Recent Thoughts

Or Serenity Now! If we trust all of the teachings up until today, the stoics leave us with the sound conclusion that the optimal way forward follows from us giving up everything outside of sphere of choice. Allowing ourselves to trust that fate or luck or God controls all else. I struggle with this conclusion, not because I disagree with it but because it disagrees with my unrelenting existentialism. My sphere of influence never feels like a discrete function but a continuum that decays asymptotically. ... Read More
Similar to yesterday’s meditation If You Want to be Steady today’s explores the other side of the equation, analyzing the outcome of one focusing on things we cannot control. The unsteady, shaky nature we face when we only consider the outcomes out of our control as opposed to our judgment of those outcomes. I’m reminded of 2008 when a lot of my friends gambled professionally playing online poker. They would consistently play marathon sessions of heads-up poker online with 12 or more tables open at once. ... Read More
Epictetus waxes on judgement, questioning what drives us to make good choices versus bad ones. If we derive our decisions from external inputs, raw materials, how can we arrive at good or bad decisions if not for our judgments. If those we have skewed judgment of these externals, our actions could be bad. This process reminds me of the flux pattern because it feels the stoics want to have a unidirectional flow of data. ... Read More
Epictetus has us reflect on what we control in our lives and what we don’t. We control opinion, choice, desire, aversion, and anything of our own doing. We don’t control our body, property, position, and everything outside of our control. However, and this is crucial, our response to things outside of our control remains within our control. I refer to the human response to events outside our control as luck (some people see this same concept as karma, some see it as the hand of god. ... Read More
Today, Seneca brings up the concept of addiction. Addiction affects many more people than we think it does. Everything from coffee to email to sex to video games put their hooks in to us and slowly chip away at our good intentions. Realizing an addiction becomes the first step toward improving, and sometimes this can be the hardest step. The first step in AA is admitting you have a problem. In catholicism admitting a sin is the first step toward saving one’s soul. ... Read More