Stoic Week 2017 – Saturday

Saturday’s about nature and our place in it.

To me, at least at this moment in time, Stoicism feels like philosophical home.

I am quite convinced that I will never subscribe 100% to any ism, and that’s how I want to keep it.

But still, so many Stoic teachings have hit the bullseye in my view and following the teachings in my own thinking has improved my life in many ways.

Having said that, in the part “Nature” I find the one thing I can not buy from the ancient Stoics. (I’m sure there are many more since they lived a long time ago…)

I do agree that we depend on nature and get all we have and need from it, one way or another, but all that about universe/nature being a living, wise, caring single entity does not make much sense to me. So to this idea I can relate only in the most superficial, perhaps poetical sense but I do not believe it to be factually true. I can understand the universe having “order and structure” as in “everything works according to laws of nature/physics”.

Things cause other things to happen and influence each other. But having a plan or being caring in some way? Nope, can’t go with that idea.

Practice: View From Above

View from above is a visualisation exercise where you picture seeing yourself from above, rising higher and higher until you “see” the area you’re in, people going about their business etc… Then you continue rising higher until you see the larger region, sea, neighbouring countries, finally the globe, and then keep going until you contemplate the place of the earth in the vastness of cosmos. This is often coupled with contemplating the vast time-scale of the earth and the universe.

This is one of the exercises I use regularly, and find helpful.

It puts your worries in perspective. It helps to see how fleeting is every thing we obsess over now and how short is this moment, and this life, when put on the right scale.

I think this should not be used to belittle your or anyone’s feelings or troubles. It should not make you feel insignificant, but it should show you that there is a bigger picture that we often overlook when being caught up in our day-to-day business.

Seeing that bigger picture from time to time may help us to take our own shit less seriously and recover from disappointments faster.

StoicWeek 2017

Stoic Week material:

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