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Stoicism in a time of crisis: how Marcus Aurelius can help

The Meditations

The Meditations

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.

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Stoicism in a time of crisis: how Marcus Aurelius can help

Stoicism in a time of crisis: how Marcus Aurelius can help

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/25/stoicism-in-a-time-of-pandemic-coronavirus-marcus-aurelius-the-meditations

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

The Meditations

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.

The dichotomy of control

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.

The cause of our distress

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.

Fear

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.

Confront the risk

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

“Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to ou..."

Stoicism explained

  • In any and every situation—no matter how bad or seemingly undesirable it is—we have the opportunity to practice a virtue.
  • Stoics like to refer to the phrase amor fati–loving the things that happen to us. 

Cultivate Stoicism in your life

Stoic philosophy can be cultivated as a practical philosophy:

  • Seeing the good in everything that happens around us, not feeling hijacked or negatively affected by fate and life events.
  • Treating life as an experiment, not being overly attached to things, people and decisions.

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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 ...

“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.”

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Stoicism asserts that we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what yo...

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t.

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where wil...

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”  -  Epictetus:

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