Stoics, like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca, asserted that virtue, in and of itself, was sufficient for happiness. That is one reason stoics are resilient in the face of adversity; coping with hardship, showing character during hardship and even looking at hardship as a possible source of gifts are all part of the philosophy.
As we confront Covid-19, including the Delta variant currently causing so much hardship in so many places, we shouldn’t forget the Stoic (and Pain-2-Power) notion. We can not only accept the challenges that Covid-19 poses, we can resolve to distinguish ourselves in confronting them. We can resolve to demonstrate virtue in moving forward with our work, building our companies, defending our freedoms and helping on another, in myriad ways, through these rough times.
None of this is meant to minimize the grief experienced on the part of those who have lost or will lose loved ones. None of it is meant to minimize the suffering of those who contract Covid. It is meant only as a reminder that every adversity contains within it the seed of strength.
One other thing: Do not be surprised if, in confronting Covid with all our ingenuity as a species, we happen to find other sources of power. Whether any of us agrees or disagrees with using viral mRNA as an immunization against Covid, the undertaking of such a massive, unprecedented experiment could yield insights into how to treat other diseases—like cancer.
When the Universe or God delivers hardship and pain, never lose sight of the fact that new sources of power might be delivered right along with it. The SEEING takes strength, of course. And that’s the point.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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