Just reading our Las Vegas Sun newspaper at lunch – we have two papers, the evening Sun and the morning Review Journal. The RJ is strongly Republican, all editorials supporting 'our President' and all his actions. The Sun is the opposite. Unfortunately, as is happening around most of the country, newspapers are not doing well, and in a few months we will be losing the Sun, which will switch to only having a small section as part of the RJ. Oh well, alternate voices disappearing.
Anyway, there was an op-ed piece written by Nancy Sherman reprinted from the Rhode Island Providence Journal. It is titled 'Stoicism has limits for those in a war' and was relatively anti Iraq war.
One of the paragraphs discusses an Ethics course she taught at Annapolis, and quotes from Epictetus, a first century Roman. In his writings is a quote (well, originally in Latin, but close enough) "some things are up to us, and some are not up to us." Of the things that are not up to us, be ready to say "It is nothing to me." Interesting attitude, she relates it to soldiers in war, who she was teaching at the Naval Academy, but it would probably fit very well in almost any situation.
There are many things that I seem to become upset over, but would probably be better off saying "I have no control over that, so it should be nothing to me".
I can use this daily when overtaken and cut off in traffic – I don’t control how those idiots drive. Recent news item here about a man cut off in traffic, ended up in the same gas station/car wash as the other driver. He proceeded to yell at her about her driving, she called husband, who came over and ended up shoving the first driver, who fell, hit his head and died. So the husband, not involved at first, is now up for a second degree murder trial. Would have been better for the dead guy to say "she drives like an idiot, I can’t control her actions, but maybe I should go elsewhere and avoid her". Better for the woman driver to say "This idiot yells too much, I can't control that, better if I just leave". Better for the husband to say "Dear, I can't control his mouth, just drive away, or call the cops if he is dangerous".
I can't control our fearless President W, and have no control over the deaths and money spent in Iraq. Does my ranting and putting up a counter do any good? Should I just say 'I have no control' and ignore it? I’ve emailed my congressman, should I now just go on to other things? My wife really rages against this man - as I'm not first at the newspaper I end up seeing the W photos with horns and devil beards drawn on. Does that do any good? Maybe slows down the ulcers, maybe builds them up.
I read about suicide bombers and deaths in England, Iraq, Afghanistan, Australia, Israel. . . and it bothers me. But I can’t do anything about that. I look at this religious rant pointed to by the Lioness and think, how can people, even a supposed religious person, think like this? But what can I do about it? It thoroughly disgusts me, all I can do is ask why?
I think I’ve written something like this before, since I have no control why am I writing again? Guess it’s my way to relieve tension. I can say "I have no control over that" but it still bothers me, and I try to find ways to do something anyway. I stopped reading the newspapers after the election, but then started up again. I do turn off the local and network news on TV and change to the Do It Yourself channels, but my wife turns it back. It’s hard to stop.
Maybe the more I say it the more I’ll mean it. Keep the ulcers from coming, and reduce the blood pressure. Go about your business, you've no control over me (well, I do pay attention to your comments so I guess you do) so just ignore me and keep moving along.