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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Greek Stoics

First say to yourself, who do you want to be: then act accordingly. -- Epictetus

I keep reading and hearing that Paul added Platonism and Stoicism to his teaching and understanding, perhaps to make it more palatable to the people of the Roman Empire and possibly because it was already part of his worldview. He was a Jew and a Pharisee, but he lived his life outside of the Jewish homeland. He was a Roman citizen.

So I have been rereading Greek philosophy. I had not read Epictetus, except for a few quotes here and there, so I started reading his Discourses. I am now excited about his ideas. The Stoic ideas he presented are very much in alignment with mine, or maybe I should say I am in alignment with him.

The quote at the top of this entry is a simple and profound idea, one of a huge number of thoughts worthy to deeply consider.

Beginning to consider it, I wonder how many have asked themselves what they want to be. Not just career wise, but more importantly as a person. What principles do we stand on?  How do we act in life? Who are we?

Once we begin to get clarity, then action is necessary, unless we just want to be empty windbags. Practice a thing and it becomes part of us. What should we practice? I suggest kindness is a good beginning. Taking responsibility for yourself, not blaming, is essential. Focus on what you can do and do that and do it well. Be the best person you can be. 

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