Thursday, February 9, 2023

Daily Stoic: Repeated Advice

Today's meditation is about fear and how to overcome it.

Many are harmed by fear itself, and many more have come to their fate while dreading fate.

Seneca

Very reminiscent (although since it was ancient Greece, maybe precedent is a better word), of Winston Churchill's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself". A mantra for perseverance in the face of an enemy.

I've always taken his quote to mean: although we are afraid of things (like German bombs), fear itself is what immobilizes us.

Seneca says here, that fear is rather worthless since what happens, will happen anyway. That doesn't say we should not strike at the heart of what we are afraid or face the issues that fear brings up. He is saying that if worrying is taken over your life or future, fight that fear however you can.

As example of addressing the fear for a better life, I am reminded of Bette Midler. She had a home in Laurel Canyon with her family (husband and daughter. Her neighborhood (wrong side of Mulholland, but who's counting) shook a lot in the Northridge Quake. People who didn't fear another earthquake later stocked up on emergency gear, water and food. Bette was quite afraid of another earthquake and moved her family to New York.

Both solutions addressed the fear of another earthquake, just in different ways. Some people (particularly natives) took this bad information and did something to alleviate their fears, they prepared. Many others, Bette is simply the most famous, decided to alleviate their fears by leaving the area.

Both solutions addressed the future, each in a different way. Although fear may have been the first response. Both types of people took the earthquake as a given and they both took action to resolve it so they no longer feared the future.



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