The dichotomy of control which is probably the most popular practice among the stoics stems from a deep belief that “logos” operates in sort of two categories: individuals and cosmos (universe).
In individuals, it exists in our faculty of reason. “Logos” is responsible for the order and coherence with which it operates and stoics teachings said that if we use reason, our rationality, we will conduct ourselves in harmony in such that in a way we will not harm ourselves and other people. Now, everything outside ourselves is the cosmos (universe) and they behave as well in a rational and coherent manner such as the way Earth completes a rotation on its axis every 24 hours and birth and death of living organisms.
Of these two categories, it’s only the “logos” that operates in the faculty of our reason that we can control. For the stoics, it doesn’t make sense to worry about death, other people’s opinions, weather, traffic, illness, and the list go on in the cosmos because they are out of our control.
Top 10 Quotes About Dichotomy of Control From The Ancient Stoics
1. “Yes, keep on degrading yourself, soul. But soon your chance at dignity will be gone. Everyone gets one life. Yours is almost used up, and instead of treating yourself with respect, you have entrusted your own happiness to the souls of others” Meditations 2.6
2. “Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.” Meditations 2.7
3. “Ignoring what goes on in other people’s souls—no one ever came to grief that way. But if you won’t keep track of what your own soul’s doing, how can you not be unhappy?
“Meditations . 2.8
4. “ Nothing is more pathetic than people who run around in circles, “delving into the things that lie beneath” and conducting investigations into the souls of the people around them, never realizing that all you have to do is to be attentive to the power inside you and worship it sincerely “. Meditations 2.13
5. “Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.” Meditations 3.4
6. “We must take the best use that we can of the things we are in our power, and use the rest according to nature. “ Discourses Book 1
7. “Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.” Enchiridion 1
8. “The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, and unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others.” Enchiridion 1
9. “Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.” Enchiridion 1
10. “Work, therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance, “You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be.” And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first, and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not; and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.” Enchiridion 1
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