How to deal with and handle fear; how to find balance between accepting death and embracing life; and how to make fear your mentor.
This week we take a look at Letter 24 – ‘On Despising Death’. But it’s not another go-round of telling yourself that death is OK and we should accept it. No – this time our focus is on how to live well now, and recognise how our fears (conscious or otherwise) can destroy our lives well before the Grim Reaper comes a knocking.
Seneca invites us to get practical: What if we imagine the worst – imagine it fully, in detail. Turn and confront it, not just look at the huge shadow it casts on the wall of our minds. When we do that, 90% of the time, it turns out to be far less terrifying.
Then we go a step further and ask how can we turn fear into a source of inspiration. Do we just need new words to understand the difference between rational and irrational fears? Or can we sit in the space of fear and learn from it?
Fear is a tool and, like all tools, it shouldn’t be used for every occasion. Don’t try to screwdriver your lunch or your girlfriend – use screwdrivers for screws! So this week we discuss when and how to use fear to our best advantage.
Along the way, we debate whether suicide should be illegal; whether we abandon our belief in personal sovereignty when it’s someone we love who’s thinking of offing themselves; and if giving our problems names only serves to give us an easy way out of taking responsibility for our lives.
We pick a bone with Seneca over this one – the ‘good life’ and the joys of living it seem conspicuously absent in this letter, and rolling with the punches isn’t the same as thinking it’s good to be punched in the face
Dre also initiates a monkey-bar challenge from hell, and decides to take his brain out, massively increase its size, and place it at the centre of a planet. Of course.
- Why don’t we belong to the state?
- The social and personal morality of suicide
- How to make fear your mentor
- Identities vs conditions
Find Out More:
- Hit us up on our brand new Instagram!
- The full text for free on WikiSource
- Jon’s interview for HighExistence with Geoff Thompson – How to Make Fear Your Mentor
- Ryan Holiday’s superb and accessible book on Stoicism: The Obstacle is the Way