Stoicism & Coding
Matt Sparks May 16
For the past several months I've been studying a philosophy known as Stoicism. I became interested in the subject after reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I took a handful of philosophy courses in college and I've always enjoyed the subject, but Stoicism is different.
I'm by-no-means an expert – I'm not an expert at anything – but if I were to define Stoicism, at least as it is to me, I would define it as such:
Stoicism is a philosophy that teaches us that current moment is all we have, nothing is permanent, and to concern ourselves only with things that are within our control.
So what does this have to do with web development or coding? Good question, Internet person. The answer is: I've come across a lot of wise words that I thought paired nicely with web development and its culture. I wanted to share these words with the hope that it might help or inspire someone.
I considered explaining my interpretation to each quote and how it relates to coding, but after writing a few I worried that I could be limiting the quotes to only my experience. That said, I'd love to discuss them with you. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter.
Note: all of the following quotes were gathered from Daily Stoic, which is an amazing resource (more on that at the end).
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius
“I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” – Cato
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl
“If a man knows not which port he sails, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca
“How does it help…to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them?” – Seneca
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus
“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, ‘He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would have not mentioned these alone.'” – Epictetus
As mentioned above this site is a great resource for all things Stoicism. Ryan Holiday is arguably at the center of modern Stoicism. I can't recommend his books enough. I give The Obstacle is the Way a read.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
Discourses and Selected Writing by Epictetus