How To Escape Mental Enslavement
The infamous Stoic philosopher Seneca once wrote….
“Show me a man who is not a slave…..one is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to ambition, and all men are slaves to fear.”
All humans subject themselves to mental enslavement. Historical conquerors, politicians, the CEOs of today, your bosses––all of them rule over many many people, yet fail to rule their own minds.
The most recognizable Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations…
“Alexander and Caesar and Pompey. Compared with Diogenes, Heraclitus, Socrates? The philosophers knew the what, the why, the how. Their minds were their own. The others? Nothing but anxiety and enslavement.”
Stoic philosophers look to teach us to think beyond our emotional instability––free us from mental enslavement, free us from the turbulence of our emotions.
Aurelius himself faced his own mental demons….
“Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about by selfish impulses, to kick against fate and the present, and to mistrust the future.”
How do we overcome mental enslavement? Stoic philosophers hold the keys to understanding a mindset and way of thinking that can be extremely applicable to living a good life, a productive life.
The idea of inserting personal responsibility into your personal philosophy.
Stop being a Victim
We often want to blame others for our state of mind, our job, our wealth, not having the same privileges as others.
But do privilege and wealth truly help you escape mental enslavement? Just look at Hollywood. Look at all of the stories of dysfunctional behavior in Hollywood where a star is one bad decision away from being shipped off to crazy town.
Money and fame cannot buy you mental freedom.
We all suffer setbacks in life––events out of our control. Losing loved ones, facing financial ruin at the hands of others, rejection, and heartbreak. Putting endless effort in a project, only to be left crushed when it fails.
Every single one of us forms our own unique identity, the story of you.
“Fate leads the willing and drags along the reluctant.” ––Seneca
Life moves on a linear line like a movie––you can choose to be an actor, or choose to be the director.
Allowing those conquerors, bosses, politicians, and CEOs to have more power over us and our own happiness than we do, is to be stuck in our own victimhood.
By believing other people and circumstances control how we think, feel, and dictate the choices we make––is to live in mental enslavement. Overcoming this mindset, freeing yourself from victimhood, can only be done by embracing a philosophy of personal responsibility for your own choices.
We cannot allow ourselves to take pride in casting ourselves as the victim, only to regard others as victimizers taking joy in our misery. Wearing our misfortunes as a badge of honor, justifying our own self-pity. In reality, it allows us to wallow in our own mental shortcomings.
“Make the best use of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens.” ––Epictetus
The world owes us nothing. Believing others are advantaged where you are disadvantaged does nothing to change your circumstances. There is no knight in shining armor coming to rescue you from your own mindset of victimhood.
When we embrace the mindset of victimhood, deflecting our personal responsibility, just remember there are many politicians and bosses at the ready to exploit your false belief.
“It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you––inside or out.” ––Marcus Aurelius
Beauty in Control
The beauty of it all is our ability to take a pledge for personal responsibility––that’s something to be hopeful for. This should make us hopeful and those around you hopeful when witnessing being free from mental enslavement.
See, we can free ourselves from victimhood by understanding the responsibility in our own choices.
Where you work, what you buy, what you read, what people you surround yourself with, what attitude you take towards life––those are choices only you can make.
When we start taking personal responsibility you realize––life is fun. Life is too short to take every decision so seriously, work with what you can control.
“He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” ––Epictetus
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