PHILOSOPHY – The Stoics

PHILOSOPHY – The Stoics

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this is a film about
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ism and why you need
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your life because as people seldom tell
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you but we will quietly
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stoicism was a philosophy that
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flourished for 480 years in ancient
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Greece and Rome and was popular with
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everyone from slaves to the aristocracy
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because unlike so much philosophy it was
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helpful helping when we panic want to
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give up despair and rage at existence we
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still honor this philosophy whenever we
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think of someone as brave and without
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perhaps quite knowing why call them
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stoic there are two great philosophers
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of stoicism the first is the Roman
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writer and Tudor to Nero seneca he lived
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between 84 and 80 65 that’s right Tudor
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to Nero the infamous dictator who slept
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with his own mother raped young boys and
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just because he felt like it asked his
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old tutor Seneca to commit suicide in
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front of his own family and our other
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guy – stoicism is the kind and
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magnanimous Roman Emperor Marcus
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Aurelius 81 to 1 to 180 who was forced
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to spend most of his reign on the edges
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of the Empire fighting off invincible
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Germanic hordes but found time to write
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one of the greatest works of philosophy
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the meditations in his tent at night
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there are two problems stoicism can help
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us with in particular the first is
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anxiety when you’re feeling anxious
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about something most people are
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maddening they believe it’s their duty
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to cheer you up
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however intelligent they might otherwise
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be say things like it’ll be okay don’t
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worry even cheer up the Stoics were
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appalled they hated any kind of
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consolation that aims to give the
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listener hope hope is the opium of the
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emotions and must be stamped out
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conclusively for a person to stand any
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chance of inner peace but this hope only
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lifts you up higher for the eventual
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fall the Stoics advises to take a
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different path to be calm one has to
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tell oneself something very dark it will
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be terrible I might have to go to prison
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the lump really could be malign I
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probably will be fired and humiliated my
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friends almost certainly will succeed
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but a huge consoling stoic but one must
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keep in mind that one will nevertheless
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be ok ok because in the end as Marcus
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Aurelius said we are each of us stronger
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than we think prison won’t be fun nor
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will losing one’s job or being made a
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laughingstock but one will get through
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it stoicism emboldened us against the
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worst fate can throw at us and if you
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really really can’t take it
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suicide is always an option the Stoics
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mentioned this repeatedly here is Seneca
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can you no longer see a road of freedom
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it’s right in front of you you need only
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turn over your wrists to build up an
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impression of one’s own resilience the
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stoic suggested one regularly rehearse
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worst-case scenarios for example twice a
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year one should take off on smart
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clothes get into some dirty rags sleep
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on a rug in the kitchen floor and eat
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only stale bread and rainwater from an
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animal’s Bowl and thereby you’ll make an
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amazing discovery as Marcus Aurelius
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booted almost nothing material is needed
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for a happy life for he who has
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understood existence another subject of
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interest to the Stoics was anger Romans
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were a bad-tempered lot the stoics
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wanted to calm them down but they did so
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by an unusual route by intellectual
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argument they proposed that getting
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angry isn’t something you do by nature
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because you have a Latin temper or a
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somehow inherently hot-blooded it’s the
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result of being stupid of having the
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wrong ideas about life anger stems when
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misplaced hope smashes into unforeseen
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reality we don’t shout every time
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something bad happens to us only when
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it’s bad and unexpected for example
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you’d never shout just because it
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started raining even though rain can be
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horrible because you’ve learned to
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expect rain the same should apply to
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everything don’t only expect rain expect
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betrayal infamy sadism theft humiliation
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lust greed spite one will stop being so
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angry when one learns the true facts of
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the misery of life the wise person
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should aim to reach a state where simply
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nothing could suddenly disturb their
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peace of mind every tragedy should
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already be priced in we’re gonna leave
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you with the most beautiful remark that
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Seneca made just as Nero’s guards were
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grabbing him and shoving into a bathroom
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where he was meant to take a sharp knife
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and kill himself his wife Polina and two
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children were panicking weeping clinging
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to his cloaks the Seneca turned to them
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pulled a weary smile at them and simply
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said what need is there to weep over
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parts of life the whole of it calls for
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tears we have much to learn from the
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Stoics
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you

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