Is there a better definition of Stoicism than this? Is there a better verse to define what we ought to aspire to be today? It comes to us from Walt Whitman, who cherished the Stoics and funneled their wisdom into his energetic form of Americanism and transcendental poetry.
“O while I live to be the ruler of life, not a slave,
To meet life as a powerful conqueror,
No fumes, no ennui, no more complaints or scornful criticisms,
To these proud laws of the air, the water and the ground, proving
my interior soul impregnable,
And nothing exterior shall ever take command of me.”
If you have the time, the rest of Whitman’s poem, “A Song of Joys,” is well worth the read (or listen). If you don’t, just remember those lines for today: No fumes, no ennui, no more complaints or criticism. Let nothing exterior take command of yourself. Live like a ruler of life, not a slave of it.
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