“We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them…” // Alain de Botton

By | 30th December 2017

“The wise will learn to identify what is necessary and follow it at once, rather than exhaust themselves in protest. When a wise man is told that his suitcase has been lost in transit, he will resign himself in seconds to the fact…..

It may sound like a recipe to passivity and quietude….

But Seneca’s point is more subtle. It is no less unreasonable to accept something as necessary when it isn’t as to rebel against something when it is. We can easily go astray by accepting the unnecessary and denying the possible, as by denying the necessary and wishing for the impossible….

Reason allows us to determine when our wishes are in irrevocable conflict with reality, and then bids us to submit ourselves willingly, rather than angrily or bitterly, to necessities. We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom.”

— Alain de Botton (“The Consolations of Philosophy”)

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