This is the cornerstone of stoic philosophy and the most important thing I ever learned. It has often been restated in different forms, such as the serenity prayer, or "wish in one hand...". It is the foundation of anger management, 12 step programs and cognitive behavioral therapy. It is this:
He's telling you there is no percentage in not facing up to reality in any way. You are a fool to shake your fist at the sky because it is raining, and equally foolish to wish you would not get old and die, or that your football team would not lose. All the harsh realities of life are eventually coming for you. You can take them as a given, like the rain, or as a shock, beyond belief, as many take illness or death, or even a loss in a football game. Events simply come to pass. It is up to you to attach sadness, anger or anxiety to them, or to accept them and remove their power.Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.
The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed. --"The Enchiridion", Epictetus
There is no need to understand reality fully to accept it, nor to decide if this is the best things could be, or if we are somehow getting shortchanged. It is enough to face reality squarely and move forward as best you are able. This is no small thing, and many of us never manage it.
What if I lived forever, what if I never got sick, what if I could choose all my surroundings...? Aren't these the questions you are asking?
I don't know about eternal souls, but I do believe in free will, which in a sense is a small bit of 'God' within you. You can not control time and space, but you can control yourself, and that is better than nothing.
You are missing some other thing for which you are wishing, and I'm not sure what to call it. But, you are not missing free will, which is only the ability to form opinions and make choices. You could put me in jail, but I would retain my free will.
We are not born with these freedoms, but we develop them as we grow. An infant responds to physical needs and things in its immediate environment. But, an adult can decide how to interpret his surroundings, and try to change them if he wishes, or to move to other surroundings. Most important, though, is the ability to decide how you wish to interpret external impressions of the world. You probably won't change the world much, but you can change your opinion of it at will. Decide it is not so scary, so unfair, so unpleasant, and it need not be, for the most part.Conodfam4 wrote: ↑January 11th, 2019, 12:55 pm3 Are our attitudes, judgments, opinions, and actions all that free? Consider these realities: we are forced to be born in an environment where notions, understandings, perceptions, and values have been pre-established before our arrival. Thus, are not our choices and motives and judgments based on our exposure to the environment in which we were forced to be born and exist in? Yes, I know there are variables and categories. But for the most part we do not sway too far from the environment in which we were developed from.
You seem to be validating the wisdom of the stoic principle I quoted above. Realize what you can and can not control, and the task of controlling what is in your reach will seem less daunting. Once you accept this, the only thing holding you back in most cases is your own bad habits, which you can work to change.
We control what matters: our attitudes, opinions and actions. We can wish to control other things, but you know which hand will fill up first...Conodfam4 wrote: ↑January 11th, 2019, 12:55 pm5 And with an even deeper look into our control of our lives, consider this: our parents, their parents, and their parents, and their parents, were all forced to be born in a pre-conceived environment that formed the kind of persons or people they were. We are products of all of them. How much control does the human race really have?