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  • If you could sit on a star and watch the planets dance around the sun, you'd bear witness

  • to a Stoic truth: the world is meant to be in harmony.

  • The universe is intelligent, rational, and ordered.

  • As a piece of the world, a fragment of this intelligence resides within you.

  • You have a role in establishing harmony.

  • Life is a play in which we all take part, and our duty is to play our part well.

  • In this video, we'll discuss the teachings of Epictetus: a Stoic philosopher who can

  • help us achieve a life of harmony.

  • By acknowledging that a fragment of the world's intelligence resides within you, you also

  • acknowledge that most of it doesn't.

  • This means that most things in life are out of your control.

  • You can't decide whether you get sick or not.

  • You can't decide whether someone hires you.

  • And, you can't decide whether people like you or not.

  • But, this doesn't mean you don't have control over anything.

  • You were given a small locus of control.

  • Although you can't establish the order of the external world, you have the capacity

  • to generate the order of your internal world.

  • You can't control how the world responds to you, but you can control how you respond

  • to the world.

  • Your perceptions, desires, motivations, and beliefs are all in your control.

  • Achieving harmony with Nature begins by realizing that only the structure of our internal world

  • is in our control.

  • So, how should we structure this internal world?

  • The world presents itself to all of your senses and gives you an idea to think.

  • You get to judge whether these ideas are true and what their value is.

  • As you judge things as true or false and valuable or valueless, you begin to give structure

  • to your psychology.

  • This structure, or set of beliefs, determines how you'll act.

  • You'll move towards everything you deem good and away from everything you deem as

  • bad.

  • How, then, will you bring down the hammer of your judgment?

  • Epictetus gives us three hammers with which we can judge the world: virtue, vice, and

  • indifference.

  • Virtues are ideas or actions that are good for everyone under all circumstances: they're

  • what we should deem as true and positively valuable.

  • Vices are ideas or actions that are bad for everyone under all circumstances: they're

  • what we should deem as false and negatively valuable.

  • Things that don't count as virtue or vice are indifferent.

  • Indifferents can be preferred, like money, or not preferred, like illness.

  • Your mind is a powerful hammer, but how well do you pass judgment?

  • Can you judge as Nature judges?

  • Can you live a life of virtue and harmony?

  • Your philosophy is the seed out of which your actions grow.

  • The consequences of your actions are the fruit that your tree bears.

  • Is your fruit sweet, or is it poisonous?

  • Does it give life, or does it take it?

  • In Stoicism, the goal of life is to bear sweet fruit.

  • Can your flourishing be the flourishing of all?

  • Imagine a tree that spreads its seeds through poisonous fruit: it benefits at the expense

  • of others.

  • This tree won't flourish because it's not in harmony with Nature.

  • Which animal would want to eat its fruit and spread its seed?

  • Epictetus tells us not to be angry with those who bear poisonous fruit.

  • In the end, they're really just harming themselves.

  • So, how can we bear sweet fruit?

  • For Epictetus, the answer lies in how we structure our psychology and pass judgment on the world.

  • Those who can avoid vice and approach virtue are the trees

  • that can give life.

If you could sit on a star and watch the planets dance around the sun, you'd bear witness

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How to Live A Good Life | Epictetus & Stoicism

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    Summer posted on 2021/02/19
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