“Since encountering Epictetus, Massimo Pigliucci has become one of the best and prolific popularizers in Stoicism. His latest is A Field Guide to a Happy Life: 53 Brief Lessons for Living. This book is a remix of Epictetus – it includes ideas from the original ancient Stoics and advances Stoicism into Stoicism 2.0. …
“It begins by focusing on the most important ideas:
- The dichotomy of control
- The 3 disciplines: judgment, desire, and action.
Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, you will know that when you are allowed ashore you may entertain yourself by looking around and doing some shopping, but you should always be aware of when the ship will depart, lest you end up stranded where you don’t belong. The same goes with life…You should always keep in mind at some point the voyage will be over, since it does not last forever. When the time comes, be ready, and make sure that you look back and do not find that you have misspent your shore leave. (A Field Guide to a Happy Life)
Question: How do you feel about this point of view? Do I need to look back and check how I spent my life?
Answer: I think that a person should live with it all the time, not when he is already dying and makes some kind of calculation: “What do I have, how can I now account for the results?”
One has to live with it. I must be constantly aware that there is a ship that has to sail at a certain time, and I have to catch it, and I am leaving. I should be in this in such a way that I meet the day of death almost calmly, with joy, and sail forth.
Question: What is the purpose I live for every day?
Answer: To rise above myself, above my egoism.
Comment: But I must realize that I am an egoist.
My Response: Of course. This is the most important thing. This is the first point: recognition of evil.
Question: How can I understand this?
Answer: If you are among the right people who are also working on themselves and want to reach this state, then you see that you are in your egoism and cannot get out of it. You must demand, ask, and fulfill some conditions in order to rise above it.
Question: So, should my life initially be in searching for such an environment? For those who want to rise above their egoism? Does it mean that I go ashore in order to find such an environment in this life?
Question: Who will give me this initial thought that I need to rise above egoism, that I should live my life like this?
Answer: This is given from above, by the Creator, who gives a person such a feeling, such a state. This is called “the embryo of his soul.” The fact that a person develops this state within himself is already the development of the soul.
Question: Can it be developed only with the help of the environment? Is there any other way?
Answer: No, what other way?
Comment: By myself somehow.
My Response: What will you be comparing it with? How will you change yourself? There is no other way.
Question: Does it mean that I “went ashore,” I lived through this life, and again I am going back on this “ship”?
Answer: Of course.
Question: Is death my sailing off?
Answer: Yes, and you “sail” further. Like in Dante.
Question: Every day I live my life the way I should, and where do I “sail” next?
Answer: Hell, purgatory, heaven.
Question: Could you briefly explain these three concepts: hell, purgatory, heaven?
Answer: Hell is when I begin to feel my egoism in which I have existed all the time and in which I still exist now, like in hell.
Purgatory means that I must get rid of my egoism. Absolutely, completely, and unconditionally replace it with bestowal and love. Then I feel heaven in these corrected states. It is all very simple.
Question: Why do we not want to go to heaven? Why does He not illuminate it for us? Can He just illuminate it a little and we will run there?
Answer: No, no, no! We are lured only to hell.
I wish all our listeners not to forget that a “ship” is waiting for us.
Question: The one that in the end will take us to heaven?
Answer: Yes, in the end. In the end it will take all of us.
But let’s begin even now to free ourselves from our vile, egoistic state.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/28/21