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Thinking About Reason

The reason of which I’m thinking is the ‘this is the reason why I can’t come to lunch’ meaning of the word. I’m thinking about the ‘Thinking about’, kind of reason. The kind of reason that separates human from beast. There is some debate about whether any ‘beasts’ actually do use reason, but that is something for a different blog post.

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Using reason, considering things more deeply, and moving beyond the obvious into much more, these are the things that help us to do better things, or to do things in a better way. Reason, consciously used, allows us to consider effects, and work to understand the things that occur in our lives. Reason, rather than emotion, is the logical way to get to the actual truth of matters.

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Not sleeping, thinking!

Reason allows us to consider ideas, and apply our own knowledge, and knowledge from other sources, to ascertain the actual truth of things. If we use reason, we will discard false ideas, and endeavour to correct ideas found to be untrue. Reason helps us to think about things, and arrive at responses based on truth, not falsity.

Intuition is often given by some people as the sole reason for a decision, but actions based only on intuition, may well give a totally wrong idea, when further thought and ‘reasoning’ would have taken that intuition, and shaped it into a more nuanced and true idea.  Emotion can also lead a person to false ideas. Wanting something to be true, will never actually make a thing true. But the wanting, connected to reason, can work toward a process that may well bring the wanted thing, into fruition.

Stoic thought goes very strongly toward reason, in fact reason, used properly, will lead to Wisdom, and the gaining of Wisdom, as applied to all in life, is the ultimate goal for all, to lead to the living of the truly Good Life. This is a basic aim of Stoicism. This is not a life where we have all of our wants fulfilled, but rather a life where all of our actions performed lead to the greater, rather than only personal, good.

The satisfaction of hunger, or any base or strictly animal needs, at the expense of higher needs, such as the need for deeper thought, are not going to lead to that greater Good, the Good Life that is or should be the ultimate aim for us all. Hunger is a need that should be fulfilled, yes, but how often to people go overboard with it, and have more than they need?

The consequences of this overindulgence are many, and if all chose to only have enough, instead of too much, what a wonderful thing that would be, for all. Moderation is a key to a better life, meeting needs, but not ‘wants’ …
What do you think about this? Does it seem relevant to living a Stoic life? I’d love to hear/read what you think about this. Please leave a comment!

Happy Stoic New Year

Some End Of Year Stoic Thoughts To Take Into 2020

If a thing is beyond my control, I am not to blame for it, but if it was under my control, I must think deeply on why I allowed it to be.

Planning for the good to occur is a joy, planning for the bad, is a blessing … The sensible person spends at least as much energy planning for the bad, as for the good.

Everything that happens is a chance to learn. Nothing is good or bad, unless it brings no further reflection.

If I cannot be said to be at fault, I will not accept blame. If I was at fault, I will look closely at why it happened, and will take action, as appropriate, to ensure it doesn’t happen again, if such action is possible for me.

When considering my best action, I will look at the broader picture first, not only the best for myself only.

Being a member of a group is an opportunity to reach heights, but if others in the group are unable to reach them with you, you have in truth failed.

Any problems being faced now, will become irrelevant in the future, no matter how big the problem. We all will die …

If you were there when it happened, and did nothing to stop it, can you really say it wasn’t your fault at all? If you had no control over it at all, yes, otherwise no. Always do what you can if, and when, you can.

You are not one person only, you are a member of the group, the community, the world. Do all you can do, to help the best good come to all.

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If you lack the courage to do a thing this time, will you ever have the courage when you have not option but to do it?

A tree that always follows the usual direction of the wind, is a tree that will fall when the wind direction changes. Nature knows this, and acts accordingly. Let Nature be your guide …

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Facing fears and acting teaches you to be strong, hiding away from fears allows them to hurt you, over and over again.

If it is wrong for you to do a thing, but others are doing it, it is still wrong for you to do it …

 

Still Practicing Stoicism

Becoming a Stoic isn’t like taking up a new religion, and going to the appropriate church, synagogue, or whatever, once a week, or however often is appropriate. You meet up with others of the same religion, listen to the appropriate person – priest, reverend etc, and perhaps go for a cup of tea with some of those attending afterwards.

Then you go home, and perhaps think on the learnings your heard at the service, and maybe do some good works, in accordance with those learnings. Then you probably go back to living your life in a manner much like everyone else, whatever their particular religious, or secular leanings.

Becoming a Stoic is something different though. A Stoic is, or tries to be constantly learning, thinking, and doing their Stoic thing, being a good and virtuous person, the best they can possibly be, for that is what being a Stoic is all about. “Gaining fulfillment in life through living a good and virtuous life in accordance with Nature.”

Living a ‘good’ life doesn’t refer to getting all of the best things in life, the good things that having lots of money, for instance may bring. No, good refers to acting with wisdom, choosing the best thing for self, community, and everything else.

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Stoicism tells us that the only thing we can actually control is ourselves, and to get angry at the actions of others is a waste of time, and causes us unnecessary grief. This is because we are only able to control our own actions and reactions, anything else is beyond our abilities to control.

The actions of others, then, can be seen as good or bad, but we cannot do anything about them, but, if they are bad things, be sorry for the person doing them, for they are harming themselves, as well as perhaps harming others, and nothing really good can come of their bad actions.

Thinking about such matters is not an immediately easy thing to do, seeing other people who look to be living a great life, when we are living a quieter life, living in a moderate way, neither going without what we need, to live, nor to have more than we actually need, to live. Moderate lives, lived in accordance with what is natural to us, being brave, cheerful, courageous, high-minded, accepting, these lead to the Stoic way.

If we feel resentful at what someone else has, are we doing ourselves any good, in that resentment? No, we are not. If we wish for things we can’t afford, or don’t need, are we going ourselves any good? No, the things Nature tells us we need, food, shelter, companionship perhaps, wanting and having these things is a good thing, not bad, as long as no-one is harmed in the process of us getting them.

Some things are difficult, and require hard work to achieve, so we will need to knuckle down and get on with the necessary hard work. This is a good thing. This is courageous, brave, accepting of the reality. But to want for more than we need, is none of these things.

A further issue needs to be considered, the idea of things ‘being in accordance with nature’, refers to acting in accordance of our humanity, the thing that makes us higher than animals. Humans have the ability to reason, and to be rational. And we are born to be social, and to watch out for each other and to work together for the good for all.

Humans can think, and to think about thinking, which is what makes us different from animals, which simply do things, with no further thought on what they have done. Rationality and reason must be the guides we hold to in life, and in holding to them, we can live a life more in accordance with nature, and so a life that strives for the the best life for all, not just ourselves.

Selflessness, rationality, reason, these can lead to that best world for all. I think on these and am aware of the failings of others, but also of my own failings, and I am humbled. I perhaps know things others don’t realise, I understand more, and if they fail, due to ignorance, who am I who fail, even in knowledge of my failings?

Life goes on, I think on where I have failed, and strive do better, be better, achieve higher, and fulfilled life, acting in accordance to what is rational and reasonable. But more than that, I will live a life that adds to the world, and does good for all, not just myself. In doing so, I will be living a wise and fulfilled life, as we all could do …

 

An Alphabet of Wisdom

This blog post is an Alphabet of Wisdom, based on some of my recent thoughts about my newly broken ankle. I have been doing a lot of sitting around and thinking lately. Getting up and about is quite difficult when unable to put any weight on one leg …

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Ankles are more necessary than you might realise, value your ankles, for they important for your ability to move around.

Bones & broken – a painful pair of words, as I have recently realised!

Challenges are character building, in good ways or bad, always do your best!

Denial of truth is huge problem in the world, and while falsity continues to be wholeheartedly embraced, problems increase …

Ego – not a dirty word, unless there is no understanding …

Family and friends – nurture them, and you will always have help if and when you might need it.

Gratitude – if you can find at least one thing to be grateful for every day, it will help you have a happier life.

Heart – when you think about things with your heart as well as your head, you can make more meaningful decisions.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing in life, look for inspiration, be an inspiration, an inspired life is always the best life to live!

Justice – think on what is fair, what is right, and what is deserved. Punishment with no plan for rehabilitation is never going to make things better.

Kudos – always give people credit for the good things they have done, give the same to yourself, as & when appropriate.

Love can be the answer to finding your true purpose in life, and living in ways to meet that purpose should be what you aim for, always.

Mindfulness, a word, a way of life, an answer, perhaps THE answer, to ‘what it’s all about’.

‘Never’ is a huge word, & one to be wary of, because it doesn’t leave room for changes to happen, which may become necessary when circumstances change.

Open mind – if you can keep your mind open to all that occurs, considering multiple aspects, you will be able to make better decisions on all things in life.

Purpose is what keeps you headed in the best direction throughout life. Thinking and then acting on thoughts about your purpose in life is the best way to go.

Quality will always beat quantity, a little of the very best, is far better than more than you need, of mediocre things.

Rational ideas, and actions are what separates humans from animals. We think on things and consider them rationally and so can make the best decisions.

Sense – making sense of things is what we should try to do, and if we fail to do this, we will pay the price for our lapse.

Truth is better than a pretty lie, and truth is how you can maintain the inner core of your best possible self. Never lie to yourself, always consider truth as your base level.

Understanding will take you to where you want and need to be. Think on things and work toward gaining as much knowledge as possible, so that all things can move in the best direction for yourself, family & friends, your community & the world.

Verification of the words of others is important, that truth is known and understood, is vitally important, always.

Wisdom is when all possible things are taken into account, before action is taken, and acting with wisdom should be the preferred option, always.

X – exceptional results, exciting times, exceed expectations and thrive!

You are the agent of all! If you don’t take action yourself, and merely react to things that occur, you are on the periphery, the edges of life.

Zeal and zest – these are great ways to live your biggest and best possible life. Enthusiastically embracing all that life presents to you is the best way

Proof of Stoicism’s Value

Today I brought my calmness and wisdom into play, and worked through a problem that could have ruined me, if I’d let it. I wrote about it here, and gave credit to my learnings regarding Stoicism, that helped me to calmly work my way through something that could have stressed a person out.

Calmness in the face of problems, and working through possible problems in wise and rational ways is all a part of why I am glad to have Stoicism in my life, these days. I take my poetry seriously, and I could have lost many of my newest poems today, but I didn’t.

I’m finding my poetry has gone up a notch, and I have been thrilled with the quality of my most recent poetry written. I hope others will be impressed with my newest poems too, and I especially hope the publisher I have in mind, will want to publish my latest collection.

I had thought of never sending any more poetry to this particular publisher, ever again, but I ver soon realised they had done the right thing by rejecting that messy and ill thought out ‘collection’. It was more a rag bag of poems, some ok, some good perhaps, some quite ordinary really, and it was far from being a cohesive collection that fit together in any real way.

Poetry collections play an important part in my life in various ways, but the idea of getting a new poetry collection out is the most important way right now. But I have quietly got on with the process of getting this new collection together, it will certainly not be a rush job, unlike that rejected ‘collection’.

I have another important writing related thing going on right now as well, the Gawler and Adelaide Plains Festival of Words (Location). This is also being worked on by the sub-commitee in a methodical way, and things are going well with it. This is happening from 24-28 July, and is looking to be an excellent and interesting Writing Festival. Writing Workshops, talks from interesting and interested people, it is a writing event that is bringing in a broader audience, of community members I expect.

Calm in the face of potential stressful situations is such a valuable tool to have, thank you, Stoicism, I love what you help me with!