Zen Stoic Manifesto

As a Zen Stoic, I know it is my duty to look at everything that nature cares to display. I observe, I learn, and I slowly pull another grain of Truth closer to myself. I observe idiocy, and do not allow myself to be affected. For things external have no power to turn or move the soul, none whatsoever, but the soul turns and moves itself. I choose myself according to the strictest measure: Truth. I know that virtue is the pursuit of Truth. I follow this path using only my own powers of reason as a guide, though at times they may lead me far astray, a more trusty guide cannot be found or bought at any price. I allow my philosophical meanderings to take me where they will, and where I find a contradiction I will banish and embrace it knowing that there can be no contradictions.

I proceed, warily watching my compass, and by sheer will force it to point to the Truth. I proceed knowing that There Be Dragons, and also that I have no weapon with which to slay them. However, the dragon would either be desperate or suicidal to pit itself against my special brand of sorcery. I hope not to encounter one, but I’d rather not be eaten (and I hear dragon tastes pretty good). I proceed, vainly beseeching Truth to mend the decrepit artifacts of assumption that pass for heirlooms in these sober days. Most especially the assumption which I have not thought to question. I conclude, by the powers of my own reason, that the purest reason is without assumption, without prior knowledge, and without history, and toss aside the broken tools I had been given. The purest reason is without thought other than the matter considered. The purest reason is irrespective of the past, except where the past coincides with that which is True. What may have been perceived to be true in the past is not necessarily true now, or ever. The purest reason is irrespective of thought, except where such thought coincides with that which is True.

I proceed knowing that the greatest art can be found within the mind of man, not within his hand, though that is the mind’s instrument. I proceed knowing that the greatest wisdom can be found amidst the greatest sentient chaos, for the pattern underneath must surely be elegant indeed to produce such effective madness. I proceed knowing that the greatest choice of man is between his heart and his head, and that the reason must be victorious, for the heart feels much, but understands little. I proceed always, day and night, and when it rains I become as a statue, and wait with inexhaustible patience until the monsoon dies, and take up the trail once more.

And, above all, in the moment and with what truth I can grasp, I proceed.

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