Friday, February 25, 2005

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. - EpictetusThis is the first of a series (hopefully) in which I explain quotes that take a major role in my life. The first quote is from Epictetus. Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher. The following is a description of Stoicism, the ideals of the philosophy, my opinion on the matter and how I apply this quote to my life.Stoicism deals with a removal of self from the irrational and a desire to maintain a calm livelihood while attaining wisdom.Stoicists often received a little flack because one of the ideals of Stoicism is apathy. However, apathy in its pure state is a great idea. Apathy is not the lack of care, but the neutrality of care. That sounds a little ridiculous, but I hope to explain. Rationality is an important factor of my life. The left-brain activities weigh themselves against my initial desire to process new thoughts and ideas in a logical manner.Happiness in Stoicism comes from a sense of imperturbability, freedom from passion, good feelings and awareness and capacity to attain a rational life. In Stoicism, aquiring wisdom requires one to learn what is 'in one's power.' Included in this practice is the denial of jugding anything as good or bad. The only good is acting virtuously and the only bad is acting viciously.Stoicism also deals with the idea of God. The Stoic understands his/her power of rationality is a fragment of God. God's material body -- a sort of rarefied fiery air -- blends with the whole of creation, intelligently forming and directing undifferentiated matter to make the world as we experience it.In this world of drama and subversive behavior, the inherent simplicity in Stoicism appeals to my character. I strive for organization and logic in most of my life's undertakings, and by adopting an attitude of apathy -- not the negative apathy, but the apathy that fosters growth--, one can attain some semblance of continuity and dependence in the world. Stoicism has a few flaws, but as a philosophy, I like it."It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows."This quote sums up one of my basic life ideas. My quest for knowledge will never be complete. As a writer, I constantly look for new sources to inspire me. I read books to judge the writing, characters and plot development and apply the lessons I learn to my own writing. By opening my mind to new ideas, my own do not grow stagnant. I do not claim to know everything about anything.I'd write more, but that's all I have right now. More to come another day.

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