Stoicism in a time of crisis: how Marcus Aurelius can help
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The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. He faced one of the worst plagues in European history.
During the Antonine Plague, he wrote a book, known as The Meditations, which can be viewed as a manual for developing the mental resilience skills required to cope with a difficult situation.
Because Stoics believe that true good resides in a person's character and actions, they would focus on what they can control, not what they can't.
What happens to you is never directly under your control, but your thoughts and actions are. Hence, It's not events that upset you but instead your opinion about the events.
Our judgment that something is really bad or even catastrophic causes our distress.
It's not the new virus that makes us afraid but rather our opinions about it.
A common slogan of stoicism is that fear does us more harm than the things of which we’re afraid.
Even if you have a 99% chance of surviving a global crisis, worry and anxiety may be ruining your life. Fear surrounding you moves into the core of your being and can destroy you if you let it.
During hard times, you may have to look at the possibility of your own death. But avoiding to look at this is the most popular strategy nowadays.
The Stoics believed when you're confronted with your own mortality and understand its implications, you can change your perspective on life dramatically. We should accept both sickness and death as part of the common lot of humanity.
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