Friday, December 30, 2022


Song: Ben Fold's "Philosophy."

I don't remember how I came across The Daily Stoic. It might have been on YouTube. (I went through a stoics phase back in 1985.) I've watched some of the videos and subscribed to the podcast. But honestly, I didn't really like it for three reasons:
  1. The guy just doesn't come across as happy. He never smiles and it seems like he is always yelling. He doesn't make me want to be like him.
  2. He makes stoicism religion. He's always saying "Marcus Aurelius said," etc. I don't care what someone said, I care about ideas (e.g., Bob Wright's Why Buddhism Is True). Don't dictate what I should do, talk about why I should consider doing things a certain way.
    On one podcast, he said, "When I wake up in the morning, I think, 'How can I be a good steward of stoicism today?'" That sounds like a cult. 
  3. He is Always Selling. In one 12-minute podcast, he was selling things seven times. No thank you.
However, this is more an analysis of his media empire, not stoicism itself.

At 4 pm most days, Anne and I meditate using the Waking Up app. We do a lesson and then a guided meditation. 

Having done the introductory series twice, we had been looking around for a new set of lessons. This is how we came across William B. Irvine's series on stoicism, which we like a lot. For one, he is funny. He is also focused on joy (one of his books is Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy).

It is a good compliment to mindfulness meditation. He gives concrete tips for what to do in certain situations and talks about why those methods can work (rather than hollering at you what Seneca said). 

So far, the tips have been mostly focused on gratitude, to help us realize how very good we have it today. I think this is an outstanding idea, given how truly awesome life is for us compared to people in the past or people in Syria, etc. 

William tells the story of how he will sometimes stop to consider that if he lost his wife, he would do anything to have her back. He'll call out to her, "Thanks for existing!" It is just charming. (Even though I say in Losing, "Don't holler from another room.")

Note: if you can't afford it, Waking Up will provide you with a "scholarship." Also, we can gift you with a free trial month, so if you'd like to try it, please just let me know.


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