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There is no enjoying the possession
of anything valuable
unless one has someone
to share it with.

— Seneca

Neither the Buddhists nor the Stoics believed in what has come to be called ‘original sin’ — that we are a fallen and flawed broken species. On the contrary, they believe we were born good [or with the potential to be pure; Buddha-nature, with ‘original sinlessness’]. To them, the phrase ‘Be natural’ was the same as ‘Do the right thing.’ For Aristotle, virtue wasn’t just something contained in the ‘soul’ — it was how we lived. It was what we did. He called it eudaimonia: human flourishing.

A person who makes selfish choices or acts contrary to their conscience will never be at peace. A person who sits back while others suffer or struggle will never feel good, or feel that they are enough, no matter how much they accomplish or how impressive their reputation may be. A person who does good regularly will feel good.

A person who contributes to their community will feel like they are a part of one. A person who puts their body to good use — volunteering, protecting, serving, standing up for — will not need to treat it like an amusement part to get some thrills. Virtue is not an abstract notion. We are not clearing our minds and separating the essential from the inessential for the purposes of a parlor trick. Nor are we improving ourselves so that we can get richer or more powerful. We are doing it to live better and be better.

Stillness Is The Key
Ryan Holiday

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