, financial catastrophe, ruined health. For example, we imagine ourselves homeless - and instead of striving for an extravagant house, we learn to appreciate the house we currently reside in. Basically, we appreciate people/things more when we see that your time is fleeting with them/it. I find myself doing this all the time! But it goes 50/50, I relish the moments with person/thing but the other half of the time I'm hastily grieving about losing them/it...

I mean this way of thinking is great for movies, I come into them with low expectations that can only go higher, and get my moneys worth that way. But when this is put in terms of relationships, it's almost like 'what's the point in investing into this? It's only going to come to an end'. Or all together, one tends to bypass opportunities because the negative just outweighs your willingness to do anything... OR is that negativity just laziness? Or is it insecurity and fear of hurt masked as laziness? Maybe I should read the book...

-Simply.Steph aka Sensitive Sally

Music to mull this over with

Sia (myspace) - Breathe

this post was motivated by http://lifewithknowledge.blogspot.com/

3 comments:

jo said...

"Great post, very useful for a beginner like me"
http://evocowire.com

LifeWithKnowledge said...

Thanks for the Link, Steph!

I would recommend that you read some Epictetus (one of the biggest Stoics of all time. Of all time!!!!! *gives mic back*) If you don't feel like reading the whole book, I can send you the pdf of the most important excerpts - it's a pretty cool philosophy.

As for applying Stoicism to relationships...it does get a bit dicey. Ideally, a good one won't come to an end. But pragmatically, that's rarely ever the case.

With that said, a Stoic would get into a relationship and say that we can't be disappointed with it ending because that simply isn't under control. But at what point do we draw the line of "control"? Does a new guy walking into your girlfriend's live count as something that isn't under your control? Or would stepping up your game count as something that is?

It seems like our "control" only ends when we've exhausted every single thing that you could possibly try - the problem with that is that there's so many things that you could try; it seems pretty hard to chalk it up as something that you don't really have much of an effect on.

Man...maybe I should read the book, too.

Illuminati said...

Wonderful reply Lifewithknowledge! I loved it. I a beginner and have recently started practicing stoicism. Some time back I was wondering when I can sit back and let things go. Your comment gave me the reply. Thanks much!! Can u give me links that I can start reading? PDF of important excerpts would be great.

 
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