Donald Robertson — How to Think Like Marcus Aurelius (#25)

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“The Stoics can teach you how to find a sense of purpose in life, how to face adversity, how to conquer anger within yourself, moderate your desires, experience healthy sources of joy, endure pain and illness patiently and with dignity, exhibit courage in the face of your anxieties, cope with loss, and perhaps even confront your own mortality while remaining as unperturbed as Socrates.” ― Donald J. Robertson, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

Donald Robertson is one of the world's leading experts on Stoicism, especially how it relates to cognitive science and therapy. Donald has spent decades as a clinical psychologist and has been studying the great Stoic classics for just as long. Recently, Donald released a book, part biography, part self-improvement, about the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. It's a truly amazing read, as practical as it is enjoyable.

“When we reason well about life and live rationally, we exhibit the virtue of wisdom. Living in agreement with Nature, in part, means fulfilling our natural potential for wisdom; that’s what it means for us to flourish as human beings.” ― Donald J. Robertson, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

In my first interview with Donald, we covered a lot of general Stoic principles, but in this episode we look specifically at decoding the mind of Marcus Aurelius so we can start living more like this philosopher king.

“According to Stoic philosophy, when we assign intrinsic values like “good” or “bad” to external events, we’re behaving irrationally and even exhibiting a form of self-deception. When we call something a “catastrophe,” for instance, we go beyond the bare facts and start distorting events and deceiving ourselves. Moreover, the Stoics consider lying a form of impiety—when a man lies, he alienates himself from Nature.” ― Donald J. Robertson, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

WHAT WE DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
  • The Stoic training of Marcus Aurelius
  • The role of compassion in Marcus' life
  • The battle between Stoicism and sophism
  • The biggest influences on Marcus' development
  • How Marcus journaled and reflected on his day
  • The biggest mistakes and misconceptions when practicing Stoicism
  • The Stoic view of pornography and other temptations
  • Donald answers, do Stoics ever see themselves as victims of life
  • The incredible emphasis and techniques Marcus used to manage his anger
  • The hardships that beset Marcus' life
  • The level of plagiarism found in Stoic texts
  • Western philosophy and psychedelics
  • The role of mysticism and psychedelics
  • Much, much more!

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35 episodes