In Praise of Dispassion
Sometimes we say of people emerging from crises that the hard times brought out the best in them. But that’s not always true.
Let’s be honest: there are a lot of little people out there. I’m not speaking of the poor, the marginalized, or the diminutive in stature. I mean the moral midgets whose formerly quiet lives have lately been amplified to a deafening level by social- and other media platforms. These are people emboldened by the scope of the Internet and the relative anonymity it affords.
Some of the best advice ever given is that one ought to think twice before speaking. But we seem to have lost a vital component necessary to think even once: restraint. We’re not restrained, because many believe that blurting out the first thing that pops into one’s head is a sign of “authenticity.” It’s not.
We really need to be more stoic. I’ll capitalize that word in a moment.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “stoic” as a “person who practises repression of emotion, indifference to pleasure and pain, and patient endurance in adversity.”
That’s actually in the capital-S “Stoic” entry, which begins, as it should, with mention of the Greek philosophical school. That’s the Stoicism I’m thinking about, although I mean to connect it to Christianity. And why not? Saint Paul did.