Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope, is one of the very best things I read in 2022. It’s one of those unusual gems you find, that make you want to tell everyone about it, but because it’s so rich and deep, it’s very difficult to convey, in a … More Non-Pharmaceutical Anti-Depressants and Environmental Causes of Depression: Johann Hari’s Lost Connections
That happened maybe about a month ago, and then a week or so ago, I had a close repeat of the same experience. … More A Dramatic Drop in Anxiety
just as Seneca thought Stoics could benefit from various Epicurean principles and practices, so should Stoics be able to use this traditionally Buddhist exercise … More A non-Stoic exercise for Stoic philanthropia
What would we say about the glass to indicate a perspective that is neither pessimistic nor optimistic? … More A “half-glass of water” question
In previous posts I’ve been expanding on four difficulties probably faced by those of us attempting to practice Stoic philosophy. Here is the fourth: a certain lack of effective exercises for developing “philanthropy,” meaning a love of humanity or love of human beings. This “philanthropy” is itself a great topic and matter for reflection, but … More A Stoic difficulty: developing love for humanity (philanthropy)
A lot of Stoic teachings describe the way a sage would see and feel. We of course are not sages. Yet we can easily fall into trying to be one immediately, trying to force our perception and feelings to be other than they must be at this stage of our development. This is one of … More The pitfall wherein we try immediately to be a sage
In a previous post, I mentioned that reliance on “providentialistic” views was one potential difficulty for present-day Stoics. Today I’ll explain this a bit. When I say “providentialistic” or “providentialism,” I’m referring to what theoretical discourses term “divine providence,” or perhaps more accurately, a belief in divine providence. In short, belief in divine providence is … More The Pitfall of Reliance on Providentialism
I sometimes get the impression that Stoicism is often taken as, and practiced as if it were, a way to finally control everything, including our feelings. Yet this is quite incorrect. Stoicism is not about becoming able to control everything. It is about finally starting to begin to acknowledge that we don’t and can’t, and … More Note on acceptance, control, and Stoicism
I think one pitfall we tend to encounter, when we try to put Stoic teachings into practice, is that of becoming unfeeling, “like a stone.” I mentioned four such difficulties in a previous post. Here, I want to expand on this particular one. What this expression means, becoming or being “unfeeling like a stone,” is … More The pitfall wherein we become unfeeling
Have you encountered these difficulties in attempting to live Stoically? After a conversation I had, some time ago, about living as a Stoic philosopher, I found myself wondering what pitfalls and stumbling blocks a person is likely to encounter when they try seriously to integrate Stoic teachings and practice into their life. Four things came … More Four ways we may stumble in attempting to live Stoically
Not, of course, negative in the sense of bad or unpleasant. How could … More Happiness defined negatively?
Do you apologize too much?
Epicurus’ analysis of happiness is one my mind returns to periodically. … More Epicurus and Genuine Happiness
When you feel so tired … More When you feel so tired
Recently I’ve been hearing people talk about how spiritual growth is not painless. This, I think, is a very good thing to be pointed out, a very good thing to be reminded of, a very good thing to consider somewhat regularly. The topic puts me in mind of certain other observations. One, that to walk … More Observations on pain and spiritual growth
We become so accustomed to speeding ahead, … More We become so accustomed
What would you do this week, if you weren’t afraid?
There’s such a push to do more. Don’t you think? It seems like we’re always being advised, persuaded, pushed, to do something more, something further. The advice is: add this other thing on top of all the things you already do. The subtext seems to be: you won’t be happy unless you add this (whatever … More Do a little less (or not)
What is one thing you appreciate about these face masks we’ve all been wearing? There’s been a lot of complaining of course, and now that mask mandates are being lifted where I live, there are lots of comments about how terrible the wearing masks is/was. A sense of relief is understandable. At the same time, … More Question of the Day: No. 532
True, intrinsic self-esteem is extremely conducive to happiness. But self-esteem that is merely contingent, on the other hand, is not. Following up on a previous post, I want to share a few contrasts between true and contingent self-esteem. Gabor Mate identifies these in Scattered (see chapter 25). Contingent self-esteem… True self-esteem… evaluates accepts “is fickle, … More True Self-Esteem 2