Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

The Stoic Life

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I told a man my mind and he asked me “What efforts have you made to destroy this idea? And how may I help to bring it down?” What a worthy friend. So caring of my best interest. Let us war together upon my claims to truth.


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Create a garden within your mind. A place hemmed in by reason. Where you can nurture virtue in true soil. A quiet and simple sanctuary, ever present, always home.


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Virtue is independent of possessions. Though what we have or want may distract us from virtue.


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What is it you can truly touch? Even your raised voice will only carry so far. Distinguish these things. Measure your reach. Attend to practical ends.


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What small routines, mindful actions, and discerning ways reveal the wilderness passage.


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Shout your musings down the corridors of time
They echo and return
Lost at last


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Virtue rests in tempered self reflection. Not much. Just enough to gather the facts. Just enough to gain accurate perspective for the application of reason. Let it go then. And think not of events other than your rational conclusions and the resolutions they entail. And never gawk or dwell upon the circumstance of others, which is an intemperate indulgence, and a distraction from your own true labor. Attend the mending of your own folly, which you alone can repair. And burden not your neighbor with any prying misattentions.


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The routines and vain actions of life are but a bluff and distraction from living. Bright and shiny. New and interesting. Our lives given over to awe and wonder. Our better purpose is ignored. The considered life. The principled life. A life of discipline and temperance. A life spent enacting and enforcing the laws we must ourselves discover and ratify. Police, barrister, judge and perhaps executioner. Engaged in the messy business of applying reason to our base animal thoughts, in the hope of forming something true from instinct, emotion and gasping higher thought. Gasping like a man drowning in the sea of evolved conclusions. And when that higher mind sputters some words of good sense above the waves, how then to remember and live in accord with what we’ve found? When all the sea rages, and none may hear our voice over the froth and din. Still we go on. Swimming towards something better. Straining muscle with willful, disciplined strokes. Until we at last drown. And sink again below the mad waves. Attaining nothing more than the best life we knew how. That’s the thing we seemingly seek to avoid.


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What is the life of inquiry? A mere hobby? Or some culmination of an evolved application of sense? Base musings and actions can satisfy. When our animal needs have our foremost attention. But when the belly is full, and all appetites tamed, and we look yet upon the moon with wonder. Where then will we discover succor? What purchase, consumption or conquest can answer such ephemeral inquiry? Leave off you companions now. Put down your books. Walk a ways and then stop. Look again at the moon. And think.


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Let every act of virtue be self-contained
At once thought, action and reward
Seeking nothing more
And asking no notice or remembrance


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Do I die now in equanimity? Then I’ve indeed reached a good end.


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This balanced and tuned apparatus
So frail and fleeting
Upon which my everything is carried
Through places and years
Always now
So near never


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Be responsible for what is within your control. Let others own their own thoughts and flesh.


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My first thought at every challenge
What opportunity this moment virtue?


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How might I bear well this worthy burden
Carry this necessary weight
Tolerate painful right action
Rather than flee to easy salvation


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Humbly acquiesce to sound principal


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When challenge arrives
And panic rises in the heart
Still then the mind
Still more the tongue


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These few square meters of flesh are far more than I can maintain or cultivate. Ruin progresses despite plan and action. My only real estate is my will. A moment by moment application of hard earned best practice. Applied to the ends revealed of Reason.


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I’d rather take less or give up my portion than suffer the loss of nourishing restraint.


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My response is all I really own. The rest are like leaves blown in an autumn wind.


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I’d rather possess that which I cannot own. A few things beyond the corruption of time, influence or bias. The comfort of self discipline. The certainty of doubt. The sobriety of looking death in the eye.


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My allegiance to the thoughts of another is of no real interest
For a borrowed world view fits and wears like another man’s jacket
Baggy or tight in places
With an unfamiliar fit, feel and odor
A strange sense of wearing someone else’s skin
Which speaks nothing of my true character or principals


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Man and womanhood are sufficient ends
To a stout and earnest mind
Dismissive of distraction
Heedless of precedent
Careless of legacy
Fearless of death
Consumed of resolve
To speak one true thing


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It’s easy to become a monster
Simply follow
When you know you should lead
Your spirit will die
And something hollow
And rotten
Will fill the empty space


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Peace is easy
When expectation is reduced
To the level of reality


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To give more
And want less


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So little action is truly necessary
So much thought a wasteful expense
Equanimity its own true end
Easily achieved
Though honest living
Tempered appetite
And realistic expectation


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May the coming day’s trials b borne nobly and her blessings consumed in moderation.

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