On Wasting too much Time with Stoic Theory

This blog has been on hiatus for about six months—and there’s a reason for that.  I decided that I was spending too much time thinking and writing about Stoicism, and not enough time practicing it. 


Suppose there are two musicians.  One understands musical theory and talks about it most fluently, but is not able to sing or play the cithara or lyre.  The other is ignorant of theory, but plays the cithara and lyre well and can sing.  Which one would you want as a performer?…

Isn’t being self-controlled and prudent about all one’s actions much better than being able to say what is involved in prudence or self-mastery?…  Practice is more important than theory because it more effectively leads humans to actions than theory does.

—Musonius Rufus, Lectures, 5.3,4.

Writing about one’s philosophy is like owning a house. You tend to it, you maintain it, and there is always something you can do to organize it better, something to dust off or polish, or a new addition to build or design idea to implement. All together, it is supposed to give you a solid, clean platform for living your life: you take care of it specifically so you don’t have to worry about it while you attend to the things that matter. In the end, however, a house can easily come to own you, rather than the other way around. At my age I still just rent an apartment—but how many times have I used various chores and organizational tasks as a pretense that draws me away from the duties and joys of living? House work is important, but it needs to support flourishing, not take away from it. So it is with reading and writing. Continue reading “On Wasting too much Time with Stoic Theory”

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