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How not to panic during the pandemic: welcome hard times like a Stoic

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

Epictetus

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How not to panic during the pandemic: welcome hard times like a Stoic

How not to panic during the pandemic: welcome hard times like a Stoic

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/18/remaining-calm-in-adversity-what-stoicism-can-teach-us-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Stoicism: the art of staying calm

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that was founded by Zeno of Citium, in Athens, in the early 3rd century BC.
It is an ancient tool for remaining calm in adversity, a philosophical framework, useful in providing an ethical scaffold for both everyday life and in times of difficulty.

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.”

“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.”

Calm and tranquility

We can create our own heaven or hell with our thoughts. Stoics prized rational thinking, acting on good information and contemplating the situation fully rather than acting rashly or from a place of panic and anxiety.
A Stoic's recommendation for the pandemic would be to carefully choose what media and opinions you consume.

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in the imagination than reality.”

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in the imagination than reality.”

“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”

“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”

Ethics

Stoics believed that your health and your money can be taken away from you at any time – but no one can take your character from you. So you need to nurture it.
In today's situation related to the spread of the virus, demonstrating good character might involve not hoarding scarce goods ( i.e toilet paper), not taking all the pasta and rice for yourself and leaving none for others and it might mean self-isolating, for your own good and for the safety of others.

Connectedness

The Stoic philosophy reflects our deep and profound interconnectedness. We are highly social animals, and we exist and find meaning within our communities.
It's up to us to act out of love, not fear and consider the wider good whenever we take action during crises.

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realise how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realise how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”

Negative visualization

This technique involves thinking about what you value most in life, then imagine losing that thing.
This was a common practice for the Stoics. This includes not only exposing us to the inevitable losses we may suffer in life but also enabling us to appreciate the people and things we love. We are less likely to take someone for granted if we are aware that they may not be in our life forever.

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Suffering and Desire

Buddha taught that there is suffering in this world, it is inevitable, and the root cause of suffering is mainly the desires we feel.

We want something, always, and feel miserable when we don't get it.

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Resurgence Of Stoicism

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