You can’t have nice things, can you…
Is what many people say when something gets damaged, It was also what my Uncle said to me yesterday when he noticed a mark on my car…
It reminded me of a quote from Seneca
“Remember that all we have is “on loan” from Fortune, which can reclaim it without our permission—indeed, without even advance notice. Thus, we should love all our dear ones, but always with the thought that we have no promise that we may keep them forever—nay, no promise even that we may keep them for long.”
It’s not that we can’t have nice things,
But they aren’t ours, and they aren’t guaranteed to stay nice forever either.
Many things happen in life, Nice things can get stolen, broken, lost, die…
One day we will have to return them or we will have to be returned.
Enjoy the things whilst you have them but expect them to return, damaged etc.
Then if and when it happens you will be ready and the pain will be less.
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have.
Think of what you can do with that there is”
When Musonius Rufus was exiled from Rome, he would use that time to help the others who were also exiled. He found them an underwater spring and stated how man usually turn out better when exiled than they do whilst at home.
He came out with something along the lines of ‘When your at-home how often you see the world, how often do you see all your friends’
(Not an exact quote) but it means that you will never have everything at any one time so make do with what you have.
When we focus on what we don’t have, we lose sight of all we do. We lose sight of all the possibilities that are at hand.
We become blinded to desire.
There is so much at your fingertips.
We’re Just Wicked People, Living Amongst Wicked People
We all do wicked things, We don’t always mean to and neither do they.
We should be kind to others and firm on ourselves,
We can’t control what others do, but we can control our actions…
Or at least learn from them,
Why did we do that?
Why did we behave that way?
What caused me to do that?
What can I do better in the future?
The aim of each day is to be a better version of ourselves by the end of it, Not go backwards.
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones
In Ryan Holidays lives of the stoics book, he mentions one stoic that we know very little about,
History does mention any of the good he did or said,
It just remembers him for the one act of slander he did and that’s how he will be remembered.
Marcus Aurelius once said –
You could leave life right, so remember that with all you say and do
Meaning any act could be your last.
That day your having an off one, and you snap at someone or make a bad call in the heat of the moment…
That one time could wipe out all the good you have ever done.
We’ve seen it countless times in the modern day too,
One tweet could cost somebody their career, their legacy.
If it’s not right dont do it, if it’s not true dont say it (Marcus Aurelius I think)
Many thousand years ago after a shipwreck Zeno found himself in Athens with no money
After attending a lecture in a bookstore about Socrates Zeno wanted to know where to find one of those ‘philosophers’
After studying under a philosopher Zeno started his own school which today we believe is the origins of stoicism
When Zeno passed away Cleanthes took over the school and then Chrysippus and so on,
Most of the new leaders brought something new and adapted the philosophy slightly
Some students left and started there own schools based on what they thought philosophy should be
Fast forward to today where we have the likes of William Irvine who in is book adapted Stoicism slightly to the modern day.
The point things aren’t supposed to stay the same, as time goes on, and life ticks by things change and we need to adapt to them.
Stop holding on to the past