Our relationship is strained.
It feels like it has been for a while. For the last four years, there has been an elephant in the room — I’d joke and call it an orange elephant, but I’m nervous that might end this earnest conversation before it even begins.
Have I changed? I mean, yes, of course I have. I’ve gotten older. I’ve had two children. I’ve tried to read and learn as much as possible, just as you taught me.
In fact, that’s sort of the weirdest thing. I don’t think I’ve changed much. I still believe, deep in my bones, all the fundamental things you not only talked to me about, but showed me when I was little. …
The reign of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was defined by a pandemic, civil unrest, interminable wars, cultural decadence, and income inequality.
As he would observe in Meditations, people have always been people, and life has always been life. The more things change, the more they stay the same. How true we’ve found this to be.
I’ve spent more than a decade writing about the Stoic philosophy, most recently with my book Lives of the Stoics and my research is filled with unique characters from unique backgrounds — from slaves to generals, lawyers to writers, artists to doctors. Despite all their difficulties, they found a way to be successful, happy, strong, productive, and good. …
Perhaps it takes something as tumultuous as our current world to clarify what that word stillness means. When we hear it, we know the importance of it, intuitively and instinctively: The quiet. The gratitude. The ability to step back and reflect. Being steady while everything spins around you. Acting without frenzy. Hearing only what needs to be heard.
As Rome was being scourged by plague and war, the emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius wrote about being “like the rock that the waves keep crashing over,” the one that “stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.” …