“Philosophy Core Concepts: Epictetus on Inconsistency and Moral Failings” (plus my update)

Re-watched this lecture from Dr. Sadler this evening:

Yep, it’s super-easy to judge others for their moral failings — a bit more tricky to recognize the same sort of thing in ourselves. For the last year or so I’ve been having this eerie experience where damn-near everyone feels like a mirror to me. Don’t like something in them? How come? Because either I possess the same failing or something similar or I fear arriving where they’re at if I continue in the direction I’ve been heading in. And there’s this visceral reaction to want to get away from them, want to lash out at them, dismiss them, look down upon them, then it boomerangs back and hits me in the end. Not that some of them indeed do need to be left alone, but ignoring them doesn’t change the fact that something in their ways of being did reflect a fear or concern of my own pertaining to my own failings. That was the truth, and I’ve been unable to escape that realization. Haunts me day in and day out. Multiple examples of people spring to mind immediately who’ve impacted me in this way in just the last year alone, largely unbeknownst to them. Wasn’t a topic we sat down and discussed. No point in doing so. Just sticks with me and serves as a repeated reminder.

Which leads me back to questioning my own choices in associates. Stupid is as stupid does, right? Tough to get up and stay upright when you surround yourself with folks headed in the opposite direction with no intention of ever changing and who seem to resent those who aspire to do so. And it’s obviously my bad for allowing this to remain the situation locally. Not like I don’t know a number of decent, good-hearted, productive people whose company and influence I’d benefit from substantially more. Though some live in other states and are restricted to phone or email communication. But still. This is a big enough city to where I’m not limited to associating only with bar-dwellers, nor is there any defensible reason for me to remain a bar-dweller myself. That lifestyle is expensive, laden with drama and bullshit, unhealthy (physically and psychologically), unproductive, energy-draining, and filled to the brim with folks I’d be better off not befriending. And it unravels me. Makes it harder over time to stick with what I believe to be right. Makes a hypocrite out of me for not practicing what I preach. Yup. Plain and simple.

Thankfully my bar fellows pissed me off sufficiently last Wednesday to where I feel no desire to return there anytime soon. Gives me time to think and take up time with pals I’ve been avoiding and hunt for better (alcohol-free) venues to spend time at. Found a place today to play board games at, connected to a comic book store. The clerk told me people meet there on Thursdays and I’m welcome to join in. Sounds good. Already have a card game night scheduled with a lady I work for this upcoming Tuesday. Plan to meet my buddy for coffee again on Monday evening. An old friend who currently lives in Utah texted to say he’ll call tomorrow, so that will be nice. Chatted on the phone with my cousin yesterday, my grandma today, and also met my best guyfriend for dinner earlier tonight. Just aiming to keep busy right now, preoccupied, so I won’t feel the pull to go back out to places where I don’t belong. Soon spring will arrive and we’ll be able to go bicycling once again. Looking forward to hitting the gym harder this upcoming week. No good reason to sit around wasting time and money, going through the motions of what I refer to as “the slow death” with a bunch of people who don’t really seem to care about much. But I do need social interaction and stimulation, so I have to put in the effort to find better places to go where more interesting people might be hanging out. Been wanting to do so many things for such a long time now and yet lacked the energy most days as a result of my lifestyle and choices. No good came from that. Not really possible to view it as anything other than a moral failing on my part. But this can be a new dawn and a new day if I decide for it to be. Like my buddy said earlier today, it’s just about small choices made each day. Might feel like letting go of something I’m familiar with currently, but on down the road I’ll realize I’m actually freeing myself from something unnecessary that’s holding me back and keeping me down.

Now on to thinking about other matters before bedtime…

“Philosophy Core Concepts: Epictetus on Contentiousness And Its Opposite”

Another very good lecture from Dr. Sadler:

Pausing at 7:40, I appreciate that Epictetus pointed out we humans weren’t constituted as tame and have to work on checking ourselves since we’re driven elsewhere by our natural state.

Yep, gotta learn how to not keep falling into that trap myself. That’s the trouble with being so reactive. Others get under my skin too easily, and I’ve been spending time around too many drunks and idiots who aren’t going to act any differently than how they always do. So it’s on me to first remove myself from the company of these people (which I am doing at present in terms of leaving these bars and their regular patrons alone), then get settled enough inside myself to where I can remain steadier when I do come across them in the future. Because it’s no fun feeling like an ass, nor is it much fun in hindsight behaving like a predator of prey. All feels like a waste of time and energy at the end of the day.

An audiobook I’ve been listening to recently is A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine.

Food for thought from Professor Anton

Throughout the day re-watching videos when time permits, flipping through Prof. Corey Anton’s youtube channel again tonight, as I like to do fairly regularly. Following are a few I’m glad to stumble back across.

“Larger Implications of Youtube”:

“Information, relevance, and great acts”:

“Corey Anton: The Lie of Standing Alone”:

“Corey Anton: Stoic Virtues (Ancient & Modern)”:

“Corey Anton: Neo-Stoicism in the Modern World”:

“Corey Anton: Solving Psychological Problems (Logotherapy)”:

“Corey Anton: We Become What We Think of Ourselves”:

“Corey Anton: Ambiguity, Suffering, & the Atheist/Theist Debate”:

“Corey Anton: Self-Esteem & Reality Confidence (On Calibration)”:

“Corey Anton: Meaning Junkies & the Courage to Need Little”:

“Why I am not an Atheist”:

“What is a Wasted Life?”:

He has so many awesome videos worth taking time with.

“Understanding Anger Lecture 5 – Emperors and Slaves Above the Passions: Stoic Philosophers on Anger”

Lecture 5 in a year-long series on understanding anger by Dr. Sadler:

Just finished up watching that one this morning. Hmm…I’d make a shitty Stoic.  ha

“Philosophical Resources for Understanding and Dealing with Anger”

Dr. Sadler’s advice and resources on philosophers that help him in dealing with anger: