Daily Touch of Inspirations

March 27th: Pay what things are worth

Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Diogenes of Sinope said we we sell things of great value for things of very little, and vice versa. —Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, 6.2.35b

You can buy a Plume Blanche diamond- encrusted sofa for close to two hundred thousand dollars. It's also possible to hire one person to kill another person for five hundred dollars. Remember that next time you hear someone ramble on about how the market decides what things are worth. The market might be rational... but the people who comprise it are not.

Diogenes, who founded the Cynic school, emphasized the true worth (axia) of things, a theme that persisted in Stoicism and was strongly reflected in both Epictetus and Marcus. It's easy to lose track. When the people around you dump a fortune into trinkets they can't take with them when they die, it might seem like a good investment for you to make too.

But of course it isn't. The good things in life cost what they cost. The unnecessary things are not worth it at any price. They key is being aware of the difference.


The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living

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