Stoicism is a school of thought over two thousand years old that asked how to live "a good life" in an unpredictable world, and how to make the best of what is in our power, while accepting the rest as it happens naturally. It trumpeted the value of reason as man's most valuable Virtue, and offered a practical guide to remaining steadfast, strong and in control.
This ancient Graeco-Roman philosophy had a broad influence that reached across time and disciplines: its Virtues inspired some of the same from Christianity in the Middle Ages, its belief in Reason spoke to the works of 18th Century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, and the relationship it drew between judgement and emotion went on to inspire the modern Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Movement.
Bridget Kendall discusses this philosophy's key ideas and evolution, and explores what it is to live like a Stoic in the modern world with guests Massimo Pigliucci, Nancy Sherman and Donald Robertson.
Photo: Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, 161-180, a practitioner of Stoicism. (Credit: Getty Images)


00:00:00hello and welcome to this podcast from the BBC world service please let us know what you think and tell other people about ISIS on social media broadcasts from the BBC world service I supported by advertising welcome to the forum on the BBC world service well we discussing an
00:00:17ancient philosophy that's currently seeing a huge resurgence a school of thought over two thousand years old it'll ask how to live a good life in an unpredictable world and how to make the best of what is in our power when accepting the rest as it happens naturally it
00:00:34trumpeted the value of reason dismissed destructive emotions as the result of errors of judgement on offered a practical guide to remaining steadfast strong and in control yes I'm talking about stoicism in this program will be discussing some of the key ideas of this influential Greek or Roman philosophy
00:00:54I'm discovering how it has gone on to inspire politicians business a minute treated as to this day I'm Bridget Kendall and I'm joined by three experts ready to share their knowledge Mossimo PUG and Italians loss of a modern day steric Nancy Sherman an American philosopher interested in how
00:01:12ancient stork philosophy can apply to military ethics until Robinson the school she's philosopher and psychotherapist who does links between steric ideas on the Morton psychological approach cognitive behavioral therapy welcome to all three of you understudies off since this is about to philosophy with its origins in the third
00:01:32century BC can you each give us an idea of why it might be relevant to us today by telling us your personal favorite quote from Mister X. Massimo can I start with you in my purse so there are so many courts but one of my favorite ones is
00:01:48from Epictetus in gonna paraphrase it he said that the beginning and the discourses well if I have to die I will die when the time comes but %HESITATION I've been through that's not the time right now so I'm gonna go out for lunch instead since I'm hungry and
00:02:02I mean you know that to me that encapsulates the bluntness of the philosophy and especially the dictators is like you know whatever it is it is but if I don't have to deal with with it now than I I'm going to do something else something and have lunch
00:02:15all right Nancy what about you well I'm gonna pick from Epictetus as well because he's so approachable and this is a little bit more about how you manage all the input that comes into your life it's a bit of a method he says you're not really the thing
00:02:30he's talking to things out there you're not really the thing that that you pretend to be so look at it assesses by all the yardsticks you got your tool kit and decide whether it's up to you or it isn't up to you and if it's one of the
00:02:43things it isn't up to you be ready to say it's nothing to me and walk away from it essentially so leave the things behind that are not in your control and try to work hard on what you can control is great what about you Donald well looks like
00:03:00Epictetus has got a hat trick Piquet's saga quote from happy to this as well and my favorite one is quite simple one is do not seek for things to be as you desire but wish for them to be as they are and your life will go smoothly and
00:03:16I guess I should attach %HESITATION cavea said not the Stoics aren't really talking about it being passive door mats in life but leading to emotionally accept things that are beyond our control of of already happened when I think that's pretty giving everyone a little bit of a taste
00:03:31of what's the stakes beliefs are let's look back at the history as you said stoicism was founded in the third century BC by my name Zeno of such him in Athens not see what we know Xena himself from where he came from well we know that he came
00:03:49from cypress %HESITATION from city amber Kitty him and that he was a wealthy merchant and sort of in a Tempest storm he found himself in Athens he got shipwrecked and he says this was the most prosperous strip of all so why was it prospers it wasn't prosperous material
00:04:09it because he probably lost everything on the ship but it was prospers because he made his way to Plato's academy and saw what was happening in Athens and there he %HESITATION met up with the folks that were sort of after Plato and Aristotle bitten you would save their
00:04:27cynics and he kind of came to appreciate that there was a non material world out there that %HESITATION was more predictable are controllable in a way than the world he had as a merchant he %HESITATION went on to embrace some of those or earlier philosophers and really live
00:04:45a stripped down ascetic life and they found it is on school I'm must see movies are restricts developed a philosophy which did provide a unified account of the world in the place of mine and it made up of logic physics and ethics yes can you just very briefly
00:05:01explain what each of these men in this context Honda fitted together yes the most important thing was to study the ethics the ethics %HESITATION in ancient times was understood as the study of how to live your life how to live a meaningful life and so that was that
00:05:16the crucial thing to do but the idea that the strikes and was that you can't to down unless you're also dealing whether two components one they called the physics it's actually equivalent to what we would today call the whole of the natural sciences met the Fiske and intelligent
00:05:32that is basically an idea of how the world works how the how does the world hang together and then the logic which are also had a more expensive meaning than than than the word has today it meant anything to do with good reason on not just logic per
00:05:47se but also including you know rhetoric %HESITATION including of what we would today call psychology the basic notion was in in order to live a good life you have to know how to world works and you have to be able to reason correctly about things that it was
00:05:59gonna be mixed mistakes until no they believed in living in accordance with nature tonight yes Sir tray and had the Stoics kind of mean three different things by the the make a distinction between three levels at which they attempted to live consistently and and harmony are one with
00:06:17things and one was the relationship with themselves their own essential nature which the soul of his reason so living in harmony with our own capacity for reasonable living wisely and the other was living at one with the rest of mankind and harmony with the rest of humanity and
00:06:35then the third was living at one or an agreement with the you know the US as a whole which because of a pansy ests they saw the whole universe is dividing the still exceed %HESITATION as being form of piety and respecting gold does this living in harmony with
00:06:51the universe itself until all the students also talk a lot about **** she didn't they what do they mean by that well the Greek word for vouchers oddity and sometimes it's actually translated as excellence let's consider the a slightly better translation because it is kind of broader than
00:07:08what we normally think of as Victor version maybe seems a little bit of a stuffy term to us today and is very much got to do with the reason for the Stoics because they're very much philosophers and the tradition of Socrates where reason is really the most important
00:07:23thing and living wisely and a cold with reason so the Stoics thought that if we can land to live gated by a reason then will flourish and excel will for full of potential as human beings god has given us thus capacity but it's up to us to actually
00:07:41use it properly what we do know that status is and thrived in ancient Greece for some two hundred years and the philosophy later became popular in rhyme in about one hundred BC it's the writings and teachings from this late star a period that we still have today and
00:07:58one of the most well known thinkers from this time the Seneca the once adviser to the infamous Roman Emperor Nero here in the leisure of consolation to his friendly serious he underlines key component vote you the ability to make oneself impervious to fortune most men ebb and flow
00:08:17in wretchedness between the fear of death and the hardships of life there on willing to live and yet they do not know how to die for this reason make life as a whole agreeable to yourself by banishing old worry about no good thing renders its possessor happy unless
00:08:36his mind is reconciled to the possibility of loss nothing however is lost with less discomfort than that which when lost cannot be missed therefore encourage and tough and your spirit against the mishaps that afflict even the most powerful no man has ever been so far advanced by fortune
00:08:57that she did not threaten him as greatly as she had previously indulged him do not trust her seeming com in a moment the sea is moved to its depths very day the ships of made a brave show in the games they are engulfed reflected a high women or
00:09:15an enemy may cut your throat and though he is not your must every slave wields the power of life and death over you an extract from one a cynic is more or less as to his friendly Silius I'm must mode is a sense here of not just preparing
00:09:31myself to accept what the universe delivers but also to prepare for the worst is not yes that's part of the idea %HESITATION the fat the standard exercise even among modern story X. is precisely %HESITATION thinking about what might happen in our coastal situation that you're you're about to
00:09:49face and starts with the worst possible outcome and the idea there is %HESITATION is two fold first of all if you think about worse outcomes you can prepare yourself better but the other one is because you're you're you're you're my yourself that well I can do with that
00:10:03even with the worst Christmas case scenario %HESITATION there's going to be a way in which I can deal with it and in fact more often than not the worst case scenario is not going to be the one to actually materialize I'm dumb of those also hinge in our
00:10:15region we heard about death not necessarily being about things in the this silly due to the start P. that things you might think of as bad and good on necessarily index wealth isn't necessarily good death isn't necessarily bad can you explain that a bit for us yeah I
00:10:30actually think it's fairly easy to explain the for the Stoics life in itself isn't a good it's just an opportunity is no is the use that we makeover that really matters so %HESITATION wise man a good man women may use the life well %HESITATION badger foolish person might
00:10:50use a life badly and the same applies to anything that the store is considered to be a an external something is beyond the direct control such as health wealth reputation these are all advantages in life but firstly so not intrinsically good because a bad person could use wealth
00:11:09and reputation to do terrible things exploit those things where is in the hands of a a good to pass in the may be turned to good use I'm not see the strength to take a particular view animations didn't they which they referred to as the passions they were
00:11:23deeply cognitive this so they had this view that emotions such as fear for appetite we might say lost or just stress or or pain really our judgments err beliefs about those external goods that we've been talking about about a fear in the case of the threat that's out
00:11:43there about in the offing or appetite of something desirable that's out there and they try to tell you that the emotion or the passion is what you make of those external goods they're not the external goods themselves do you that makes that judgment so they have this view
00:12:02that you can control your emotions not by the the external goods to which we attach how you gloss those sorts of things in terms of your own judgments and something to write about anger saying this is a particularly destructive emotions yacht on anger is one of the wonderful
00:12:18most wonderful books there is it's an essay on how it can just ravage man Connie and do all sorts of things cause you to throw your servants into a pool of sharks we could see if the purser and breaks a crystal goblet you lack control on the way
00:12:37to be able to control that anger is to realize that you have an impression of fleeting appearance of of a bad that's out there but you can change your beliefs about that that it wasn't so bad after all it was an accident %HESITATION the person didn't mean it
00:12:57or it's nothing to me what does it really matter if I have one fewer crystal goblets in my dining room set and you then re think the emotion through the read considered judgment well this is a good opportunity for us to introduce Epictetus a former slave who lived
00:13:15in the first century and he had a particular view of how negative emotions a because in the first place and the theory of how we might avoid having them men not to step not buy things but by the views which they take off things the staff is nothing
00:13:31terrible as it would have appeared so to Socrates but the terror consists in our notion of death that is terrible when that full we %HESITATION handed or disturbed grieved that is never imputed to others but to ourselves that is to our own views it is the action of
00:13:51an on instructed person to approach others for his own misfortunes of one entering upon instruction to reproach himself and of one perfectly instructed to reproach me the others %HESITATION himself an extract from epic teachers and Caribbean or handbook don't forty trying to say with this to think well
00:14:13actually he's trying to say something very special and it's something that people have found to be a revelation throughout the centuries right down to the the present day saying the X. our opinions about situations that determine whether or not we're going to be upset about them in fight
00:14:31determina are strong emotions in general and the state to go about follow them not when they're being more specific can say is actually are strongly held value judgments about external events that cause us to be upset about them actually what he's driving out there it's interesting that he
00:14:47mentioned Socrates is his example because in fact this idea goes back further than six all the way back to Socrates I'm star system has been associated with the nation of the stiff upper lip hasn't it when emissions a plate down but from what you're saying Donald this passage
00:15:02suggests something a bit different you know what we should probably distinguish between what we sometimes call uppercase and lowercase to a schism so the word stoicism when it's used in and modern English with a lower case X. can a means having a stuff up or what are being
00:15:18unemotional ancients to assume the school of philosophy with a capital S. means something much more sophisticated has a more complex psychological theory and part of that is that the students think they're a good to bites and then different emotions to put it simply so I think there are
00:15:35unhealthy passions are motions that we should learn to deal with but rather than simply trying to suppress those we should challenge the underlying beliefs that cause them and transform them into a healthy emotions Mr Echols youth ASCII and they're also fun class of emotions that they talk about
00:15:53it are precursors of emotion the call was a pool per se I and these are involuntary emotional reactions Seneca talks about the man honoring god when you're fast reacting to a situation is surprised by you make sure your blood pressure rising and that's not really a fully fledged
00:16:10passion is not entirely under your control so the Stoics say rather than struggling against thought we should expect to is natural and inevitable and view it with indifference it's the aspect of a motion that's under our volunteer control but they think we should do something about it mostly
00:16:26minute epic teachers was also famously nine for what's referred to as the dichotomy of control making the distinction between what is in and what is beyond our control being key trickier judgment which relates back as president to what does just been saying Epictetus made this is pretty sharp
00:16:42distinction between things that are on that our control and things are not under our control any makes a list of the things that fall into into either category the things are under our control essentially our our judgment over Kenyans and the values that we choose to adopt and
00:16:58the things that are not under our control is pretty much everything else particularly everything that is external an external includes of things like my reputation my wealth even my own body update the %HESITATION in the first case in the first group to things that you control your you're
00:17:13responsible for whatever you think and therefore you should have the duty to reflect on what it is that you adopt the awe as your beliefs and what it is that your doctors your values everything else like Alyssa for instance the same mistake our body it it may seem
00:17:29strange to set our bodies not in our control because you could say but what do you mean I can go to the gym and exercise I can eat a healthy %HESITATION you know diet and and that is on the my control yes but ultimately you can influence the
00:17:43status the state of your body but not ultimately control it all it takes is a virus like the one that I got yesterday for instance %HESITATION and you're you're knocked out or a or an accident can break your leg or something on that now what derives from this
00:17:57distinction well the idea is that if in fact the only things that are under your control are your judgments your opinions and your value stand that's where you where you should focus on the rest you should just take it as it as it comes not see we know
00:18:09that Epictetus was a former slave and the fact that he was once slave and then became a philosopher is actually entirely in keeping with standard systems and that young of the stocks are fascinating in this regard there really the authors of going all the way back to Diogenes
00:18:27of %HESITATION cosmopolitanism were all equals and certainly we all have a certain amount of that shared rationality shared reason that's in the in the universe so we have bits and pieces of that and enough to make us equals in a certain way so slave in a certain way
00:18:44is an equal to a rich man and a rich man a rich woman is equal to a slave and that becomes very important in the political philosophy that comes out of %HESITATION stoicism to kind of enlightenment in a funny way now we also know that Epictetus was a
00:18:59key inspiration to another important stake writer who is from an entirely different ramen costs a general under Roman and print and less Marcus radius Nancy tell us briefly a little bit about him well it is the irony of history that a general should be inspired by a slave
00:19:18of entry was you know a slave who was more we would call hostage a sleeve of war but none the less Marcus release was very influenced by Epictetus and Marcus realists vo filled with power a privilege and status and lead troops none the less felt that in order
00:19:39to be virtuous he needed to practice stoicism and dead and so in a room I think a remarkable graphic picture of history these leading troops in campaigns along the Danube and at night in a tent he writes literally meditations to himself he didn't expect them to be publisher
00:20:02for anyone else to read them but they were self improvement thoughts at the end of the day they're often about diminishing your sense of power and realizing that honor is just something outside yourself that you can't easily control as we've been saying that reputation depends on many things
00:20:21other than yourself so it's your judgments and opinions that matter and he too very much thought that my body and limbs are just one part of a larger whole and so to everyone and if we cut ourselves off one from another and so he's got a mean to
00:20:37a general from the most lowly infantry person then you're no longer really thinking of yourself as fully rational and as a part of that reason so he's writing all this while this huge golden statute gets marched out every day in a cherry it to remind and inspire the
00:20:58troops of their the troops of this magnificent emperor and general but he himself is writing about diminishing the sense of self in these meditations I think it's quite remarkable well as well as encouraging us to dwell on the shortness of life marks the release was they believed in
00:21:15preparing oneself for others unpleasantness I'm meeting it with that famous story equanimity we were hearing about begin the morning by saying to myself I should meet with the busy body the I'm grateful arrogance deceitful envious on social all these things happen to them by reason of the ignorance
00:21:36of what is good and evil but hi who have seen the nature of the go to that it is beautiful and of the bad that it is ugly and the nature of him who does wrong that it is akin to me he not only at the same blood
00:21:50all seed but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity I can neither be injured by any of them for no one can fix on me what is ugly nor can I be angry with my kinsmen nor hate to for we are
00:22:06made for cooperation like feet like hands like eyelets like the rows of the upper and lower teeth to act against one another then is contrary to nature and it is acting against one another to be vexed on to turn away an extract from the meditations by the Roman
00:22:25Emperor and stoic Marcus a radius now as we will reunite star system flourished in the Greek and Roman welled up to the third century off to which Christianity became the dominant religion and not part of the world must know what do we know if the influence stresses in
00:22:41had on Christianity quite a bit actually and fed one of the reasons a lot of story ideas sound familiar to modern years is because they influence Christianity in one way or the or the other so with the rise of Christianity we actually have the end of all the
00:22:56Greek Roman %HESITATION Incheon philosophical schools the last one to close down was a Monty academy that was originally established by Plato but pretty much all of them %HESITATION your little but it'll disappear D. Christensen got of course the mostly the ethics from the store six not not so
00:23:13much the metaphysics although in the gospel of John for infants starts out with the famous phrase you know in the beginning was the word and the word was god and the the term word that there is actually locus on which is the same Greek word that they still
00:23:28excused to indicated that the universe itself is is is rational well I suppose all these ideas about believing in your in a world and not taking too much notice of the external world that's quite familiar isn't it that we shouldn't pay too much attention to the temporal world
00:23:44outside as it is in fact the addicted as manual was used as a training manual for spiritual exercises by Christian monks throughout the Middle Ages %HESITATION the only difference is that every time the depicted as mentions a sonic out they they %HESITATION change it to Jesus several of
00:24:01the major %HESITATION leading figures of sort of Christian theology have being not more less directly influenced by by the store X. beginning with Paul of tarsus robe arguably was responsible for putting Christianity on the map to begin with much later on in the Middle Ages we have Thomas
00:24:17Aquinas and not quite as put together at the modern list of seven Christian virtues and four of those seven are the same as the stork virtues of practical wisdom courage justice intemperance to which she added the three more Kristin ones %HESITATION full faith and charity I'm told there
00:24:37appears to be some overlap with Buddhism as well here especially in our similarities and differences between stoicism and Buddhism but suppose someone main similarities of that but this concept of non attachment is kind of similar to the stoic idea that we shouldn't invest too much value in external
00:24:55things and we should always view them as transient and beyond the direct control and also the but this concept of mindfulness has some parallels in stoic psychology districts have this idea of proof so okay our attention to your own mind so a kind of stoic mindfulness of feel
00:25:12like I'm if we travel forward from the ancient world and Nancy's ptosis mosasaur revival in the European renaissance didn't it when he was named as Nair's stoicism how did that happen absolutely so %HESITATION Mantegna %HESITATION sometimes called the French stoic he wasn't that much of a stomach but
00:25:31he was very influenced by the idea of meditations that could be helpful to one's self improvement and he thought of of virtue as more that you could develop a temperament to be able to deal with externals and %HESITATION things that happen beyond your control the most famous in
00:25:52some ways descendant of stoicism who's had really really lasting power was Kant Emmanuel condominium in Los her yeah sentry exactly so it's later than the renaissance philosophers he very much view the idea of that reason is inherent in all of us this is part of the enlightenment idea
00:26:13and that we were authors of our reasons so he didn't accept the idea that we were part of a larger pantheistic god but rather that we were none the less Ole co sharers of the same kind of reason and that we as a result could be authors of
00:26:33our moral lives legislators of the moral kingdom of the kingdom of and so he very much secularized the stoic thought well it seems that throughout the ages star systems had its followers I'm not these days undergoing extreme hardship much more recently in nineteen sixty five James Stockdale then
00:26:53a senior US navy pilot shot down over Vietnam during the rest will with Vietnam he would become a prisoner of war that for over seven years and here he recounts how stoicism in particular the works of Epictetus helped him through some of those very dark days everything I
00:27:11know about Epictetus I've developed myself over the years it's been a one on one relationship he's been in combat with me leg irons with me spent months long stretches and blindfolds with me there's been a the ropes with me to tell me that my true business is maintaining
00:27:29control over my moral purpose in fact that my moral purpose is who I am he told me that I am totally responsible for everything I do and say and that is why who decides on and controls my own destruction and own deliverance not even god will intercede if
00:27:48he sees me throwing my life away he wants me to be autonomous he put me in charge of me it matters not how strict the gate how charged with punishment the scroll hi I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul a reading
00:28:05from James Stockdale's Stockdale OnStar system I'm not see what we know of Stockdale's relationship instances in well stock deals in amazing figure and I had the privilege of spending time with them interviewing him very long intervals he was shot down as a young navy officer and he had
00:28:26been given Epictetus the little handbook as a parting gift by a philosophy professor at Stanford where he was doing a masters degree and he joked saying what would a martini drinking golf playing naval aviator need with a book like this and he put it aside and when he
00:28:43was on board the carrier called the Ticonderoga in the straits of me Khan dealt in that area he memorized it and he said as he was shot down five years down here at least and I'm leaving behind the worlds of technology and I'm entering the world of Epictetus
00:29:02and true to form it became his salvation this idea as the quote we've just heard suggests of minimizing what's outside your control even in torture even in two and a half years of solitary confinement for him it is often said it was sort of being in prison was
00:29:21almost like a silver lining in the in the life that he learned the usefulness of stoicism even in moments as you could hear in that quote when he flirted very seriously with suicide Donald these lessons of resilience from people like teachers which is going to inspire a psychological
00:29:38approach which we might today associate with cognitive behavior therapy can you tell us about about yes sure so stoicism preempted model psychotherapy remarkably so and in fact wasn't until the nineteen fifties the Albert Ellis who is one of the pioneers of modern cognitive behavioral therapy he developed an
00:29:58approach that he called rational psychotherapy nowadays is known as rational emotive behavior therapy %HESITATION R. E. B. T. Ann Ellis was a psychoanalyst like a lot of people at that time and he was becoming disillusioned with this of Freudian not post Freudian approach and he decided to kind
00:30:16of start again from scratch and rear invents psychotherapy eat red meat eaters and Marcus Aurelius and those were some of the things that he drew up points on the major influences and the development of this new rational cognitive approach he came up with and the real importance of
00:30:33the connection between Alison subsequent cognitive therapy and stoicism as that they share an underlying premise which we call the cognitive model of emotion actually mentioned at the beginning of the show I think is the idea that our emotions on somebody just completely separate from our thoughts and beliefs
00:30:54in value judgments but it to a large extent are strong emotions are determined by the type of value judgments we make and those of the Leafs the importantly could be true or false and therefore we can learn to evaluate them to question them and to change some soap
00:31:11modern cognitive therapy from Ellis onwards uses an approach that the coal Socratic questioning and the Stoics used this technique of Socratic questioning as well to help people reflect rationally and the beliefs as a way of transforming their emotions when indeed our welfare system might have been around for
00:31:30over two thousand years it does continue to inspire thinkers throughout the ages %HESITATION we now have today the founding of the mountains terraces movement with its current popularity you can live like a steak for a week you can attend an annual conference you can become a Facebook member
00:31:47of a local group listen to part costs from whatever the world by books instances in and see if application in sports and business and politics Henrik modem peering is one of its converts and he spoke to us from Indonesia about how he first became interested in star system
00:32:05five came across diss some last year I was on my lowest point of my life %HESITATION I was just diagnosed with clinical depression Selassie I went into a bookstore and I found my new book on star system and when I had I had it it was a really
00:32:25%HESITATION eye opening experience philosophy how's that identified the sources of my anxiety and stress and depression so we attach our happiness two things damp actually are not our control so this philosophy reminds you to focus on things that that under his control one example %HESITATION to cut ties
00:32:45the tortillas forest traffic jam and I used to be very vanity in the table and I felt stuck in traffic I would lose my temper become angry I Bangladesh sport that I learned slices somebody lace what's the point %HESITATION the traffic is totally out of my control it
00:33:03is totally irrational to be angry about it and I tried to use my energy and my mind on on something else that that will be an official at either end and cursing on on the traffic Jakarta based Henry man I'm hearing a Morton's stirs his in combat and
00:33:18most similar your practicing with Mr kill self when you've written a book called how to be a stoic using ancient philosophies live in modern life so what are the sort of things that you do what's been the effect of practicing Morton stoicism on you there are number of
00:33:34things you can do some of my favorite ones %HESITATION includes the evening diary and even philosophical diet which is essentially I guess inspired by the meditations of Marcus Aurelius although both Epictetus and Seneca UX please is described as kind of exercise and what it is before you go
00:33:49to bat you write down your reflect and you write down on some major things that happened during the day things that are important terms your own personal ethics and you ask yourself two questions first of all we're gonna do wrong second which I do right and third what
00:34:04remains to be done sorts in trouble how do you decide what's right and what's wrong so I think of stoic philosophy is a moral compass the story do you give you certain ideas about what is right and what is wrong right so so the kind of control is
00:34:18a first entry into what is right and what is wrong the only things that are wrong are bad judgments in bad values and the only thing that I really good is good judgments and and and good values but also so we mention the four virtues and one of
00:34:32the virtues is justice and justice the storks understand as you know treating other people as human beings you know fairly as as you would like to be to be treated so anytime during the day I don't treat somebody like that let's say a colleague or a student or
00:34:48friend assumption that dans nine that's one of those things that I did wrong do you take being a mountain straight I mean geographical Balz for example yes I do actually %HESITATION cold showers not every day but I do %HESITATION yet this the store ex did a number of
00:35:05self the provision exercises such as taking a cold shower or going out in the cold weather you know without a coat or fasting for instance that notion is that if you actually deprive yourself then Brierly of some things Dan you actually will appreciate the fact that you're half
00:35:23them on a regular basis but the same time you want to remember if you don't want to remind yourself that %HESITATION not everybody nurse has hot shower in noon and a meal so it's a way to sympathize also with people who are deprived of these things and the
00:35:36third reason to do it is because you're gonna run yourself that you can in fact in do you are these kind of situations I mean there is a little bit of a of a component of endurance in in stores is not see what you make how do you
00:35:48make sense of this resurgence of stoicism and almost an era I think there is a need to take more control of your life especially as we're subject to so many more influences outside I do think that being more resilient %HESITATION in the face of what you can't control
00:36:07is certainly an aspiration we all have I worry a lot about the way in which the focus on an individual in an individual strains in an individual's in Dorrance minimizes the contributions to our social well being and mental health of the societies we grow up in how you
00:36:31draw the borders of what's inside and outside your control when you realize how networked in individual you are and how dependent on things outside yourself you are is problematic well well running out of time I'm afraid to just one final question fuel very briefly having reviewed the ideas
00:36:49of star system can you give us one concert from the philosophy that you think you'd be most useful to take away with this Donald yeah I'm gonna go bag I'm gonna go for the view from above visit snow and which is a technique that we find mentioned quite
00:37:05a law actually and the meditations of Marcus Aurelius it really involves looking at events in terms of the bigger picture and I like it because more than psychological research tends to show that when we're angry are anxious our attention narrows died in an off thinking becomes biased in
00:37:22very selective so resilience is can be seen as the officer a broadening of a perspective reviews things in relation to a much wider context %HESITATION I find of a profession very rich exercise and stoicism Nancy what about you well I think of the idea that Marcus Aurelius had
00:37:40that he got from an earlier writer named Heracles and that is that we're in the middle of us of of a series of concentric circles and our job as members of the largest community we can imagine is to keep bringing one circle closer to us and then the
00:37:58next outer circle and then the next outer circle in the circle after that so that in a way you reduce the distance between the circles and I think that's a lesson for me about fighting tribalism because those psychological mechanism by which you bring those increasingly more distant circles
00:38:18to your center is a kind of empathy a kind of way of trading places and Tom Lehman and space and I think the storks cosmopolitanism we are citizens of the universe they said that's the lesson for me I'd like to remember maximum I think a very important lesson
00:38:38is these idea that our lives are worth living regardless of external circumstances as so long as we do our best so it doesn't matter if you are wealthy or poor or educated or or or ignorant does things don't have anything to do with your moral fiber so long
00:38:55as you try to do your best helping others and being a good you in being that selling matters at the end of your life you you can then look back and say yeah that was a life worth living thanks to all three of you Massimo pin your cheek
00:39:09Nancy Sherman on Donald Robinson I'm not sold from me Bridget Kendall and the rest of us on the forum team for this week goodbye

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