Monday, October 25, 2010


Montaigne was an extremely important Stoic philosopher. His study of stoicism and skepticism began when he had a near death experience and then trained himself to take life lightly, to enjoy it and to be skeptical of the importance of any of the experiences.

An interesting article on stoicism is written here

Practice misfortune:
“It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it is then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.”

To a stoic everything is an opportunity. 

“Alexander the Great and his mule driver both died and the same thing happened to both.”
-Marcus Aurelius

Rephrasing the above, my father used to tell me that the rich and poor eat the same quantity of food and enjoy the same sleep. Everything is thus ephemeral and fleeting. One should be free of passion and independent of emotion. One should show equanimity in the face of tragedy as well as good luck. 

“‘What progress have I made? I am beginning to be my own friend.’ That is progress indeed. Such a people will never be alone and you may be sure he is a friend to all.”
“Show me a man who isn’t a slave; one who is a slave to sex, another to money, another to ambition; all are slaves to hope or fear. I could show you a man who has been a Consul who is a slave to his ‘little old woman’, a millionaire who is the slave of a little girl in domestic service. And there is no state of slavery more disgraceful than one which is self-imposed.”
“Count your years and you’ll be ashamed to be wanting and working for exactly the same things as you wanted when you were a boy. Of this make sure against your dying day – that your faults die before you do.”
“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”
“Cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, never to trust prosperity and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases, treating her as if she were actually going to do everything that is in her power.”


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