Friday, January 6, 2023

Daily Stoic and January 6th

 It is not easy for me to look back at January 6th with anything approaching civility or calmness. An armed mob tried to take over the government with the active backing of the Presidency, the spinelessness of many elected officials and the more insidious support via neutrality of many members of the military, police and secret service.

I cannot easily let this go. But for a moment, let us look at this through the philosophy of the Stoics. As I wrote yesterday, there are 3 main ways man should* respond to an action like this:

1. Certainty of Judgement: I was then and am now certain that the armed insurrection was wrong.  Time has not changed my initial response except to reinforce it with new information.

2. Action for the Common Good: Much of the country, and more each day, believe that January 6th was a criminal act of insurrection. The January 6th committee has delivered a scathing indictment, something I was not sure would happen. Congratulations go out to the House of representatives for an investigation that has focusses on discovering how and why this happened. And those responsible so it does not happen again.

3. Gratitude in the Present Moment: I am grateful for the brave work of first responders to keep our government functioning. I am grateful that the insurrection was lived streamed, and therefore could not be denied. I am grateful that so few people died in a stupid and ultimately unsuccessful endeavor.  And I am grateful that exposing this will probably make future insurrections less likely to succeed.

I cannot change what happened on the day. My anger and hurt do not effect the future and so I need to stay focussed on what I can do next.

I'm trying to move past this. Trying less successfully that with most items, but still trying.

*In this case "should" refers only to how Stoics want to respond, not should as in everyone's expectations.


  1. Not sure what you mean by "move past this." I know I can't let my anger for and fear of the evil that led up to that event cause me or anyone else physical harm and that it can't be something I focus on, but I also know that I have to incorporate that anger and fear into how I vote and relate to other people. Unfortunately, that day was just a sample of the danger that is still very present in our country.

  2. Yeah, I suck at moving on to. We both (I have watched you) despair but that does not stop us from trying to work for the public good and try to be grateful that the insurrection failed, AND grateful that people begin to see it for what it was. A Stoic would say that recognizing January 6th, and not letting it defeat you, is what they mean by "move past this". You decided on staying the course you set with the 2020 election and focussed all that much harder.
    It is easier to think about this in terms of the Hurricane. There might be people paralyzed by fear and regret. But you did not let the horrible action sweep you away. You simply got to work helping in food distribution.


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