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Stoicism vs. Apathy

Discussion in 'General Mindset, Motivation, Beliefs' started by AndrewNC, Jul 15, 2017.

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  1. AndrewNC
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    AndrewNC Limitless Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    They say the difference between enlightenment and apathy is a very fine line.

    For as long as I can remember, I used to suppress my emotions down into my unconscious. When I didn't face them at the surface, this allowed me to operate in a state where I didn't let my emotions take control of me. Whether it was when I volunteered as an EMT, a firefighter, or working in Law Enforcement; I couldn't let the emotions out because I had to remain in control.

    You know how people let their emotions get out of control...I didn't want that to happen to me.

    I didn't think they were a problem, because I wasn't having to face them.

    When my ex girlfriend cheated on my during college (along with the next one), I closed off my emotions and built a wall up.

    Stoic, not wanting to let my frustration out, and wanting to be in control; I pushed it down.

    It's been 8-9 years since that chapter of my life, but up until the fall of 2015, I was caught in the habit of stuffing things down.

    Then, in the Fall of 2015, I faced a very stressful moment in my life as a business owner with a sudden loss of income and feeling boxed in.

    Doing what always worked for me in the past, I bottled up my emotions and stuffed them down.

    Little did I know, that everything I was stuffing down was piling up, and it was piling up quickly into a finite space.

    All of a sudden, things turned into a pressure cooker and began shooting off onto the surface (in the form of medical problems which led to me rushing to the emergency room two times and 6 doctors visits throughout the winter).

    I used to view this stoicism and apathy towards emotions as a good thing because it helped me be in control of my actions, and I didn't have to face the pain that I was bombarded with in the past (unfaithful ex and working in emergency services).

    They say the difference between enlightenment and apathy is a very fine line.

    So this was around the time in my life where I learned how to properly manage my emotions.

    The very first step is to be open to feeling them at the surface (instead of pushing them down). Feel them flow through your body, and accept them for being there instead of resisting them (all suffering comes from resistance).

    As they flow through the surface, learn from them. Your emotions are a signal that pushes you in a certain direction. If you touch fire, the painful emotions push you to pull your hand away. Learn from your emotions and feel where they push you. If they feel good, what's it tell you to do? If they feel bad, what do you need to do different in your life?

    Then, you can harness their power and release. In Think and Grow Rich, they talk about the art of energy transmutation. Your emotions are energy flowing through your body, instead of suppressing them, use them as the fuel that lights the fire. Regardless of the type of emotion, it can be used. I wrote a love story around feelings I had for a woman (of love). I wrote my first book based off of the excitement of reaching my business goals.

    The rapper Eminem channels his anger into his music.

    Emotions are energy. Regardless of what they are, you have the power to control them and use them to your advantage.

    This way, whatever the emotions are, instead of stuffing them down and suppressing them, letting them build up...

    You can harness their power, release them; and grow quicker because of it.

    They say the difference between enlightenment and apathy is a very fine line.

    Now, isn't this an enlightening way to view things?

    Lessons learned:

    1. Don't stuff emotions down and ignore them.
    This is very convenient at first, but very painful over time.

    2. Control their release. People saw me posting a lot of emotional release videos last year on this forum because they were the tools which rapidly released everything that built up in that pressure cooker for over 10 years, taking back to an emotionally balanced and peaceful state. Art, singing, design, writing, exercise, whatever; there are ways to release them.
     
  2. cutthroughstatic
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    cutthroughstatic I Buy Cars Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Andrew,

    great post as always, thanks for sharing.

    I would add (from personal experience), that in addition to pushing emotions down, they can also sometimes be released in non-productive ways.

    I can't ever remember actually suppressing my own emotions. The most emotionally charged time in my life occurred when I was working a "normal" job. Salaried, 9-5 roughly, paid vacation (a lot of vacation time, actually, that was a big perk). I read TMF and it wrecked me for a bit. I understood the concepts, but I didn't want to live it out. MJ sells a dream, and it's easy to get caught up in the realization of the dream and ignore the necessary process and steps it takes to achieve it.

    So it made me really, really bitter against my employer and my "situation". I felt underpayed and underutilyzed in terms of my potential. And I spent countless hours on action faking, pretended to be an entrepreneur, coming up with new money making schemes daily.

    My emotions were certainly released. Just not productively. Maybe that was my own immaturity.. I had all these feelings of inadequacy and released them through day dreaming and action faking.

    I like what you said about channeling your emotions and using them to grow. That is the key.

    Again, thanks for sharing!
     
  3. MarekvBeek
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    MarekvBeek Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Ouch
     
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  4. Raoul Duke
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    "You must consider the activity which is possible for you to carry out in conformity with your own nature as a delight - and that is always possible for you.

    To do what is just with all one's soul, and to tell the truth. What remains for you to do but enjoy life, linking each good thing to the next, without leaving the slightest interval between them?"

    —Marcus Aurelius



    "When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
    an invisible procession going by
    with exquisite music, voices,
    don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
    work gone wrong, your plans
    all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
    As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
    say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
    Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
    it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
    don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
    As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
    as is right for you who proved worthy of this kind of city,
    go firmly to the window
    and listen with deep emotion, but not
    with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
    listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
    to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
    and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing."

    The God Abandons Antony - C.P. Cavafy
     
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  5. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I think there is a big difference between the two, Stoicism and Apathy.

    Stoicism to me, is that you care, but you don't show it.
    Apathy is that you really don't care.

    For example, A sports team loses the championship game.

    Person #1 is a big fan, and he is acting normal, but inside, he is sad and upset.
    Person #2 did not even know who was playing, he is acting normal, like person #1. He watched the same game and knows the outcome, but inside he literally does not care.

    The practice of stoicism can lead to apathy. But you can't lie to yourself and say you are stoic if it's eating you up inside.
     
  6. Chromozone
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    This is interesting. It seems we all have different perspectives regarding what Stoicism actually is.

    For me Stoicism isn't about ignoring emotions.

    For me it's realising we have a lot of control over many aspects that we may take for granted; our emotions, our outlook, our thought processes etc.

    I think Viktor Frankl summed up Stoicism in one phrase: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
     
  7. Digamma
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    I disagree, and I think so would the Stoics. Unless you meant person #2 to be the Stoic one in your example.

    Stoicism is not concerned with what you show and not show.
    Quite the opposite, a Stoic should give no weight to what is shown, as it only matters insofar as you are concerned with what others see (and, of course, towards not behaving in a way that is shameful towards your dignity - but that's not about showing, it's about acting right).

    Stoicism is concerned with controlling not your actions, but your emotions first - not in the sense of wrestling them into submission, but in the sense of having control over them instead of them ruling you.
    A Stoic would be aware that he is upset with a sports event, and ask himself why he is letting external things impact his feelings.
    He would then use a series of tools, like negative visualization, to free himself from the worry.

    Stoicism can never, ever lead to apathy.

    Stoicism is the pursuit of Virtue, in the classical sense of the word (pursuing your social duty, moral rectitude, and kindness).
    Apathy is the utter rejection of this pursuit and its importance.

    This is the main misconception about stoicism. The main point is not the control over your emotions.
    The main point is the pursuit of virtue and the rejection of vice, excess, and corruption.
    You can't have virtue if external things can easily take your tranquility (peace of mind) from you; hence the necessity for control.

    I'm not a philosopher, but I have been practicing stoicism for years now. I cannot recommend it enough.
    Every day I notice how seemingly "enlightening" modern ideas were obvious to these people.

    I think this quote from the Meditations shows pretty well what Stoicism is about.
    At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’
     
  8. jasoncuellar123
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    I'm pretty apathetic about this post, but you can't tell because of how stoic I am.
     
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  9. Raoul Duke
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    Try. Dumb it down for us. ;)
     
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  10. jasoncuellar123
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    I don't care, but I try not to show it. :humph:
     
  11. Raoul Duke
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    [​IMG]
     
  12. MJ DeMarco
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    Admin Post
    When I was young, I'd be one of those people who got angry when a sports team lost.

    I don't know what happened, but one day I realized, "Why am I angry? What exactly do I get when the team wins? Money? Vacation? Trophy on the wall?"

    The answer was NOTHING except an absurd sense of geographic patriotism which in itself, is useless.

    That's when it hit me that having an emotional connection to a sports team is an utter waste of time and energy. I no longer gave a shit -- sports transformed into a pure entertainment medium; when the game was over, it was freaking over, no different than a movie.
     
  13. Christopher777
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    In my experience, controlling what you focus on and having clarity is all that's needed. All kinds of stimulus are always going to be there, so you might as well learn to deal with it.

    In my golden years of partying, I discovered a state of mind that is invincible. It makes the world literally your oyster. You do things effortlessly and be oblivious to meaningless distraction. It's related to "flow" very much. Then later on, discovered a big subtlety to it. Which I wrote about and will be sharing to the world. I aimed to make this state easily accessible to the point where I can summon it at will.

    Then life continuously happened. The cool thing was, as a result of that training, it never left me. It came to my aid whenever it's needed.

    Just recently I gained even sharper clarity and I am surprised that many of the things that bothered me are completely powerless now. I am not easily bothered anymore. And I'm a chill guy, so that's like saying it's a lot more than what you expect.

    I also figured that progressive desensitazion works. Expose yourself to things that anger you and bother you in a sparring kind of way (not in an over the top way) and like any kind of training, you'll get toughened up real fast. Couple that with controlling what you pay attention to and distancing yourself from your highly biased first-person viewpoint, and it's extremely powerful.

    When you see things clearly, it's a no brainer. When you understand what's going on, there wouldn't be a web of computations going on in your head that messes with your emotions. Which are mostly based on fallacies, conjecture and misinterpretations.

    With clarity, you just see information and simply deal with it, cold.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
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  14. Greg Rutkowski
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    "I am happy though this has happend to me."
     
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    I've read stoicism is the philosophy of a tired age(as in ancient Greece, rome), when human suffering was abundant, slavery was normal, war common.
    Such a philosophy gave life meaning in meaningless times.
     
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