I’ve followed Ryan Holiday‘s Daily Stoic newsletter for a couple of years now. When I stumbled across stoicism, it resonated with me. So many of the philosophy’s principles were how I already viewed the world, so the leap to study more was a sliding step rather than some great plummet.
I recently began reading The Obstacle is the Way, by Holiday. In it, key stoic philosophies are highlighted and given modern examples of how the principles are practiced. As I read, I often think, “I wish so-and-so would read this so they would start thinking/reacting this way.” Two problems with that. First of all, who am I to say anything about how another person should think. Obviously, how I think is the best way, despite having nothing to prove that it, except my word (I think that only works if you’re a parent. Because I said so). And secondly, should reading philosophy be about pointing out how someone else could be better? About adding fuel to better judge the world? I wouldn’t say I had a large ego, but I think this thought proves this wrong. *moment of silence to humbly reflect*
This considering how others would benefit from what I’m reading, wondering how it might positively impact them, got me wondering how one sways towards a side. In this case, a side is a philosophy. I have it easy in that my brain naturally processes things in a stoic nature, at least in comparison to most of the people I know. So, do others find stoicism, or some other philosophy, that’s outside their default and work on becoming more that way? Have I taken the easy way out by just furthering my natural inclination?
I’m sure the question can be talked about from an ideal viewpoint, as well as an empirical one. Should we all be trying to be better every day? Should we all be reading more philosophy and other material that will make us better people? Of course. How many people do? In my circle, pathetically few. But that’s not my point here. I’m simply asking if we take the path our brains are already mapped for? Do I love to read about the stoics because I already understand? Maybe I have to find some philosophy I don’t really get and study that to know.
What do you think?