The Daily Stoic for July 2nd. “On Duty And Circumstance”.
“Never shirk the proper dispatch of your duty, no matter if you are freezing or hot, groggy or well-rested, vilified or praised, not even if dying or pressed by other demands. Even dying is one of the important assignments of life and, in this as in all else, make the most of your resources to do well the duty at hand.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.2”
Oversimplification can be one of the best allies of a philosophy or one of its best enemies in my mind.
When I talk about “oversimplification” here, I mean reducing moral questions, decisions, and situations to a “black or white” choice scenario.
This is one of the cases when it does not work for me. Let me explain.
On Duty And Circumstance
We all know what’s right and what’s wrong because we learned it at a very early age. We learn about our duty, work and chores and why we need to do them.
However, life is not always that simple as “this is your duty, so go do it”. We are not machines, we are human beings. We shouldn’t spend our whole lives working or “doing our duty”.
I do work a lot. I am the kind of guy who follows the principle of “work first, then entertainment”. But we do a lot of things during the day, week, month, year…
So I don’t think you can reduce it to “just do your duty, no matter the circumstance”. Life is a lot more complicated than that. We, as human beings, are a lot more complicated than that.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “On Duty And Circumstance” is, in my view, an oversimplification. I find it hard to resonate with that message, as our lives are much more complex than just duty, work, and chores.