No Prizes

“Philosophy does not claim to get a person any external possessions. To do so would be beyond its field. As wood is to the carpenter, bronze to the sculptor, so our own lives are the proper material in the art of living.”


You can’t expect to get rich practicing philosophy. You’re not likely to gain anything physical at all, in fact. That’s not how philosophy works, and that’s not its aim. The sole benefit of our study in stoicism is the betterment of our own lives. This is what Epictetus imparts to us in today’s entry in The Daily Stoic.

Our life, and the way we approach it and live every day — that’s what we’re working on when we study philosophy. We don’t study it for warm fuzzy feelings — although it’s ok if you feel that way anyway, I know I do sometimes. But that’s not why we practice. And we likewise don’t do it so that we can impress others or to humble brag on social media.

Those are light-hearted and ultimately inconsequential things, and what we’re doing here is so much more important than that. Stoicism isn’t a trifle, it’s for life. It will modify your life, just like a carpenter modifies wood and a sculptor modifies bronze.

But to be clear, there are no material prizes to be won, of any sort. The only reward is personal growth. As it should be.

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