Stoic Quotes

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Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We've been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living)
If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
The two of them were stoic and stone-faced and ten feet apart, currently not even looking at each other, but Zuzana had the impression of a pair of magnets pretending not to be magnets. Which, you know, only works until it doesn’t.
Laini Taylor (Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3))
Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean
Will Durant
In love. In love with the stoic, the sullen, the eternally morose Varen Nethers? He would never allow it.
Kelly Creagh (Nevermore (Nevermore, #1))
The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.
D.H. Lawrence (Studies in Classic American Literature)
Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
At first I felt dizzy - not with the kind of dizziness that makes the body reel but the kind that's like a dead emptiness in the brain, an instinctive awareness of the void.
Fernando Pessoa (The Education of the Stoic: The Only Manuscript of the Baron of Teive)
I've always wanted not to give a fuck. While crying helplessly into my pillow for no good reason, I would often fantasize that maybe someday I could be one of those stoic badasses whose emotions are mostly comprised of rock music and not being afraid of things.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
To win true freeedom you must be a slave to philosophy.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.
Seneca
It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Regard [a friend] as loyal, and you will make him loyal.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
But when you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
From here on out, there's just reality. I think that's what maturity is: a stoic response to endless reality. But then, what do I know?
Carrie Fisher (Postcards from the Edge)
Yeah, and so Max and Dylan are supposed to, like, go to Germany and have kids together," I heard Gazzy say. My eyes popped open and I bolted upright. "What?" Fang said, his voice icy. "Gazzy!" I yelled. Wide blue eyes looked at me in surprise, then back at Fang's stoic face. "Oh. Was I not supposed to say anything?" Gazzy asked.
James Patterson
You're a pretty cool customer, huh?" says Agent Hunt. "I hide my inner pain under my stoic visage." Agent Hunt looks like he would like to put his fist through my stoic visage.
Holly Black (Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2))
A thought experiment courtesy of the Stoics. If you are tired of everything you possess, imagine that you have lost all these things.
Jenny Offill (Dept. of Speculation)
Think progress, not perfection.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living)
To be everywhere is to be nowhere.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
You should … live in such a way that there is nothing which you could not as easily tell your enemy as keep to yourself.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Nothing is burdensome if taken lightly, and nothing need arouse one's irritation so long as one doesn't make it bigger than it is by getting irritated.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back.
Epicurus
We love being mentally strong, but we hate situations that allow us to put our mental strength to good use.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed, Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
It is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
If anyone says that the best life of all is to sail the sea, and then adds that I must not sail upon a sea where shipwrecks are a common occurrence and there are often sudden storms that sweep the helmsman in an adverse direction, I conclude that this man, although he lauds navigation, really forbids me to launch my ship.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
They say you never know what you would do in a hypothetical situation. We’d all like to think we’d be one of the people who gave up their lifejackets and waved a stoic good-bye from the slanting deck of the titanic, someone who jumped in front of a bullet for a stranger, or turned and raced back up the stairs of one of the towers, in search of someone who needed help rather than our own security. But you just don’t know for sure if, when things fall apart, you’ll think safety first, or if safety will be the last thing on your mind.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities. God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe.
Jeffrey R. Holland
I've come to the point where I never feel the need to stop and evaluate whether or not I am happy. I'm just 'being', and without question, by default, it works.
Criss Jami (Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality)
pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
Think of your many years of procrastination; how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, of which you have taken no advantage. It is time now to realise the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of that controlling Power whose offspring you are; and to understand that your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in your power again.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Limiting one’s desires actually helps to cure one of fear. ‘Cease to hope … and you will cease to fear.’ … Widely different [as fear and hope] are, the two of them march in unison like a prisoner and the escort he is handcuffed to. Fear keeps pace with hope … both belong to a mind in suspense, to a mind in a state of anxiety through looking into the future. Both are mainly due to projecting our thoughts far ahead of us instead of adapting ourselves to the present.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
The guy behind the counter scratches his neck. “Are you being serious?” Her face is stoic. “Absolutely. I never kid about teddy bears.
Jessica Sorensen (The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden (The Coincidence, #1))
When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you'll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger. Your sense of good and evil may be the same as theirs, or near it, in which case you have to excuse them. Or your sense of good and evil may differ from theirs. In which case they're misguided and deserve your compassion. Is that so hard?
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Had he stood outside my door as I'd stood outside his, fists at his sides, lips drawn back? Did it have him as bad as it had me? Was it eating at him, gnawing at him with the same sharp vicious little teeth that wouldn't let me sleep? Yes, it was. I could see the rage of insatiable uninvited lust in every line of that dark, stoic face that had once been too subtly etched for me to read. I wasn't the only one lying awake at night, fevered with memories, tossing, turning, soaking my sheets, burning up--not for Fae sex, but him, damn it all to hell, him.
Karen Marie Moning (Dreamfever (Fever, #4))
Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes as well; and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
People who know no self-restraint lead stormy and disordered lives, passing their time in a state of fear commensurate with the injuries they do to others, never able to relax.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
the easiest way for us to gain happiness is to learn how to want the things we already have.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
Some of the best things that have ever happened to us wouldn’t have happened to us, if it weren’t for some of the worst things that have ever happened to us.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Your primary desire, says Epictetus, should be your desire not to be frustrated by forming desires you won’t be able to fulfill.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
When a Wanderess has been caged, or perched with her wings clipped, She lives like a Stoic, She lives most heroic, smiling with ruby, moistened lips once her cup of Death is welcome sipped.
Roman Payne
Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life - that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health. The body should be treated more rigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
As it is with a play, so it is with life - what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
A Stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one who says “f*** you” to fate.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
For the only safe harbour in this life's tossing, troubled sea is to refuse to be bothered about what the future will bring and to stand ready and confident, squaring the breast to take without skulking or flinching whatever fortune hurls at us.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Her lie was symptomatic of a certain pride she took in mocking the romantic, in being unsentimental, matter-of-fact, stoic; yet at heart she was the opposite: idealistic, dreamy, giving, and deeply attached to everything she liked verbally to dismiss as "mushy.
Alain de Botton (On Love)
There are more things, Lucilius, likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
What really ruins our character is the fact that none of us looks back over his life.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no shame in that?” —EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 28
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
What fortune has made yours is not your own.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Philosophy calls for simple living, not for doing penance, and the simple way of life need not be a crude one.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
I'd developed an inability to demonstrate much negative emotion at all. It was another thing that made me seem like a dick - my stomach could be all oiled eels, and you would get nothing from my face and less from my words. It was a constant problem: too much control or no control at all.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, you move'.
Christopher Markus
Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Some people avoid thinking deeply in public, only because they are afraid of coming across as suicidal.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
I have learned to be a friend to myself Great improvement this indeed Such a one can never be said to be alone for know that he who is a friend to himself is a friend to all mankind
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
A woman is not beautiful when her ankle or arm wins compliments, but when her total appearance diverts admiration from the individual parts of her body.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Except fang. I glared at him. "Go on, try to stop me, I dare you." It was like the old days when we used to wrestle, each trying to get the better of the other. I was ready to take him down, my hands curled into fist. "I was just going to say be careful," Fang told me. He stepped closer and brushed some hair out of my eyes. "And I've got your back." He motioned with his head toward the torpedo chamber. Oh my God. It hit me like a tsunami then, how perfect he was for me, how no one else would ever, could ever, be so perfect for me, how he was everything I could possibly hope for, as a friend, boyfriend, maybe even more. He was it for me. There would be no more looking. I really, really loved him, with a whole new kind of love I'd never felt before, something that made every other kind of love I'd ever felt feel washed out and wimpy in comparison. I loved him with every cell in my body, every thought in my head, every feather in my wings, every breathe in my lungs. and air sacs. Too bad I was going out to face almost certain death. Right there in front of everyone, I threw my arms around his neck and smashed my mouth against his. He was startled for a second, then his strong arms wrapped around me so tightly I could hardly breathe. "ZOMG," I heard Nudge whisper, but still fang and I kissed slanting our heads this way and that to get closer. I could have stood there and kissed him happily for the next millennium, but Angel, or what was left of her was still out there in the could dark ocean. Reluctantly, I ended the kiss, took a step back. Fang's obsidian eyes were glittering brightly and his stoic face had a look of wonder on it."Gotta go," I said quietly. A half smile quirked his mouth. "Yeah. Hurry back." I nodded and he stepped out of the air lock chamber, keeping his eyes fixed on me, memorizing me as he hit the switch that sealed the chamber. The doors hissed shut with a kind of finality, and I realized that my heart was beating so hard it felt like it was going to start snapping ribs. I was scared. I was crazily, deeply, incredibly, joyously, terrifyingly in love. I was on a death mission. Before my head simply exploded from so much emotion, I hit the large button that pressurized the air lock enough for the doors to open to the ocean outside. I really, really hoped that I would prove somewhat uncrushable, like Angel did. The door cracked open below me and I saw the first dark glint of frigid water.
James Patterson (Maximum Ride Five-Book Set)
Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Cal stares at the floor, silent for a long, stoic moment. "I never thought Maven would do that to her," he mutters finally. "She probably didn't either." Then you're both stupid, my brain screams. How many times doe one wicked boy have to betray you people before you learn?
Victoria Aveyard (King's Cage (Red Queen, #3))
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is Man. Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side, With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest; In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast; In doubt his mind or body to prefer; Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err; Alike in ignorance, his reason such, Whether he thinks too little or too much; Chaos of thought and passion, all confused; Still by himself abused or disabused; Created half to rise, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd; The glory, jest, and riddle of the world! Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides, Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides; Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, Correct old time, and regulate the sun; Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere, To the first good, first perfect, and first fair; Or tread the mazy round his followers trod, And quitting sense call imitating God; As Eastern priests in giddy circles run, And turn their heads to imitate the sun. Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule— Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
Alexander Pope (An Essay on Man)
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living: Featuring new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius)
BE RUTHLESS TO THE THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER “How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements—how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!” —SENECA, ON THE BREVITY OF LIFE, 3.3b
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living: Featuring new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius)
He should have said something, why hadn't he? Costis wondered. In fact, the king had. He had complained at every step all the way across the palace, and they'd ignored it. If he'd been stoic and denied the pain, the entire palace would have been in a panic already, Eddisian soldiers on the move. He'd meant to deceive them, and he'd succeeded. It made Costis wonder for the first time just how much the stoic man really wants to hide when he unsuccessfully pretends not to be in pain.
Megan Whalen Turner (The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3))
I'm not sure how I feel about you 'handling my life energy,' Cal." He grinned, and I was taken aback by how different it made him look. Cal spent so much time being stoic and solemn that it was easy to forget he even had teeth. "I'll buy you dinner first next time, I promise." Okay, the grin was one thing, but that had definitely been flirting.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives, or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter. Sit still with me and meditate on how useless effort is, how alien the will, and on how our very meditation is no more useful than effort, and no more our own than the will. Meditate too on how a life that wants nothing can have no weight in the flux of things, but a life the wants everything can likewise have no weight in the flux of things, since it cannot obtain everything, and to obtain less than everything is not worthy of souls that seek the truth.
Fernando Pessoa (The Education of the Stoic: The Only Manuscript of the Baron of Teive)
Indeed, pursuing pleasure, Seneca warns, is like pursuing a wild beast: On being captured, it can turn on us and tear us to pieces. Or, changing the metaphor a bit, he tells us that intense pleasures, when captured by us, become our captors, meaning that the more pleasures a man captures, “the more masters will he have to serve.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
And here lies the essential between Stoicism and the modern-day 'cult of optimism.' For the Stoics, the ideal state of mind was tranquility, not the excitable cheer that positive thinkers usually seem to mean when they use the word, 'happiness.' And tranquility was to be achieved not by strenuously chasing after enjoyable experiences, but by cultivating a kind of calm indifference towards one's circumstances.
Oliver Burkeman (The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking)
All this hurrying from place to place won’t bring you any relief, for you’re traveling in the company of your own emotions, followed by your troubles all the way.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
As Lucretius says: 'Thus ever from himself doth each man flee.' But what does he gain if he does not escape from himself? He ever follows himself and weighs upon himself as his own most burdensome companion. And so we ought to understand that what we struggle with is the fault, not of the places, but of ourselves
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
What we desire makes us vulnerable.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living: Featuring new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius)
And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean. At its cradle (to repeat a thoughtful adage) religion stands, and philosophy accompanies it to the grave. In the beginning of all cultures a strong religious faith conceals and softens the nature of things, and gives men courage to bear pain and hardship patiently; at every step the gods are with them, and will not let them perish, until they do. Even then a firm faith will explain that it was the sins of the people that turned their gods to an avenging wrath; evil does not destroy faith, but strengthens it. If victory comes, if war is forgotten in security and peace, then wealth grows; the life of the body gives way, in the dominant classes, to the life of the senses and the mind; toil and suffering are replaced by pleasure and ease; science weakens faith even while thought and comfort weaken virility and fortitude. At last men begin to doubt the gods; they mourn the tragedy of knowledge, and seek refuge in every passing delight. Achilles is at the beginning, Epicurus at the end. After David comes Job, and after Job, Ecclesiastes.
Will Durant (Our Oriental Heritage (The Story of Civilization, #1))
Are you okay with what we ordered?” Angeline asked him. “You didn’t pipe up with any requests.” Neil shook his head, face stoic. He kept his dark hair in a painfully short and efficient haircut. It was the kind of no-nonsense thing the Alchemists would’ve loved. “I can’t waste time quibbling over trivial things like pepperoni and mushrooms. If you’d gone to my school in Devonshire, you’d understand. For one of my sophomore classes, they left us alone on the moors to fend for ourselves and learn survival skills. Spend three days eating twigs and heather, and you’ll learn not to argue about any food coming your way.” Angeline and Jill cooed as though that was the most rugged, manly thing they’d ever heard. Eddie wore an expression that reflected what I felt, puzzling over whether this guy was as serious as he seemed or just some genius with swoon-worthy lines.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
You desire to LIVE "according to Nature"? Oh, you noble Stoics, what fraud of words! Imagine to yourselves a being like Nature, boundlessly extravagant, boundlessly indifferent, without purpose or consideration, without pity or justice, at once fruitful and barren and uncertain: imagine to yourselves INDIFFERENCE as a power—how COULD you live in accordance with such indifference? To live—is not that just endeavouring to be otherwise than this Nature? Is not living valuing, preferring, being unjust, being limited, endeavouring to be different? And granted that your imperative, "living according to Nature," means actually the same as "living according to life"—how could you do DIFFERENTLY? Why should you make a principle out of what you yourselves are, and must be? In reality, however, it is quite otherwise with you: while you pretend to read with rapture the canon of your law in Nature, you want something quite the contrary, you extraordinary stage-players and self-deluders! In your pride you wish to dictate your morals and ideals to Nature, to Nature herself, and to incorporate them therein; you insist that it shall be Nature "according to the Stoa," and would like everything to be made after your own image, as a vast, eternal glorification and generalism of Stoicism! With all your love for truth, you have forced yourselves so long, so persistently, and with such hypnotic rigidity to see Nature FALSELY, that is to say, Stoically, that you are no longer able to see it otherwise—and to crown all, some unfathomable superciliousness gives you the Bedlamite hope that BECAUSE you are able to tyrannize over yourselves—Stoicism is self-tyranny—Nature will also allow herself to be tyrannized over: is not the Stoic a PART of Nature?... But this is an old and everlasting story: what happened in old times with the Stoics still happens today, as soon as ever a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise; philosophy is this tyrannical impulse itself, the most spiritual Will to Power, the will to "creation of the world," the will to the causa prima.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
Remember to act always as if you were at a symposium. When the food or drink comes around, reach out and take some politely; if it passes you by don't try pulling it back. And if it has not reached you yet, don't let your desire run ahead of you, be patient until your turn comes. Adopt a similar attitude with regard to children, wife, wealth and status, and in time, you will be entitled to dine with the gods. Go further and decline these goods even when they are on offer and you will have a share in the gods' power as well as their company. That is how Diogenes, Heraclitus and philosophers like them came to be called, and considered, divine.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
Horace, fit, and athletic and light on his feet, gave their guards the fewest opportunities to beat him, although on one occasion an angry Tualaghi, furious that Horace misunderstood an order to kneel, slashed his dagger across the young man’s face, opening a thin, shallow cut on his right cheek. The wound was superficial but as Evanlyn treated it that evening, Horace shamelessly pretended that it was more painful than it really was. He enjoyed the touch of her ministering hands. Halt and Gilan, bruised and weary, watched as she cleaned the wound and gently pated it dry. Horace did a wonderful job of pretending to bear great pain with stoic bravery. Halt shook his head in disgust. “What faker,” he said to Gilan. The younger Ranger nodded. “Yes. He’s really making a meal of it isn’t he?” He paused, then added more ruefully, “Wish I’d thought of it first.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
If you want to make progress, put up with being perceived as ignorant or naive in worldly matters, don't aspire to a reputation for sagacity. If you do impress others as somebody, don't altogether believe it. You have to realize, it isn't easy to keep your will in agreement with nature, as well as externals. Caring about the one inevitably means you are going to shortchange the other.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
Life's greatest philosophy is not handed down in stoic texts and dusty tomes, but lived, in each breath and act of human compassion. For love has always demanded sacrifice, and no greater love is there than that for which our lives are traded. And in this great cause of spiritual evolution we are all called to be martyrs, to die each of us, in the quest of a higher realm and loftier ideals, that we may know God. And what if there is nothing else? What if all life ends in the silent void of death? Then is it all in vain? I think not, for love, for the sake of love, will always be enough. And if our lives are but a single flash in the dark hollow of eternity, then if, but for the briefest of moments, we shine - then how brilliantly our light has burned. And as starlight knows no boundary of space or time, so too, our illumination will shine forth throughout all eternity, for darkness has no power to quell such light. And this is a lesson we must all learn and take to heart - that all light is eternal and all love is light. And it must forever be so.
Richard Paul Evans (The Letter (The Christmas Box, #3))
And this, too, affords no small occasion for anxieties - if you are bent on assuming a pose and never reveal yourself to anyone frankly, in the fashion of many who live a false life that is all made up for show; for it is torturous to be constantly watching oneself and be fearful of being caught out of our usual role. And we are never free from concern if we think that every time anyone looks at us he is always taking-our measure; for many things happen that strip off our pretence against our will, and, though all this attention to self is successful, yet the life of those who live under a mask cannot be happy and without anxiety. But how much pleasure there is in simplicity that is pure, in itself unadorned, and veils no part of its character!{PlainDealer+} Yet even such a life as this does run some risk of scorn, if everything lies open to everybody; for there are those who disdain whatever has become too familiar. But neither does virtue run any risk of being despised when she is brought close to the eyes, and it is better to be scorned by reason of simplicity than tortured by perpetual pretence.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application—not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech—and learn them so well that words become works. No one to my mind lets humanity down quite so much as those who study philosophy as if it were a sort of commercial skill and then proceed to live in a quite different manner from the way they tell other people to live.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
The first and most important field of philosophy is the application of principles such as “Do not lie.” Next come the proofs, such as why we should not lie. The third field supports and articulates the proofs, by asking, for example, “How does this prove it? What exactly is a proof, what is logical inference, what is contradiction, what is truth, what is falsehood?” Thus, the third field is necessary because of the second, and the second because of the first. The most important, though, the one that should occupy most of our time, is the first. But we do just the opposite. We are preoccupied with the third field and give that all our attention, passing the first by altogether. The result is that we lie – but have no difficulty proving why we shouldn’t.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
The Chair I’m writing to you, who made the archaic wooden chair look like a throne while you sat on it. Amidst your absence, I choose to sit on the floor, which is dusty as a dry Kansas day. I am stoic as a statue of Buddha, not wanting to bother the old wooden chair, which has been silent now for months. In this sunlit moment I think of you. I can still picture you sitting there-- your forehead wrinkled like an un-ironed shirt, the light splashed on your face, like holy water from St. Joseph’s. The chair, with rounded curves like that of a full-figured woman, seems as mellow as a monk in prayer. The breeze blows from beyond the curtains, as if your spirit has come back to rest. Now a cloud passes overhead, and I hush, waiting to hear what rests so heavily on the chair’s lumbering mind. Do not interrupt, even if the wind offers to carry your raspy voice like a wispy cloud.
Jarod Kintz (A Letter to Andre Breton, Originally Composed on a Leaf of Lettuce With an Ink-dipped Carrot)
My least favorite form of street harassment is when a guy asks why I’m not smiling. It’s related to that: Women aren’t allowed to be quiet or stoic or shy—or, hell, just in a bad mood—without being criticized. Women are bitchy and frigid if we don’t seem accessible at all times, for the most part to men. We’re supposed to be perpetually friendly. Who wants to live up to that? And seriously, when was the last time you heard a quiet woman described as “deep”? Men who are serious are just that—serious. Think laconic cowboys and Clint Eastwood-style movie heroes. Strong and silent is a desirable personality trait for men—women, not so much. Because where silence in men is seen as strength, silence in women (if not seen as bitchy) is seen as weakness—she’s shy, a wallflower.
Jessica Valenti (He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know)