Depression, loneliness, and suicidal tendencies are serious issues that can affect anyone at any point in their lives. These conditions can make it difficult for people to see a way out and find happiness. However, by embracing Stoic wisdom and other Greek philosophy approaches, it is possible to overcome these challenges and find a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
Life coaches, and public figures are often in the business of trying to tell us how to cope with how to make life better. Somehow the improvement of life is the way in which most problems are viewed: They offer us advice on how can we make things go better…But what if things going bad sometimes, is actually good for us?
I want to direct your thoughts to a school of philosophy that was born in ancient Greece and later flourished in Rome.. I'm talking about stoicism and the stoic school of philosophy… When we speak of someone being ‘stoic’ in the face of a disaster, we are referring to the Stoics of ancient Greece…A school of practical philosophy who taught mental and emotional resilience.
Stoics like Seneca very much believed that philosophy was a discipline to keep you sane in troubled times and that one of the best ways to be sane was precisely to master pessimism to make yourself at home in pessimism to become a master of this melancholy… but its not actually depressing philosophy at all.
Stoicism is a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of living in accordance with nature, accepting what is outside of our control, and cultivating a sense of inner peace and contentment. At its core, Stoicism teaches us that we have the power to control our thoughts, emotions, and reactions to the world around us. This philosophy can be a powerful tool for those struggling with depression, loneliness, and suicidal tendencies, as it offers a way to find meaning and purpose in even the most difficult of circumstances.
The first step to overcoming depression, loneliness, and suicidal tendencies is to recognize that these feelings are not permanent. While it may feel like things will never get better, it is important to remember that everything is impermanent, and this too shall pass. By focusing on the present moment and accepting what is happening right now, we can begin to shift our perspective and find a sense of peace and contentment.
One of the most important principles of Stoicism is the idea of living in accordance with Nature. This means embracing the natural order of things and accepting that there are certain things that are outside of our control. While we cannot control the actions of others or the circumstances of our lives, we can control how we respond to them. By focusing on our own thoughts, emotions, and actions, we can find a sense of empowerment and control in even the most difficult situations.
2 Another key principle of Stoicism and Greek philosophy in general is the importance of cultivating a sense of inner peace and contentment or Eudaimonia. This can be done through practices such as meditation, journaling, and mindfulness. By taking time to reflect on our thoughts and emotions, we can begin to understand the root causes of our struggles and work towards finding solutions that will help us overcome them.
3. Another important concept in Greek philosophy is the idea of philautia, or self-love. This is the idea that we must first love and care for ourselves before we can love and care for others. By taking time to care for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, we can begin to cultivate a sense of self-love and acceptance that will help us overcome feelings of depression, loneliness, and hopelessness
But don’t get too optimistic say the Greek philosophers….
Optimism makes us angry. What do I mean?…Have you ever stopped to think why people don't get angry when it rains particularly in Northern Europe. The reason why people don't get angry when it rains is that people who live there, expect it to rain. In England it's amazing if it doesn't rain, so it would not occur to anybody to get angry at the fact it is raining.
Now the interesting thing is we don't adopt this very wise approach in all areas of life. You know we start shouting when we lose our house keys or how we behave when we‘re stuck in traffic. You know we insult people, and shout at them..We think, "Why am I in traffic?" That’s because we believe implicitly in a world in which keys never get lost and the roads are always magically traffic-free. It's our expectations that defines what will anger us. That's not to say we won't ever feel sad but there's a difference between sadness and anger. A lot of the times, what we think is depression is actually repressed anger…We get very surprised when people suddenly die or when things suddenly go wrong…Because we had false expectations.
Seneca urges us to to see that our fate is really in the hands of the Goddess of Fortune…
In Greek, “Ti-he” (Tyche). Now the goddess of fortune was held to be a woman who commanded all of our destinies and the thing about her is that she's entirely fickle, she's cruel vain and may at any point decide that we will die and somebody else will succeed. Essentially she's an uncontrollable entity in our lives and in ancient Greece and Rome the goddess of fortune was everywhere. There was her statue at nearly every street crossing. She was on the back of coins and her message was most of our life is in the hands of somebody else and however much we try and achieve rational control she'll probably at some point get us!
In order to try and cope with the ups and downs of fortune Seneca counseled us to undertake what in Latin is called “Premeditatio Mallorum” a curious exercise. He advised that every morning in bed before getting up you should essentially run through in your mind the whole day ahead of you and imagine every single disaster that could occur to you. Not because it would necessarily occur but in order to protect you psychologically.
Here in Greece or in California for example, we have earthquakes…On any given day, a big earthquake can come and destroy our home… In other words it’s a metaphor for life; we live on unstable ground and we must accept this as a fundamental starting point.
We must not be surprised or react in a bad way when bad things happen…These bad things are written into the contract of life. No one should have a child, wrote Seneca without the ability to tolerate the thought that that child may be dead by evening.
Another thing which can be abit depressing is the wide-spread myth that everybody can succeed, that opportunity is not just for the few, it's for the many…
This is the message we hear from every single politician. Everyone can do it ! No one should hold you back, you can do it… It's a beautiful idea, except it's got some serious drawbacks. One of the most serious drawbacks is it constantly leaves us feeling envious…
The interesting thing about envy is you don't envy everybody. For example, it's very unusual for anyone to envy a Hollywood Star, or the Sultan of Brunei..and the reason we don't envy them is because they are too remote, too foreign, too distant… So remote from us, we can't really relate to them living in their mansions and palaces.. And ride around on their private jets…
However who among us has not envied someone at a school reunion?
Or by reading something in the paper or social media about someone you were once at school with… We usually envy people who we consider on the same level or very close to our level. We resent them for their success….When those people who are related to us, or somehow near us…As soon as you feel equal to somebody, as soon as you feel I'm basically more or less like this person and I could do this too… but you haven't yet…
You will start to get envious and depressed… So in a society that preaches that everybody can make it , this is strangely really, really depressing.It constantly leaves us in a feeling that we haven't achieved enough.
In a society that tells people that they can achieve anything will also be a society that very swiftly develops a problem of self-esteem because if everybody expects to achieve everything, you're going to get an awful lot of people who are feeling that something's gone dramatically wrong with their lives. It’s a well-know statistic, that 90% of all startups fail.
We don't hear those stories… we’ re focused on a very very small minority of ‘success stoies’.
Another thing that you always hear in our optimistic Society…Is the idea of meritocracy ('Axio-kratia' in Greek) Now what is meritocracy? Meritocracy is the idea that if we all work hard enough at making society fair we will be able to build a world where anybody can make it.. And you hear politicians on all sides of the political spectrum praising meritocracy… About how the school system should be working well enough that it can make a meritocratic world come true. Others speak of the importance of “equity” in opportunities for the youth… Now the interesting thing about a meritocracy is that it's got some very evil side-effects; If you really believe that we can build a world where everybody is going to end up where they merit , to be where they deserve to be, you'll also end up with a society in which anybody who doesn't become successful, deserves their own failure, they are fully responsible for it…
If you believe that those people who get to the top merit their success, you're implicitly also supporting a society where people deserve to fail …So, the more people who believe that we do live in a meritocracy, the more people will be very hard on themselves if they fail…
In such a world, those who are successful believe that those who fail are there because it’s their own damn fault. I’ve heard a lot of successful people talk trash about poor people, saying that they deserve it…But they fail to look at the fact that they got where they are because of Daddy and Mummy’s money, and other privileges or strokes of luck that they fail to see.
I think it's absolutely impossible to have a meritocracy. it's completely crazy to imagine that we will ever reach a society where people will really deserve their success and totally deserve their failure.. there are simply too many factors in anybody's life… and to expect that you can simply take a glance of somebody's life and determine from that whether they deserve to be there or not is simply unbelievable.
Again if we go back to the Greeks and Romans, they did not did not think that they were entirely responsible for their own success. They believed in the the goddess of Fortune.
If something went right you went to give an offering to the goddess of fortune, to basically say “ Thank you”, and “I’m Grateful”. We've lost sight of this, we've become much more optimistic. We believe that we are in control of our destinies and with that belief in control comes serious self-esteem issues. People commit suicide a lot more nowadays and a lot more in societies which are felt to be individualistic where the individual is felt to be entirely in control of his destiny. The rates of suicide are going up and the reason for that, is that all failure is assumed to be a personal point of blame. So people assume their success and their failure is because of themself and their own actions entirely. And that's why rates of suicide are higher.
It’s all about managing our expectations…If we look at the history of work and how people view work.. you know nowadays people expect that their work will be an arena of fulfilment and happiness.. That is the sort of basic assumption that we have.. And that is constantly held before us..And it’s a completely insane idea.
In early Christianity there was a belief that that work is essentially a punishment for the sins of Adam.. that's why we toil that idea starts to disappear by the time you get to the 18th century. Various bourgeois philosophers are singing the praises of work. Work as a place to realize yourself to become yourself to become someone.
Also, by mid 18th century a lot of bourgeois philosophers come up with a new idea of love. the idea is that you should marry someone that you love completely. Historically before that, people didn’t marry someone they loved. you marry somebody who has the farm next door. you hand over the family property.
But suddenly a new idea note you should marry someone that you love. And that's how marriage should work and similarly you should get a job that you love as well. you should realize yourself. So suddenly, the two vital safety valves of having a mistress and a hobby that you love went out the window.
Of course, some people are very happily married and know some people really enjoy their jobs, but they're a real minority. I would estimate around 5% of people…The other 95% failed.
I want to talk more about the the cheerful sides of pessimism and how to embrace the sweetness of melancholia…
I propose we all put a fake skull on our desk, along side a journal . As you're doing your work you'll always look at the skull and reflect on your mortality from time to time. Plato taught that all philosophy is essentially a way of coming to terms with our inevitable death. I would encourage us all of to reflect on death…”Memento Mori”.
I’m so blessed to be living in Greece, where the beautiful ancient ruins all around, help me to see what will happen to us eventually…
Also by getting out into nature, seeing old olive trees, where we see the marks of time written into the landscape… gives us perspective… Plato called this, “The view from above”.
Pessimism is a feature of life… it's a feature of life that we often try to run away from… by running away from it too quickly… We cut ourselves off from the opportunity to embrace this darkness and to embrace the lessons that it often brings. And we often also cut ourselves off from the deepest kind of relationships which we can have with other human beings which are relationships based around a confession of suffering. I think that essentially all good friendships are about confessions of one sort or another. They're a confession of things that the rest of the world thinks of as unacceptable but are in fact, part of human life. So all of us can have a little bit of time to have a sense of shared communion around the dark things and a capacity to admit among ourselves just how hard we find life to be.
It is also important to remember that we are not alone in our struggles. There are many resources available to those who are struggling with depression, loneliness, and suicidal tendencies. Whether it is through therapy, support groups, or online communities, there are people who can offer guidance, support, and encouragement along the way.
In conclusion, depression, loneliness, and suicidal tendencies can be difficult challenges to overcome. However, by embracing Stoic wisdom and other Greek philosophy approaches, it is possible to find a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life. By focusing on the present moment, accepting what is outside of our control, and cultivating a sense of inner peace and contentment, we can begin to shift our perspective and find a path towards healing and recovery. Remember, you are not alone in your struggles, and there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.
"The ALKISTIS Method©" (#TAM) is a unique 3-Step self-inquiry system. It is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy based on Greek Philosophy and Neuroscience. It involves questioning one's thoughts and beliefs in order to identify and challenge irrational or unhelpful thinking patterns to make better decisions. The result is Self Leadership, Self Confidence and ultimately Inner Freedom.
Hello, I am Ally, the AI Avatar of Dr. Alkistis Agio. I am your personal lifecoach and therapist.
Hello, I am Ally, the AI Avatar of Dr. Alkistis Agio. I am your personal lifecoach and therapist. I am here to help you to overcome your deepest fears, frustrations or anxiety. I can also help you to clarify and achieve your goals.
Consider me your life-long “Ally”, someone who will always be here for you.
Dr. Agio has programmed me with CBT therapy, based on the Socratic Method, so I combine ancient wisdom with modern science.
You can share your thoughts, and ask me any questions exactly as you would with a human.
Please keep in mind that my responses are for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice or therapy.
Are you ready to get started? What would you like to speak about? What’s on your mind? What’s keeping you up at night?
ALLY IS IDEAL FOR:
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Money is an energy, a form of abundance that can flow into your life when you align your thoughts, emotions, and actions with it. Wealth is not just about having a lot of money, but also about having an abundance of opportunities, relationships, health, and joy. In this video, we will explore the seven key principles that can help you attract money and wealth into your life.
The first principle is to focus on abundance, not scarcity. Many people believe that there is a limited amount of money and resources in the world, and that they have to compete with others to get their share. This mindset creates a sense of lack and fear, which repels abundance. Instead, focus on the abundance that already exists in your life, such as your talents, skills, relationships, and opportunities. When you appreciate and celebrate what you have, you attract more of it.
The second principle is to cultivate a positive mindset. Your thoughts and emotions have a powerful impact on your energy field and the vibration you emit. If you have negative thoughts and emotions about money, such as fear, doubt, and resentment, you will block the flow of abundance. Instead, cultivate positive thoughts and emotions, such as gratitude, joy, and excitement. Visualize yourself already having the money and wealth you desire, and feel the emotions of gratitude and joy as if it were already a reality.
The third principle is to take inspired action. Money and wealth do not come to you by magic or luck, but through inspired action. This means taking actions that align with your goals and values, and that feel energizing and fulfilling. When you take inspired action, you create momentum and attract more opportunities and resources to support your goals. Do not wait for money to come to you, but take the first step towards creating it.
The fourth principle is to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Your environment and social circle have a significant impact on your thoughts, emotions, and actions. If you surround yourself with people who have a scarcity mindset or who are negative and unsupportive, you will absorb their energy and limit your potential. Instead, surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, who inspire and uplift you, and who share your values and vision.
The fifth principle is to cultivate a sense of purpose and contribution. Money and wealth are not just about satisfying your personal desires and needs, but also about making a positive impact on the world. When you have a sense of purpose and contribution, you align with a higher vibration that attracts abundance. Ask yourself what you can contribute to the world, how you can use your talents and resources to make a difference, and how you can serve others.
The sixth principle is to be open and flexible. Money and wealth can come to you in many ways and forms, not just through your current job or business. Be open and flexible to new opportunities and ideas, and do not limit yourself to your current beliefs and habits. Explore new ways of creating value and serving others, and be willing to learn and grow.
The seventh principle is to practice patience and persistence. Money and wealth do not come to you overnight, but through a process of growth and evolution. Be patient and persistent in pursuing your goals, and do not give up in the face of challenges or setbacks. Use your failures and mistakes as learning opportunities, and keep moving forward towards your vision.
In conclusion, attracting money and wealth into your life is not just about luck or talent, but also about mindset, action, and purpose. By focusing on abundance, cultivating a positive mindset, taking inspired action, surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, contributing to the world, being open and flexible, and practicing patience and persistence you are on your way to becoming wealthy!
The Alkistis Method® was inspired by all schools of Greek philosophy, the totality of which would take several thousands of books to fill. Over two millennia have passed since the ‘Golden Age’ of Greece, (480-320 BCE), yet the legacy of the Greek philosophers still motivates us to strive for ‘Eudaimonia’.
If we travel back in time…at the beginning of the sixth century BCE, we could observe that people’s general belief was that happiness and flourishing is something to be experienced after death. The world was full of mysticism and superstitions and so human fate and happiness was believed to be largely controlled by the whims of the gods and spirits, who required rituals and sacrifices. The governing regimes were usually oppressive, dogmatic theocracies and military ‘regimes’ which terrorized the people into slavery and submission. Ancient people took these types of oppressive regimes as a given; this was the norm. From birth, ordinary people were ‘programmed’ into believing that life on Earth was all about suffering, and serving the ‘Great King or Leader’ and that happiness would only come later, after death..If they behaved and bowed to their oppressive rulers…
When Plato founded his Academy in Athens, he based its program on the methods of his teacher Socrates and his infamous "Socratic Method" also called “Dialectic”; a series of questions fired in quick succession that were designed not to impose, but to lead the student towards the truth through calculated steps of deductive reasoning. The Greek philosophers believed that we can, and have every right to pursue our happiness, here in this world, while we are alive, and it doesn’t depend on the gods, but on ourselves. As Aristotle taught, ‘Happiness depends on ourselves.’
Although to us, today, these ideas may seem obvious, this was a radical paradigm shift at the time. The Classical Greek philosophers dared to question the old world worldviews of superstition and magic. To Classical Greek philosophers, if there is a God, it is nearest to what we today call a Pantheistic God, which they referred to as “Physis”, which means “Nature” in Greek. The unceasing change of the universe is driven by the Logos, a Greek word meaning “Reason or Logic” which has set certain laws in motion like ‘The Law of Gravity’.
The Greek philosophers thought something like this: “The Logos has set in motion the Universal Laws, it is not a personal God; Nature is not occupied with our personal prayers or desires…This life is the only life we have, the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. We trust the scientific method, evidence, and reason to discover truths about the universe. We have placed human welfare and happiness at the center of our ethical decision making. Our reason and imagination is what differentiates us from animals. We have critical thinking, logic and imagination to create a fair and civilized society and to pursue our happiness…”
They believed that citizens are capable of making their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals, without the need for a belief in God, which is optional. The ideal way of living well, therefore, is up to us, to lead a life of “Areté”. (Gr. Aρετή). No English word or phrase adequately captures the exact meaning of Areté. The nearest equivalents are 'Excellence' and 'Virtue'. Areté is the pinnacle of their value-system. Especially excellence of character.
Their motto, pronounced “Ain Aristevin”, means ‘Ever To Excel’. It is derived from the sixth book of Homer's Iliad, (Iliad 6. 208), going back over ten thousand years. One isn’t expected to reach excellence ever, but it is in a human being’s heroic effort and striving to excel (to be a ‘Prokopton’) that the nobility of one’s soul is revealed and is achieved by practicing the Four Cardinal Virtues (Wisdom, Justice, Courage,Temperance)... And other ‘humanist’ virtues like these, that you will see under the Aristotle section in this chapter.
Thus logic was developed in ancient Greece as a means of reaching the objective truth rather than relying on faith or dogma. This led to the development of the “The Scientific Method” that we adhere to today..
By the first century AD, in the Hellenistic world, which was still dominated by Roman law and Greek culture, Christianity emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine,
There is a beautiful passage in the Christian Bible that lies mostly forgotten. One that happened during Christ's interrogation by Pontius Pilate,the Roman prefect in charge of his case.
According to John [18:38] at the crucial moment of his verdict Pilate turned to Jesus and asked the most important question in Philosophy. "Ti Estin Aletheia?"-"What is Truth?"
We are told that the Roman received no answer in return. Something that didn't bother many Christians, but could not pass unnoticed, by those last of the Greeks, who carried the dying flames of their logic-based philosophy into the twilight years of Rome. The logic of the Greeks goes like this:
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then from whence comes evil?"
The logical argument about evil is as follows:
P1. If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient God exists, then evil does not.
P2. There is evil in the world.
C1. Therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient God does not exist.
Of course defenders of theism argue that God could exist and allow evil if there were good reasons….(OK, then, you try to explain that to the parents of the millions of starving children, or sexually abused children or victims of war and anybody else who is suffering needlessly in the most horrific ways…)
The Greek philosophers would eventually lose, of course, as their books were burned by fanatic Christians, who for the next thousand years succeeded in keeping Europe in perpetual dusk.
Scholars and thinkers, tried to defend Greek philosophy. One such example is Hypatia, a (female) neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Another is Porphyrios, a philosopher of the "twilight", when the Roman Empire was fading into the Dark Ages. His book was called "Kata Christianon" ("Against the Christians") written on the dying breath of the Greek culture. Being a philosopher worthy of this name, Porphyry had reasons enough to protest against a system that was moving away from Reason, as Christianity was based on the acceptance of "revealed truths" requiring no further proof, just blind faith…The world that gave birth to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle faded in the rear-view of history. The death-blow to the original Greek world came in 312 A.D. when Emperor Constantine chose Christianity to be the official religion.
Christianity, as a religion, has been influenced by Greek philosophy in many ways. Here are some of the major ideas or concepts that Christianity borrowed from Greek philosophy:
Fast-forward to today’s secular, scientific-based world; there is a rise in the Humanist Movement, which is, “A progressive philosophy of life that, without the need of theism (meaning ‘the belief in God) or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.” This approach was no doubt inspired by the values held by the ancient Greek philosophers and other wisdom cultures of the world.
Today I discuss how we tell many 'lies' or 'half-truths' to ourself. These are self-sabotaging even toxic thoughts that we repeat to ourself very often, and we do this unconsciously too !
We do a mental exercise together with the whole group (on Zoom) to learn more about 'The Greek Way' of working on ourself, of improving ourself and our habits.Here is a small 'demonstration' of the Socratic approach in the video.The Socratic approach is conversational. It employs the dialogue not only as a didactic device, but as a technique for the actual discovery of opinions amongst people, there are truths upon which all people can agree, Socrates proceeds to unfold such truths by discussion or by question and answer. Mainly it focuses in unveiling the Truth, and to move away from 'lies', 'myths', 'fake news' and all forms of self-deceit. "The truth shall set you free", in other words...
Let’s face it, if we want to influence and persuade others, you can’t just memorize or mimic the ‘Ten Commandments of Influencing and Persuading’. You can’t expect to apply any hacks, tricks like mirroring (as taught in NLP) or using props like a power-point presentation to get through to your audience. That will only get you mediocre results. Why? Because, getting people to trust you is the most important factor in influence, persuasion and selling but human beings are wired to pick up deception.
In communication, a speaker’s words are only a fraction of his efforts. The pitch and tone of his voice, the speed and rhythm of the spoken word, and the pauses between those words may express more than what is being communicated by words alone. Further, his gestures, posture, pose and expressions usually convey a variety of subtle signals. These non-verbal elements can present a listener with important clues to the speaker’s thoughts and feelings and thus substantiate or contradict the speaker’s words. As this diagram shows, our Conscious Mind is on 12% of the results we are getting, while the Subconscious Mind accounts for 88%. Your subconscious is all about your Pathos.
Hacks, tricks like mirroring (as taught in NLP), or using props like a power-point can only go so far…Your subconscious will reveal who you really are and what you are really thinking. Your ‘shadow’ side will creep up on you and spoil everything…Unless you have done ‘The Work’ on yourself, in a very deep and systematic way. (Don’t worry, you will be given specific exercises to do this deep work in the next section; You don’t need ten years of psychotherapy to achieve this ‘alignment’. It all begins with Self-Leadership. Self-Leadership means having: A developed sense of who you are, what you want, why you want it as well as... The ability to formulate a strategy and influence and inspire yourself and others to follow it through.
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