Monday, June 30, 2014

The daily stoic

Well not daily yet; but that could be a objective, just a trap set for failure. We start where we are.

MA 9.40  yes in old english

 40. Either the gods have no power or they have power.

If, then, they have no power, why dost thou pray to them?

But if they have power, why dost thou not pray for them to give thee the faculty of not fearing any of the things which thou fearest, or of not desiring any of the things which thou desirest, or not being pained at anything, rather than pray that any of these things should not happen or happen? for certainly if they can co-operate with men, they can co-operate for these purposes.

But perhaps thou wilt say, the gods have placed them in thy power. Well, then, is it not better to use what is in thy power like a free man than to desire in a slavish and abject way what is not in thy power?

And who has told thee that the gods do not aid us even in the things which are in our power?

Begin, then, to pray for such things, and thou wilt see. One man prays thus: How shall I be able to lie with that woman? Do thou prays thus: How shall I not desire to lie with her?

Another prays thus: How shall I be released from this? Another (thou) prays: How shall I not desire to be released?

Another thus: How shall I not lose my little son? Thou thus: How shall I not be afraid to lose him?

In fine, turn thy prayers this way, and see what comes.

Not all the stoics were god free. Many still used "god" concepts like prayer, as well as saying god, nature, was the creator of all, and the divinity in us is logic, reason, and the directing mind, consciousness.

Well that is one version spaced out, and the modern version, G Hays, said it much nicer, but the concept is similar. Pray for that which is within our power to do. This is not entirely compilable with "praying for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out" but is much more rational. 

We Stoic know what is with our power; choice, decision, assent or rejection of a concept, an impression within the directing mind, our belief system, and all things directly and exclusively dependent, like desires, the impulse to move, stewardship of life and body. Little else. We stoics also know to limit our efforts and measure the outcome of only that which depends solely on us. It is our duty to carry out our natural role. All else has the hand of Fate on the rudder, Providence overlooking every move, and is beyond our control.

So how should I stop desiring to overeat? By thinking "processed food is unfit for humans, and specifically this human." ah, but this is god free and within my power. It is my duty to not eat carbage.

No comments: