Summarised Stoic Teachings and Quotes#

be tolerant with others and strict with yourself

Marcus Aurelius - Book5, 33

“Don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace.” Epictetus

‘Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.’ —Voltaire

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.” Epictetus

Gaius Musonius Rufus

Seneca the Younger




The Stoics said we shouldn’t waste our precious time…

…worrying about other people’s opinions …judging other people …putting things off to the future …holding onto the past …arguing with reality …thinking you are going to live forever

Marcus Aurelius:

  1. The obstacle is the way
  2. Be strict with yourself, tolerant with others
  3. Stop caring about what others do/say/think
  4. You don’t have to have an opinion
  5. You could leave life right now—let that determine what you do, say, and think

The Backwards Law - Stop Trying to get it and you will get it#

  • It is difficult to get rid of a thought by force
  • Dissatisfaction from life with negative emotions - the more you try be less dissatisfied the more dissatisfied you become
  • Trying to be happy - trying to be content - is exactly the reason you aren’t
  • Willpower and effort is something useful in the external world - getting money, imporiving fitness
  • What is happiness? Is it something we acquire from material things or love.
  • Alan Watts: 1. you don’t know what you want, you never can 2. you have it
  • Fire doesn’t burn itself, a knife cannot cut itself
  • The human predicament is a dlussion stating that changing external things and circumstances: objects, money, adjustments of the body and changes of scenery. The backwards law tells us the opposite is the case.
  • Pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it
  • The will to live
  • The mind perceives that the present moment is not enough - we try to escape what is into situations perceived as more pleasurable. Thus ever keen pleasure is an error and an illusion for no attained wish can give lasting satisfaction - Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Negation of the will
  • Accept - do not fight. If you fight you suffer twice.
  • When trying to fall asleep - forcing yourself makes it harder - only when you stop trying does it work.
  • Life is not a problem to be solved - but a reality to be experienced

Alan Watts - Meditation and Stop Talking to Yourself#

Mediation - shut up - be interiorly silent. Cease from the internal chatter in our skulls - we think compulsively.

If you are thinking all the time (talking to yourself) - you do not hear what anyone else has to say. You are not in a relationship with reality.

The purpose of music is not to get to the end - there is no destination. The journey itself is the reason. Mediation is the reason - the point of life is in the immediate moment. If you are looking to improve - you have your eye on the future. An eternal now. It must be fun.

Death is going to sleep and never waking up. The ego is a designed function of the brain - a radar looking for problems but finding yourself. Your organism is part of everything else - you are shining the sun.