Stoic Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Stoic. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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))
It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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)
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))
In love. In love with the stoic, the sullen, the eternally morose Varen Nethers? He would never allow it.
Kelly Creagh (Nevermore (Nevermore, #1))
A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean
Will Durant
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)
The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.
D.H. Lawrence (Studies in Classic American Literature)
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)
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)
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)
Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
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
To win true freeedom you must be a slave to philosophy.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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
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)
It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more.
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)
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))
Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back.
Epicurus
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
Regard [a friend] as loyal, and you will make him loyal.
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))
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)
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)
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)
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))
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)
It is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
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)
We love being mentally strong, but we hate situations that allow us to put our mental strength to good use.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Belief in God and a future life makes it possible to go through life with less of stoic courage than is needed by skeptics.
Bertrand Russell (Education and the Social Order)
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)
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)
To be everywhere is to be nowhere.
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)
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)
You enjoy making my heart stop, don't you?" he whispered, and I felt him shaking with adrenaline or something else. Before I could form a reply, he released me and stepped back, a stoic bodyguard once more.
Julie Kagawa
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
For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them
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)
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)
Because thou writest me often, I thank thee ... Never do I receive a letter from thee, but immediately we are together.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
You will never see me surrender, never see me cry, but you will often see me walk away. Turn around and just leave, without looking back.
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
Okay, I'll take the pink one with the torn ear.' 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))
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)
We look up to see if it is day or night. If stars burn cool and moon does shine, we take to smoke divine and wine. If breath of sun does belch its heat, we boil coffee and prepare to eat.
Roman Payne
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)
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))
The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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)
What fortune has made yours is not your own.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
A Stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one who says “f*** you” to fate.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
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)
What really ruins our character is the fact that none of us looks back over his life.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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))
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)
I know that these mental disturbances of mine are not dangerous and give no promise of a storm; to express what I complain of in apt metaphor, I am distressed, not by a tempest, but by sea-sickness.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
if we seek social status, we give other people power over us: We have to do things calculated to make them admire us, and we have to refrain from doing things that will trigger their disfavor.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
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)
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)
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))
When a mind is impressionable and has none too firm a hold on what is right, it must be rescued from the crowd: it is so easy for it to go over to the majority.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Before you realize this truth, say the Yogis, you will always be in despair, a notion nicely expressed in this exasperated line from the Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus: 'You bear God within you, poor wretch, and know it not.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, 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)
Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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)
The stoic contemplates fallen leaves; the epicure rakes them into a loveseat.
Bauvard (Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic)
For the Stoics, then, our judgments about the world are all that we can control, but also all that we need to control in order to be happy; tranquility results from replacing our irrational judgments with rational ones
Oliver Burkeman (The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking)
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))
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)
After a lifetime of nods, frowns and stoic smiles, they were both fluent in emotional shorthand.
Jamie Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet)
One reason children are capable of joy is because they take almost nothing for granted.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
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)
Words need to be sown like seeds. No matter how tiny a seed may be, when in lands in the right sort of ground it unfolds its strength and from being minute expands and grows to a massive size.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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
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))
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)
She released her grievances like handfuls of birdseed: They are there, and they are gone.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
Be stoic when necessary and write-you have seen a lot, felt deeply, and your problems are universal enough to be made meaningful-WRITE.
Sylvia Plath (The Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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)
We look up to see if it is day or night. If stars burn cool and moon does shine, We take to smoke divine and wine. If breath of sun does belch its heat, we boil coffee and prepare to eat.
Roman Payne
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))
Preserve a sense of proportion in your attitude to everything that pleases you, and make the most of them while they are at their best.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Most men ebb and flow in wretchedness between the fear of death and the hardships of life; they are unwilling to live, and yet they do not know how to die. 
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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)
Hello?” Bird’s stoic voice answered. “Hi, Bird?” This is Dex Foray, we met back in Red Fox last October…” “Dex,” he pronounced my name slowly. “I knew it was you.” “Oh,” I said, taken aback. Shit, maybe he was more new agey than I thought. “Could you sense me?” “No, I have caller ID
Karina Halle (And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5))
By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognize that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good.
Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
We should not trust the masses who say only the free can be educated, but rather the lovers of wisdom who say that only the educated are free.” —
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
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)
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))
While the melodrama of hucking crates of tea into Boston Harbor continues to inspire civic-minded hotheads to this day, it’s worth remembering the hordes of stoic colonial women who simply swore off tea and steeped basil leaves in boiling water to make the same point. What’s more valiant: littering from a wharf or years of doing chores and looking after children from dawn to dark without caffeine?
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
He thinks my hair smells like spring rain. I'm really trying to remain stoic and unaffected. I remind myself that I don't like poetic language. I don't like poetry. I don't even like people who like poetry. But I'm not dead inside either.
Nicola Yoon (The Sun Is Also a Star)
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)
We humans are unhappy in large part because we are insatiable; after working hard to get what we want, we routinely lose interest in the object of our desire. Rather than feeling satisfied, we feel a bit bored, and in response to this boredom, we go on to form new, even grander desires.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
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)
Here is your great soul—the man who has given himself over to Fate; on the other hand, that man is a weakling and a degenerate who struggles and maligns the order of the universe and would rather reform the gods than reform himself.
Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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))
It is a ridiculous thing for a man not to fly from his own badness, which is indeed possible, but to fly from other men's badness, which is impossible.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (one of the doer-Stoic authors), “fire feeds on obstacles.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
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)
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)
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))
There is, I assure you, a medical art for the soul. It is philosophy, whose aid need not be sought, as in bodily diseases, from outside ourselves. We must endeavor with all our resources and all our strength to become capable of doctoring ourselves.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
I think I quit reading at the word stochastic, which actually sort of reminded me of Reid, if what it means is a combination of stoic and sarcastic. But I’m pretty sure it has to do with calculus.
Kate Clayborn (Love Lettering)
Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long.
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)
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)
Nothing surprises me now," I tell him. I am stoic. I am Joan of Arc, with liver damage and an unused penis.
Augusten Burroughs (Dry)
you must reclaim the ability to abstain because within it is your clarity and self-control.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living: Featuring new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius)
We all have problems. Or rather, everyone has at least one thing that they regard as a problem.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
From the moment we’re born we’re constantly dying, not only with each stage of life but also one day at a time. Our bodies are no longer the ones to which our mothers gave birth, as Marcus put it. Nobody is the same person he was yesterday. Realizing this makes it easier to let go: we can no more hold on to life than grasp the waters of a rushing stream.
Donald J. Robertson (How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius)
Ash went over to the closet, and Sloane maintained his stoic expression. There was no way Dex would be hiding in the closet. It was too obvious. Ash opened the door, looking unimpressed. “There’s a fuckwit naked in your closet.” Dex looked up at Ash with wide eyes. “This isn’t what it looks like. I dropped some change, it rolled under the closet door, and when I went to pick it up, my clothes fell off. True story.
Charlie Cochet (Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, #3))
The shaman helps you figure it out. I already know what I'm going to be." I prodded him in the ribs. He couldn't just leave me hanging like that. "A speech therapist." he said. The whole world could have stopped. I wouldn't have noticed. Rafael gave me an unusually stoic look. "I'm going to get your voice back someday," he said. "I though that was obvious.
Rose Christo (Looks Over (Gives Light, #2))
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.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
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)
the more a mind takes in the more it expands.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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)
The willing are led by fate, the reluctant are dragged.
Cleanthes of Assos (Hymn to Zeus)
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)
To expect punishment is to suffer it; and to earn it is to expect it.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Some people avoid thinking deeply in public, only because they are afraid of coming across as suicidal.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Man, what are you talking about? Me in chains? You may fetter my leg but my will, not even Zeus himself can overpower.
Epictetus (The Discourses)
Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.
Epictetus (The Golden Sayings of Epictetus)
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)
There was no sign of Plato, and I was told later that he had gone to live in his Republic, where he was cheerfully submitting to his own Laws. [...] None of the Stoics were present. Rumour had it that they were still clambering up the steep hill of Virtue [...]. As for the Sceptics, it appeared that they were extremely anxious to get there, but still could not quite make up their minds whether or not the island really existed.
Lucian of Samosata (Satirical Sketches)
All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity)
Life is slavery if the courage to die is absent.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
A guilty person sometimes has the luck to escape detection, but never to feel sure of it.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Reason shows us there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
If you apply yourself to study you will avoid all boredom with life, you will not long for night because you are sick of daylight, you will be neither a burden to yourself nor useless to others, you will attract many to become your friends and the finest people will flock about you.
Seneca
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)
Remember, if there is one core teaching at the heart of this philosophy, it’s that we’re not as smart and as wise as we’d like to think we are. If we ever do want to become wise, it comes from the questioning and from humility—not, as many would like to think, from certainty, mistrust, and arrogance.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
It is a great man that can treat his earthenware as if it was silver, and a man who treats his silver as if it was earthenware is no less great.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Reserved people often really need the frank discussion of their sentiments and griefs more than the expansive. The sternest-seeming stoic is human after all, and to burst with boldness and good-will into the silent sea of their souls is often to confer on them the first of obligations.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
There are times when a man should sleep entwined in the warm flesh of a woman, his flanks plummeting into the perfumed bedding while she lovingly rolls her sweet shoulders into his chest. Whereas, there are times to be stoic and solitary—sleeping alone on a wooden board with twill sheets and splinters that scratch the skin.
Roman Payne
Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
that you would not anticipate misery since the evils you dread as coming upon you may perhaps never reach you at least they are not yet come Thus some things torture us more than they ought, some before they ought and some which ought never to torture us at all. We heighten our pain either by presupposing a cause or anticipation
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
I will keep constant watch over myself and—most usefully—will put each day up for review. For this is what makes us evil—that none of us looks back upon our own lives. We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from the past.” —SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 83.2
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
Democracy in America was never the same as Liberty in Europe. In Europe Liberty was a great life-throb. But in America Democracy was always something anti-life. The greatest democrats, like Abraham Lincoln, had always a sacrificial, self-murdering note in their voices. American Democracy was a form of self-murder, always. Or of murdering somebody else... The love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.
D.H. Lawrence (Studies in Classic American Literature)
So, kid, you’ve got to live, and not just that stoic existence you’ve been stomping trough all this time. You’ve got to be kind, you’ve got to fall in love, fall out of love, no matter how much it hurts because my god, it’s worth it. Don’t let the world turn you to stone; you’ve got to feel. And sometimes, your heart will threaten to march right out of your chest because you’re so fucking full of it all- of the people, the places, the endless days, the eternal nights- and kid, that’s fine. Be brave. Courage isn’t measured by the number of people you’ve turned away or by the counts of the nights you’ve spent alone because you refuse to give someone the chance to love you. Being alone is not poetic; you’ve got to let them in. Let them peel back your skin and waltz into your bloodstream and love them, love them, love them. And finally, kid, your life has already begun. Stop waiting. Chaos is already underway.
E.P. .
We either base our 'confidence' on reason (evident probabilities, past experience, competence, etc) or we base our beliefs on faith, which is blind by definition. Faith is the most dishonest position it is possible to have, because it is an assertion of stoic conviction that is assumed without reason and defended against all reason. If you have to believe it on faith, you have no reason to believe it at all.
AronRa
It may take some hard work.But the more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner. 3. Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten; nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine; no wound will heal when one salve is tried after another; a plant which is often moved can never grow strong. There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about. And in reading of many books is distraction.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
He watches Harry making intricate patterns, using the last of the glitter. “Are you making it so we can never be found?” Louis laughs, and the bucket dangles from his slack fingers. Harry’s smile falters immediately as he sprinkles the last of his handful. “Something like that.” He brushes his hands off on his trousers, and just like that, he’s back to his stoic poetry. “You can be found, if you like. But I don’t want to be.
Velvetoscar (Young & Beautiful)
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 does one wicked boy have to betray you people before you learn?” ― Victoria Aveyard, King's Cage
Victoria Aveyard (King's Cage (Red Queen, #3))
A good social system is not to be secured by making people unselfish, but, by making their own vital impulses fit in with other peoples. This is feasible. Those who have produced stoic philosophies have all had enough to eat and drink. I feel I shall find the truth on my deathbed and be surrounded by people too stupid to understand—fussing about medicines instead of searching for wisdom. I hate being all tidy like a book in a library where nobody reads – prison is horribly like that.
Bertrand Russell (The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell)
Soft living imposes on us the penalty of debility; we cease to be able to do the things we've long been grudging about doing.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
No man’s good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
The disobedience if Eve in the Genesis story has been used to justify women's inequality and suffering in many Christian traditions. Thus, what is understood as women's complicity in evil leads much traditional theological reflection on suffering to offer the "consequent admonition to 'grin and bear it' because such is the deserved place of women." Similarly, when Jesus is seen as a divine co-sufferer, the potentially liberating narratives of Jesus as a revolutionary leader who takes the side of the poor and dispossessed can be ignored in favor of religious beliefs more interested in Jesus as a stoic victim. Christ's suffering is inverted and used to justify women's continued suffering in systems of injustice by framing it as redemptive.
Melissa V. Harris-Perry (Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America)
And here lies the essential difference 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)
People should see what goes on. What it really feels like. Because once a trial starts and everyone's watching, both men will stand resolved and stoic. But if they could see this, if they could see what this kind of darkness does to a person, maybe they'd feel it, too. Maybe they wouldn't make excuses anymore. Maybe they wouldn't shrug it off, because, you know, these things happen.
T.E. Carter (I Stop Somewhere)
Giving importance to what we think because we thought it, taking our own selves not only (to quote the Greek philosopher) as the measure of all things but as their norm or standard, we create in ourselves, if not an interpretation, at least a criticism of the universe, which we don't even know and therefore cannot criticize. The giddiest, most weak-minded of us then promote that criticism to an interpretation that's superimposed, like a hallucination; induced rather than deduced. It's a hallucination in the strict sense, being an illusion based on something only dimly seen.
Fernando Pessoa (The Education of the Stoic)
When you pursue wisdom, you will soon realize how much you don’t know. Your knowledge will be incomplete, but continually developing through your curiosity. Arrogance blocks new information from coming in. When you’re conceited, you’ll resist change, and struggle to preserve your fixed image. Don’t fall into smug idleness, used to comfort. Challenge what you think you know, not caring if other people see you as a fool. Progress daily in your own uncertainty.
Bremer Acosta (Stoic Practice)
A Partial History of My Stupidity Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge and I took the road to the right, the wrong one, and got stuck in the car for hours. Most nights I rushed out into the evening without paying attention to the trees, whose names I didn't know, or the birds, which flew heedlessly on. I couldn't relinquish my desires or accept them, and so I strolled along like a tiger that wanted to spring, but was still afraid of the wildness within. The iron bars seemed invisible to others, but I carried a cage around inside me. I cared too much what other people thought and made remarks I shouldn't have made. I was slient when I should have spoken. Forgive me, philosophers, I read the Stoics but never understood them. I felt that I was living the wrong life, spiritually speaking, while halfway around the world thousands of people were being slaughtered, some of them by my countrymen. So I walked on--distracted, lost in thought-- and forgot to attend to those who suffered far away, nearby. Forgive me, faith, for never having any. I did not believe in God, who eluded me.
Edward Hirsch
If you consider yourself a victim, you are not going to have a good life; if, however, you refuse to think of yourself as a victim—if you refuse to let your inner self be conquered by your external circumstances—you are likely to have a good life, no matter what turn your external circumstances take. (In particular, the Stoics thought it possible for a person to retain his tranquility despite being punished for attempting to reform the society in which he lived.)
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
But only philosophy will wake us; only philosophy will shake us out of that heavy sleep. Devote yourself entirely to her. You're worthy of her, she's worthy of you-fall into each other's arms. Say a firm, plain no to every other occupation.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
This isn't a question of strength. Not the stoic, get-on-with-stuff-without-thinking-too-much kind of strength, anyway. It's more of a zooming-in. That sharpening. ... You know, before the age of twenty-four I hadn't realised how bad things could feel, but I hadn't realised how good they could feel either. That shell might be protecting you, but it's also stopping you feeling the full force of that good stuff. Depression might be a hell of a price to pay for waking up to life, ... But it is actually quite therapeutic to know that pleasure doesn't just help compensate for pain, it can actually grow out of it.
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
Why be concerned about others, come to that, when you've outdone your own self? Set yourself a limit which you couldn't even exceed if you wanted to, and say good-bye at last to those deceptive prizes more precious to those who hope for them than to those who have won them. If there were anything substantial in them they would sooner or later bring a sense of fullness; as it is they simply aggravate the thirst of those who swallow them.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
A tree's shade is worth more than the knowledge of truth, my sons, for a tree's shade is true while it lasts, and the knowledge of truth is false in its very truth. The leaves' greenness is worth more, for a right understanding, than a great thought, for the leaves, greenness is something you can show others, but you can never show them a great thought. We are born without knowing how to talk and we die without having known how to express ourselves. Our life runs its course between the silence of one who cannot speak and the silence of one who wasn't understood, and around it hovers — like a bee where there are no flowers — a useless, inscrutable destiny.
Fernando Pessoa (The Education of the Stoic)
Throughout the millennia and across cultures, those who have thought carefully about desire have drawn the conclusion that spending our days working to get whatever it is we find ourselves wanting is unlikely to bring us either happiness or tranquility.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
Hour by hour resolve firmly to do what comes to hand with dignity, and with humanity, independence, and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do, if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. See how little man needs to master, for his days to flow on in quietness and piety: he has but to observe these few counsels, and the gods will ask nothing more.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Visions haunt the mind of unforeseen things of the future. Action is of no possibility, but meandering doubts of a stoic nature made real by the mind are persuasive enough to destroy hope. It's the overly-broad confusion, but not knowing what to be confused about that is the most perplexing. Whether it is the future, the present or the past, all of the answers will never come. The uncertainty lies not in the answer, but not knowing what question to ask. Life must have meaning, but God -if there is such a thing- is having too much fun not telling me what that is.
Brian Krans (A Constant Suicide)
Dearest Alexia, Oh, please absolve me of this guilt I already feel squishing on my very soul! My troubled heart weeps! Oh dear, Ivy was getting flowery. My bones ache with the sin that I am about to commit. Oh, why must I have bones? I have lost myself to this transplanting love. You could not possibly understand how this feels! Yet try to comprehend, dearest Alexia, I am like a delicate bloom. Marriage without love is all very well for people like you, but I should wilt and wither. I need a man possessed of a poet’s soul! I am simply not so stoic as you. I cannot stand to be apart from him one moment longer! The caboose of my love has derailed, and I must sacrifice all for the man I adore! Please do not judge me harshly! It was all for love! ~ Ivy.
Gail Carriger (Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2))
Some things are in our control, while others are not. We control our opinion, choice, desire, aversion, and, in a word, everything of our own doing. We don’t control our body, property, reputation, position, and, in a word, everything not of our own doing.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
There was a lot of pretense floating around; not just with aunties and all that but with emotions and how people saw you. They had a point. There's a lot to learn from that generation -- the stoic approach. I think it's disgusting how they've been forgotten about in this way. It's the American hippies' fault, they saw an in there, a way of making money out of bad moods. That's all it is most of the time. You can't expect to feel cock-a-hoop every minute of every day. My mam and dad's generation understood this. They were just thankful the bombs had stopped threatening their lives. They just wanted to get on with living.
Mark E. Smith (Renegade)
I’m sorry. I was going to be stoic, and say nothing for as long as you wanted me, but then we made love… and I’ve, I’ve never had that… and I just can’t go back to who I was before. I want you and only you and I can’t bear the thought of sharing you. I’m sorry.” He looked down sadly. “I want to be with you the right way – in the open. I want to walk into Pete’s with you on my arm. I want to kiss you every time I see you, no matter who’s looking. I want to make love to you without fear of someone finding out. I want to fall asleep with you in my arms every night. I don’t want to feel guilty about something that makes me feel so… whole. I’m sorry, Kiera, but I’m asking you to choose.
S.C. Stephens (Thoughtless (Thoughtless, #1))
To Galen’s relief, they reached the silver and pearl gate before Rose could convince Pansy to tell her any more. He rode in the boat with Jonquil and her prince, who was not as stoic as his brothers. “What did you eat for dinner?” the dark prince huffed. “What do you mean?” Jonquil frowned at her escort as he rowed. “You’re so heavy, it’s like you’re wearing iron underthings,” he panted. “Oh!” Jonquil whacked her prince on the shoulder with her fan. “How rude!” When their boat reached the island and the black palace, Jonquil leaped out without waiting for assistance. She stalked into the palace ahead of everyone else, with her prince scuttling at her heels, apologizing every step of the way.
Jessica Day George (Princess of the Midnight Ball (The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy, #1))
You adopted him," I said when Romeo sat on the coffee table in front of me. "You love him," he said simply. Like that was all he needed to know. "But you'll have to take care of him. Feed him. Give him water. Change the litter box." "Thought maybe you'd want to help." I looked up. Our eyes locked. "What if I say no?" I asked. "What happens to Murphy then?" He shrugged. "He's a cook cat. I'll keep him. He can watch football with me on Sundays." I couldn't help but smile at the image that cast in my head. "You'd really do that?" I whispered. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "Yes." Then his stoic eyes turned playful and his smile came out. "You wanna watch football with me on Sundays too?" - Rimmel & Romeo
Cambria Hebert (#Nerd (Hashtag, #1))
I am no theologian, and do not have the answers to these questions, and one of the reasons I enjoy the animals on the farm so much is that they don't think about their pain, or question it, they accept it and endure it, true stoics. I have never heard a donkey or cow whine (although I guess dogs do). I told my friend this: pain, like joy, is a gift. It challenges us, tests, defines us, causes us to grow, empathize, and also, to appreciate its absence. If nothing else, it sharpens the experience of joy. The minute something happens to me that causes pain, I start wondering how I can respond to it, what I can learn from it, what it has taught me or shown me about myself. This doesn't make it hurt any less, but it puts it, for me, on a more manageable level. I don't know if there is a God, or if he causes me or anybody else to hurt, or if he could stop pain. I try to accept it and live beyond it. I think the animals have taught me that. The Problem of Pain is that it exists, and is ubiquitous. The Challenge of Pain is how we respond to it.
Jon Katz
Masochism is more widespread than we realize because it takes an attenuated form. The basic dynamism is as follows: a human being sees something bad which is coming as inevitable. There is no way he can halt the process; he is helpess. This sense of helplessness generates a need to gain some control over the impending pain -- any kind of control will do. This makes sense; the subjective feeling of helplessness is more painful than the impending misery. So the person seizes control over the situation in the only way open to him: he connives to bring on the impending misery; he hastens it. This activity on his part promotes the false impression that he enjoys pain. Not so. It is simply that he cannot any longer endure the helplessness or the supposed helplessness. But in the process of gaining control over the inevitable misery he becomes, automatically, anhedonic. Anhedonia sets in stealthily. Over the years it takes control of him. For example, he learns to defer gratification; this is a step in the dismal process of anhedonia. In learning to defer he gratification he experiences a sense of self-mastery; he has become stoic, disciplined; he does not give way to impulse. He has "control". Control over himself in terms of his impulses and control over the external situation. He is a controlled and controlling person. Pretty soon he has branched out and is controlling other people, as part of the situation. He becomes a manipulator. Of course, he is not conciousily aware of this; all he intends to do is lessen his own sense of impotence. But in his task of lessening this sense, he insidiously overpowers the freedom of others. Yet, he dervies no pleasure from this, no positive psychological gain; all his gains are essential negative.
Philip K. Dick (VALIS)
According to Bertrand Russell, the virtuous stoic was one whose will was in agreement with the natural order. He described the basic idea like this: In the life of the individual man, virtue is the sole good; such things as health, happiness, possessions, are of no account. Since virtue resides in the will, everything really good or bad in a man’s life depends only upon himself. He may become poor, but what of it? He can still be virtuous. A tyrant may put him in prison, but he can still persevere in living in harmony with Nature. He may be sentenced to death, but he can die nobly, like Socrates. Therefore every man has perfect freedom, provided he emancipates himself from mundane desires.
Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison)
For Socrates, all virtues were forms of knowledge. To train someone to manage an account for Goldman Sachs is to educate him or her in a skill. To train them to debate stoic, existential, theological, and humanist ways of grappling with reality is to educate them in values and morals. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death. Morality is the product of a civilization, but the elites know little of these traditions. They are products of a moral void. They lack clarity about themselves and their culture. They can fathom only their own personal troubles. They do not see their own bases or the causes of their own frustrations. They are blind to the gaping inadequacies in our economic, social, and political structure and do not grasp that these structures, which they have been taught to serve, must be radically modified or even abolished to stave off disaster. They have been rendered mute and ineffectual. “What we cannot speak about” Ludwig Wittgenstein warned “we must pass over in silence.
Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)
Count your years and you'll be ashamed to be wanting and working for exactly the same things as you wanted when you were a boy. Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do. Have done with those unsettled pleasures, which cost one dear - they do one harm after they're past and gone, not merely when they're in prospect. Even when they're over, pleasures of a depraved nature are apt to carry feelings of dissatisfaction, in the same way as a criminal's anxiety doesn't end with the commission of the crime, even if it's undetected at the time. Such pleasures are insubstantial and unreliable; even if they don't do one any harm, they're fleeting in character. Look around for some enduring good instead. And nothing answers this description except what the spirit discovers for itself within itself. A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. Even if some obstacle to this comes on the scene, its appearance is only to be compared to that of clouds which drift in front of the sun without ever defeating its light.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Let the tutor make his charge pass everything through a sieve and lodge nothing in his head on mere authority and trust: let not Aristotle's principles be principles to him any more than those of the Stoics or Epicureans. Let this variety of ideas be set before him; he will choose if he can; if not, he will remain in doubt. Only the fools are certain and assured. For if he embraces Xenophon's and Plato's opinions by his own reasoning, they will no longer be theirs, they will be his. He who follows another follows nothing. He finds nothing; indeed he seeks nothing. We are not under a king; let each one claim his own freedom. Let him know that he knows, at least. He must imbibe their ways of thinking, not learn their precepts. And let him boldly forget, if he wants, where he got them, but let him know how to make them his own. Truth and reason are common to everyone, and no more belong to the man who first spoke them than to the man who says them later. It is no more according to Plato than according to me, since he and I understand and see it the same way. The bees plunder the flowers here and there, but afterward they make of them honey, which is all theirs; it is no longer thyme or marjoram. Even so with the pieces borrowed from others; he will transform and blend them to make a work of his own, to wit, his judgment. His education, work, and study aim only at forming this.
Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Works)
One by one, the silence by the bed drew their attention. Even the king was quiet. Exhausted, relieved, he lay boneless and silent. The skin was dragged thin across his cheekbones. His sweaty hair stuck to his face, and his eyes were closed. His hand, clutching the fabric of his tunic, had relaxed and slipped down to his side, revealing what the careful bunching of the cloth had concealed. The tunic had been split by a knife stroke from one side to the other. As the edges of the fabric separated, those by the bed realized how much blood had been soaking, unseen, into the waist of the king’s trousers. The wound wasn’t a simple nick in the king’s side. It began near the navel and slid all the way across his belly. If the wall of the gut had been opened, the king would be dead of infection within days. 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, and 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 wanted it so much. So much sometimes it felt like I couldn't breathe. Sometimes I would cry, not because I was sad, but because it hurt, physical pain from the intensity of wanting something so much. I'm a good student of philosophy, I know my Stoics, Cynics, their advice, that, when a desire is so intense it hurts you, the healthy path is to detach, unwant it, let it go. The healthy thing for the self. But there are a lot of reasons one can want to be an author: acclaim, wealth, self-respect, finding a community, the finite immortality of name in print, so many more. But I wanted it to add my voice to the Great Conversation, to reply to Diderot, Voltaire, Osamu Tezuka, and Alfred Bester, so people would read my books and think new things, and make new things from those thoughts, my little contribution to the path which flows from Gilgamesh and Homer to the stars. And that isn't just for me. It's for you. Which means it was the right choice to hang on to the desire, even when it hurt so much.
Ada Palmer (Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota, #1))
St. Augustine hated the Stoics, Dostoevsky hated the Russian Liberals. At first sight this seems a quite inexplicable peculiarity. Both were convinced Christians, both spoke so much of love, and suddenly - such hate! And against whom? Against the Stoics, who preached self-abnegation, who esteemed virtue above all things in the world, and against the Liberals who also exalted virtue above all things! But the fact remains: Dostoevsky spoke in rage of Stassyulevitch and Gradovsky; Augustine could not be calm when he spoke the names of those pre-Stoic Stoics, Regulus and Mutius Scaevola, and even Socrates, the idol of the ancient world, appeared to him a bogey. Obviously Augustine and Dostoevsky were terrified and appalled by the mere thought of the possibility of such men as Scaevola and Gradovsky - men capable of loving virtue for its own sake, of seeing virtue as an end in itself. Dostoevsky says openly in the Diary of a Writer that the only idea capable of inspiring a man is that of the immortality of the soul.
Lev Shestov (In Job's Balances: On the Sources of the Eternal Truths)
In truth, Serenus, I have for a long time been silently asking myself to what I should liken such a condition of mind, and I can find nothing that so closely approaches it as the state of those who, after being released from a long and serious illness, are sometimes touched with fits of fever and slight disorders, and, freed from the last traces of them, are nevertheless disquieted with mistrust, and, though now quite well, stretch out their wrist to a physician and complain unjustly of any trace of heat in their body. It is not, Serenus, that these are not quite well in body, but that they are not quite used to being well; just as even a tranquil sea will show some ripple, particularly when it has just subsided after a storm. What you need, therefore, is not any of those harsher measures which we have already left behind, the necessity of opposing yourself at this point, of being angry with yourself at that, of sternly urging yourself on at another, but that which comes last -confidence in yourself and the belief that you are on the right path, and have not been led astray by the many cross- tracks of those who are roaming in every direction, some of whom are wandering very near the path itself. But what you desire is something great and supreme and very near to being a god - to be unshaken.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts. What a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his pocket, and the naked New Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear, a mat, and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under! But compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that the white man has lost his aboriginal strength. If the traveller tell us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch, and the same blow shall send the white to his grave. The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms, some vigor of wild virtue. For every Stoic was a Stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Yogic path is about disentangling the built-in glitches of the human condition, which I'm going to over-simply define here as the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment. Different schools of thought over the centuries have found different explanation for man's apparently inherently flawed state. Taoists call it imbalance, Buddism calls it ignorance, Islam blames our misery on rebellion against God, and the Judeo-Christian tradition attributes all our suffering to original sin. Freudians say that unhappiness is the inevitable result of the clash between our natural drives and civilization's needs. (As my friend Deborah the psychologist explains it: "Desire is the design flaw.") The Yogis, however, say that human discontentment is a simple case of mistaken identity. We're miserable because we think that we are mere individuals, alone with our fears and flaws and resentments and mortality. We wrongly believe that our limited little egos constitute our whole entire nature. We have failed to recognize our deeper divine character. We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme Self who is eternally at peace. That supreme Self is our true identity, universal and divine. Before you realize this truth, say the Yogis, you will always be in despair, a notion nicely expressed in this exasperated line from the Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus: "You bear God within you, poor wretch, and know it not.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
You sometimes hear people say, with a certain pride in their clerical resistance to the myth, that the nineteenth century really ended not in 1900 but in 1914. But there are different ways of measuring an epoch. 1914 has obvious qualifications; but if you wanted to defend the neater, more mythical date, you could do very well. In 1900 Nietzsche died; Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams; 1900 was the date of Husserl Logic, and of Russell's Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. With an exquisite sense of timing Planck published his quantum hypothesis in the very last days of the century, December 1900. Thus, within a few months, were published works which transformed or transvalued spirituality, the relation of language to knowing, and the very locus of human uncertainty, henceforth to be thought of not as an imperfection of the human apparatus but part of the nature of things, a condition of what we may know. 1900, like 1400 and 1600 and 1000, has the look of a year that ends a saeculum. The mood of fin de siècle is confronted by a harsh historical finis saeculi. There is something satisfying about it, some confirmation of the rightness of the patterns we impose. But as Focillon observed, the anxiety reflected by the fin de siècle is perpetual, and people don't wait for centuries to end before they express it. Any date can be justified on some calculation or other. And of course we have it now, the sense of an ending. It has not diminished, and is as endemic to what we call modernism as apocalyptic utopianism is to political revolution. When we live in the mood of end-dominated crisis, certain now-familiar patterns of assumption become evident. Yeats will help me to illustrate them. For Yeats, an age would end in 1927; the year passed without apocalypse, as end-years do; but this is hardly material. 'When I was writing A Vision,' he said, 'I had constantly the word "terror" impressed upon me, and once the old Stoic prophecy of earthquake, fire and flood at the end of an age, but this I did not take literally.' Yeats is certainly an apocalyptic poet, but he does not take it literally, and this, I think, is characteristic of the attitude not only of modern poets but of the modern literary public to the apocalyptic elements. All the same, like us, he believed them in some fashion, and associated apocalypse with war. At the turning point of time he filled his poems with images of decadence, and praised war because he saw in it, ignorantly we may think, the means of renewal. 'The danger is that there will be no war.... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed.' He saw his time as a time of transition, the last moment before a new annunciation, a new gyre. There was horror to come: 'thunder of feet, tumult of images.' But out of a desolate reality would come renewal. In short, we can find in Yeats all the elements of the apocalyptic paradigm that concern us.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)