When looked at in its most simple way, Stoicism could be looked at as doing the best you can, in terms of the best for yourself, and others. I don’t mean best in terms of money though, but in a virtue-related way. Recycling, giving to others, being kind to all, forgiving people, trying to help those who make bad choices to make better for themselves and others.
This spider thought it wanted to come inside our house, I took it to a place that would be better for it, because if it came inside and my husband saw it, he would kill it. He’s a bit like that. I try to help these big huntsman spiders out of the house, if I spot them inside …
Saving the lives of spiders is the least I can do – they eat the flies I don’t want inside my home! I feel good to help these creatures, and helping people too, if and when I can. I am working at the idea of not deriding politicians who do what I consider to be bad things. I feel they are gravely mistaken sometimes, for sure. I have the power to let them know at election time ….
But I can’t like them, some of them. These things are works in progress, my Stoicism is too. I’m doing my best to do my best.
The Stoic way is to think on matters, and act only if needed, not to react immediately without thought – that is the animal way, not the wise human way. If a person can take in an action, hold the thing in their mind, think on it, and then speak, or do, as is required, the end result will be a better one.
This process leads to wiser decisions, better decisions for self, for family and friends, for community, for the world … if a loved one does something stupid, don’t blast them with hate, settle down, think about why they may have done the stupid thing, and find ways to help them find remedies for the consequences of their stupidity.
The same with friends, others, governments, everything. Thoughtless reaction, unless it’s because your life is in immediate danger, is rarely if ever as useful or wise, as action taken after considered thought.
When reaction is immediate, you will rarely, if ever, have all of the necessary facts required to make the wisest decision. So heed to the thought – “Reasoned action, beats thoughtless reaction!”
We, none of us, are going to live forever, not in the bodies we use, anyway. The best we can hope for is to live on in the minds of others, or in the history of what we did, and how we were remembered there.
If we do big and mighty deeds, there will be much written about is, and so we will retain a semblance of life, in books, magazines, perhaps television or films. If we are simple ordinary people, doing perhaps good, but still, ordinary things, the likelihood of the memories about us living more that a generation or two, narrow.
But if we live a good and worthy life, helping others, including people we know, communities we live in, and perhaps bigger towns, then the likelihood of thoughts about us living on is greater.
But we must always remember this – this life is our only chance to get it right, in death, comes the end of our ability to change anything, good, bad, or otherwise.
If if doubt, do the good thing, whether in company or alone. Good for others will always be the best decision.