Daily Touch of Inspirations

May 6th: Righteousness is beautiful

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

Then what makes a beautiful human being? Isn't it the presence of human excellence? Young friend, if you wish to be beautiful, then work diligently at human excellence. And what is that? Observe those whom you praise without prejudice. The just or the unjust? The just. The even- tempered or the undisciplined? The even- tempered. The self-controlled or the uncontrolled? The self- controlled. In making yourself that kind of person, you will become beautiful- but to the extent you ignore these qualities, you'll be ugly, even if you use every trick in the book to appear beautiful. —Epictetus, Discourses, 3.1.6b-9

Contemporary notions of beauty are ridiculous. Our standards for what's attractive are incredibly un-Stoic in that we prize and extol things people have almost no control over- high cheekbones, complexion, height, piercing eyes.

Is it really beautiful to win the genetic lottery? Or should beauty be contingent on the choices, actions, and attributes we develop? An even keel, a sense of justice, a commitment to duty. These are beautiful trails- and they go much deeper than appearances.

Today, you can choose to be without prejudice, to act with justice, to keep an even keel, to be in control of yourself- even when that means dedication and sacrifice. If that's not beautiful, what is?



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

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