You do it once and you don’t like it and you do it twice and then you’re insulted – 20th November 2019

4th June 2022 – I was making these notes as I was studying in my classroom, as classes were going on and 10-year-olds were jumping around, screaming and playing. It looks like I was doing some free online course from Donald Robertson’s website and Laurie Santos’ course at Coursera. Writing this out again now is a good reminder. Things I know but forget to practice or implement. How to bring these reminders into my thinking more often? I must find a way.

ataraxia – a state of serenity that comes with always acting properly in the world
pathé – negative, disruptive emotions
eupatheiai – positive, constructive emotions

Negative emotions/bad judgements
Good/present – pleasure (hēdonē)
– an impulse toward something present now that is considered good but isn’t
Good/future – appetite (epithumia)
– an impulse toward something in the future that is considered good but isn’t
Bad/present – distress (lupé)
– an impulse away from something present now that is considered bad but isn’t
Bad/future – fear (phobos)
– an impulse away from something in the future that is considered bad but isn’t

4th June 2022 – curious about the origins of the word pathé and its connection to Pathé News, which is where I first knew the word, I see that the Greek is actually pathē. It looks like the origin of the news name is from the surname of Charles Pathé so I wonder where his name came from and if it got bastardised over time for this minor change.

Positive emotions
Good/present – joy (khara)
– an impulse toward something present now that is considered good and is, in fact, good
Good/future – reasonable wishing (boulēsis)
– an impulse toward some future thing regarded as good which is, in fact, good
Bad/present – n/a
Bad/future – caution(eulabeia)
– an impulse away from some future thing regarded as bad which is, in fact, bad

joy is opposite pleasure
reasonable wishing opposite appetite
caution opposite fear

within our power:

not within our power:
our body
our property
our reputation
our workplace

impressions (phantasiai)
– judgements from previous experiences or subconscious thinking (cats are nice or cats are selfish)

– confirmation of the initial impression (cats are indeed selfish)

impulse (orgē)
– a movement of the will toward action that we feel because of having assented to a given impression
all emotions are impulses

4th June 2022 – it’s a kind of historical reassurance to see roots of English words such as fantasy and orgy and that their meanings have perservered. The meanings have persevered but us humans are still struggling to put these things into action.

impressions > assent > impulse
– impression is involuntary
– assent is the result of reflection
– impulse is voluntary

Provoked by the sight of a beautiful woman, you will discover the contrary power of self-restraint.
Faced with pain, you will discover the power of endurance.
If you are insulted, you discover patience.
In time, you will grow to be confident that there is not a single impression that you will not have the moral means to tolerate. (Enchiridion 10)

incorrect analysis:
impression – someone is insulting me
assent – it is awful to be insulted
impulse – I experience distress (lupē)

Don’t be angry. it’s pointless.

correct analysis:
impression – someone is opening their mouth and moving air
deny assent – movement of air cannot hurt me
impulse – none, just walk away

If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for? (Discourses 1, 29.35)

Social connection
People with close social ties
– less vulnerable to early death
– more likely to survive fatal illness
– less likely to fall prey to stressful events
– appear to be happier

Trying to connect with strangers will make you happier and we mispredict this fact.
Shared experiences make us happier
– eye contact
– smiling
simple ways to practice

Time affluence vs $$
using time for something fulfilling is more important than spending that time to make $$
Wanting better stuff that we don’t want yet
– are there things that we should be wanting that we don’t realise?
– seek out opportunities for doing kind things
– random
– do extra/more

Mind wandering
The objective conditions of our lives have improved dramatically yet we haven’t gotten any happier.
Mind wandering appears to decrease happiness.
Practice moment-to-moment experiences.
As we’ve said for the last 30 years ‘Live in the now!’
Meditation should assist. Be more aware. Practice more.

You are in such an ecstatic state to such a point that you feel as though you almost don’t exist.
You have to enjoy what you are doing. You won’t be very good at it if you don’t.
You also have to feel you are contributing something worthwhile.
High skill + high challenge
Control Arousal

Mind control
Why do our minds wander?
Our default network is fast – it thinks outside the here and now
Meditation – turn your attention away from distracting thoughts and focus on a single point

Event + response = experience
“The last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance” – Victor Krankl
– Realise you have the power
– Practice the responses
Attention – present moment
Attitude – acceptance

1. Notice your breath
2. Mind wanders
– memories
– planning
– judging
3. Notice and accept
4. Go to 1

Attend to and accept any sensation you experience in response to the event, without making any judgement of the goodness/badness of the event.
Ask yourself – can I be ok with this feeling?

Stratagies for creating better habits
Put yourself in situations that benefit those habits (situation support)
– fix bad environments
– promote healthy environments and connect with people doing the same things
Set goals
– be specific – how to achieve your goal (who what why when where)
– good visualisation – especially the obstacles
– mental contrast against the acheivement
– if-then plan can lead to better goal attainment, implementation, intention

Wish – think about your wish (goal)
Outcome – the best outcome
Obstacles – things that may stop you
Plan – if-then plan

Wish – to better control my emotions
Outcome – to be able to better deal with stressful and difficult situations without reacting to my initial emotions
Obstacles – I still want to be right. I still want to be better than everyone else. My ego gets in the way.
Plan – If I start to feel out of control then recognise this and pause, try to pause the conversation and make a decision later.

4th June 2022 – I think I have gotten better at this but not really sure if it is through practice. I feel like my attitude has developed, a little into a ‘ah, whatever’ apathy. I suppose each time I haven’t reacted I’ve been learning and then those situations just don’t arise in the first place. Am I trying to deny myself credit here? Ah, whatever!

Resistance never sleeps. It never slackens. It never goes away. The dragon must be slain anew every morning.

Steven Pressfield

virtue – bahviour showing high moral standard
moral – principles of right and wrong behaviour, the code of behaviour that is considered right and acceptable in a particular society
ethics – moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour
principles – a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief
truth/true – in accordance with fact or reality
wisdom – the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement
values – one’s judgment of what is important in life

It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing and of godlike men to want little.


The forging of human love and human work is the labour of life.

Charles Tart (?)

Death is neither a good nor an evil; it delivers no category of fortune.


What are the pros and cons of holding these beliefs?

  1. Dying doesn’t frighten me much
  2. It’s more important to have lived a good life than a long life
  3. Life and death are not intrinsically good or bad; it depends how we use them

Perhaps you think it superfluous to learn something that can only be implemented once – this is the very reason we have to practice.
Picture your own death several times a day. Think of it in slightly different ways, at different times.
Going to bed be grateful for our lives so far.
Plan your day as if it were last chance to really live.
Contemplate the transience of all living things.

Death comes knocking at the poor man’s shack and the king’s palace alike.


Contemplate a good death.
Read Trial and Death of Socrates, Plato’s Apology or Crito or any short story about a Stoic death
1. Imagine you are in their shoes
2. What would you do? How would you feel?
3. Compare your actions to theirs.
What lessons can you draw from this exercise?

Tell yourself that death is inevitable and necessary.
Contemplate objectively, consider your death from a scientific perspective, a natural event.
Imagine what is under your control and exercise wisdom and virtue in the face of death.
How would a Stoic respond to the death I imagine facing?
Imagine your own funeral.

Golden pins are stuck into people out of boredom. The golden pins will be welcomed.


4th June 2022 – These exercises about death I haven’t gotten around to though my impending decline is often thought about in various abstract ways. I don’t feel like my life is over but that I have probably lived the best parts of it already. That’s not a sad or bad thing. The remaining years are more content and happy. I don’t feel the need to fight for things as I used to.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for my cousin Sharon who took care of my mum so well before she passed away. Sharon did everything she could for her and went to great lengths to make sure my mum was as happy as she could be. I miss my mum a lot.

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