Indifference is power: As legions of warriors and prisoners attest, Stoicism isn't grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in #happiness
Armstrong and Getty stoic philosophy...
Why stoicism is one of the best mind hacks ever devised:
Who knew stoicism was a philosophy of gratitude?
We do this to our philosophies. We redraft their contours based on projected shadows, or give them a cartoonish shape like a caricaturist emphasising all the wrong features. This is how Buddhism becomes, in the popular imagination, a doctrine of passivity and even laziness, while Existentialism becomes synonymous with apathy and futile despair. Something similar has happened to Stoicism, which is considered – when considered at all – a philosophy of grim endurance, of carrying on rather than getting over, of tolerating rather than transcending life’s agonies and adversities.
No wonder it’s not more popular. No wonder the Stoic sage, in Western culture, has never obtained the popularity of the Zen master. Even though Stoicism is far more accessible, not only does it lack the exotic mystique of Eastern practice; it’s also regarded as a philosophy of merely breaking even while remaining determinedly impassive. What this attitude ignores is the promise proffered by Stoicism of lasting transcendence and imperturbable tranquility.
It ignores gratitude, too. This is part of the tranquility, because it’s what makes the tranquility possible.
Stoicism is, as much as anything, a philosophy of gratitude – and a gratitude, moreover, rugged enough to endure anything.
Indifference really is a power.
The truth is, indifference really is a power, selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption of certain attitudes, but facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living. Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.