Let’s start with a very obvious and well known kind of fact: I read a lot when only I have time. I read blogs, online mags and any newspaper my parents buy because, hell yeah, it’s nice to get your hands on paper from time to time, just for a change. Last time I got hooked by an interview with some stoic. Actually, it was quite not expected, because I am terrible at philosophy, it was the most irritating thing I had to deal with during my college years. I don’t know much about philosophy and historical contexts, I mean, at least not more than a usual person. Also, I want to mark in here that I am not a person who is in a terrible need of any concrete philosophy in their life. I just got the newspaper, read the interview and was really like, “Hmm, I don’t remember having an interview with this paper,” because it was all so me.
In the very depth of my memory I’ve dug to find out what I remember about stoics from those not-so-splendid philosophy classes and found out another terrible truth about my education. Even though I remember giving any shit about what was going on when there was a talk about stoics around, all I was displayed to were merely the historical facts, some dates and names – no practical implication whatsoever. You know, it’s not so easy to put an ancient thing in practice but it is not damn impossible. But enough about crappy education, let’s concentrate on the facts, because I never know I was a stoic, as it turns out apparently!
The basics presented in the paper were a bit complicated, so I’ve found a nice book called The Ancient Art Of Stoic Joy and it is getting much clearer with reading. Well, sometimes it feels like reading a life guide book, so a bit funny feeling, but there is a bit more practical examples, so it’s easier to print the theory onto the everyday. Surprisingly enough it turns out that it is okay to be anxious about things so you can appreciate them more and there is totally no reason to fuss about past nor the future, because not all things we can have control of. Now I got stuck at the part on why sometimes it’s good to be poor (or at least act like that) but it’s still not like it does not sound reasonable.
I’ve also liked the part about pursuing goals, since, as stoics claim, you need small steps to achieve one and if you don’t take your step today it’s not like it is lost forever but just postponed for another day. Sounds like procrastination heaven, but not quite.
I wouldn’t also say that stoicism is all so carpe diem kind of thing, even though it advises us to concentrate on the current moment. I would say it is more because the current is the time when we get the most control of what is going on. This really makes sense and is quite close to what I believe is the essence of our everyday. A bit like David Foster Wallace claims in his famous speech “Water” – we cannot forget that what we have around us, whatever we are doing, staring at the PC screen at work or standing in line in the supermarket, is all the same old water that everyone else swim in too. I mean, if this does not teach one a lesson about why it is so worth to keep calm and get your shit together, nothing else can do better.