#10: On Reading Fate Attachment and Discipline

+ What Marcus Aurelius looked like, and Askesis 2.0

🏹 Stoic Wisdom Arrows

📚 My Thoughts on How to Read Wisely: Why should one read? How does one read? What should we be focusing on to maximize our time with books? Discover my thoughts on the wonders and pitfalls of reading here.

👁️ What Is Your Attachment Style? I’ve recently finished reading the book Attached which is all about the science of emotional attachment in human relationships and it’s been eye-opening for me to see how these styles work and how we can leverage insights on attachment styles to improve our relationships. You can find yours here.

📝 Stoic Notes: See how my initial notes and drawings, based on the writings of Epictetus, evolved into The Stoic Handbook. Read here.

🔨 Stoicism Decoded: Discipline isn’t Punishment

Many people equate self-discipline with punishment or harsh treatment. However, the word "discipline" has a much deeper and positive origin. It stems from the Latin "disciplina," which means "instruction" or "knowledge."

Furthermore, it is linked to the verb "discere," implying the act of learning. It's also connected to the Latin "discipulus," denoting a "pupil" or "student," further emphasizing the concept of gaining knowledge.

When we try to "discipline" others, we often mistakenly believe it involves causing discomfort or punishment. This might be a basic form of learning, but surely, harsh treatment isn't the best teaching method.

Remember your favorite teacher in school? Likely, they resonated with you because they were interactive, compassionate, and passionate about their subject. They probably understood you and helped ignite a similar passion in you.

So, when cultivating "self-discipline," why not adopt a similar approach? Instead of being harsh and judgmental with ourselves, we can become our own understanding guides, our own compassionate teachers. In this way, our self-discipline can be about learning, growing, and teaching ourselves rather than blame and chastisement.

🧰 Stoic Toolbox: Fatalism

In Greek mythology, the goddesses of fate were known as the Moirai, also called the Fates. These three sisters — Clotho (the spinner), Lachesis (the allotter), and Atropos (the unturnable) — were responsible for spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life for every mortal from birth to death.

In Stoic philosophy, fate (or "Heimarmene") is a key concept that's closely tied to the Stoic idea of the universe as a rational, ordered system. This is derived from the belief that the cosmos operates according to Logos, a divine rational principle or reason that governs the universe.

The Stoics held a deterministic view of the world, in which everything unfolds according to a grand plan set in motion by the Logos. They believed that every event, from the movement of the stars to our own actions and experiences, is interlinked in a chain of cause and effect and unfolds as it was meant to. This is the concept of fate in Stoic thought.

However, this doesn't mean that Stoics advocate for a passive acceptance of whatever happens. They differentiated between what is up to us — our own actions and attitudes — and what is not up to us, such as external events.

The Stoic goal is to accept the unfolding of fate in external matters with equanimity while actively striving to align our own actions and attitudes with reason and virtue, which are within our control.

The idea of accepting fate plays a crucial role in the Stoic pursuit of tranquility. By accepting the things we cannot change and focusing on acting virtuously and rationally in response to those things, we can maintain inner peace regardless of external circumstances. This acceptance is often associated with the famous Stoic phrase "Amor Fati", or "love of fate," which means to accept and even embrace the events of life as part of the grand order of the universe.

💪 Askesis 2.0

Askesis is my 10-week Stoic training experience based on my 4885 method:

  • 4 Skill Groups

  • 8 Specific Skills

  • 8 Critical Principles

  • 5 Learning Strategies

I’ll be running the program again in a few months, and as part of this experience, I’ll be including my 6 Stoic Tactics.

Askesis is an interactive course that is designed to boost your emotional mastery, with a heavy emphasis on the cultivation of self-discipline.

Spaces will be limited, so if you’d like to join the early list and guarantee your place, you can apply here.

What Did Marcus Aurelius Look Like?

Watch the video below to see how students from the Theaterakademie August Everding created portraits in silicone of Roman emperors based on their marble portraits and on historical research.

Technique Try Out: Reserve Clause in Ordinary Language

For the rest of the week, whenever making plans, add a 'conditional clause' to them. This means you preface every intention to influence external matters with the phrase "If fate allows.”

The problem with this, is that we don’t really speak like that anymore in ordinary conversations. It may stand out as being a little pretentious. Here are some alternative ways you can practice using the reserve clause principle in more ordinary language:

  1. "If everything goes as planned, I will..."

  2. "Assuming all goes well, we'll..."

  3. "Provided things go smoothly, I plan to..."

  4. "Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll..."

  5. "All being well, I'll..."

  6. "If things fall into place, I intend to..."

  7. "If everything aligns well, I'll..."

  8. "With a bit of luck, we will..."

  9. "As long as all the stars align, we will..."

  10. "If all conditions are right, I'm planning to..."

  11. "Should things work out, I'll..."

  12. "With a favorable turn of events, I will..."

  13. "If circumstances permit, I plan to..."

  14. "In the best-case scenario, we'll..."

  15. "Provided the path stays clear, I will..."

So if your friend asks you to meet them for coffee, you can say:

If everything goes as planned, I will see you at 1 PM.

If you are enjoying the free Stoic Handbook content, particularly the podcasts, but want to go deeper, I’ve created Stoic Handbook Premium.

In Stoic Handbook Premium, you can enjoy my courses, exclusive Q&As, lessons, and ad-free episodes. These are the latest episodes:

  • AMA #4: On Spiritual Blindspots, Mentorship, Best Podcasts, and More

  • AMA #3: On Negative Thoughts, Riding the Wave of Craving, Travel, and Healthy Ambition

  • The Stoic Daily Mindful Review to Improve Character and Increase Virtue

  • Learn to Want What You Already Have

You can get access to this course and others with a free trial by visiting here.

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Thanks for reading. I will be in touch soon! (Fate permitting)