— From ‘How to be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to live a modern life’ P. 42
And that reality includes the fact that no one is immortal, no one is ‘ours’ in the sense that we are entitled to him or her. Understanding this is not just a way to maintain sanity when a loved one dies, or a dear friend leaves for another country. Facing this reality also reminds us to enjoy the company and love of our fellow humans as much as possible while we can, trying hard not to take them for granted, because it is certain that one day we and they will be gone and the only right ‘season’ for appreciating them will have passed. We always live hic et nunc — here and now.”
— From ‘How to be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to live a modern life’ P. 39
— From How to Be a Stoic – Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life P.34
— From How to Be a Stoic – Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life P.23
The Stoics used several metaphors to get their points across. One of the most incisive is that of a garden, introduced by Chrysippus, who said that the fruits of the garden represent the ethics. To get good fruits we must nurture the plants with fine nutrients: the soil of the garden, then, is the physics, providing our understanding of the world in which we live. Moreover, our ‘garden’ needs to be fenced off from unwanted and destructive influences, or it will be taken over by weeds and nothing good will grow in it: the fence is the logic, keeping bad reasoning out of the way.
Our friend Epictetus developed his own highly original take on why the three stoic areas of study are important:
There are three departments in which a man who is to be good and noble must be trained. The first concerns the will to get and will to avoid; he must be trained not to fail to get what he wills to get nor fall into what he wills to avoid. The second is concerned with impulse to act and not to act, and, in a word, the sphere of what is fitting: that we should act in order, with due consideration, and with proper care. The object of the third is that we may not be deceived, and may not judge at random, and generally it is concerned with ascent.
These are often referred to as the three Stoic disciplines: desire, action, ascent.”