Practical Stoicism
Practical Stoicism

Episode 26 · 2 months ago

Be Consistent In Who You Are


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In this week's episode we'll be reading and going over the seventh meditation from Book Three of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.


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Hello and welcome back to practical stoicism. My name is Tanner Campbell and before we get started today, I wanted to read a review that I received from a listener with some critical feedback. It comes from Zach and reads as follows. Great podcast. I think the episodes should be real listened to, but it's difficult when there's so much content about the PODCAST, rating, book promotion and gratitude for listening. Would appreciate it if that could be kept to thirty seconds or less each episode so re listening is easier. Now. I'm going to be honest with you. When I first read this, it's stung a little bit and I got a little defensive because I thought, well, why is it a problem that I thank people or that I promote my book occasionally on a podcast that I produced for free? And how Dare Zach give me production notes how to Air Heat? So, as you can see, I had a very unstock response to that initially. Then I sat with it for...

...a few minutes and I realized that Zach was right. I create this podcast to be useful, to teach people, to help people, and the preambles like the one I'm doing right now. Sorry, Zach and mentions of the book delay my purpose in every episode and realizing that, I wondered if I might be able to do the podcast without those things, without the ad that runs, the one you just heard, without the mentions of the book and without the thanks ahead of the meditations, and initially I didn't think that I could do that. You See, I want to spend more time doing this sort of work. I enjoy it more than the other work I do in podcasting and marketing. That's my day job. I think most of you know that by now, and with the audience growing the way that it is, it's clear that I do have an opportunity to to do that, to make this philosophical endeavor a full time focus. But of course a full time focus means money. There's no getting around that, and there are two ways to make money in podcasting. The first is passive, and an example of past... would be the ad you heard at the beginning of this episode. It's passive because you can't avoid it. You don't necessarily have to do anything, but you can't avoid it and I get paid for you hearing it. The second is active, such as reminding you that I have a book that you can purchase on Amazon. So my conundrum is that if I want to put more work into practical stoicism, I have to find the time to do so, and to find the time to do so I have to replace the income, because time is money. So I have to run ADS and remind you of my book. It's the only way I have to do that. And so again, at first when I read this feedback from Zach, I didn't think I was going to be able to accommodate the point he was making. So I spoke to some friends who are also in the podcasting space and they said, well, why don't you provide a second podcast feed that people can elect to pay to subscribe to and that doesn't have ads or preambles? Now I direct my clients to do this kind of thing all the time right. This is a normal thing in podcasting. You're probably familiar with it. I'm sure you listen to podcasts that say hey, subscribe to my patreon or whatever... is. But what's the old saying? The landscape Er's yard is always unkempt. I guess I'm the landscaper in this case, but it was a good idea. So Zach and anyone else who feels as Zack does. That's what I've decided to do. In the show notes of this episode you will find a link to subscribe to an ad and preamble free version of this podcast for six dollars a month. The only difference between that feed and the feed you're listening to right now is that on that feed I will cut off the stuff at the beginning and get right into the content. So no preamble, no substantial welcome or thank you or book pitch or any of that, and no ads in front of the show. I think that that's a perfect solution for people like Zach who want to get right into the content, and it doesn't take away from the only methods I have to turn the show into a full time endeavor for those of you who don't mind the ad and the preamble stuff. And one extra perk because of the way I'm choosing to do this for people who do subscribe to this new feed, individual episod odes, meaning...

...if you, as a subscriber to that new feed, asked me a question, I can answer it in audio form and push it to your podcast player and only you will be able to hear it. So it'll show up as an episode where you listen, but it won't show up as an episode for anybody else. So it'll be like a private, one on one response to any questions that you might have, and that will actually be kind of helpful for me because, if I'm being honest, I get a lot of emails and it's easier for me to talk through things. You might guess I'm a Podcaster, so it's easier for me to talk through things than to answer emails, and I get about a dozen questions from all of you every week and so it would be cool to be able to respond in audio form, since that's kind of how you know me. So again, link in the show notes if that sounds interesting to you. The support is greatly appreciated and, Zach, thank you. While I did initially feel a sting for the feedback that you gave, you made me think about it and I hope that this solve that I've come up with is an acceptable response to your feedback. So again, thank you. Now, with that preamble out of the way,...

...let's get into meditation seven of book three, which is another favorite of mine and reads as follows. Never regards something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust or lose your sense of shame, or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill will or hypocrisy, or a desire for things best done behind closed doors. If you can privilege your own mind, your guiding spirit and your reverence for its powers, that should keep you clear of dramatics of wailing and gnashing of teeth. You won't need solitude or a cast of thousands either. Above all, you will be free of fear and desire, and how long your body will contain the soul that inhabits it will cause you not a moment's worry if it is time for you to go, leave willingly, as you would to accomplish anything that can be done with grace and honor, and concentrate on this your whole life. Long for your mind to be in the right state, the state a rational and civic mind should be in.

How many times have you gone through with an action or the saying of words, especially that you would be embarrassed to have done or said in plain view of the public? I know for myself it's been many times in my past. When we are mad, we might say things that we know full well we would never say in public. And if that's true, why do we say them? Why do we say things we know we shouldn't? And does doing this create almost a shadow version of ourselves, the person we are behind closed doors and the person we are in public, or the person we are with some people and the person we really are? And if we do this too much, does it become hard to keep the former, the person we are in private, from the latter, the person we are in public or with certain individuals? When we habituate unvirtuous behavior or language in our private lives, we create a reality where we must actively work to keep that behavior or language from showing up in our public lives, and it creates an immense...

...amount of tension, until eventually the person you are in secret comes through and expresses itself in a public setting and you are embarrassed for it, shamed for it, maybe you severely damage your career an important relationship. You're out it as somebody who is not who they say they are. It is easy to be whomever you want in private, to be who you really are, to think whatever things you may want to think, to do whatever things you may want to do, because in private there are no ramifications for your behavior or language, but that version of yourself is your true self, and if you are not that version of yourself, your true self in public, then the public version of you that everyone knows is actually a facade, a facade that you are exhausting yourself to keep up. So ask yourself this. Do I want to pretend I am a good and decent person, or do I want to be one? There's a saying that is unrelated to Stoicism, or perhaps...

...not unrelated, but not from the tradition anyway, that goes something like there are two wolves in everyone. One is noble and one is not. These wolves are locked in a fight for dominance over the other, and the one that wins is the one you feed. If memory serves it's a native American saying and from the Cherokee tradition, if I'm not mistaken, and it's exactly the same concept that's being discussed here by Marcus, when you feed your Wolf, you do it in private. If you fester in negativity at home, if you fester in your unvirtuous thoughts and actions while you are alone, you are nurturing a terrible version of yourself. Those things you say that you'd be embarrassed to have others here those behaviors you expressed, that you'd be embarrassed to have others see those things you know are no good. The more time you spend with them, the more frequently you allow yourself to express them without stopping to say, Hey, I shouldn't say this, this is wrong, I shouldn't do this, this isn't in a lie sigmament with the development of a...

...virtuous mind. The more you do that, the more difficult it becomes to stop yourself and you become almost addicted to these things. They're like sirens luring you off the path and to ruin. Now I want to be clear here that I'm not talking about, and Marcus wasn't talking about things the public would shame you for simply because the public was wrong about something. If the public, for example, thinks it's shameful to like the color pink, but you love the color pink, this meditation isn't suggesting you conform to society's subjective opinion of what colors you should choose to like. This meditation isn't telling you that anything you do or think that the public would mock or shame you for should be abandoned or considered to be a play on your quest for virtue. That is not what's being said. This meditation is telling us to act the way we know we should act, to act and speak in ways that, if those things were put up on a big projection screen in the middle of town.

This meditation is telling us to act the way we know we should act, to act and speak in ways that, if those things were put up on a big projection screen in the middle of town for everyone to see and hear, we would stand by what we said and we would do so without reservation. This meditation is about making sure that the private version of you is the best version of you, so that when your private life is exposed to the outside world, there is nothing for you personally to be ashamed of, because you are, in private and public, exactly who you aim to be. Thank you for listening to this episode of practical stoicism. I appreciate you spending your Saturday mornings with me, or whenever it is that you're listening. Remember if you would like to subscribe to the Ad Free, preamble, Free Zachary approved version of this podcast, there is a link in the show notes of this episode for you to learn more about how to do that. Thank... again for listening. I truly appreciate you and until next time, take care,.

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