Embracing Our Animal Side

Anyone who has ever experienced the heart-wrenching scene of a dog or a cow separated from their young knows that animals have feelings. Witnessing those painful cries and bellows is enough to make some folks vegetarians. Yet anyone who has stuck around a bit longer—or revisited a cow pasture a few days after the calves … Continued

A Philosopher Makes Tough Decisions (and Tries to Do What’s Right)

A few passages from the recent New York Times piece which looks at the internal and ethical struggles of Stoic philosophers through history…up until today. “In the ancient world, as is true today, navigating political chaos was a pressing dilemma. Philosophers were forced to decide whether to participate in, resist or simply endure the political rulers of their time. … Continued

Patience Was Given To Us For A Reason

We can imagine that the job of the emperor was not an easy one. Marcus would have had enormous responsibilities and despite his absolute power, he still had to deal constantly with his advisors, with his family, with his guards, with the Senate and with his magistrates. He had to deal with the Roman people … Continued

Repeat This In Your Head

This verse in one of Alice in Chains’ most haunting songs captures the essence of the Stoic battle: “And yet I find And yet I find Repeating in my head If I can’t be my own I’d feel better dead” The need to be one’s own. One’s own man. Free from outside influence. Free from tyranny. Free from … Continued

Character Is Fate, Deeds Not Words

It was today 162 years ago that one of our favorite subjects on this site was born: Booker T. Washington. Born a slave in Virginia, made free by the Civil War, and then a self-educated college graduate, Booker T. Washington is one of the most underrated of all the Civil Rights Activists, a man who … Continued

Leaders Eat Last

Marcus Aurelius used his Meditations both as a journal and as a kind of commonplace book where he jotted down quotes and anecdotes he liked. We can’t be sure how the original manuscript was organized and what order he actually put his thoughts in, but it is interesting that a big chunk of Book 11 of Meditations is a … Continued

A Slave To Fewer Things

On an ordinary afternoon in 1949, the physicist Richard Feynman was going about his business as he felt a pull to have a drink. Not an intense craving by any means, but still it was a disconcerting desire for some alcohol. On the spot, Feynman gave up drinking right then and there. He didn’t want … Continued

A Piece of Advice

Marcus Aurelius found this piece of advice from an opposing philosophical school important enough to jot it down to himself. It’s worth considering today and practical enough to incorporate into your life immediately: “This advice from Epicurean writings: To think continually of one of the men of old who lived a virtuous life.” For you perhaps that … Continued

Character Is The Monument

In the township of Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania, not far from the railway station, is a small cemetery filled with the remains of many unnamed Revolutionary War heroes. There are a few other gravestones of various sizes in various states of collapse and decay, the oldest of which dates back to 1777. One is still visible, though … Continued