Philosophy of Losers

Arestovich says – and I agree completely – that stoicism is the philosophy of losers. If your whole worldview is about preparing you to bear hardship and loss, life will oblige and give you exactly that. Instead of preparing themselves for suffering, people should prepare to win.

Everybody will experience suffering. We’ll all get knocked around by life, without exception. But getting fixated on it is unhealthy and counterproductive. All of this willpower crap is simply masochism in a respectable disguise.

9 thoughts on “Philosophy of Losers

  1. Reading Marcus Aurelius, I never thought of him as a loser. I found it comforting to know that you can be an emperor and still have to suffer the slings and arrows of people who fail you. If I know that suffering of some kind is inevitable, no matter how rich and powerful I become, I will focus less on becoming rich and powerful but also, when things go wrong, I will waste less energy asking “why me?”


  2. Bykov is going to write a book about Zelensky. Hope it will be good from literary point of view and become an international bestseller overnight, including in Ukraine, despite Bykov being ‘Russian’. (I see it as one Jew writing a book about another, and even Bykov’s Christianity cannot make him ‘Russian’ to me. A Jew in love with Russian culture, yes.)

    Дмитрий Быков дал широкое интервью телеканалам “Дом” и UA. (Video at the link.)

    Книга о Зеленском
    — Мы говорим в студии, в Киеве. Из этого первый вопрос — как, почему и зачем вы здесь?

    — Я не скрываю, что хочу написать книгу о Зеленском. Я давно хочу это сделать. В этом есть некоторый момент экзистенциального реванша. Потому что я прожил жизнь во всеобщем убеждении, что человек творческого и гуманитарного склада политиком быть не может. Либо он начинает выбалтывать все свои планы, либо он не сможет быть стратегом и так далее.

    Видеть актера и сценариста президентом, и тем более президентом воюющей страны, и тем более, пожалуй, духовным лидером свободного мира, это любопытный челлендж.

    Мне хочется написать о том, как произошло вот это чудо, о Зеленском. Чудо совершенно религиозной природы, как из актера, поверившего, что он герой, получился реальный герой.

    Здесь для меня есть психологический казус, не политический совершенно. Поскольку я уже справлялся с биографией разных интересно эволюционировавших людей, например, Пастернака, Окуджавы и так далее. Меня всегда интересует тот казус, когда человека выпрямляет его биография.


  3. I see this in the professional sphere a lot. The junior colleagues who come from the labs of famous, well-funded professors completely expect that good things and funding and high-profile publications will keep coming their way, because they have absorbed this winning mentality and, let me tell you, it is almost magical. Yes, they are smart and hard-working, but no more so than their gloomier counterparts (of whom I tend to be one). This belief that things will work permeates their very professional core because they came of professional age in an environment of exuberance and abundance, so this is what they expect. I try very, very hard not to turn my own trainees into a bunch of Eeyores, but it doesn’t come naturally because my own professional coming of age has been one of bewilderment, isolation, feeling like no one had my back, so even two decades and a pretty decent CV later, I still keep feeling like the ground is about to fall from under me. It takes me enormous effort (and I honestly don’t think I’m very successful at this) to shield my students and postdocs from this gloomy view of the scientific enterprise and instead try to imbue them with optimism and high ambition.

    Liked by 1 person

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