If Everything Is Ephemeral, Then What Matters?

If everything is ephemeral, as the Stoics insist, then what does matter? The answer is simple: Right now matters. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, that’s what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics.

Take Alexander the Great who conquered the known world and had cities named in his honor. This is common knowledge. The Stoics would also point out that, once while drunk, Alexander got into a fight with his dearest friend, Cleitus, and accidentally killed him. Afterward, he was so despondent that he couldn’t eat or drink for three days. Sophists were called from all over Greece to see what they could do about his grief, to no avail.

Is this the mark of a successful life? From a personal standpoint, it matters little if your name is emblazoned on a map if you lose perspective and hurt those around you.

Learn from Alexander’s mistake. Be humble and honest and aware. That is something you can have every single day of your life. You’ll never have to fear someone taking it from you or, worse still, it taking over you.