When I was a kid, going to school and growing up in the 1970’s the adults around us used to encourage us to be unbothered or indifferent to the name calling of others. My mother had a mantra which went like this. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me…” If any other children in the playground tried to belittle me with an insult I was advised to simply repeat the above to them. Without knowing how exactly, my mother was and today remains a natural stoic. Stoicism requires honesty to oneself and a willingness
I’ve got an app on my desktop that helpfully shows me little philosophical proverbs and quotes, every day. It’s been very good in the recent past but has crossed the line lately by outputting one-liners like this… “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right,” Author – Unknown. As respectable stoic I disapprove of and would ask everyone to ignore ‘happy-clappy, you can do it,’ nonsense such as this because we have no need of philosophical pornography. Whilst well intentioned and undoubtedly sincere, trippy one-liners that are exuberantly positive contribute endlessly
“Nobody is born on purpose,” that’s an oft-quoted remark from one of my favourite tv shows at the moment, namely ‘Rick and Morty,’ that underlines a profound truth, that as far as we know, nobody really is born on purpose. The reason why I say ‘as far as we know,’ is that as philosophers we’re only concerned with this life, the one that we are living right now, the life that we didn’t ask for but are nevertheless existing within. We do not know anything about the validity of other lifetimes whether in heaven, a pre-existence in a god-like realm
A Human Baby’s like a sailor washed up on a beach By the battering of the surf, naked, lacking the power of speech, Possessing no mean of survival, when first Nature pours Him forth with birth-pangs from his mother’s womb upon Light’s shores. He fills the room up with his sorrowful squalls, and rightly so! – Just think what lies in store for him, Life’s full supply of woe.
Death has no loopholes. All of us must meet it in the end. We go through the same motions in the same old place. No measure Of added life will ever coin for us a novel pleasure. True, while we lack that which we long for, it is an obsession, But we will just crave something else once it’s in our possession; We are forever panting with an unquenched thirst for life. No one knows what the years to come will bring – what joy or strife May lie in store for us, what outcome’s looming in
“For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast – a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and