On episode 49, we welcome philosopher Massimo Pigliucci to discuss how we can use Stoic philosophy to improve mental health, learn about the necessity of separating internal and external success, and how we can implement practices to make us feel in control of our well-being.
Stoic philosophy offers us ways to take control of our worlds through an increased ability to reinterpret events and by redefining success through the lens of our characters, providing us with daily practices to build up our self-esteem through increased virtue. By trying to become good people in attempting to be courageous, wise, just, and moderate, we regain a sense of self entrapped in the throes of fortune.
We have the power to be and become better, which effectively increases our chance of living happier lives. If natural calls us to act pro-socially, then Stoicism offers a guide on how to embody the individuals we were born to become.
So make a practice at once of saying to every strong impression: ‘An impression is all you are, not the source of the impression.’ Then test and assess it with your criteria, but one primarily: ask, ‘Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?’(Epictetus, Enchiridion 1.5)
Massimo Pigliucci is the K D Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living (2017), A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control (2019), co-authored with Gregory Lopez, and How to Live a Good Life: A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy (forthcoming, 2020), co-edited with Skye Cleary and Dan Kaufman.