MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
Pragmatism — as opposed to perfectionism — does not share the same paralyzing hang-ups; it takes what it can get.
Our pursuits should be aimed at progress, no matter how much it’s possible for us to make.
Today, one of the most common destructive thought patterns is all-or-nothing thinking. In other words, perfectionism.
In the Inner Citadel, Hadot applies to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations his characteristic interpretative approach: treating ancient philosophy as a “way of life” in particular one which provides its students with “spiritual exercises” to enable them to make progress towards wisdom and treating ancient philosophical texts with attention to the “forms of discourse” or constraints of genre, tradition, and audience that affected their production.
Stoicism is made up of conflicting writings, especially around God, determinism vs free will, happiness vs avoidance of pain etc. Today most Stoic fans are practicing a cafeteria approach: picking up the few useful bits, modifying others, discarding the rest.
But it’s important to know that this is what we’re doing. Because to the extent that we’re taking this approach, we’re not practicing Stoicism. We are abandoning it and relying implicitly on different (and often unidentified) philosophic ideas.
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