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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Musing on meditations

Someone on Gab asked me if I would write a book of philosophy, and suggested something similar to one written by one of my intellectual heroes, Marcus Aurelius. His Meditations have been a significant influence on my thinking since high school, particularly this deeply meaningful piece of advice, with which he began Book Two in the Staniforth translation:

Begin each day by telling yourself: today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness—all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow-creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading.

Those who have read Meditations can probably see how the very way I live has been influenced by them; it was somewhat startling to listen to a song recently and realize that I'd written these words with my friend Paul more than 20 years ago. Much to my surprise, it's become one of my favorites in retrospect.

Over sea, under stone
I will find myself alone
All I've seen and all I've known
In a dream far from home
I still find myself alone

In this place there's nobody inside
In this place there's nobody outside
I find myself alone

It seems we really do shape our future through our imaginations. Of course, what the non-reader of Meditations might fail to understand is that this is not a mournful song about loneliness, but rather a contemplative one about the need to abandon the world and its deafening, disharmonious distractions in order to find oneself, or rather, to honestly face the truth about oneself and one's place in Creation.

A man must be able to look honestly inside before he can look accurately outside.

I don't think I am ready yet to take on the task of writing my own Meditations. But I do have the sense that one day, I will be able to do so, though whether it will be before or after I attempt my magnum opus of economics philosophy written in the Aquinan form, I cannot say. In the meantime, perhaps the following ten aphorisms may be of some utility to a reader or two.
  • Tell yourself the unvarnished truth, even if you cannot bring yourself to admit it to anyone else.
  • We are all being deceived, in some matters, by someone, at all times.
  • An unsound foundation will never produce a sound conclusion. When a conclusion strikes you as dubious, look hard at the underlying assumptions supporting it.
  • Evil existed in the past. It will exist in the future. You are not going to eliminate it. You are not even going to eliminate it in yourself.
  • No amount of pleasure will ever satisfy a man. No amount of comfort will ever satisfy a woman.
  • Status is a dangerous and addictive psychological drug. Be deeply wary of it.
  • Leadership requires a surfeit of ego, because the good leader must be able to sacrifice his own for the benefit of his subordinates when need be.
  • Never trust an insecure man. Sooner or later, his fears will cause him to turn on those to whom he is closest.
  • The weak will always attempt to outlaw the strong.
  • Never stay down. Even the dead can haunt their killers.

Labels:

60 Comments:

Blogger Nate January 19, 2017 2:35 PM  

Another truism: The truth of a given thing is not determined by how much sense it makes to you.

Blogger Giraffe January 19, 2017 2:39 PM  

"Evil existed in the path"

should be "past", Yes?

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 2:40 PM  

That third aphorism reminds me of "if the outcome is incorrect, one must examine one's axioms to find which is at fault..."

The ninth seems similar to moving the goalposts, changing the rules of the game, or my own personal "Cry of Wrath Event" where the weak (attempt to) depose the strong out of envy, or in order to ensure their own ease of mind.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 2:41 PM  

@2. Giraffe, obviously.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 2:44 PM  

People assume other people live like them, think like them, act like them and are like them. If they are particularly wise people, experience can change these opinions.

Blogger Cloudswrest January 19, 2017 2:50 PM  

Speaking of philosophy, Thermidor has a recent blog essay out called "The Liberty of Slaves" where he mentions Seneca's descriptions of the freedoms of Roman slaves is very similar to the vulgar freedoms the modern proles have. Here's how the author ends the essay.


...
What actually happened is that Westerners, much like the clueless teenage girl who runs away from the home of her firm but loving parents only to end up becoming tattooed as property by some outlaw biker and tricked out on the streets with an arm and a pimp to feed, quit a life of moderate subjection under the intrinsically lawful and just auspices of throne and altar for a perhaps more exciting, but perilously more dangerous and in any case, degraded and dehumanized life- one that additionally turns out to be rather less than perfectly liberating when it is already too late to go back.

http://thermidormag.com/the-liberty-of-the-slaves/

Blogger Sam Spade January 19, 2017 2:54 PM  

I'm waiting since last november reponse to enter gab.

Someone know how long it takes?

With these long queues they are goign to lose moment.

Anonymous Rather, Not January 19, 2017 2:57 PM  

A deep and hearty thank you, Vox. I think this will be useful to me in my life work of making me a better man.

Blogger pyrrhus January 19, 2017 2:57 PM  

@2@4 It would also make sense if it read "evil exists and will always exist in the path"

Blogger Sam Spade January 19, 2017 2:59 PM  

"A man must be able to look honestly inside before he can look accurately outside."

Great insight, Jordan Peterson has also insisted lately in something similar. It's great seeing unrelated smart people coincide in important subjects at the same time without them knowing.

Blogger rumpole5 January 19, 2017 3:03 PM  

I don't think that a person who appreciates (and prefers) solitude can ever understand folks who need continual intraction with other people.

Anonymous Tipsy January 19, 2017 3:04 PM  

I would add: the power of an error is in proportion to the truth it contains. Obvious errors are weak and mildly precarious, subtle errors are powerful and dangerous.

A corollary: evil ones will often reveal certain truths and conceal certain errors in their agenda to convince others to support their causes.

Blogger RobertT January 19, 2017 3:04 PM  

Most disasters are the direct result of bad foundational assumptions. I fight this battle with my staff constantly. "Make sure you are building on a solid foundation." Assumption is apparently a relatively hard concept for many people to get their arms around.

Blogger scimitar January 19, 2017 3:07 PM  

Stoicism and M.Aurelius is making a comeback or resurgence I think. There was a "StoicCon" convention recently in NYC ( see YouTube for the lectures....) . Also the author Ryan Holiday has a 2 new books that have been huge bestsellers.. "The Daily Stoic" and "The Obstacle is the Way"

Blogger allyn71 January 19, 2017 3:11 PM  

I have often told people that they need to spend a night alone in the woods. No cell coverage, nothing but themselves and seclusion.

I am surprised at how many never have and how scared they are of the mere idea. Without exception those that never spend anytime alone or experienced seclusion are nervous and jittery souls. I think they are so self loathing they are afraid of what they might learn about themselves. Scalzi would be a prime example of the type.

Blogger RobertT January 19, 2017 3:19 PM  

Ditto on status. Been there, done that.

Don't agree on leaders. Sacrificial leaders ignore essential elements of leadership. Their primary duty is to survive to lead the charge. With the exception of Christ, I have a hard time thinking of a situation in which things would go better under a subordinate.

Blogger Earl January 19, 2017 3:20 PM  

My own important aphorism to add is that nobody cares what aphorisms I have to add.

Blogger Ingot9455 January 19, 2017 3:20 PM  

@7 Sam Spade, if you use gmail, you need to look in your 'Social' email tab for the gab email.

Gmail and maybe other mailers automatically redirect emails from gab and others under the 'social' tab where all of your incessant social media emails are gathered.

I got mine in a week or two but missed it for several weeks until I was told about the 'Social' thing.

Blogger slarrow January 19, 2017 3:21 PM  

Good insights, Vox. But I must confess, the first thing that jumped out at me was your "Over sea, under stone" line. Very evocative Susan Cooper reference.

Blogger dc.sunsets January 19, 2017 3:24 PM  

To me, this is parallel:

Beware the impulsive mind within. All of us have it (it's embedded in the Human Being Operating System) and it's the source of most setbacks in my experience.

It is what drives addictions and vices. It's the seat of lying to oneself. It is the foundation of rationalization.

@1 The truth of a thing is not measured by its popularity, either (as you know.)

@6 Sallust noted that most men don't desire liberty, most only wish for a just master.

As I see it, since we are social creatures and this requires give and take, we can always be seen as slaves to our obligations. This is fine, if one goes into those obligations with open eyes. It is also not evil if one does so out of self-preservation, because his fellowmen (in their ignorance) consent to universal enslavement (e.g., the 13th amendment.)

We're here for but a short time (all too short.) Our mark is fleeting. Society requires honor, even if others don't know it. Utopia is not an option, while happiness is a choice.

Life is Nature's sword against entropy. Life is the ultimate value. There's nothing so miraculous as a baby.

Blogger James Dixon January 19, 2017 3:25 PM  

> I'm waiting since last november reponse to enter gab.

Check you spam trap/junk mail folders. Many people report gab's emails are being marked as spam.

Blogger dc.sunsets January 19, 2017 3:29 PM  

@15 I am surprised at how many never have and how scared they are of the mere idea. Without exception those that never spend anytime alone or experienced seclusion are nervous and jittery souls.

Truly, I don't understand the draw of FB or any other social media. Blogs like this one are the closest I'll come to visiting a watering hole and hanging around for the camaraderie.

Today's tech offers a bottomless well of vices and addictions, not the least of which is the absence of solitude. I think it's making people crazier.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 3:31 PM  

I will tell a simple lie,
order the world, all to defy.
This simple and this binding need,
to make myself, to flee a deed.
If e're I can enter in,
unvarnished land beyond my sin,
I must unearth the dreadful truth
that I forfeit - I, disingenuous youth.

From ancient past I listen to,
the stories that have come, taboo.
I hear the words and count the rays,
all to keep myself in phase.
But as I live the words I hear,
a fount of wrongness, a trace arrear.
Abased am I from all it brings,
enwrapped in lies of long-told things.

I run a path as I am taught,
a means to keep from me the distraught.
A ways to see right through the world,
to raise a banner and be unfurled.
But my sight is blindly, darkly replete.
Just where, O where, have I placed my feet?
I must retrace my mindful path,
structure again, empty mind's bath.

The blackened flower blooming in,
the garden rife, arot with sin.
Has always been, will always be,
a garden rotting inside me.

Discomfort lives within my skin,
where oh where do I begin?
I wish to do just as I please,
what is this unending disease?
I want the joys that I have not
and all the things that I cannot.
A well of water will ne'er suffice,
as draught to quench a bottomless vice.

My face aglow, I peer below,
I feel excitement start to grow.
The people, they are watching me,
the princes bowing, the king bends knee!
I lead, euphoric, to the edge,
and gaily jump upon the ledge.
I'll leap right in before I see.
The poison well I've filled for me.

Seventh? My muse fails me.

Trust not the man trust not himself,
as book unopened on unkempt shelf.
Opened 'tis not, for its contents be
all of the things needless to me.
If one I see sees not his worth,
why then think I I see aught but dearth?

I long for naught but to be free,
until I see a man, stronger than me.
I look and learn and wait with praise,
while secretly I count the ways.
The ways that I will waylay him,
and lower him before my kin.
The plot that we will follow down,
our struggle - we will see him drown.

Awake, arise, stand now, apprise.
The weakness that has followed you,
the spectre of defeat you rue,
slowly, surely, devours all new.
I ever then you wish for strength,
remember what you've kept at length.
Bring forth your will beyond the brink,
Do not gently in quiet death dare sink.

Gratis. :P I had too much spare time on my hands.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 19, 2017 3:58 PM  

VD
after I attempt my magnum opus of economics philosophy written in the Aquinan form, I cannot say.



are you going to attempt to define Wealth? or would you consider that too basic of a question?

if you're going to use someone else's definition, would you link that for me?


VD
We are all being deceived, in some matters, by someone, at all times.



you can say that again.

the magnitude of the lies i've uncovered over the last five years has staggered me. at times, has left me literally speechless, with my mouth hanging open.

and i'm not talking about "Lincoln murdered a half million Americans" ( which is simply lies told by the Victors to the Conquered ), i'm talking about within my family.


11. rumpole5 January 19, 2017 3:03 PM
I don't think that a person who appreciates (and prefers) solitude can ever understand folks who need continual intraction with other people.


https://infogalactic.com/info/Schizoid_personality_disorder



13. RobertT January 19, 2017 3:04 PM
Most disasters are the direct result of bad foundational assumptions.



nevertheless, critiquing the stipulation side of the syllogism is the LESS damaging argument.

GIGO is almost always GIGO, after all. this does not impeach the Logic in any way.

when you can stipulate to their assumption and destroy the Logic anyways, that's when they really lose their shit.

and there is so LITTLE good Logic being used.

Blogger Nate January 19, 2017 3:59 PM  

@16 You didn't understand what Vox wrote about Leaders.

Anonymous patrick kelly January 19, 2017 4:01 PM  

RobertT wrote:
....

Don't agree on leaders. Sacrificial leaders ignore essential elements of leadership. Their primary duty is to survive to lead the charge. With the exception of Christ, I have a hard time thinking of a situation in which things would go better under a subordinate.


It's about sacrificing ones ego, not some sacrificial, suicidal pact, leaving subordinates in charge.

"Leadership requires a surfeit of ego, because the good leader must be able to sacrifice his own for the benefit of his subordinates when need be."

Blogger Katechon January 19, 2017 4:01 PM  

"Never trust an insecure man. Sooner or later, his fears will cause him to turn on those to whom he is closest."

Ouch. This one hurts me. I'm feeling insecure since the last two years because of various factors. I'm still expecting my friends and political allies to trust my word though.

Blogger David Power January 19, 2017 4:07 PM  

Perhaps Marcus Aurelius's greatest accomplishment is that despite being an Emperor and presumably surrounded by fawning sycophants, he avoided indulging in pretentious clap trap.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 4:08 PM  

@24. bob kek mando, I tried to self-diagnose with SPD at one point. Fun times, but I got over myself.

That being said, I don't think solitary-preference individuals have any trouble understanding people who need lots of interpersonal interaction. Why do you think so many of them drink? It's to make them blend in the same way.

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 19, 2017 4:13 PM  

dc.sunsets wrote:@15 I am surprised at how many never have and how scared they are of the mere idea. Without exception those that never spend anytime alone or experienced seclusion are nervous and jittery souls.

Truly, I don't understand the draw of FB or any other social media. Blogs like this one are the closest I'll come to visiting a watering hole and hanging around for the camaraderie.

Today's tech offers a bottomless well of vices and addictions, not the least of which is the absence of solitude. I think it's making people crazier.


It's pretty hard to compare social media to real camaraderie. Most people use it to virtue signal or boast about themselves. There are few people who are actually using it to make team like connections to other people.

Blogger SirHamster January 19, 2017 4:25 PM  

Leadership requires a surfeit of ego, because the good leader must be able to sacrifice his own for the benefit of his subordinates when need be.

This strongly rings true to me, but I am still trying to wrap my mind around it.

The natural leaders are overflowing with personality and vision and energy. And out of that abundance, followers can borrow and take for their own need?

Thinking of Obama - the Right has often complained about his over-inflated view of himself; yet he maintains a loyal following even now. The bug is a feature. Even as the Left now complains that Trump's ego is too much, while Trump Day cometh.

To indulge my monomania, is this not the greatest ego?

"Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
"I and the father are one."
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."

Blogger John Wright January 19, 2017 4:25 PM  

Have you also read Epictetus?

Blogger Deplorable Gaiseric January 19, 2017 4:37 PM  

Earl wrote:My own important aphorism to add is that nobody cares what aphorisms I have to add.
Wins at commenting on blog posts.

Blogger Shamgar January 19, 2017 5:06 PM  

These remind of Ivan Throne's "The Nine Laws"

Blogger Elkanah Haon January 19, 2017 5:09 PM  

A copy of Meditations given to me by my father - roughly around the time I threw the early teenage, hormone infused, atheist hissy fit that led to me being excused from having to attend Mass - is one of my most prized possessions.

A commentary on it would be a fantastic read.

Anonymous Vermithrax Pejorative January 19, 2017 5:23 PM  

Meditations is probably the best book ever written for keeping your head screwed on straight. Just flip it open to a random page and you'll find something good.

There's no fluff in that book. No wasted words. He says in short paragraphs what others would write whole essays to say.

Blogger Nate January 19, 2017 5:24 PM  

Elkanah Haon

That is an unusual name. I have a son named Elkanah. We call him Elkan.

Blogger Thomas Henderson January 19, 2017 5:29 PM  

All sound advice. A personal one that other Christian men may find helpful: "Accept everything that happens to you as good since nothing can occur apart from God." From the Didache, the 3rd c. teachings of the church, ascribed to the Twelve Apostles.

Btw, good in this sense may include happiness (the fulfillment of desire) but more often holiness (separation), righteousness (right order of relationship), justice (restitution of violated order), and mercy (redeeming charity) as these apply to one's own soul.

Blogger Dave January 19, 2017 6:05 PM  

Sam Spade wrote:I'm waiting since last november reponse to enter gab.

Someone know how long it takes?

With these long queues they are goign to lose moment.


If you care to post your email I will send you an invitation to join Gab that should be instantaneous. Everyone on Gab can send 5 invites a month or something like that.

Blogger Dave January 19, 2017 6:07 PM  

Nate wrote:Elkanah Haon

That is an unusual name. I have a son named Elkanah. We call him Elkan.


Did you give him a copy of Meditations?

Anonymous Gab connection January 19, 2017 6:10 PM  

OT:
I've got Gab invites if anyone wants one. Took about an hr for others to get the invite. yakityblah at that google mail domain for an invite.

Blogger VD January 19, 2017 6:11 PM  

Have you also read Epictetus?

Yes.

Blogger Bard January 19, 2017 6:25 PM  

What does it says about a person as to which one hits you the hardest. I liked number two. Probably because I assume most people are completely full of Obama.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 19, 2017 6:31 PM  

29. Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 4:08 PM
I don't think solitary-preference individuals have any trouble understanding people who need lots of interpersonal interaction.



that ( "don't think that a person who appreciates (and prefers) solitude can ever understand folks" ) was rumpole's assertion, not mine.

as a person who prefers solitude, neither do i agree with the statement.

but i can only comment on my own reasons for that preference, i can't address the reasons of the solitary people she(?) knows ... because i have no idea even who they are, much less their internal conceptualization of the world or the accuracy of that conceptualization.

therefore, there's little point in me directly disagreeing with the statement, because what may not be true for me may well be true for those of her acquaintance.

i'm not even asserting that anyone that she knows who is solitary is Schizoid. i'm just linking it as a reference for the characteristics of SOME solitary people and some of the reasons why they grew up that way.

learn from it or don't. that's up to you.


29. Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 4:08 PM
I tried to self-diagnose with SPD at one point. Fun times, but I got over myself.



Sigma, subset: Snowflake, identified.



31. SirHamster January 19, 2017 4:25 PM
The natural leaders are overflowing with personality and vision and energy. And out of that abundance, followers can borrow and take for their own need?



you need to differentiate between Parasitic Leaders and Munificent Leaders.

most of the Cluster B personality types are exceptionally well suited at working themselves into position of authority and headship. which they abuse for their own benefit. Mao and Stalin and Jimmy Swaggert and Joseph Smith as examples.

a Munificent Leader does that which is good for his people EVEN IF it may not be good for him personally.

i would also note that a Munificent Leader could be so and still follow the Machiavellian principle that the Prince should be feared.

Blogger hlbrk January 19, 2017 6:44 PM  

This one too Vox:

"​What is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to believe the illusion that evil has already won. But it hasn't, even if sometimes it feels as if it has."

Anonymous Cato the Elder January 19, 2017 7:18 PM  

Marcus Aurelius & his meditations were important to me when I stumbled upon them in college. It would do everyone some good to give them a read at some point.

Anonymous Jack January 19, 2017 7:33 PM  

You wrote something else a while back which I think would fit into such a book. Here it is again:

The Four Points of Life

Physical: Don't lie to yourself about your appearance. Take a good long look in the mirror. Everyone, and I mean everyone has something they’d like to improve about their appearance so get at it. Dress better and sharper than the next guy. Work out and push yourself.

Emotional: Don't lie about how you feel, but rather learn to control yourself. Stop being a basket case when things don’t go your way. If your emotions are getting the best of you stop, walk away, and calm down so long as your life isn’t in danger. Stop picking fights with people online and in real life to get an emotional high and low. You can't really control your emotions, but you can control your reaction to them to try to remain calm and steady.

Spiritual: Don't lie about the state of your soul or conscience. If you don’t pray, then meditate regularly on life, listen to your conscience, and strive for honesty. If you pray, then set time aside regularly for it and to ask for forgiveness and honesty. You can’t forgive others if you can’t get on your knees yourself. You can’t expect honesty in others if you lie about yourself.

Intellectual: Don't lie to yourself about your intelligence and keep your mouth shut unless you actually have something meaningful to add. Carefully read on a topic before pontificating about it as you want to be known for being thoughtful not blustery. Don’t exaggerate about things you know or your life, as eventually you will get caught.

Anonymous Crossphased January 19, 2017 7:52 PM  

More good stuff to think about.

Mr. Wright, I have not read Epictetus, is it as good as Meditations?

Blogger Lazarus January 19, 2017 8:10 PM  

allyn71 wrote:I have often told people that they need to spend a night alone in the woods. No cell coverage, nothing but themselves and seclusion.

I am surprised at how many never have and how scared they are of the mere idea. Without exception those that never spend anytime alone or experienced seclusion are nervous and jittery souls. ...


Native North Americans used to to into the wilds alone, with nothing but water. They had to do this for 4 days and nights in order to make their spirit animal appear to them.

Now, people look to be told what their spirit animal is on the internet. No deprivation, no sacrifice, no commitment.

These are people who die first in the prisoner of war and concentration camps.

These are the people who cry when Trump ascends to the throne.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 19, 2017 9:04 PM  

@44. bob kek mando, I wasn't actually saying that you were saying that about non-sociables. I went over the SPD article again and wasn't completely certain what you were implying, so I replied to the rumpole5 quote. I also definitely fall into the solitude-lover set, moreso than anyone else I've ever met in meatspace, as such I definitely agree with you.

I'm not sure I like the general understanding of snowflake. Perhaps it applies, or we might be working under differing assumptions, mine include that being a very hormonal teenage period. Sigma may also not be accurate, though I'm inclined to take others' advice on the matter as I often have a difficult time externalizing.

Also, any "prince" in charge of anything resembling a nation that will have to deal with hostile unfamiliar entities needs to have an edge of feared. Love inclines people towards obedience, but fear is a much more visceral and immediate motivator, as well as much more rapidly developed in most situations.

@49. Lazarus, we live atop fat times. People are soft in every meaningful way. Death is coming. Chaos is.

Blogger Flyover Pilgrim January 19, 2017 9:21 PM  

"Tell yourself the unvarnished truth, even if you cannot bring yourself to admit it to anyone else."

The beginning of metanoia.

Blogger JCclimber January 19, 2017 10:14 PM  

Thanks Vox, going to attend to reading Marcus Aurelius after I finish Ivan's Nine Laws.

Anonymous Tom B January 19, 2017 11:39 PM  

May I be so bold as to suggest an addition to your list?

Always stand up for what is right. Even if you stand alone.

Anonymous VFM 6184 January 20, 2017 12:21 AM  

#7 FTW

Anonymous Clay January 20, 2017 12:57 AM  

Whuh...sorta reminds me of that Toad Of The Wet Sprocket song.

Blogger John Wright January 20, 2017 2:13 AM  

@48
"Mr. Wright, I have not read Epictetus, is it as good as Meditations?"

In my humble opinion, better. Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius to me are the whole range of human philosophy, from an Emperor to an Ex-slave, and their words are like stepping into a cold mountain stream. They speak truths so shocking and clear that all the fog of sentimentality and self-pity is washed away.

The ENCHIRIDION or Handbook of Epictetus is an hour's read or so. His MANUAL is rather longer. They are notes taken from his lectures arranged in roughly topical order, like the PENSEES of Paschal, not a rigidly organized book like the LEVIATHAN of Hobbes.

To my embarassment, I found that after 42 years or so of trying to live as a Stoic, I was unable to rid myself of my morbid fear of death. Upon converting to Christianity, a spirit aided me, and I was able to do without effort something which my whole effort had been insufficient to do.

People make two mistakes about Christianity. Some say it is merely one philosophy or one religion among many, not really different from them. Others say it is the enemy of all other religions and philosophies. Neither is correct: what both poets among pagans sought, and philosophers contemplated, is fulfilled in the Church, which entertains both the mad visions of the one and the sterling logic of the other. Theology, the combination of logic and faith, is something no prior religion could imagine, and which no breakaway copycat religion (by which I mean Islam) can maintain.

A stoic is able to endure the sorrows of life and the terrors of death without flinching. Read Plutarch's LIFE OF CATO for an example.

But a martyr goes singing to his death, and forgives his executioners and tormentors. That is all a stoic does and yet more.

Blogger wreckage January 20, 2017 3:03 AM  

@50 It is, after all, better to be both loved and feared.

@56 Rarely do you comment but that I find it helpful.

Blogger #issues January 20, 2017 4:35 AM  

OT: Mexico offers El Chapo as first of many offerings laid at President Trump's feet.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 20, 2017 7:47 AM  

57. wreckage January 20, 2017 3:03 AM
Rarely do you comment but that I find it helpful.



well, he does have to devote time to posting belated movie reviews on his own blog, don't you know?

http://www.scifiwright.com/

Blogger Stephen St. Onge January 20, 2017 1:23 PM  

        In reference to your future volume on economics, something struck me the other day.  It fits with your aphorism about assumptions.

        The classical argument for free trade was formed in an economy that was on the gold standard.  That meant that a trade deficit or payments deficit was in the long run unsustainable.  The deficit economy ran out of money.

        In a world of fiat currencies, that is isn't true.  The classical arguments cease to apply.

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