The Daily Stoic for October 21st, “Heroes, Here And Now”.
“Such behavior! People don’t want to praise their contemporaries whose lives they actually share, but hold great expectations for the praise of future generations—people they haven’t met or ever will! This is akin to being upset that past generations didn’t praise you.” —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.18
We waste too much time thinking about the future. We are worried about things that might never happen. We make plans for years when our lives may completely change in a matter of seconds. We plan on advance things we won’t even care about next week…
Heroes, Here And Now
But probably, the worst misuse of our own future is living in it. Thinking, acting and behaving for our future selves. Or even worse, for what other people will think or say about us.
Some asian cultures subject people to the dictatorship of their ancestors and descendants. Their past is marked by people from their family that are already dead. And their future, and the future of their children, and their children’s children, is hampered by their present actions and decisions.
In modern western cultures, we look for fame and recognition for the wrong reasons. We want people to speak about us long after we are dead, not when we are alive.
One of the advantages of not believing in heaven, or reincarnation, is accepting that you are just your body and your mind. Nothing else. When you are dead, nothing really matters anymore. So you don’t really care if people speaks about you or not.
Even if you believe in god, or any other entity, it’s nice to be good and kind just because it’s right, and enjoying life just because it’s the life you have right now, at that very moment.
So I agree with today’s stoic meditation. The past should not limit us, the future should not determine our actions. The present is what really matters.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Heroes, Here And Now”, talks about acting rightfully today, focusing our energies in being a good person in the present, instead of considering the opinions of unknown people in a distant future, after we’re dead.