Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Mad Stoic's Plan to a Stoic Life

Part 1: The Setup

It is a Saturday morning right now and I realize just how un-Stoic I am. I rage too much at the world. I'm not a very social creature. I'm an emotional eater. I don't work the mind too hard, nor the body. In short, I'm much like a lot of people these days, if you believe what you hear about Americans.

And this cycle of un-Stoic behavior just feeds into more un-Stoic living. No, scratch that: the way I am now is un-philosophical, period. I'm just un-ing all over the place.

This morning, as I woke up, it stuck me that I need to get life back down the path of following Stoic Nature. And because I've been reading a lot of experimental journalism – the act of living a certain way for however long because people like reading about other people doing things – I've decided I needed a yearlong Stoic reset.

Stoic reset? What's that even mean?

What I mean is I'm going to spend some time rereading some of the more accessible Stoic works, try to break them down into bite-size action items (maxims, for a more philosophical bent or rules for a more practical one), then do my best for a year to live by these items.

If you've read The Happiness Project, then this might sound familiar. Gretchen Rubin, in her quest to find more happiness in her life, read philosophy, studies, and novels to find action items of happiness. Then, she pulled a Ben Franklin: she made a chart of these items and marked which one's she did. She started out with a few items per month, then added more until she December, which was her ultimate test of happiness, living every day by her items.

From what I remember reading, it worked as well as it could. She didn't become perfectly happy, but happier. And so it is for my goals. I'm not looking to be a sage, but sageier. Shut up, I know that's not a word.

Of course, as it was with philosophers of old, so it will be for me: I'm going to steal – er – be inspired by other people's ideas as well. For example, Gretchen has a wonderful chapter about having more energy. Her reasoning is also on point: having the energy will make everything else that much easier. The Art of Manliness blog has a post about a tech Sabbath, which sounds like a great idea for getting in touch with Nature.

As this is only about the setup, I'm not too sure how I'm going about this yet. I've more research to do and I only have a basic idea of what I want to do. I also have three areas I want to work on: mental, psychical, and spiritual. However, I'm wondering if I can make those more specific. I don't know. But I hope to come up with something for you people soon.


I just want to say at the end of this that I'm grateful to the Stoic community. I'm sort of like a leech. I hang off the body of Stoa groups and suck out the wonderful philosophical blood, enriching myself while doing nothing for others. Something like that. But I don't want to do that anymore, so I'm going to try my best to post here more, adding to the efforts rather than feeding off them. Thank you, every last one of you, who're doing what they can to keep Stoa alive.

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