Steering the wagon

Ponderings on the living philosophy of Stoicism

Stoicism says that man is like a dog tied to a moving wagon — the wagon being our ‘Logos’ — aka ‘God’, ‘Providence’, ‘Nature’, etc.

They say this logos is headed in a positive direction, albeit one that we may not be able to comprehend, and that which we can’t control the direction of. All we can control, and all we need to control — the stoics say — is our choice to A) run along with the cart or B) be drug along by it.

At first, this seems harsh. I’m a dog? Tied to the back of a wagon? That sucks…

But when you look at it with calmer eyes, it’s a beautiful analogy. When you really think of it, life is kind of like that, is it not?

You also realize that the dog has a lot of free will in what his destiny is. He can give up and be drug along in the gravel and the mud (been there). Or, he can run and leap and jump and do spins and flips (been there too).

She can surrender to the great force of the wagon and let it propel her forward as she flies through time and space towards an awesome, but unknown, destiny. She has full control over her faculties — her mind and her body. That’s pretty powerful.

Instead of getting swept away by life, we can harness its incredible force to create an awesome experience.

This choice is fully available to us in any moment.

I love stoicism. It’s a philosophy that’s meant to be lived. It follows you through the grit and grime of life and can lift you out of it.

However, I’d like to append one little belief to the philosophy. Who says you can’t make your own, customized philosophy, right? We all do it unconsciously anyways, don’t we? Here’s my crack at it…

I believe that we can influence the direction of that wagon — maybe a little bit, maybe a lot — through our beliefs.

That our thoughts sink down into the soil of the Logos to create real things.

Maybe that’s not stoicism anymore. I don’t know. I’d love to hear your opinions.

I just know somewhere down deep that our thoughts can impress the logos. That we can shape — even in a small way — where that wagon is headed.

*Seriously, this is something I can’t stop turning over and over in my mind. Please add your notes. I need your help with this one.☺

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Jonas writes daily essays and meditations at Medium. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.