This spring I was talking with a friend who released a four song album. I was enamored because it seems like a Herculean task. I wouldn’t know where to begin to write lyrics and music, play them together, mix it (whatever that even means), and so on. His answer didn’t explain how to make music but instead how to make something.
To write the lyrics he pulled quotes, examples, and inspiration from a single book. For the music he had only a guitar and drums. These limits seem confining but they actually let him get more done. Constraints allow tunnel vision for the things you’ve chosen to do. Wanting to try a version of this beyond the posts about about Stoicism, I’ll be reflecting on how Stoic thinking can help me in the biggest job of my life, being a dad.
An appeal of Stoic philosophy has been that it’s proclaimed as a philosophy of action rather than thought. About philosophy Seneca wrote: “It moulds and builds the personality, orders one’s life, regulates one’s conduct, shows one what one should do and what one should leave undone, sits at the helm and keeps one on the correct course as one is tossed about in perilous seas.”
What Stoic philosophy is not is an indifference to pain, pleasure, grief or joy. This modern usage was a 16th century switch and is not what these posts will be about.
Right now I’m gathering quotes for the 52 spots and have found that some will apply to better times of the year than others. One example I’m brainstorming is connecting the Roman festival of Saturnalia with the holiday season from Halloween through Christmas. If you have any favorite Stoic ideas or passages please let me know.
Next Sunday I’ll begin by sharing a Stoic quote and how I applied it to my life. If other connections are available I’ll write about them as well.
Until next week we can talk more about Stoicism on Twitter, @MikeDariano.