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On Choices​

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The Formula

Choices you have control 

Understand Yourself

- Know what you don't know (History of Greek Philosophy V4 (W. K. C. Guthrie) (p.81))

- Hide nothing from yourself (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.47)

- A lie always leads to truth.  Whoever lies to himself will not distinguish any truth even in himself (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Crime e Castigo (Editora 38) )

- If you want to beat the world conquer yourself first with thought. (Kurgast - Herman Hesse),   (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.89) & (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Crime e Castigo (Editora 38) )


Understand your need 

- Have an internal conversation with yourself. Use whatever medium you want, just have a dialogue to better understand your needs. (Marcus Aurelius (Penguin) - Meditation p.Xi)

Understand how you act

- You measure your act with judgment and opinion.  (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford) p. 30) &  (Epictetus: Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford) p.39)

- Consider what comes before and after, then act. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.171) & (Epictetus- Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford) p.27)

- Consider what you are capable of before you act. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.24)

- Look and analyze past action as you analyze your dreams. (Marcus Aurelius (Penguin) - Meditation p.52)

- Redeem yourself, you will make and you need to make mistakes so that you can learn and can get back to a gratifying feeling.  (Kurgast - Herman Hesse p.77) 

- Your action only has moral significance and the material in which you act is neither good nor bad itself. (Kurgast - Herman Hesse p.21) & (Marcus Aurelius (Penguin) Meditation p.66) 

Understand Good

- To tolerate others you should first understand what is genuinely good and bad. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford) p. 30) & (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford) p.39)

- Keep in mind that every judgment, impulse, desire, or aversion arises from within us, and therefore nothing evil comes from outside. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.58) & (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.74) 

- The virtue you should have; look at only what should be done and not on the reputation you would gain on having done it. Whatever fate one can strike, can come to all of us alike.  (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.7) & (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.61)

Value the right thing

-Let reason itself cause no pain to itself. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.77)

-Without suffering what pleasure could there be in living?  (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34)

- See with your heart. The essential is invisible to your eyes. (The little prince)

What chains do you put in yourself?

-Dispense your master. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.60) & (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.68)

- Is obedience bought with bread? A reflection of Dostoyevsky on how the freedom of the people were bought by hunger. Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34)

Understand Evil

- Evil is within us. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.74) 

- Even if you haven’t committed any wrong, you are capable of it. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.41)

- There is a right to kill, and that is reserved for an extraordinary man logic. A reflection from Dostoievsky on people he called extraordinary who could kill people and still be seen as heroes, the one example he used was Napoleon.  (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Crime e Castigo (Editora 34))

- We are trifling weak bodies destroyed with no great effort. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.222)

- Fear the habit. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.9)

- Know your weakness.  (Seneca - Dialogues and Essay Oxford p.27) & (Stoicism a Very short introduction p.6)

- Evil thoughts and unpleasing feelings are normally triggered by idle and foolish things. Seneca suggests treating them with rest, walk, and drinking (he thinks there is a right balance of drunkness that is good to the mind and body). (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.43), (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.49), (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.139), (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p. 139) & (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p. 138)

- Anger will abide and become more controllable if it knows it has to go through a judge every time. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.47)

- The cause of anxiety is on others. So where/how are you putting your attention? See the crowd around you like beautiful scenery of birds flying around.  (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.99)

- There is nothing in having everything you desire, only the realization of your understanding you really don’t know what you really desire. Therefore don’t fall prey to your desires. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34)

- The greatest outcry surrounds money (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.45)

- Revenge just brings more revenge.  (Shakespeare - Hamlet) 

On Others

Consider how you stand in relation to them

-Know others weakness  (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.108) & (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation - Penguin p.97)

-Acquire the habit of attending carefully to what is being said by another, and entering, so far as possible, into the mind of the speaker. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation- Oxford p.56) &  (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation - Penguin p.62)

-True Kindness is invincible. Give what it pleases you to give, and take what it pleases you to take.

-The more I hated man in particular, the more ardent the love for humanity, in general, became. (Alyosha a character of the book reflects on how God has a path for humanity, and how naive and evil are those how to refuse to see it.)(Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34)

-Anger has brought grief to a father, divorce to a husband, hatred to a magistrate, defeat to a candidate. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.22)

-If a man is angry, let us give him time to come to realize what he has done: he will be his own critic. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.39)

-When you are annoyed beyond measure, remember that human life lasts but a moment.  (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation -Oxford )

-Anger and distress hurt us more than what is causing it. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.110)

-Don’t try to be equal to the best, instead, try to be better than the wicked. (Seneca- Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.99) 

-The best way to avenge yourself is to not become as they are. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.46)

-Choose to whom you give your attention to. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.25), (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.124) & (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.65)


Consider what kind of being they are and what compulsion they are subjected to because of their opinion 

- The worth of someone is measured by how much that person puts its hearth on it. (Having you as subject) (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation- (Penguin) p.58)

- The pure are silent. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Crime e Castigo (editora 34))

- For just as weakness is a disease of the body, so wickedness is a disease of the mind. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.101)

- A reflection on the different kinds of causes (Emotions and behavior) and how to react to them: If they act tightly (no need to be angry) if they act wrongly they are doing so involuntary (ignorance). Then love the good, show pity for the bad. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.101) & (Marcus Aurelius Meditation (Penguin))

- Grief and anger are weak signs. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation- Penguin p.110)

- When approaching any of these great men, keep this in mind, that you’re meeting a figure from tragedy, and no mere actor either.(Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.52)

- Don’t agree too quickly to people who are persuasive. (Marcus Aurelius- Meditation - Penguin p.4) 

Consider that you for your part commit many wrongs

On bad people

- Wrongdoing is an everlasting human thing. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.193)

- No one considers if the person acted intentionally or by accident under compulsion or mistakenly prompted by nature or by the reward to please himself or to oblige mother. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.28) & (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.64)

- A person often acts unjustly by what he fails to do, and not only by what he does. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation- Penguin p.84)

- To the insects, the lust On useless people (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34))

- A reptile devours another reptile. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34))

On fame

- For as often as a man receives the reward of fame for his boasting, the conscience that indulges in self-congratulation loses something of its secret merit. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.13)

- Fame is a shameful thing and so often deceptive: O Fame, o fame! - Many a man ere this Of no account hast thou set up on high. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.58) 

On power

- Whoever wants to wield high power must tame his passions fierce; His heart to evil must not cower or bow to lust's fell yoke. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.92) & (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.57)

Evil and Good 

- It may be part of human weakness to have evil wishes, but it is nothing short of monstrous that God should look on while every criminal is allowed to achieve his purpose against the innocent. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.12)

- I do not think men can consider themselves immune from punishment when they suffer the worst evil of all: evil is not so much an infliction as a deep-set infection. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.94)

On refusing equal suffering

- Rarely does man accept the other as a sufferer (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34))

On being equal

- Everyone is to blame for everyone and everything. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34))

- We ourselves are equal and not better. And if we were better, we would still be equal in his place. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmaos Karamazov (Editora 34))

On how-to advice

- The wise man, then, will see what method of treatment to use on what type of character, how to cooled may be straightened. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.217)

- If the sufferer becomes more violent, it will stamp on him a feeling of shame of fear that he cannot resist; if he grows calmer, it will introduce conversation that is either welcome or novel and will distract him encouraging a thirst for knowledge. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.49)

- Change the custom of giving direct instructions and ending with examples. Think that some are guided by reason, some require to be confronted with famous names and the authority that takes away. (Adapt to whom you are speaking, speak in the words that he will better comprehend)  (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.55)

Choices you have control
On Others

Without your power

Without your power

Anticipation method 

- Why suffer from something that is not in your power?

- Accept everything with contentment and caution.

- The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive. 

How to behave

- It is more human to laugh at life than to weep tears over it.

- Train your senses for strength.

- Bare your own misfortunes, don’t remedy them by damaging someone else.

- Have posture and stand upright, do not be held upright.

- Don’t be a coward, circumstances are created from God to make you better.


How to behave with the inevitable. 

- The cause of something is also the effect. 

Relation to death 

- That which has been, that which is, and that which is to be. Of these the time we spend is short, that we will spend doubtful, that we have to spend fixed; for the last is the one over which Fortune has lost control.

- Life is long enough, know how to use it.

Relation with inevitable emotions

- For this reason, it is better to conquer our sadness than to deceive it; for once it has departed, seduced by pleasure or engrossing pursuits, it rises up again and gathers fresh momentum for its fury from its very rest; but any grief has yielded to reason is laid to rest forever.

- The day a man triumphs over pleasure, he will also triumph over pain.

- If no amount of wailing recalls the dead, if all distress is powerless to alter a fate that is unchangeable and fixed forever, if death holds fast whatever it has carried away, let sorrow, which runs the course, cease. Relation with inevitable emotions

Relation with time

- With great effort they acquire what they want, with anxiety they hold on to what they have acquired; all this while they take no account of the time that will never more come again; old pursuits give way to new ones, one hope gives rise to another, and so, too, with ambition.

- Anything that postpones what they hope for seems long to them. Yet that time they love is short-lived and swift, and it is their own fault that makes time much shorter: for they rush from one pleasure to another and cannot remain absorbed in a single passion. - They lose the day in waiting for the night, and the night in deading the day. 

Relation with pain

- Pain is neither unendurable not everlasting if you keep its limits in mind and do not add to it through your imagination. 

Achieve calmness of mind

- Let nature make whatever use she pleases of matter, which is her own: let us be cheerful and brave in the face of all, and consider that nothing of our own perishes. 

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