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Stoic Meditations

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Occasional reflections on the wisdom of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.

Occasional reflections on the wisdom of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.
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United States

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Anchor FM

Description:

Occasional reflections on the wisdom of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.

Language:

English


Episodes

We belong to the world, not to a particular corner of it

6/18/2018
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Seneca reminds us that even though we belong to different social groups, religions, ethnicities and so forth, we are, most fundamentally, members of the human cosmopolis.

Duration:00:02:04

It's either gods or atoms...

6/15/2018
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Marcus Aurelius reflects on what happens to us when we die: either we are absorbed in the seminal principle of the universe, or we become atoms scattered in the void. Either way, we still need to behave decently toward other human beings.

Duration:00:02:46

Ethics is a practice, so do it

6/14/2018
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Epictetus asks us a simple question: if we didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did we learn them for?

Duration:00:02:19

Moving will not help you, if your trouble is internal

6/13/2018
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Seneca tells Lucilius that moving to the other end of the world will not be helpful if his troubles are generated by his own attitudes, because he will carry the same person around the globe, if he doesn't address the real issue.

Duration:00:02:40

The truth does you no harm, but error does

6/12/2018
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Marcus Aurelius reminds himself of something that modern politicians need to pay attention to: if someone shows you that you are in error, the right thing to do is to admit it and learn from the other.

Duration:00:02:27

How Epictetus lost his lamp and the thief became a brute

6/11/2018
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Epictetus tells the story of a thief stealing his lamp at night, and reflects on what each of them lost in the process. He concludes that he came ahead of the thief.

Duration:00:02:25

Sound minds are hard to find, or buy

6/8/2018
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Seneca, with rather uncharacteristic sense of humor, says that one can't buy a sound mind, and even if that were possible, there would be no market for them.

Duration:00:02:33

Annoyed by people? It's an opportunity to practice virtue

6/7/2018
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Marcus Aurelius suggests we think of others as partners at the gym: don't hate or hold grudges against them, think of them as opportunities to improve your virtue.

Duration:00:01:56

Good judgments improve your character

6/6/2018
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Epictetus says that the way we improve our character is by paying attention and making good judgments, while if we keep making bad ones we make our character worse. So today reflect carefully on your decisions, and ask yourself what would Epictetus do.

Duration:00:02:12

I may become poor, then I shall be among many

6/5/2018
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Seneca lists the worst things that could happen to him, and that we all fear, and reminds himself that the only truly terrible thing is being a bad person who holds to bad values and makes bad decisions.

Duration:00:02:53

Always examine your assumptions

6/4/2018
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Musonius Rufus reminds us that we often act out of simple habit, without paying attention to what we are doing and why. Not the best way to proceed in life.

Duration:00:01:58

Why do you care for the opinion of posterity?

6/1/2018
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Marcus Aurelius observes that some people are obsessed with what posterity will think of them, even though they have no idea what sort of individuals will make that judgment. Meanwhile, how about taking care of those we know here and now?

Duration:00:01:58

Good and evil are entirely up to you

5/31/2018
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Epictetus says that externals (health, wealth, education, good looks) are the means by which we do good or evil in the world. So it is entirely up to us, really.

Duration:00:01:57

The glass is neither half full nor half empty, it just is

5/30/2018
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Seneca reminds Lucilius that we ought to hope for justice, but brace ourselves for injustice. This is just the way the world works, which doesn't absolve us from our responsibility to do something about it.

Duration:00:02:11

Do not seek fame, seek to be useful to others

5/29/2018
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Marcus Aurelius reflects on what is worth doing, and decides that it's not seeking fame, but rather being helpful to fellow human beings.

Duration:00:02:26

Nobody wants to believe falsehoods, and yet...

5/28/2018
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Epictetus says that people cannot assent to what they think is false. We always want to be right, but we are often not, which is why we rationalize things. That's why we need to improve our ability to arrive at correct judgments about things.

Duration:00:02:42

Think about bad stuff happening, get comfortable with it

5/25/2018
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Seneca introduces a classic Stoic exercise, the premeditatio malorum, thinking about bad things happening, playing them in your head, so you get comfortable with accepting whatever may come.

Duration:00:02:55

After every disturbance, re-center yourself

5/24/2018
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Marcus Aurelius reminds us that all sorts of things will disturb our rational soul, and that we therefore need to practice re-centering it in order to respond to situations with reason and equanimity.

Duration:00:02:24

Can you tell the difference between the baths and the mill?

5/23/2018
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Epictetus has a little bit of fun with the Skeptics, who denied the possibility of human knowledge. If that's the case, he says, how is it that you reliably go to the thermal baths when you want to relax, and to the mill when you want bread?

Duration:00:02:11

Some people get to the end without having lived at all

5/22/2018
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Seneca observes that some people begin to really live their life only near the end. And some never begin at all. So what's sort of life you want to live, and have you started already?

Duration:00:01:46