In learning Stoicism, there comes a point where you almost want negative outcomes to occur, just so you can practice your stoicism.
There comes a point where you want events to go poorly just so you can practice staying calm and gleeful. For example, you may notice a desire for people to ridicule you just because you think it’s funny. You may even go out of your way to exaggerate your controversial beliefs.
This is the way beyond caring what others think: wanting them to disagree with you. This is the switch from merely resilient to antifragile. What was trying to hurt you, now helps you.
There is a spectrum that exists from “vehemently wanting others to disagree with you” to “vehemently wanting others to agree with you”. It’s much easier to be anywhere on the former side of the spectrum, where you want others to often disagree with you, than it is to be at the single point on the spectrum that lies at the perfect balance of ‘indifference’.
Anyone that does not develop this conviction will be shackled to the expectations of others.
And perhaps you fear that this would turn your personality cold, but in my experience, the opposite has occurred: my friends love my differences!
Strive to gain from chaos and ridicule. Strive to be more than merely indifferent.
Drawing © Ariana Dyer.
A reader informed me that certain politicians follow this advice quite well, and surely that is not what I intend. Fair, OK, wanting people to disagree is usually bad! There is a reason we feel social stigma. Thus I must qualify, this essay is a reaction to situations where someone who has thought extensively about a topic and derives rare beliefs then feels held back by people who haven’t thought as much about the topic.
Posted 2021 April 5, last updated 2021 April 14.
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