February 14, 2017 – Think Before You Act

“For to be wise is only one thing – to fix our attention on our intelligence, which guides all things everywhere.” – Heraclitus, quoted in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, 9.1

Fidelity is a big deal in Stoic thought. When speaking of an adulterer, Epictetus reminded us that such an act does not occur in a vacuum. Beyond the spouse who has been transgressed, the adulterer is also impacting the relationships with neighbors, friends and fellow citizens. His claim is that humans are “born for fidelity”. This faithfulness allows us to exist in relationships that satisfy our higher calling as an extension of the natural world.

In order to be faithful to anything, we must be thinking beings. If we are working to achieve happiness through right thinking we cannot abstain from the act of thinking. Being that this meditation is the Valentine’s Day meditation, we can leverage times when our lack of thinking led to the disappointment of those who expected a representation of love. We are all intertwined as social animals. We should want to ensure our actions are guided by reason, and not by passion.

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