1.61 A guide to the good life

The fundamental questions I want this book help me answer:

  • What do I want out of life? (i.e: Of the things in life I might pursue, which is the thing I believe to be most valuable?)
  • Answering this question is an inevitable step to look for a philosophy of life.

1.61.1 Introduction

Stoicism and Zen have in common: they both stress the importance of contemplating the transitory nature of the world around us and the importance of mastering desire, to the extent that it is possible to do so. They also advise us to pursue tranquility and give us advice on how to attain and maintain it.

The goal of the Stoics:

  • misunderstanding: banish emotion
  • truth: banish negative emotions
    • be cheerful and optimistic about life while spending time thinking about all the bad things that could happen
    • be fully capable of enjoying life’s pleasures while not to be enslaved by those pleasures

1.61.2 Anger

when we are angry, we are motivated. sometimes benefit from it != welcome it

  • Seneca rejects the idea of allowing ourselves to become angry in order to motivate ourselves, he is open to the idea of pretending to be angry in order to motivate others.

  • Fight our tendency to believe the worst about others and our tendency to jump to conclusions about their motivations.