Harmony

by Jon Sullivan - 2022-12-13 - Jonism

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If I'm a real Stoic my main goal should be to live a virtuous life in harmony with humanity.

Sometimes humanity seems to be fundamentally against the possibility of harmony. Too many people around me find their own virtue in my suffering. Too many just choose to see everything as a zero sum game. Any good thing or event or asset for someone else is a net loss for them. For too many, success is only possible if others suffer. But none of that is real. We could all be successful. We could all live very comfortable lives. But too many don't want that. Too many prefer a cult of suffering where our heroes are our oppressors. Too many believe a victor implies a victim. Zero sum game. A prisoner's dilemma where we either rush to stab each other in the back, or we lose and watch the backstabbers win. We live in a universe of equality, but choose to worship winning and losing.

There is no justice in a zero sum game. No equality. No temperance. No courage. No wisdom beyond base greed.

As a Stoic I choose not to play. If I have to shit on someone else to win, I'd rather lose. I worship egalitarian ideals. I choose virtue over winning. I choose happiness over winning. I find no unhappiness in losing when winning is beyond my control.

It's hard. Or at least harder in Oregon. California is a place where equality is assumed. Crime is kept to a minimum. The homeless have options. A few cities even have guaranteed minimum income. The government fixes things. The cops stop crime. California at least tries to be egalitarian and effective. Oregon just lets things rot. I can't have things delivered to my door here. I felt safer in East LA and Compton than I do in Eugene. Even the drivers are angry and unpleasant. Everyone has picked a side, and now we fight. I knew when I moved that the crime and homelessness and bigotry here was much worse. But I never imagined it could be this much worse. I'm too old to fight. And I have no interest in winning just for the sake of winning.

It doesn't matter. There is so much beauty here. So much wonder. So much magic and possibility. I know it's where I need to be. And I know I'll be happy. It's just sad to see harmony not be an option.

Maybe it's not Oregon. Maybe I'm just whining. Maybe New Jon lacks a realistic perspective. Maybe it's just 2022 and post-Trump, and Qanon-fueled, lockdown-leftover anger and resentment. I doubt it. Too many here seem happy to fight. Happy to anger. Happy to live next to suffering. Zero sum game. Prisoner's dilemma.

It doesn't matter. Until a better philosophy crosses my path I'll stick with this one. I am one with humanity. And I'll try to live in harmony. What is good for others is good for me. When I am good to others, humanity as a whole improves. When others win, I win along with them. Their anger is beyond my control, so no point in joining them in it. They come from the same dust I do, and will return to it just as I will.

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