Any person capable of angering you has just become your master – Epictetus
Empathy is an extraordinary ability only compassionate people possess. The difference between empathy and pity is that an empathetic person will feel the pain of another whereas one that pity’s people is only thankful they do not suffer like the rest.
Love and Selfishness
The only way you can truly love another is to love yourself first. A selfish person does not love themselves, they only pretend too. A display of generosity only reflects how well someone loves themselves, doesn’t it? Generous people possess the virtue of kindness. A deceptive person may show generosity for selfish gain, but that is not what we are talking about here.
To love and show love is an unselfish act of compassion. This is a natural process we observe in humanity from several unique aspects. Mother to daughter, father to son, benevolence we display naturally. It actually makes us feel better when we manifest empathy and compassion, because this is the “objective law” of nature. This is true not only of family members but also with friends and even strangers.
What Does It Mean To Be Generous
There are many ways to be generous, are there not? Think of all the ways a person can be generous with money, time and sacrifice. Generosity is a normal thing that people expect in society. To be generous means to act in accordance with your divine nature. To not be generous would only be to deprive yourself of much needed love and a sense of purpose for yourself.
Stress has been a major factor for some people to not see past themselves. Their assumptions that everyone else has it better than them retards their natural path. When you encounter these kinds of people, you can almost feel something is wrong by the way they speak and present themselves. It almost as if they purposely put themselves in an unsolvable maze. There is a psychological wall there and an insurmountable mental block so that their selfishness has left them to be a person in want. Furthermore, a person is want is a selfish person with tunnel vision.
Wit and Class
You must be able to laugh at yourself and your mistakes. You must be able to fail forward with a smile on your face. Yes, humor is a virtue, especially when looking in the mirror. Your wit and class with humor will help you become a powerful, kind person. If you are sad, force yourself to smile, it will make you feel better. If you have no wit or class, practice it and it will come to you, eventually. Be seriously silly that will be a good start. Stick out your tongue in front of a mirror, yodle, tell jokes, dance, dress nice but modestly these are all things you can try to improve your wit and class. Remember that a witty and classy person are respectful and creative.
In conclusion, remember that they should never disappoint you when an ignorant, selfish person does not see past themselves. They are the ones in want; they are the ones that are poor.
“I laugh at those who think they can damage me. They do not know who I am, they do not know what I think, they cannot even touch the things which are really mine and with which I live.” – Epictetus
Notice that the title says that “Hard Times Create Stronger Human Beings,” and not “Hard Times Create Good Human Beings”. This is because “guidance” can only help create a wonderful human being, furthermore what a person does with that guidance is up to them. The convictions of a person will help define who they are, and those convictions will be their guide.
The Strong and the Good
There are “strong people” who we would consider “good” but are there not “strong people” who you would consider “bad”? It is not what we go through that characterizes us, but how we respond that defines us. You can respond well to a bad thing or respond bad to a good thing, it is how you think and what is in your heart that counts.
The Smart and the Wise
Do you think a “smart and rational” person to be benevolent? Then confusion has taken over your mind because only a loving and compassionate person is benevolent. Ironically, a benevolent person may not be very intelligent therefore just because someone is wise does not make them “good”.
The Deceitful and Stupid
Stupidity comes with deceitfulness only because a deceptive person thinks deceit is a wonderful tool. Even if the person gets what they want by the use of this tool, they in fact fool themselves into believing that deceit is a “good thing”. Imagine thinking that wrong things benefit you? Is that not where true evil exists? Deceptive people fool themselves more than the ones they try to deceive.
The Irony of Hard Times
“Hard Times” generates both good and bad tendencies in people. The irony of it all is that the hard times strengthen the convictions of those characteristics whether they are good or evil. A challenge is a wonderful medium to see the actual person within.
Survival Trumps Benevolents
Some may argue that “self preservation” is so powerful that virtue gets downgraded to a privilege for the prosperous. We see this in “end of the world” scenarios acted out in several theatrical displays through many forms of media where people are turning on each other to survive. Ironically, the holocaust is a better example for this point and a real-life scenario. There were many victims turning on other victims to preserve their own life. This we are told is a survival tactic for self preservation and supports the evolutionary agenda for survival. “Survival of the fittest and may the best man win!”.
The Caveat To The Evolutionary Model
When we look into situations like the holocaust, we find this NOT to be the case. Although there were many victims turning on other victims for self preservation and survival, most of the people were trying to help their fellow man even if it costed them their life. There are many examples of people giving up their lives to preserve a complete stranger’s life. In the end, we understand that virtue is more powerful than any evolutionary model of the human condition.
Hard Times The Real Truth
The real truth is that hard times are a challenge, furthermore you have the free choice to act in a good way or a bad way. The length of your life is immaterial when it comes to your virtue. Imagine living your life in the past all the time, always desiring to make the right choice when it has been right there in front of you all along. Decide to be a good person right now, do not wait for the circumstances to make you the good person because that is impossible.
The Fundamental Conclusion To Hard Times
You make you! Your circumstances, your money, your situations, and disabilities do not make you who you are. Your love, passion and benevolence or the lack of it make you who you are.
Some hate Stoicism because it does not resonate with their lifestyle. Many claim that Stoicism is mundane or just a religious cult. For people who love stress and anxiety or inflicting it upon others, they may claim this to be true. Others who claim that Stoicism is a boring religious cult have no clue what they are talking about however, Stoicism may not be for everyone.
Stoicism Is Not For Everyone
The enthusiastic Stoic; mainly new Stoics, when they discover this tool or lifestyle modification want to share it with everyone immediately. When they share it with others, it surprises them that others do not adopt the philosophy immediately.
Who May Not Enjoy The Stoic Lifestyle?
There are many kinds of people that may not enjoy the Stoic lifestyle. Of these worry-worts come to mind. They actually enjoy worrying about things. These may be Politicians, Journalist, Environmentalist, Preachers, just to mention a few. Stoics are Stoics because they enjoy living as a Stoic, stress free and living in harmony with nature. People who enjoy worrying about the future or nostalgically live in the past may fail at a Stoic lifestyle.
Stoicism Is A Natural Process
A Stoic may be a person who has served under someone else or shared time with someone who fretted about everything. They may have witnessed this person decay after many years of worry, stress and anxiety. They eventually ask themselves the same question every Stoic asks themselves. “Why? Why worry? Why stress myself out? What benefit or accomplishment has fear, stress, and anxiety ever accomplished for me?” After they calculate the benefits compared to the cost, a Stoic will conclude that the stress was not worth it and live their life accordingly.
The Stoic Logic
Also, natural in the Stoic philosophy is the logic that it adopts. There are different angles to see things, and in Stoicism we see them through a glass that is beneficial to the whole and not just one individual. Yet, however, in order to build the whole you must build the individual. This sometimes means pointing out the obvious with abstract expressions.
A Natural Born Stoic
Many people after discovering the Stoic philosophy take on the name of “Stoic” because they have been living that way their entire life. They really do not care that the concept of Stoicism is a Hellenistic Philosophy started by Zeno in the 3rd Century B.C. These details are immaterial to them. If they name the lifestyle “Stoicism” makes no difference in how these people approach their lives because they have been doing it despite giving the concept a name. Actually, they couldn’t care less of the Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca and many more because they live a natural lifestyle that naturally finds its way to a worry and stress-free life. These kinds of people are the philosophers and possibly keep the knowledge to themselves. They have no ambition to write or share but to live their own philosophy that we know as Stoicism.
Is Stoicism A Religion or a Cult?
It is interesting that people of all walks of life, and religious faiths adopt Stoicism. It’s not a cult because Stoicism is a tool like Science. Ironically, the only people that should have a problem with Stoicism are Atheist. Why? Because all the great philosophers of Stoicism were “Theist” and refer to God many times in their writings. This should not be surprising though because the Atheist have tried to take over other “Theist” invented tools like “Science”. – pun intended!
Basically, an Atheist is a pandering sniveling little brat full of resentment and hate that has faith in an impossible paradox called “Atheism”. There can be nothing more illogical and opposed to Stoicism than an Atheist.
Stoicism In A Nutshell
I live in the moment; I learn from my past and contemplate my future. I will not worry about things I do not have control over. It will not bother me. It shall not control me, I shall control myself. I will honor my virtues. I am Alpha, not Beta, I am the leader of myself!
Interestingly enough, some see themselves as strong because they have lost their religion. Some view it as “Growing Up”, giving up the childhood fairytales and becoming “intelligent” or “enlightened”. There is a justification in their minds mainly because of their “education” or “indoctrination” they received in the secular world with all its political biases added.
Is this a trustworthy decision, and is it smart to exchange your entire paradigm on the chance that the foundation of faith that you have built is flawed? Are atheist really independently strong, or are they depending on a network of supporters much like theist do? Is Atheism a religion in itself?
In schools they teach young people about science and evidence. They also teach them how to interpret the evidence. This seems logical, does it not? In order to learn, you must always try to interpret evidence. The problem here is that they teach that science gives you “empirical truth”. The fact of the matter is it depends on who you talk to and you can get several interpretations of the “Scientific Evidence”. Critical thinking should be your guide here because there are people with agendas especially in educational establishments.
Politics in Science
It is fitting that we discuss “Politics In Science” here. In the “Academia World” there are political struggles for power and dominance. We also know that the young people are gullable to believe anything their favorite professors throw at them. Glory seekers are everywhere, and the dynamic favors Atheistic Academia. There is no factual truth that the average person can actually rely upon.
Loaded talking points, agendas to fulfill, inexperienced students to impress for their money, prestigious institutions, and a load of bullshit pushed upon the public. All this disguised as a discipline in a world of fantasy and manipulation that we call the “Educational System”. Not to mention the fact that these very ideas make their ways into Hollywood and Documentaries to convince a gullable public relying on these institutions for truth. Oh my, what a strange situation we have created for ourselves.
Proudly, we hear some proclaim repeatedly about their efforts to kill god. They feel they have successfully killed God because they have been able to infiltrate the academia world full of young gullable people and convince them. The fact of the matter is that a lifetime full of experiences is worth a lot more than a few years in a college. In fact, the college world can teach you more about politics that it could ever teach you about truth.
Just because a professor can teach some young inexperienced individual that there is no god does not mean that you have accomplished anything worthwhile. Argue the point with someone more established.
The Irony Freedom of Religion in School
We have religion being taught in our public schools here in the USA. It is the “Atheistic Religion” school of faith and politics. The irony is that your kids are being indoctrinated by this religious faith because they disguise themselves as “non-belief” when in fact this could not be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that they have a faith and religion and are advocating it in the public schools and colleges. Don’t believe me? Check out the “Atheist Church” in Seattle, Washington!
Just like any other religion, they believe their “School Of Thought” is the true one. Oh, the irony, right? They get away with this in the Public School system because they claim they are NOT a religion, they claim they are “Free From Religion”, oh the liars they are! Has the obvious awoken in you yet?
Deception of Reason
Deception is nothing new, it comes in all different disguises and masks. However, self-deception seems worse to me. Convincing yourself of an idea just because you think it is cool or in style does not make it truth!
Atheist highjack terms like “reason” and apply it in their talking points. Their only “reason” is their “atheistic interpretations” of every concept introduced. They are worse than the theist that say “Praise The Lord” after every paragraph or conversation. Their position is NOT non-belief it is defiance and deception, and if that is not blatantly clear to any critical thinker than nothing ever will be!
“Zeno would also say that nothing is more hostile to a firm grasp on knowledge than self-deception.”
—DIOGENES LAERTIUS, LIVES OF THE EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, 7.23
To be afraid or not be afraid, that is the question. Many Atheist accuse Theist of letting fear get the best of them when it comes to seeking the truth. They refer to the fact that we all have to die and they further claim that Christian’s are making up fables to comfort themselves. Besides that, they further claim Christian’s are doing greater damage by passing it off as truth when it is all fictional.
Touche to their bravery, right? I mean, thank god for the fearless atheist to enlighten our way to give us “The Truth”, right? They teach of the “Cold blind pitiless indifference of nature” to illustrate the point that there is no god or intelligent designer.
The Christians Point
That is exactly the Christian’s point, that there is cold blind pitiless indifference and that honesty, the honesty of nature, is the prevailing justice we can count on. Objective morality is a similar point entirely explained through “Theism” accurately enough to comprehend. The evolutionary model of “Morality” is in fact “Subjective Morality” and atheist claim the “Objective Morality” is just as fictional as the belief in God.
So right and wrong is a superlative argument to the Christian, but is a subjective argument to an Atheist. To an Atheist “Right and Wrong” only exists in the figments of our imaginations.
More on the Christians Point
In essence, the Atheist claim there are no “Objective Moral Laws” and to that I respond regretfully. When would it ever be right to rape and murder a 2-year-old girl then throw her in the dumpster? Is there any time in the past, present or future that that would be right? If you answered no like many of us do we recognize that as a violation of an “Objective Moral Law”! There are many things that we could think of to illustrate the point that just turns the stomach however, I believe we made the point.
Interestingly enough, I have had conversations with Atheist that felt that there may be some time when such an act would be acceptable depending on the time and circumstances. I kindly ask them to never even think about looking at my daughters.
Objective Moral Law
Just because we can fly an airplane does not mean that the law of gravity does not exist. In this same manner, to reasonable individuals, violations of Objective Moral Laws exist like murder, thievery, abuse and so on. When we have to defend ourself by inflicting pain on someone wishing to inflict pain on us is not a violation of this law but an affirmation that the “Objective Moral Laws” actually exists.
Stoics and Atheism
The Stoics furthest thought is “Atheism”. Atheism is nothing new, we have tried it repeatedly even on a national scale. It is a “Faith” that claims to be “Anti-Faith” which makes it a paradox that desperate people advocate ironically. Whatever their reason for Atheism, we know that it is “Subjective Reasoning” because that is all they believe in. There is nothing “Objective” about atheism and a genuine believer in “Atheism” should even admit that.
How do we know that the early Stoics did not endorse Atheism? Because there were Greek philosophers that were already teaching Atheism dating back to 500 B. C. and even further to 1500 B.C. like Diagoras of Melos. All the most famous Stoic’s claim “Belief In God” through their writings. The most powerful thinkers and philosophers believe in God, and ironically we have many self-proclaimed Atheist quoting from them today in order to live better lives.
We are social creatures, are we not? With that leads to downfall as well because we are constantly trying to impress someone else. My grandparents called people who like to impress others “Show Offs”. While raising my children I heard, “Hey Dad, look what I can do!” quite a few times. So it is natural for us to be impressed, impress ourselves and impress others.
“Show Offs” did not impress my grandparents because such a person lacked humility and other virtues valued by Stoic’s. “Show Offs” diminish their character by putting too much stock in one thing. They believe that the facade of the “latest and greatest” house, car, job or physical ability is the very reason for their existence. They never really grasp that the most valuable thing they posses are their virtues.
Self Satisfaction Inner Fulfilment
As a hiker, I enjoy pushing myself to new extremes. Colder temperatures, inclement weather, steeper higher climbs and so forth. I cannot help but get a little inner self satisfaction when I conquer those new challenges. I cannot brag about such things because there are others that go higher, further, faster and so on. So what I can do would be a disappointment for someone else with greater ability, and then maybe to another person who cannot do such things it may be inspirational.
This is where I like my influence to lie. You may not be the best, but you will not be the worst if you only try. Inner fulfilment needs to be your goal, this is the mountain we all need to climb.
Being The Best
What or who is the best, really? Will there not always be someone faster, stronger, smarter and so on? By being humble you find that inner fulfilment and it will bring you much joy. My son David has a delightful saying, and I think that I will use it here. He tells others, “You do you.”. At first that kind of pissed me off, I thought it was selfish because in effect he was telling me I should only worry about me. Well, being a father, I cannot do that when it comes to him. However, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that his point is that he was going to impress himself and not worry about what others do. Wow, I thought to myself, “Damn, I’m a brilliant father!” Pun intended.
Marcus Aurelius On Inner Fulfilment
It is helpful to read what Marcus Aurelius wrote on this issue.
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others. If then a god or a wise teacher should present himself to a man and bid him to think of nothing and to design nothing which he would not express as soon as he conceived it, he could not endure it even for a single day. So much more respect have we to what our neighbors shall think of us than to what we shall think of ourselves.” -Meditations 12.4
How To Impress Yourself
There is no greater way to impress yourself than by practicing humility. First recognize you will not be the greatest and best at a certain activity. You will not be the richest and you will never reach the apex of financial wealth. The most important thing in your life are your virtues.
Carl Peterson & Alan Watts
There is a man that taught me many things as a young lad. His name is Carl Peterson, and he is a good man. One day Carl and I were talking about accomplishing a lot of things. He looked at me and said, “How do you eat an elephant?”. I replied, “How?”. He said, “One bite at a time.”.
Alan Watts was an inspirational speaker that I enjoy listening to. You can still find his recordings on YouTube. His philosophic terminology deals a lot with living in the moment. He illustrates doing a truck load of dishes and how overwhelming it is to even think about a task. However, you must realize that you need to do those dishes one dish at a time. So in effect you are not washing a truckload of dishes, you are only washing one dish.
So now getting back to this business of impressing yourself with humility. Recognize that you like everyone else in the world have 24 hours in a day, in those 24 hours you have 1,440 minutes and in those 1,440 minutes you have 86,400 seconds.
Now the best of the best can only take how many steps in 1 second? Probably not much more than you. So let’s take this one second at a time, shall we? Whatever goal it is that you have, whatever thing you want to accomplish, do it one second at a time. Do not do it 2 seconds at a time, that is impossible like we discussed before. You only have this moment to live, so live it; accomplish your goal and impress yourself!