Eudaimonic Striving

My plan to leave the Service Industry.

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Okay, life stuff…

I recently picked up my six month sobriety chip at the secular based 12 step meeting I go to this past April. It feels nice. I will say though, that recovery is the business of habit change… and it takes work,  but every cell in my being shouts through a megaphone, “IT’S WORTH IT!”

Listening to audio excerpts from the Enchiridion in the morning help tremendously with my morning meditation. A kind of bold centering of my moral purpose to live the good life, while I can. Today could be the day  you know, that we all get hit by a bus. Negatively visualize that for a second. 😉

After completing six months at a Recovery House I voluntarily put myself in, I moved into a much less structured sober living Oxford House for just that little bit of structure to lean on… just in case my Ruling Faculty got hacked by my  Unconscious Mind and lost the battle. This is the stuff of early recovery. 🙂 In all honesty though, there is a healthy comfortable system of accountability that works out well. The longer I stay sober though, I believe in more than one model of addiction, and that they exist simultaneously at certain degrees depending on specific factors at play at any given moment. For me, it’s a choice, after I have detoxed off said poison (VICE). During a flare up, which now, at 31, has become increasingly less frequent, (attributed to simply growing up) the choice has already been made, and it’s automatic plummeting (disease model) until the despair grows strong enough.

With more than six months though, I have been using Stoicism daily across the board to aid in my affairs, and have come to some conclusions about my life and the directions I want to take…thinking a lot about meaning and eudaimonia and what it means for me. It is a strong preferred indifferent to launch myself out of the Service Industry.

Here’s what I’ve been doing recently to get my bearings oiled and ready for the eudaimonic slip and slide: (… hold up, that doesn’t work. Hmm.. for the eudaimonic drag race. You get the point…)

I’ve taken two extra days off work during the week to explore my options and better manage my time in relation to said eudaimonic spring board. I’m a slave to the service industry during the weekends, so it’s good to have the extra time to map out my future, day, steps…

I’ve been volunteering creatively with some notable academic rock stars (Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez) to help out with this years first Stoicon in the US. Check out Massimo Pigliucci’s blog How to be a Stoic for more details. And go HERE to register for the actual event!

I’m studying Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics as part of a six week online course offered by the awesome, YOUTUBE famous and super prolific Dr. Gregory B. Sadler, founder of REASON IO

GOALS

I need to finish my undergrad before I get hit by a bus or grow much older. Second, I “have to” transition to a more meaningful career than the Service Industry. So, this blog, over time, fate permitting, will serve as an example and progress report of how an individual uses Stoic principles to grow and live a meaningful life. And if it stops working, or if I get hit by a bus, then obviously the blogs will stop. 😉

This passage from the Enchiridion sums up my recent resolve to live a more meaningful, Stoic life:

“How long will you wait before you demand the best of yourself, and trust reason to determine what is best? You have been introduced to the essential doctrines, and claim to understand them. So what kind of teacher are you waiting for that you delay putting these principles into practice until he comes? You’re a grown man already, not a child any more. If you remain careless and lazy, making excuse after excuse, fixing one day after another when you will finally take yourself in hand, your lack of progress will go unnoticed, and in the end you will have lived and died unenlightened. Finally decide that you are an adult who is going to devote the rest of your life to making progress. Abide by what seems best as if it were an inviolable law. When faced with anything painful or pleasurable, anything bringing glory or disrepute, realize that the crisis is now, that the Olympics have started, and waiting is no longer an option; that the chance for progress, to keep or lose, turns on the events of a single day. That’s how Socrates got to be the person he was, by depending on reason to meet his every challenge. You’re not yet Socrates, but you can still live as if you want to be him.” -Epictetus’ Enchiridion, 51

epictetus

New Years Eve Blues.

Did the Ancients enjoy coffee?

On New Years eve, I went back to the house where I stay and celebrated vicariously with the rest of the world via social media. An underwhelming, slightly depressing, “whew,” it was on my end. Nevertheless, I didn’t irritate my “allergy” with superficial socializing and booze – I stayed home, alone, and got plenty of zZz’s.

Seneca, in his letters, stresses how vices become contagious in crowds. He also says it’s more of a challenge to be “a part of” without sharing in the base behaviors of the mob. This whole, being dutifully engaged in our society (in accordance with nature), for the Stoics, is a big balancing act.

The next day at work was a joke. Most, if not all of the employees were hungover beyond recognition…  …no it wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty bad. The zOmBiEaPoCaLyPsE was happening at my place of work! It was quite funny, actually, because I felt in perfect spirits, in comparison; darting to and from tables with a chipper air fueled by sobriety and my second cup of coffee. A part of KNOWING THYSELF for me, is knowing that I function better as a member of society when I don’t feast on the brains of vice. In the past, doing so tended to snow ball me into a super vice ridden Yeti – salivating and ready to scream, with cold heart pains heavy from cuts of dull machetes. Ha! – That was fun and unnecessary. Anywho! In that state, unlike the others (my co-workers), I wouldn’t have made it to work at all. So, I was grateful to be sober, albeit I felt “lonely” the night before.

At work, that day, I was a gladiator.

An important thing for me to realize as I practice Stoicism as a PHILOSOPHY FOR LIVING is to watch where I put my value. If I value my peace of mind, my good conscience, my zest for life, then I have to learn from the past where those very things were greatly diminished by mistakenly valuing externals: money, attention, fame, reputation, pleasure, etc.

Christopher

Songs About Philosophy