Don’t Let Philosophy Go To Your Head

The writer Ambrose Bierce is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated of all the Stoics. He was a Civil War hero, a contemporary of Mark Twain, a brilliant satirist and a constant thorn in the side of the powerful and the corrupt. He was part Cynic and part Stoic—the Stoic came to him by birthright. His father’s name? Marcus Aurelius Bierce.

Bierce loved philosophy and Stoicism but he never took it—or anything—too seriously. “All are lunatics,” he said, “but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.” It’s doubtful that Bierce would have gone around calling himself a “modern day Stoic” or a “philosopher.” He would have found that mockable. He wasn’t one for status or fame. He liked people who did the work, who lived their words, who struggled against the corruption and deceit of the Gilded Age. That was how you made the world a better place.

It was true then and it’s true now. So don’t let all this go to your head. Do the work.