Being Moral in an Immoral World

When you live in times that seem to you, to be going in very bad ways, morally, and you’re working hard to be a good stoic, what do you do? I’m going to look further into that, and report back.

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OK, after some further reading, and thinking, I’m back again – So, Stoic thought has it that we are here, not to accumulate great wealth for ourselves, but to use our wealth to provide for ourselves and for others, family, community. So if you are a successful business person who has much and gives nothing, well Boo to you, you greedy person!

Also, further to the idea of possessions, Stoic thought has it that you would do well to appreciate what you already have, rather than to long for or even work toward more than you can ever need. Gratitude for your haves, will bring you a better life than yearning always for more and more have nots. 

Another important issue to always remember, is that it is not your role to live the lives of others, your own life is the only one you can, or should try to live. This is a concept that requires thought, lots of it, sometimes. As a parent, your role is to assist your child as much as you can, and this can mean teaching them good ways to live, be, do things. You are not making them live in a way they can’t or don’t want to live, just a way to also live a life that is in keeping with the four cardinal Virtues – wisdom, morality, courage, and moderation.

If each and every one of us looked to living our own lives with wisdom, morality, courage and moderation, there would be plenty of the good for us all, with none of us ever missing out on what we need to live good lives. Food, shelter, enough, and no more.

So, given this is not that world, or not yet, far from it actually, what are we to do? The way I see it, we are to do the very best we can, to make that world come into being. Start with ourselves, and our family, then extend what we do as far as we can, within our sphere of influence. We are here in this world, to better ourselves, surely? After all, otherwise what is the point of anything we do, it not that?

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The Modern Day Stoic

Living the life of a Stoic, when you’re actually living in a world a million (actually two thousand) years away from Ancient Greece and Roman times, is a bit tricky. There are so many things going on in modern life, that try to keep you away from being the best person you can be, in Stoic terms.

You settle down to think on the day you had, and think on the things that went well, and the things that need more work. Then you think further on the actions you will take the next day, to get the work done on the not so good items from this day.

Then your husband tells you about his sudden idea, about having lunch the next day, and you agree that would be a good idea, and suddenly you’re not really sure about what on earth you will actually be doing tomorrow, and what really must be done, anyway. Perhaps you just got caught up in too much busy work, and there isn’t really anything you MUST do tomorrow?

Then there’s an online game going on, on your laptop, which is sitting on your lap as you muse your way through your thoughts, and the person playing the game with you is having a tough time at the moment, and you feel sorry for her, and want to keep her happy by playing this game against her. And you know she will beat you yet again, because 1/ she is really good at the game, and 2/ one of the reasons your game isn’t up to scratch is because your laptop mouse is sticky, and doesn’t work as quickly as you want it to.

And you know saying that is pissy-weak, even though you’ve thought about this subject off and on, since you noticed it a couple of months ago, but you aren’t really sure what you can do about the sticky mouse, or even if it really is a sticky mouse, or whether perhaps you’re doing something wrong, and that makes it not work properly. But mentioning any of this to the person who’s been kicking your arse at this game would be weak as, and you won’t do that.

She’s your friend, and you’re pleased she is obviously having a good time thrashing you, even though she’s been having chemo, and is obviously not up to scratch physically, but there’s not a thing wrong with her mine, and that’s great! And none of this has anything to do with anything that didn’t go as you wanted today, and in fact it was a good day, even in something you wanted to do, didn’t happen, it can happen another time, you have a few weeks, and even if it doesn’t happen that’s still OK.

And you’re thinking to yourself, I bet Aristotle or Marcus Aurelius never had to deal with anything like this, and then you think, hmm, well maybe they had to deal with spears that didn’t work properly, or other things, and really, dealing with ‘stuff’ and with people, they’re the same kinds of things no matter which age you’re living in, and if you truly want to live a good and Stoic life, you shouldn’t be wasting your time playing games online, you should be writing books, and intelligent thoughtful poetry, and working on your next workshop you’ll be presenting, and on other community related things.

Then you realise this game you’ve been playing online is also a community related thing, assisting your healing friend to feel worthwhile, which can be difficult when your cancer treatment made your hair fall out, and you haven’t been able to come along to your writing group to meet up with all of your friends.

So thinking on that, I’m going to finish up here, and go and do my community service, and get thrashed by my friend again, because of whatever reason (not being as good as her at it being the main reason perhaps). So goodbye, and isn’t life a weirdly twisty kind of thing, and don’t you just love it to bits! Haha, I sure do!

Who’s to Judge?

I’ve had a day at home today, while husband and son are off doing ‘sports’ related things. It’s a community thing, with the local Bowling Club, and my attendance would have been welcome. I probably would have enjoyed myself, watching the bowls game, and eating great food. But I stayed at home.

I would have been a good wife and mother, to have followed the men in the family, staying home, just me and the dog, able to do whatever I choose, what a lovely chance, not to be wasted! When I do things like this, there’s a frisson of guilt, because, of course, society frowns on lazy days, when others are ‘working’.

A good drying day, but clouds brought rain today too …

But it was only a frisson of guilt, and I easily got over that. I actually spent time on getting the washing finished off, after my husband started it happening. I hung it out, checked it several times, bringing clothes as they dried, my time lengthened due to a brief but heavy shower. Now the clothes are all brought in and put away. Womanly work there, for sure.

I would never call myself a ‘housewife’, being a good housewife would never be a title for me. I do what I need to, if and when I can, but my husband, since he retired does far more than I do. He cares more than I about these things, as long as I have clothes and food, that’s all I need. I seldom look at the carpets, don’t vacuum, he does.

It isn’t laziness, it’s actually a good arrangement. I am a writer, he is my husband and carer, I do what I can, when I can, as happened with the washing today. Actually, putting away the washing is almost always my job, both my husband and I are happy with that split up of chores, and so it’s an arrangement that works perfectly well.

If anyone looking on ever questioned why I don’t do much, and he does lots, well, it isn’t any of their business, is it? I have a chronic illness, that goes OK, as long as life is going OK. Having my husband as my carer, and so doing much for me, that keeps things going along OK, and he receives money from the government in his carer role, and we’re both happy with this.

Having life organised in ways that work well for those involved, this surely is the most rational way anyone should live their life? No-one is hurt by me not being a good housewife. I do all I can, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me, I help out with finances, and pay bills for us both. Things go well, no one, as I said, gets hurt, and in fact it is a peaceful and good way to go.

If everyone could find ways to live their lives like this, with each doing what they can, and fitting in so no-one is discombobulated, what a fine world we could all have. But of course there are always some who want more than others have, greedy rather than needy people. This can certainly lead to discombobulations, for sure. If I do my part, though, doing all I can in my home, community and the world, then I am contributing, and no-one can say otherwise.

So if I say my life is a good one, lived in a Stoic manner, with others helped, and none hurt, by my actions, no-one can say otherwise, and I consider my way of living, in thoughtful consideration to others, to be the best way of living my life, given my current circumstances. I know my life, and I am the one to judge, because I understand the reasons, and the rationality of it. I say I live a good and virtuous life, in the Stoic manner.

A life of ease, but a thoughtful life as well …

Who else can say they too, life a good and Stoic life?

Being a Stoic, Social Media

The two things, being a Stoic, and Social Media, may seem like an odd match, but it is in fact a good way to go, if you thing well and wisely about it. Yes, is is easy to waste a lot of time on Social Media, and there is much on Social Media that is toxic to anyone wanting to go the Stoic way for sure.

But with careful thought and consideration, one can indeed be a Stoic, and insert Stoic thoughts into the toxic world of Social Media. Careful consideration is needed as is a close eye on the time you spend there, but if you can do that, and just pop in when it won’t interfere with important things, then you can use it as a way to spread thoughts, wise thoughts, and work to raise the tone of discussion.

So basically, if you hold to the Stoic idea of being the best person you can be, holding to the virtues of stoicism, you should be fine. Don’t use social media to shame others who don’t deserve it, treat others well, don’t indulge in petty and nasty games that do no good for anyone.

Be on Social Media as you know you should be to others in real life, and you should be fine. Doing good is possible on and with Social Media, as is doing bad. As a Stoic, you know which you should do, always, Good always over Bad. Simple.

When the correct road is there to take, don’t go the wrong way.

We all have choices to make, ways to go, in life. If we go the wrong way, it is always possible to turn around, and head back in the correct direction.

A Political Poem – Stoic, Or Not?

I’ve been pondering and wondering about Stoicism and Politics, and how or if the two can do good things, if joined with a poem. I don’t know the answer to this, and certainly would like input from others, poets, Stoics, politically minded people …

This is the poem:

Politician’s Free Speech? A Sonnet

Their words inspire bad ways, not good,

I wish to clench my ears to keep them out –

they sicken me, why listen? I know I should

cleanse my skin of them, scream and shout!

Though my pores refuse to let them in,

still the hate invades my troubled self.

To listen, to hear their filth, is it sin? 

I’m complicit – ghoul, not goodly elf,

for though I rightly say I don’t agree, 

what I do is clearly not enough –

the price we pay for democracy,

to be invaded by this vile stuff …

Unworthy lies portrayed as honesty –

the price we pay for speech is far from free.

Cloudy thoughts …

So, does this poem speak of politics, and hint perhaps at Stoic thoughts? I think on such matters at times, and would appreciate discussing it further. If you have thoughts on this too, please leave a comment, and we can discuss it further.

Bringing Poetry to Stoicism

I am a poet, writer, and blogger. I write things, most days, sometimes just comments on Facebook, or Tweets on things that interest me in various ways. This exploration of Stoicism, has remained poetry free, up until now but I’m obviously feeling creative today, in poetic ways.

So, after writing and posting a poem to my Writing Blog here, I have now written another new poem for the day, and it is an Acrostic Poem, based on Stoicism, the actual word, and some of my thoughts about it. I hope you will read the poem, and let me know what you think about it.

If you don’t know, an Acrostic poem is one that has the letters of a particular word or phrase as the first letters of a poem. It is usually a poem that has that particular word as the content of the poem. If this explanation is a little confusing, I’m sure (or at least I hope) reading the poem will add to understanding.

Here is my new Poem, all about Stoicism:

An Acrostic of Stoicism

So, from two thousand years 

To come to the fore again now …

Of importance to us now, surely,

In these greedy selfish times.

Can ancient Greek and Roman ways

Increase our chances of survival,

So humans live for two thousand

More years on this planet?

Times Spent With Nature

Spending time with Nature is one of my favoured things. And by ‘time with Nature’ I don’t necessarily mean time way out in the bush. I can simply go out of my door, front door or back door, and I can be with Nature.

There are trees, and birds, and the sky with or without clouds. And there’s the wind out there too, bringing more sounds, above the bird calls out there. Out of the back door, there are wind chimes, the wind seems to frolic through, and out of the front door we have big pine trees that the winds swoosh through at times, making it sound like there is an ocean up close to us, even though it isn’t near enough to hear, in reality.

There was supposed to be a New Holland Honeyeater in this pic, but I can’t see it now. They’ve certainly been in this bush previously. The tree is a bottle brush and it isn’t actually flowering at the moment.

This morning, I had a peaceful time out there, collecting things. My main collecting ‘thing’ was a list in my head of the different kinds of birds I saw or heard. I do this sometimes, not because I want to make a top ten list of birdwatchers of the world or anything like that, but simply because I like to do it.

I like birds, and they are one of my preferred parts of Nature. I didn’t know I would find this love of watching and listening birds when my husband and I moved from the suburbs to the country. But love of it, I certainly have, and while my list of birds isn’t record breaking, I am pleased with my number of around fifty different kinds of birds seen at or above my place, over the years.

I like the fact that I can spend ten to fifteen minutes outside and easily encounter at least five different kinds of birds, almost guaranteed. My birdwatching/listening foray this morning gave me more than five different birds, the list is:

Sparrows (lots), Swallows, Chickens (I can hear my neighbours’ Chickens when they get excited), Crested Pigeons, Spotted Turtle Doves, Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes, New Holland Honeyeater, Starlings, Parrots of some kind. Then just now, back inside, I saw a Murray Magpie through the window into the front yard. Ten different kinds of birds.

That’s not a bad haul for a quiet morning of easy bird watching. I fossicking around out in the yard too, checking out and picking something to put into a ‘vase’ for decoration in the kitchen. I also looked at the vegetable plants we have growing in the backyard, and the flowering plants we have growing in hanging baskets on the back veranda.

These pleasant past times won’t make me rich in monetary terms, but they enrich my life, and a life enriched by simple things like this is surely a good life. When I am ‘out there’ I think on things like the way the different kinds of birds have their own place, and do their own things, living near each other, but living quite different lives, in many ways.

The birds eat different things – some are nectar lovers, some eat insects, some others dine on a variety of other things. They make the most of the bounty that is available, and if our place failed to give them what they need, they will move on.

There are some birds that are here only in certain times, others are always here. The Sparrows are certainly always here, living and breeding in our bushes and trees. It is late Winter now, and Spring is certainly in the air. I spotted a couple of Sparrows in the backyard this morning, who were obviously in a ‘Spring is Here’ kind of mood, if you get what I mean!

So I have had a pleasant morning, and am now having a light lunch, with a cup of my only ‘addiction’, coffee. I only indulge in moderate amounts of coffee, three cups a day, usually. My lunch is nuts and seeds, with some fried fruit, also only moderate amounts of each.

The view from my backyard, beautiful!

A moderate life, a good life of simple pleasures, and interesting ‘other things’, doing good when and if I can, this is my recipe to a good and Stoic life, and it is a life I am enjoying. Family connections, meeting up with friends, doing things for my community, these all bring my joy, and I am always grateful for these simple pleasures.

Having a life to be grateful for, that is a life for me, for sure!