I have to say that I have enjoyed many of your articles here on Medium. :)
In my life, reading ancient philosophy, whether it is Stoicism, Epicureanism or whatever has helped me to put perspective on things. For example, the dichotomy of control statement has been quite helpful for me.
When I started applying this little framework in my life, deciding what things are under my control, which are only partially, and which are not at all, it made me a bit more calm.
I wouldn’t underestimate the power that reminding people of this actually has. Sometimes the most powerful statements are actually the most simple statements.
In these types of things, we always have to be vary of the so-called “expert bias”. When you are an expert on something and have mastered it, it is often hard to understand how useful this little thing can be for lay people.
Most normal people have never thought about these things. They often worry about things that they don’t have control over. The current pandemic is a good example. Many people cry how this has affected their lives, which often paralyzes them.
The virus is here, and we can’t do much about that fact. That’s not under our control. So we need to adapt.
I have to admit that I have engaged in my own little “pop Stoicism”, and wrote some articles on how I applied some of the things from Stoicism in my life:
A Day in the Life of a Stoic: Applying the Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius to Overcome Daily Challenges
How to have a good day
In the article I write how I applied little snippets from Stoicism, combined it with things from other sources, and created my own little life system:
“What I have tried to do is to take some of these nuggets of wisdom, and apply them in my own life. While many of the things I am doing are Stoic influenced, I have also tried to incorporate as many insights from different ways of thinking as I can. Combining these ancient techniques with tools from the modern world can help you to create a bullet-proof personal system to overcome any challenge that the world throws at you.”
I have focused more on the practical aspects of philosophy, and don’t really care that much about the metaphysical aspects of for example Stoicism. They often used the metaphor of being like a dog who is chained to a moving cart, and you either run along happily or are dragged along.
Is that how life really is? I don’t know. That’s how the Stoics thought about it, but other people interpret it differently. I don’t really have an opinion here.
As for Marcus Aurelius not always being a perfect sage, I think you always need to put these things in perspective. This is especially when you are viewing things from history. That’s the period he was born in, and that’s how things worked. I wonder how people in the future will view our period when looking back.
Reading his thoughts, even Marcus acknowledged that he was not a perfect sage. However, he was always trying to improve himself. I think this is the valuable thing to take from his life. It’s the struggle that is important.