Stoicism 1, 2, 3, 4: A Memory Aid for Meditation

Bringing them the plague
3 min readMar 1, 2022

Stoic meditation is about memorizing Stoic teachings deeply, which you can call upon facing adversities. As Marcus Aurelius says:

Continually, therefore, grant yourself this retreat and repair yourself. But let them be brief and fundamental truths, which will suffice at once by their presence to wash away all sorrow, and to send you back without repugnance to the life to which you return. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations IV, 3)

Here is one mnemonic (memory) aid Stoic learners might use. It is based around counting up from 1 to 4, then back down again. Simple.

One

One thing is necessary for happiness, virtue: the knowledge of what is and is not needed to live well.

If you don’t have this, you can have many other things and still be miserable. If you do have it, you don’t need many other things and can still be content.

Two

There are two kinds of things in the world:

1.things outside of our control — money, power, fame, status, natural disasters, what others say about us…

2.things within our control.

Most of us spend a lot of our time worrying about the first, and not focusing on what we can control. But…

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Bringing them the plague

Freud's response on arrival in America, some Camus; blogs and essays (older style) on philosophy, psychology, culture and politics.