Currently one of my goals is to improve my perception of an event. Accurate perception of the world is one of the pillars of Stoic philosophy.
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.”
Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4-5
It’s easy to take this quote as the solution, I mean here it is! Just identify what I can control and what I can’t! I can’t control the rain, why worry about it? I have to just accept that it is out of my control and I will get wet. These things aren’t under my control, but I have power over things that influence their consequences. For example, I can’t make it stop raining, but I can open an umbrella, hide under a roof, run into a building. The outcome changes, I don’t have to get wet.
I think that it’s too easy to fall into a false dichotomy about control. The way I think we should look at control is not just by control over the subject i.e. rain, but also by control over the outcome i.e. getting wet. I’m not there in terms of figuring out what is the right thing to focus on in a given situation, but I really believe that I need to place extra effort into preventing myself from over-simplifying a situation. Then I can continue to strengthen the other Stoic pillars.
“All you need are these:
certainty of Judgement in the present moment;
action for the common good in the present moment;
and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.6
As I’ve mentioned before, I won’t be taking lessons solely from the Stoics. I’m also contemplating ideas of self, anxiety, religion and truth from both the ancients and contemporaries. The issue is, right now it’s a fragmented nebula of ideas and emotions, something I can’t refine into text right now.
I think two quotes and a ramble is enough for today. Meet you here next time.