The Daily Stoic for November 16th, “Hope And Fear Are The Same”.

“Hecato says, ‘cease to hope and you will cease to fear.’ . . . The primary cause of both these ills is that instead of adapting ourselves to present circumstances we send out thoughts too far ahead.”

—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 5.7b–8

I would have not agreed with today’s stoic meditation some time ago, but now I see it quite fit. Hope and fear are eventually the same, they are a projection of a possible outcome of the present.

Hope And Fear Are The Same?

It’s true that in our society, hope is regarded as a positive thing. A positive quality. However, fear is always demonized. And it’s true, fear can paralyze us. I have experienced that recently.

But hope, while not a bad thing per se, can be dangerous if we rely on our best wishes for the future and give them for granted. Hope can actually cause more pain than fear, if we truly believe it. Once we are sure something good is going to happen, when things go wrong, the fall is double the distance.

And I’m not saying here that we should not have hope. It’s a very human feeling -just like fear actually- indeed. But we need to be aware that the present is all we possess, and don’t take anything else for granted.

I am starting to realize that maybe what stoics strived for was living a more balanced life. Finding a state of mind where you are not overwhelmed by things, good or bad. Less vulnerable to feelings, and emotional roaller coasters. You know I dismissed that idea before, seeing it as somewhat “robotic”. But lately, I’m starting to appreciate it.

Conclusion

Today’s Daily Stoic, “Hope And Fear Are The Same”, discusses a very powerful idea: hope and fear are both projections of a future that may or may not happen and, as such, are the same thing, only seen from a negative or positive point of view.

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