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Turned Out Nice Again

Stoicism

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.. a much misunderstood philosophy, most often misrepresented as passivity or a kind of 'grim resolve' in the face of adversity, instead of a source of Power.

http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/why-stoicism-is-one-of-the-best-mind-hacks-ever/

I was able to practice some myself when I got blatantly short-changed (£20/£10) in a kebab take-away the other night.

I figure the guy regularly skims from the pub kick-out crowd to supplement a low income.

I could have made a fuss but I thought...

a/ it was unprovable.

b/ they are the only kebab shop for miles around that sell lahmacuns, from which I didn't want to be barred.

c/ even if I got my tenner back, at minimum, my lahmacun that night (and subsequently) would likely have been flavoured with Turkish spit.

d/ while I'm not tremendously flush at the moment, £10 isn't the end of the world.

so I smiled and let it go, and let the sense of injustice go, and enjoyed my lahmacun.

and when I got home, I checked my business account and found £1000 I forgot I had!

swings and roundabouts.

Later told this story to the wife. She didn't get it at all.

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I shall confess I quite enjoy watching "Judge Judy" now and again. We should disband democracy and just leave her to run the country.

Anyway - there is a classic case involving something not dissimilar where the customer got their own back by placing a delivery order, taking the food, and then shutting the door without paying.

Needless to say this didn't go down so well with the owner, it escalated, a car was damaged, the customer's daughter was allegedly up all night terrified at who might come to the door, and Judy wiped the floor with them.

Stoicism might have been the better approach.

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Marcus Aurelius makes for a pretty good read, and must have been a remarkable man. They were lucky to have him as emperor.

Not so much with certain others, but he at least was a good one. :P

I do make an attempt to keep stoic teachings in mind when being screwed over by life, the universe and everything.

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I'm more of a fan of Epicurus myself.

Fantastic pickles! :blink:

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Marcus Aurelius makes for a pretty good read, and must have been a remarkable man. They were lucky to have him as emperor.

Not so much with certain others, but he at least was a good one. :P

I do make an attempt to keep stoic teachings in mind when being screwed over by life, the universe and everything.

He spent most of his reign overseeing a program of extermination in Germany. A life work that is not generally considered benign.

Did I successfully duck Godwin's Law?

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Just read a top ten of the 'worst' Ronan emperors.

Lord. Some rather depraved charchters in that lot !!

You do have to wonder how much exaggeration has gone into much of the stories though. Its a standard human trait.

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Just read a top ten of the 'worst' Ronan emperors.

Lord. Some rather depraved charchters in that lot !!

You do have to wonder how much exaggeration has gone into much of the stories though. Its a standard human trait.

None of us know what effect absolute power would have on us. And in the days of the Roman Empire they were also the only game in town; there was not going to be a NATO or UN invasion if they went too far.

You can do what you want, nobody is going to stop you or prevent your doing it. So you do all of your initial fantasies several times and then find they're getting a bit repetitive and you go for new highs.

I am impressed by those emperors who rose above this and actually governed responsibly.

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None of us know what effect absolute power would have on us. And in the days of the Roman Empire they were also the only game in town; there was not going to be a NATO or UN invasion if they went too far.

You can do what you want, nobody is going to stop you or prevent your doing it. So you do all of your initial fantasies several times and then find they're getting a bit repetitive and you go for new highs.

I am impressed by those emperors who rose above this and actually governed responsibly.

The ones that come to power young get the bad press for their debauchery (Nero, Caligula, Commodus etc.). It's some of the "good" emperors that did the most lasting harm to my mind, particularly Diocletian whose edicts did more to usher in the dark ages than any "bad" emperor, forbidding poorer people to live anywhere other than where they were born, or to practice any trade other than their father's.

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Just read a top ten of the 'worst' Ronan emperors.

Lord. Some rather depraved charchters in that lot !!

You do have to wonder how much exaggeration has gone into much of the stories though. Its a standard human trait.

One of the main sources for the lives of the most famous emperors is Suetonius. He reads like a Sunday newspaper more than anything that attempts to be objective or scholarly. The passages on Tiberius' sex life are rather special in that regard.

Most of the narrative material handed down to us was authored or sponsored by the senatorial or ruling class. Generally speaking if you were an emperor who kept that class sweet recorded history is kinder to you than if you didn't.

A classic example is the story of Caligula talking about making his horse a senator. Usually depicted as evidence that he was potty, I've always suspected he was sane and simply giving the senate the finger.

edit: another example is the outbreak of multiple Nero impersonators after his murder/ suicide, possibly an indication that he had a fair degree of popular support amongst his subjects

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Interesting. I suppose we will never know. I think I will have to believe the Caligula having enemies hung upside down so he could chew on their ******** stories though.

To mental to be made up. :lol:

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One of the main sources for the lives of the most famous emperors is Suetonius. He reads like a Sunday newspaper more than anything that attempts to be objective or scholarly. The passages on Tiberius' sex life are rather special in that regard.

Most of the narrative material handed down to us was authored or sponsored by the senatorial or ruling class. Generally speaking if you were an emperor who kept that class sweet recorded history is kinder to you than if you didn't.

A classic example is the story of Caligula talking about making his horse a senator. Usually depicted as evidence that he was potty, I've always suspected he was sane and simply giving the senate the finger.

edit: another example is the outbreak of multiple Nero impersonators after his murder/ suicide, possibly an indication that he had a fair degree of popular support amongst his subjects

I have thoughts similar to yours. Nero especially was hated by the aristocracy, as he stole their land after the great fire to build his domus aurelius, and worse, shudder, introduced town planning laws designed to minimise the risk of fire, which meant lower housing density. He also altered the tax distribution in favour of the less well-off. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did.

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I have thoughts similar to yours. Nero especially was hated by the aristocracy, as he stole their land after the great fire to build his domus aurelius, and worse, shudder, introduced town planning laws designed to minimise the risk of fire, which meant lower housing density. He also altered the tax distribution in favour of the less well-off. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did.

Quite, an appetite for land reform and longevity didn't usually accompany each other in classical Rome

e.g. The Gracchi brothers

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I am not sure that story as a whole describes stoicism - the first part maybe but not in the sense that all will come good in the end.

My understanding is that essentially it involves acceptance for the way things are, as the world is deterministic and therefore it is pointless railing unhappily against it.

You refer to a more kharmic outlook. There is a strong undercurrent of kharmic teachings in our western stories. Here I feel sorely misled by the films and TV programmes I was fed as a kid whereby if you were bad, bad things happened to you and vice versa. Very akin to Christian teaching except that involves the afterlife. Hollywood and British film very firmly seemed to place it in the mortal world.

It makes people compliant. They can just sit back and watch things fall into their rightful place. I think witnessing years of unfairly widening inequality should disavow people of anything in this regard. Although you might point to the distant future when all landlords are murdered in their beds for instance. But the distinction here is to differentiate between human action and quasi 'divine intervention'.

To put things right generally needs people as most of our existence is actually made up of human constructs and natural events. Therefore I am largely against both kharmic teachings and stoicism if they are to be universally practised.

However, I do know on a personal basis I am far happier just trying to see, understand and accept things the way they are, rather than actively railing against things in order to effect change as it is just too hard and upsetting. But I sort of faintly hope someone does put the world to rights. Of course, that would change if I were put under an intolerable degree of discomfort.

You read more into it than was intended. I wasn't implying a kharmic outcome to the story. In fact, as a postscript, I just got an email from the client who paid the 1000 apologising for paying the same invoice twice and wanting it refunded - so the swing has swung back again!

I do however think something that stoicism has in common with Eastern traditions such as Zen and Taoism is that the universe (or at least our local environment) is basically benign enough - after all we evolved out of it - to trust that we have the resources within us to make things work out.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is mostly repackaged stoicism.

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