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  • Daniel Vargas

To become a better human

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?” Epictetus

In my previous posts, I was specific with being a stoic man and stories of a stoic woman. Every thought there was up for interpretation and at the end of the day, you decide how you live your life of virtue. In today’s post, I wanted to go about it in a broader way. To be a better human. By definition a stoic is to be natural with nature. To be close with one’s emotions, and physical characteristics.

I notice that people often confuse what it means to be stoic. It is not someone who is entirely calm and rational. It's actually quite normal to act out, its human nature. You are in control of that outcome. But for example, when it comes to tyranny or injustice, should you remain stoic and rationalize with people or try to change their mind? No, of course not. You are at the mercy of the other individual, which is out of your control. You see, morality bleeds into other aspects of immoral behavior. Going back to my tyranny example, there is no reasoning. In this case you must fight because as a stoic you must uphold Justice and Courage. Seneca and Cato were very open about fighting against their slave master and tyrannical rulers, respectively. It takes courage to stand up for what is intrinsically right and just. Justice for freedom of all people or courage to point out someone’s wrongdoing.

In today’s day in age, it is far more complicated to fight for Justice given its complicated problems and equally complicated solutions. For a modern day stoic, it is important to always remain neutral and stray to what is morally just. We must remember that unless we are experts we will always be students, therefore we will always be wrong. We live in a time where fact meets additional fact. But never back down from what is morally just. Be wise with your decisions, be wise with your conversations, and be wise to the understanding that you will always be learning.

Those were examples of justice, wisdom and courage.

As a stoic you must remember that you are not just your mind, but you are your body. Marcus Aurelius and Seneca both were physically fit even up to their older years. Seneca was quoted saying “what a shame is to be a man and never see your physical potential”. Within the stoic virtue of moderation, it deals with anything in excess. In a modern day, food and entertainment are an excess in availability. You must hold strong to self control. Throughout human history it was a requirement to be strong and fit to hold your own. Embedded in our DNA it still reigns true as health and fitness are a pillar of human longevity. Food in moderation, drinking in moderation, and yes, even exercise in moderation.

Being a better human is striving for greatness for others around you and for yourself, both mentally and physically.

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