#224: The Random Show - Drinking Urine, Exploring Japan, and Figuring Out Life [The Tim Ferriss Show]

Coming to you from a late night in rural Japan, this is a special edition of The Random Show.

Per usual for The Random Show, I am joined by Kevin Rose (@KevinRose), serial entrepreneur, world-class investor, and all around wild and crazy guy. We discuss Japan and how to do it cheaply, building apps, urine drinking, love and marriage, beauty and absurdity in 2017, why Kevin doesn't have New Year's resolutions, favorite books, and much more.


Show notes and links for this episode can be found at www.fourhourworkweek.com/podcast.

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Stoicism books [For all things related to Stoicism]

Am I right in my selecting as the most important available classical books on Stoicism?

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  2. Letters to Lucilus by Seneca
  3. Discourses and Handbook by Epictetus

In addition to these, what others do you recommend should be the essential classic tomes for Stoics?

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I'm trying to practice Discipline of Assent. It's scary to be honest [For all things related to Stoicism]

I'm midway on reading the Inner Citadel by Hadot, in Discipline of Assent chapter about delimiting self from Outer Sphere (like other people,past and future,Nature and involuntary emotions) and try to strip subjective value from Presentations.

I tried it to negative things and I feel quite liberated ("he is just spouting something from his mouth, if true and I can improve myself from that then good if not then so be it; nothing can touch my soul"), but problem comes when I try it to pleasure.

So when I'm wanting to eat something, sometimes I try to "it's just a chicken corpse fried in an oil". Or when my favorite football club winning, "it's just an increase in their points and increase in their salary".

I feel.... different. I know this might be an enlightenment of some sort but I'm quite scared that I might lost my part of humanity. or would I? (yes I know my Body is not really my Self but hey it's scary to think like that).

what do you think?

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How does a stoic deal with today's political climate? [For all things related to Stoicism]

I'm not looking for a political debate. I don't even want to talk about ideology or philosophy (political philosophy). Just could someone point me to what the stoic views on politics are? And/or how to apply stoicism to politics.

More specifically, I am trying to figure out what I should be doing? Should I focus on improving my life and ignore politics or should I continue to get further involved because of what I feel is right? Do the stoics aim more at caring for the self and then the community or caring for the community and then yourself? Or both at the same time?

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Dealing with lust, looking for stoic way of taking care of it. [For all things related to Stoicism]

Currently I have been practicing stoicism and understanding what is out of my control and what is in my control really does help me. With this clarity it brought new problems that I have not seen before and mainly lust. No I do know nofap exists but I wanted to hear how would a stoic deal with this?

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Difference between animals and irrational people [For all things related to Stoicism]

Some people have an irrational life like animals and beast

These people are my peers?

if so, why animals are not my similar?

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Interest in Stoic Penpal Exchange? (crosspost from Stoicism Group Facebook group) [For all things related to Stoicism]

There's a long and fascinating tradition of letter writing in Stoicism--we get some of our finest material from what were apparently letter exchanges between Seneca and his peers. Genuine friendship between like-minded, rational people was also held in high esteem by the historical Stoics. While this subreddit and the FB group are excellent for high-volume communication and for observing wide varieties of opinion and preference, they have not struck me as conducive to the kind of focused personal intimacy that can assist us in deepening and strengthening our understanding of and pursuit of virtue. There is a degree of discipline, striving and integrity that seems to naturally come from the close involvement of and accountability to friends who are on the same path as us.

I would like to gauge interest here in whether or not there is call for setting up a Stoic Penpals exchange, either a subreddit or FB group or something of that sort, somewhere where practicing and studying Stoics could post profiles outlining a bit about themselves and what they would like to find in more dedicated, focused, long-term personal correspondents.

Address exchanges could take place via private message if people preferred to exchange physical mail. Otherwise, private messengers or email would always be an option.

And of course, none of us would need to feel we have to be Seneca in order to participate! Ideally this would be an exercise in growth and meditative practice as opposed to soapboxing, lecturing or feeling pressured to be the perfect, polished sage. This is likely a niche interest but I would wager it appeals to at least some of us here. If it's really quite a small group of people who are interested we could probably organize it within the confines of a single message thread here, so as not to overly clutter the subreddit for others.

Any thoughts?

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"Meditations" in easily readable format [For all things related to Stoicism]

Hey, fellow Stoics,

I wondered is there a edition for Marcus Aurelius "Meditations" in easily readable format, that is, in normal language.

I just cannot read in this ancient format, it makes me crazy, perhaps because English is not my first language in the first place, but still... the language used in it, makes me postpone reading it at all.


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Discord [For all things related to Stoicism]

I thought I might suggest that we start a Discord server. While IRC has had its place, I've visited and idled in it a number of times and have only found it dead.

Besides the somewhat tempting irony, Discord has a number of benefits (For example: discussion being in a cloud so no one misses anything while disconnected, channels dedicated to specific topics/reference material, voice chat, a consistent and stable connection, much easier to organize events and programs such as journal matchmaking). A few people might argue that many of these benefits are also available through the installation of this or that IRC client with this or that configuration, but for someone new to either option, Discord is far more accessible in my opinion. This is true of both the app and the web version.

However, the biggest benefit of a migration is the fact that once you join a server, you are apart of it until you decide to quit instead of until you disconnect. For smaller communities, this has a pretty big impact on how active a chat/community is and continues to be.

I'm quite new to stoicism however, and find it inappropriate to administrate. The reason I want a discord in the first place is to be able to discuss my questions and challenges with stoics more advanced in their learning, so I'd like to hear your opinions.

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Stoicism Quote Chrome Extension [For all things related to Stoicism]

Hey all, I made a Chrome extension(inspired by Momentum) that displays Stoicism quotes on new tabs. I wanted some form of daily reminders of stoic philosophy and figured this was an easy and non-intrusive way to get them, since I'm on the computer for most of the day and it doesn't interrupt my workflow like going to a separate webpage or app would. I've added the ability for a user to Tweet the quote, but I'm not sure what other functionality would be valuable to a user. Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated, as well as any suggestions for quotes that you think would make for good additions. The extension is available in the Chrome App Store here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stoikk/hghegkdflffdalnkoidgppmaalkajfba If you want to see an example of it before downloading, an example of it's look and functionality is available at: www.stoikk.com Thanks in advance for any suggestions and/or feedback.

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Is there a Stoic attitude to unnecessary risk? [For all things related to Stoicism]

Did the Stoics ever have any advice or guidelines about how to approach unnecessary risk? At the moment the only thing I do that involves the danger of physical harm is driving to and from work every day. I can't get the idea out of my head that by taking public transport instead I would have essentially eliminated any significant chance of seriously injuring myself. It would be much more inconvenient and a much longer journey for me to get the bus each day but on the other hand is my car just an unnecessary danger I should try and live without?

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Advice on not to seek fame [For all things related to Stoicism]

Hello. Recently I have read "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy" by W.B. Irvine. And tried adapting stoicism as my philosophy of life. I feel like I am generally making progress, but I can't stop bothering about what other people think of me. The question is, can you offer any particular advice on how to deal with it (yes I looked at FAQ, but didn't find one), besides just negative visualization and trying not to care (or maybe another book, because it seems that mentioned is quite lacking, when comes to topic of fame)? I realize that becoming stoic takes time, but I feel kinda hopeless when it comes to subject of caring to be admired and fear of social rejection.

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Marcus Aurelius says your circumstances should have no power over you. [For all things related to Stoicism]

“You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.”

I was lucky to be born middle class, so I didn't have to work for my education, food, or shelter. But growing up, I did have a sense of entitlement in me. Where I would complain about the little things. One statement I constantly made before to emphasize this was: "I hate standing in line, because it makes me feel unimportant".

But Marcus makes a point that this situations care not if I get annoyed, or angry. They will not change based on my feelings. If I can't change the circumstances that surround me, why choose anger? If I can, being angry does not make it change faster.

This is a reminder to everyone, that your circumstance (being born short, or having a bad career, or having to stand in line at the grocer) will not care about your feelings.

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THREE PILLARS OF STOICISM/WISDOM? [For all things related to Stoicism]

I was wondering if there is some sorta three pillar system for wisdom and or stoicism. For example the three pillars of health would be Nutrition,Exercise and Rest. I understand that Buddhism has the three baskets of wisdom but I don't think that's exactly what I'm looking for. If you guys know of anything like this or have your own thoughts that would be great!!

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How do I read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius? And how did all of you read Mediations yourself? [For all things related to Stoicism]

Text that is bold is relevant to the question. Rest is stuff about me.

It seems that the book is all over the places. And I sometimes don't understand what the passages mean. Should I just read it in one sitting/continuously? How do I find the meaning of some obscure passages? And I would also love some insights on the not so obscure ones

I'm going through some stuff in my life and am looking for some clarity of mind. Stoicism seems the way to go as it's a philosophy of life, without being a religion. I don't know if I'll have this clarity at the end of reading meditations, but I have to try. Anything that works.

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What would Marcus Aurelius say about a student who missed a significant amount of time due to depression/health issues, but feels a sense of guilt? [For all things related to Stoicism]

I have missed a significant amount of time in school and have a lingering sense of guilt for some reason. The idea of me actually being depressed is still a relatively new thing... it has only really shown itself in the last few years, exacerbated by failed relationships and struggles with school. These things have resulted in my medication being increased over time but at 20mg, I am feeling a sense of normalcy. I have missed almost a month of school and will soon to be placed on accommodations so as to rectify any marks lost, but I still feel guilty... and I don't know why. Maybe because I feel that I should have gone to school even though I was feeling really depressed some days? Maybe because I was well enough to go to school (maybe I was, but I didn't realize it at the time) but chose to stay home, and now am looking for an excuse for my marks? I am signed up with student loans as a person with disability (COPD), but I feel like I am taking a coward's way out to rectify marks I've lost from not being present due (majorly) to depression, some where I was actually sick with a chest infection.

What would Marcus Aurelius' thoughts be, do you think? What do you think he'd say to me about this guilt? I am seeking a more Stoic lifestyle to help aid in my depression and anxiety and it has been helping substantially... but I am still curious as to what he would say about my situation.


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Optimism through Pessimism [For all things related to Stoicism]

Consider a problem you're facing with an uncertain outcome. Imagine the worst possible outcome.

As an example: your employer will be laying people off. Imagine the worst possible outcome. You're one of the people who get laid off. You have trouble finding a new job. You start falling behind on your rent/mortgage. You start falling behind on your car payments. You end up getting evicted. You lose your car. Your significant other leaves you. You are left with no money, no apparent means of making money, and you're unsure of where you're going to sleep tonight.

Your life has been upended. But have you also been upended? Look to the Meditations.

4.8: That which does not make a man worse than he was, also does not make his life worse, nor does it harm him either from without or from within.

4.49: Remember, too, on every occasion that leads you to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.

5.20: ...for the mind converts and changes every hindrance to its activity into an aid; and so that which is a hindrance is made a furtherance to an act; and an obstacle on the road helps us along this road.

How would such a situation effect your character? Would you be any less wise? Would you be any less kind? If the worst possible outcome hasn't made you a worse person, was it really so bad?

This is the gift that stoicism brings us: an indomitable spirit. Imagine the worst possible outcome and laugh, for you know it can bring you no harm. Optimism through pessimism.

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“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” -- Marcus Aurelius [For all things related to Stoicism]

Normally, I am really scared and have anxiety levels in the range of a panic attack, when I have to speak in front of a crowd. It is the piercing looks, the judgements bombarding my skin, the fear of stumbling over my own words, stuttering and the fear of having to begin a sentence anew. It is the fear of people not liking my presentation, the way I present or the person that I am.

Yesterday I held a presentation in front of two professors and a crowd of 25 people. Old me would have been anxious as hell, see above. But this time was different. I changed my attitude. I am not afraid of speaking, but rather of the impression of speaking I have in my head. All the bad experiences with public speaking that I had do not matter at the moment, since this is a new event. It doesn't matter what happened in the past, it only matters what happens right now.

I realized that I am just a guy talking while standing there. Most people there will not listen anyway. What would be the worst thing that can happen? Stutter in front of people? This has happened before and I am still alive. Will they like the presentation? This my ego speaking. Well, it is not in my power to convince all people to like it or to like me, some things cannot be brought under my control. This is who I am and I refuse to be anyone else.

The presentation was beyond good and I stayed calm. I even had some excitement, like the feeling you get when you know the roller coaster is about to race downhill.

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Thinking of designing a Stoic T-Shirt. What would you want on it? [For all things related to Stoicism]

Designing a T-Shirt. What would you want printed on it?
Edit: Please upvote the ideas that you think are better and you would want to wear :)

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TED Talk Globalism vs. Nationalism & Stoic Parallels [For all things related to Stoicism]

I recently watched this TED talk, and was surprised by the number of parallels I found with general Stoic ideas throughout the video. Whether you agree with what Yuval Noah Harari is saying overall or not, I wanted to draw specific attention to the parallels that I found interesting.

In the video Yuval mentions the following:

  • We need to focus on Globalization instead of Nationalism to solve our problems.
  • It is important to understand reality.
  • It is important to understand human nature.
  • Humans have been trying to force reality to conform to their will, instead of the other way around, and focusing inward.
  • Humans are Social Creatures by nature.

Parallel Stoic Ideas

  • Stoic Cosmopolitanism.
  • Topoi of Physics.
  • To reach Eudaimonia, flourishing as a human, you must understand human nature and "Live According to Nature" (which includes living according to reality).
  • Dichotomy of Control.
  • Humans being social creates leads us to the Stoic conception of Justice and Cosmopolitanism.

Some things to ponder.

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Seneca said, “The man that suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than it is necessary.” Don't dread the hard times that await you. Don't resist them. Happiness won't last forever... but sadness won't either. [Text Post] [For all things related to Stoicism]

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is… let it rain.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Duality is a part of life. The sun sets and the sun rises. We inhale and we exhale. We create and we rest. Don't expect happiness to last, but don't expect depression to either. The only thing you should expect is balance. Enjoy the balance because it is only natural.

When I finally realized this, it was one of the most profound experiences of my life.

For a while, I used to hate how my life used to come in go in waves. I would have six months of extreme confidence—then, six months of insecurity. A couple months of productivity—then, a couple months of laziness. Every time I thought I turned the corner and was going to stay happy or productive forever, those undesirable states would reemerge.

And I would beat myself up for it.

Eventually, I learned to stop identifying those low points as “bad,” and began to embrace the duality. By identifying one side of the duality as bad, I was at odds with a law of the universe. I was at odds with the everlasting presence of Yin and Yang. That caused so much pain.

Beating yourself for not feeling confident all the time will destroy you. Worrying that your feeling of laziness it will last forever— is like watching the sun go down and fearing it will never rise again.

So when you are suffering, feeling lazy, or lacking confidence— recognize that you will always rebound. It is the law of the universe. Duality is ever present and will always have sway over your life. Become aware of the duality and embrace both sides.

In doing so, productivity and laziness will turn into creation and rest. Confidence and insecurity will turn into self esteem and self growth. When you are aware and appreciative of both sides of the duality, you will exist in harmony with a universal law—one that will carry-on throughout the rest of your life.

To expand on this topic, this video will illustrate how duality operates in your life. When you watch, you will learn how you can truly embrace it to make a miraculous transformation.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel--where I first shared this story. I will be super grateful. On this YouTube channel, I share my years worth of experience working with the subconscious mind—allowing you to reengineer your thoughts to magnetically attract happiness and success.

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Indulgence is the worst of all things in the education of youth; for it is this which gives birth to the pleasures from which evil arises. Democritus (460 - 370) [For all things related to Stoicism]

Fascinating to read such a stoic-like quote of a pre-Socrates philosopher. It sort of says it all, and is easy to remember when in doubt about children’s wishes. The source, according to "The Stoic's Bible" by Giles Laurén, is said to be Barnes: Early Greek Philosophy. (Barnes Diels Kranz)

I found this quote slightly differently translated in Wiki-Quote:

Of all things the worst to teach the young is dalliance, for it is this that is the parent of those pleasures from which wickedness springs.

Associate professor Monte Johnson has it though translated in an article (PDF) as:

Indulgence (εὐπετείη, the negation of hard work) is the worst possible thing: for this is what gives birth to those pleasures, from which badness comes into being.

Interestingly Democritus says "the pleasures"and "those pleasures", and not "pleasure".

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