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April 28, 2022 2 min read

stoicism-on-daily-hardship

 

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they cannot tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.“

This quote comes from Marcus Aurelius and shows beautifully how everyday life and its efforts can be resolved in a human social order. The setting itself sets the handling of the existential challenge of modern everyday life. On an even larger scale, this order can also be viewed from a level higher: The cosmos, like the human order (viewed under e.g. economic or sociological standards), does not consist of deterministically ordered orbits of celestial bodies, but of constant interaction of attraction and repulsion. However, "to obstruct each other is unnatural."

So if the cosmos could see us crying in the shower, it would think we were behaving unnaturally. We accept anger, sadness, envy and hatred on a daily basis, even if we could do without them. It is up to us. It is important to emphasize, however, that the Stoics were in no way out to gloss over social injustices. Just to pronounce such and thus to make them visible as a problem, works in the sense of the natural attraction and repulsion as a natural progression, which we individually can practically experience through our position in the cosmos and the society - if we only tackle it.


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