On the Political Divide

I would like to remind the political right, that making fun of someone who is physically ill, is one of the scummiest things you can do.

And I would like to remind the political left, that making fun of how somebody looks, is one of the many intolerances that you have been fighting against this whole time.

Please try to think with just a little more compassion, before you like some random meme style image on Facebook.

The vast majority of Americans, on both sides of the political spectrum, are genuinely pushing for what they believe to be right. They do however, have different perspectives on what this may mean, and how it is best accomplished.

I believe that this is true for the majority of our Politicians as well. However, it can be very easy for them to get lost in the means of winning, and forget for what end they decided to pursue these ideals in the first place.

Please remember that we are not enemies of each other, but fellow citizens, and fellow human beings. Thanks.

General Thoughts

The above is from a post that I made on Facebook just yesterday. I was scrolling through my feed and saw that some of my Facebook friends had liked various meme style images and cartoons that made fun of Hillary Clinton, after a video of her nearly collapsing due to exhaustion from campaigning and fighting off pneumonia had surfaced on the Internet. Recently I had also seen people making fun of Donald Trump, saying fairly unkind things about the color of his skin and the authenticity of his hair.

I did not like what I was seeing on my Facebook feed related to politics at the time, with how both Democrats and Republicans seemed to be constantly at each others throats, making fun of and demeaning each other.

To be honest I lean more Democrat than Republican, however I am a registered independent, and I am currently in the process of re-evaluating my political beliefs to make sure that they are in  line with everything else I claim to believe and stand for.

With the amount of information overload we receive from the media about politics, I think that it is easy for us to forget that we are all really on the same side here, and that we should not forget to care for each other as fellow humans first and foremost.

On Mental Health

Whenever somebody says, “I am struggling in my attempts to be physically healthy”, most of us are more than happy to tell the person how they should exercise or what they should eat.

But when somebody says, “I am struggling in my attempts to be mentally healthy”, we fall silent. What does it even mean to be mentally healthy?

As we grow up, we are frequently taught that we should eat well, exercise often, and that we must look after our physical well-being, especially when we hurt ourselves or become ill. Very rarely are we taught what to do when our mental well-being is challenged in the same way.

What should I do when things don’t go my way? How should I react to and cope with disheartening news? How should I treat difficult obstacles in my path? You will have to answer these questions repeatedly throughout your entire life. We often stumble around, trying to figure out these answers for ourselves as we move forward.

The answers to these questions are far more important than the answers to “How can I gain more muscle?” or “How can I lose more weight?”. That is not to say that physical health is not important, it should simply take a back seat to our mental well-being.

We often have many answers on hand for the questions related to physical health, but very few answers prepared for our mental health, for our overall well-being.

Physical health has undergone an awareness explosion in the past few years. More and more people are focusing on how to eat and exercise properly. I feel that we also need an awareness explosion in the realm of mental health.

These are important questions that we need to ask ourselves, and find real answers to, if we are ever to truly understand how we can live well.

We need a philosophy of life to guide us, otherwise we risk losing our way.

General Thoughts

The above is taken from a post that I made on Facebook a few months ago. During that time, I had been noticing a trend among  my Facebook friends, that many of them were posting about physical fitness, and how it is very important to eat right and exercise.

At the time, I was looking into what it meant to be mentally healthy with a little help from The School of Life, and I wondered why we are often so quick to talk about physical health in a social settings, but very reluctant to talk about mental health.

The obvious answer is that it is much easier for us to gauge somebody’s overall physical health at a glance, as opposed to their mental health. I also think that modern day society has made it taboo to an extent, to talk about mental health. Talking about such things is often seen as a weaknesses.

Because we do not talk about these issues much, people often struggle in dealing with mental and emotional problems. They do not have strategies on hand that will tell them how to process these problems when they arise. We know of so many different strategies that can tell us how to lose fat and gain muscle, but we are often left wanting when mental issues arise.

Philosophy can help us with this problem. I have found that philosophy, specifically ancient Greek and Roman Stoicism, to be very helpful for me in this regard. We must share these ideas  on how to handle these problems with each other and not be afraid to talk about these issues if we are to benefit from them, together.

Would you have known the most efficient way for you to strengthen your abs if nobody had told you how? Sure, you might have been able to figure it out on your own after some trial and error, but why not ask in the first place?

We can all learn from each other, why not share what we know?

What is a Prokopton?

Hey, so you found my blog! Great! Your first question is probably “What the heck is a Prokopton? Is that a new Pokemon or something?” Well…uh…no. It is not a new Pokemon, at least not yet? I think?

Prokopton (noun) – One who is making moral progress.

Prokopton is a word that was used by the ancient Greek Stoic Philosophers to describe an individual that has accepted the claim that ‘Virtue is the Sole Good’, and has decided to apply this to their daily life.

What did the Stoics mean by virtue? Well, when they said virtue what they really meant ‘excellence of character’. They thought that one who seeks to have an excellent character would intentionally act according to the virtues of courage, justice, wisdom, and temperance.

The prokopton seeks that all of his actions align with these virtues. However, one of the key aspect of being a prokopton is that his (or her) actions are not always perfect. He will sometimes become angry with others due to minor grievances. He may become bitter because things did not turn out exactly the way he wished. He may even wrong another for his own benefit at times.

But the prokopton tries to learn from each of these mistakes, and attempts in earnest to not repeat them. He makes it his goal to improve his behavior, his character, and he takes steps towards this goal every day. This is what a prokopton is, one who is making moral progress.

And then, because I’m not naturally gifted, shall I therefore abandon all effort to do my best? Heaven forbid. Epictetus won’t be better than Socrates; but even if I’m not too bad, that is good enough for me.

– Epictetus, Discourses 1.2.35

I think that we should all strive to be a prokopton in our daily lives, in the sense that we should all strive towards an ‘excellence of character’. Too often do we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life. We need to take time to reflect on our actions, and check on ourselves to make sure that we are behaving in a way that is consistent with our morals and our beliefs.

We should also examine what we believe, and why we believe it. We often go through life, picking up unintentional baggage along the way, without realizing what exactly we have picked up, or why we even decided to pick it up in the first place.

Philosophy can help us to examine ourselves and our beliefs, as well as guide us on how we should live our lives.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

– Socrates

I will primarily be using this blog as a notebook for myself, but also as a sounding board for my own beliefs on what I think it might mean to live a good life, along with other Philosophical ideas. You may disagree with me at times, and that is ok. I am by no means an expert on any of this. Feel free to voice your opinion respectfully in the comments. We cannot discover the best way to live through introspection alone, a discourse with others, especially those of differing opinions, is often required for us to truly examine ourselves.

The topics I post on may jump around from time to time, but the goal of this blog, and Philosophy, is to explore what we believe, why we believe it, and how we can ask the right questions that will lead us on a journey towards a good life, whatever that may entail.