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Being a Stoic good sport

Being a Stoic good sport

Apr 17, 2009, 9:30 AM 2

In the six months that I've been a member of chess.com, I've played innumerable games, both live and correspondence, with people all over the world. Not only is this site a great place to learn about chess, it's also a wonderful venue to meet some fascinating and delightful people. 99% of the folks I've encountered through this site have been courteous, good-natured and just a pleasure all around to encounter. However, on very rare occasions, one does cross paths with an individual whose personal conduct is disappointing. In such instances, I have found it beneficial to remember the wisdom of the great Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius:

"When thou art offended with any man's shameless conduct, immediately
ask thyself, Is it possible, then, that shameless men should not be
in the world? It is not possible. Do not, then, require what is impossible.
For this man also is one of those shameless men who must of necessity
be in the world. Let the same considerations be present to thy mind
in the case of the knave, and the faithless man, and of every man
who does wrong in any way. For at the same time that thou dost remind
thyself that it is impossible that such kind of men should not exist,
thou wilt become more kindly disposed towards every one individually.
It is useful to perceive this, too, immediately when the occasion
arises, what virtue nature has given to man to oppose to every wrongful
act. For she has given to man, as an antidote against the stupid man,
mildness, and against another kind of man some other power. And in
all cases it is possible for thee to correct by teaching the man who
is gone astray; for every man who errs misses his object and is gone
astray. Besides wherein hast thou been injured? For thou wilt find
that no one among those against whom thou art irritated has done anything
by which thy mind could be made worse; but that which is evil to thee
and harmful has its foundation only in the mind." (Meditations, IX:42)

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