January 14th and 15th

Cut the Strings That Pull Your Mind

Philosophy is simply asking us to pay careful attention and to strive to be more than a pawn. As Victor Frankl puts it in The Will to Meaning, “Man is pushed by drives but pulled by values.” These values and inner awareness prevent us from being puppets. Sure, paying attention requires work and awareness, but isn’t that better than being jerked about on a string? – The Daily Stoic

Why exactly are you driven to put the hours at the gym, clocking in the miles, eating healthily?

Are you pushed to athletic success by fear of failure, of disappointing somebody, or yourself?

Are you pulled into it by a deep desire to see the edges of your potential? To expand your abilities?

Ask yourself “why?” until you can’t continue answering.

Indeed, lets investigate the four virtues that all Stoics seek to cultivate. From The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy :

The Stoics elaborated a detailed taxonomy of virtue, dividing virtue into four main types: wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. Wisdom is subdivided into good sense, good calculation, quick-wittedness, discretion, and resourcefulness. Justice is subdivided into piety, honesty, equity, and fair dealing. Courage is subdivided into endurance, confidence, high-mindedness, cheerfulness, and industriousness. Moderation is subdivided into good discipline, seemliness, modesty, and self-control.

Looking at this list, I personally see physical activity as a great way of pursuing virtue!

I can’t help but think of Hideo Kojima, as he talked about how his highly anticipated game Death Stranding would use a new mechanic. Instead of focusing on sticks that keep things away, it would instead look at ropes that help keep things of value close to you. Possible parallels with the complementary pair of passion ~ reason/stoicism, and external ~ internal motivation.

And again, the admission that this introspection isn’t easy, but the payoff is worth it.

Peace Is in Staying the Course

In Seneca’s essay on tranquility, he uses the Greek word euthymia, which he defines as “believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction.” It is this state of mind, he says, that produces tranquility.
Clarity of vision allows us to have this belief. – The Daily Stoic

This easily loops back to Day 3, where I observed the need for confidence in having chosen the right path for yourself. Problem is, how does one create this confidence?

I believe it will come down to coming to terms with who you are (that darn introspection showing up again!). How can you know what is appropriate for you, if the concept of you isn’t even clear?

Again, having a deep understanding with why you pursue sport, I believe, will help direct your efforts, especially in trying times.

We’re getting more complex with the Patois now! “Mi await pon dah machine”.

  • Careful for circle jerks. At the last poolside, we ended up with more of a conversation, with lots of back and forth, instead of the usual Q&A. I quite liked what we got out of it, though I agree with Mike Boykin that if it ends up being just a bunch of people rephrasing what the last guy said and everybody agreeing, it doesn’t end up being super productive. Iordan believes it was in a John Kiely podcast that suggested that during any management meeting, you should appoint somebody to act as a devil’s advocate. This helps ensure that different perspectives are considered, making the ensuing decisions more robust.
  • Listening to this podcast with Sam Harris and Paul Bloom was very interesting. He clarifies his point on empathy, which resembles how I understood it. Two extra ideas from this talk :
    • People hate having anything they consider “obvious” questioned. In the fields of psychology, the idea of studying something like “why does a mother love her child”, or “Why do we seek out God?” is met with disdain, almost as if the victim was being insulted. “How dare you reduce my experience down to molecules and reactions?” I feel that to a certain extent, many concepts about sports are considered “obvious” too, which is why they’re so pervasive. Often, to the detriment of those affected by them. Don’t be afraid to question everything!
    • A proposed solution to this problem is technology. Now to be fair, the adopters must be willing to entertain the possibility that they might have biases to correct. Assuming they do, however, technology can help bring the objectiveness needed to solve these issues. Orchestras used to believe that men just “had an extra oomph” that women couldn’t match, and hence the sexual disparity was significant. Once auditions were done behind a screen, this difference almost disappeared. What are some of the situations in sports where we could do the same?

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