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Law \ Legal

I Am Indifferent To Success Or Failure Or Tragedy.


One of the most difficult, and counter-intuitive Stoic principles is indifference. You have heard the Chinese farmer story enough by now. Whatever happens to him, he responds that it is a good thing or a bad thing “maybe”. As fate continues its march to the inevitable end…death…he recognizes that it is useless to worry or react to life’s successes or failures. He must be “indifferent” to them, because he cannot control them. This is quite difficult to explain to someone who has lost a spouse, or parent, or sibling or child. How can you be indifferent to that, you terrible person! But, this type of indifference, which the Stoics called a “preferred indifference” isn’t a judgment on the depth of love or caring; but, rather, a recognition that, whatever we do, nothing can change what has already happened. So, the rational person tries mightily to accept the inevitability of tragedy and death, and to continue to live life with a sense of wonder and joy. My wife is dead. I cannot change that. But, I can remember her with joy and happiness for the times that fate allowed good memories. I can live my life happy that, for a period of time, she was in it. I can be indifferent to the event, because I realize that I only have the power to live happily or to live a miserable existence. I choose to be happy. You get to make that same choice. Let’s use the coming New Year to recognize and celebrate the “preferred indifferent”.



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