So it’s one of the most basic ideas of Stoic philosophy that you make a division and a clear separation between the things you can control and the things you cannot control.
And then you only worry about the things you can control, and anything you cannot, you just throw up your hands and just accept OK, I can’t change that, and therefore there’s no point in spending energy any energy on it whatsoever, and I’ll just accept whatever happens, and only focus my concerns on what I can control.
So seems like a very reasonable and useful thing and way to to look at our concerns in life and focus our energy where it counts.
But then it makes me think, as I was watching the European championships of soccer, getting into the world of watching other people try to win games, the whole world of sports fandom: it seems like this is the exact opposite of Stoic philosophy.
Because you’re a sports fan, and you’re watching some activity that’s happening, often on the other side of the world, being broadcast on your screen, and yet every sports fan is intensely invested in the result of this event that’s outside, completely outside, of our control.
So it seems like it’s like an exercise in suffering, because it’s like we’re we’re praying for the side that we choose and like and identify with, we’re we’re praying for them to win, and we’re really, really hoping, and we’re afraid that things won’t turn out right, and we’re excited at the possibility that they may turn out right, but we can’t actually do anything to affect the outcome.
And you can imagine, if you actually go to the event and you’re cheering in the crowd, then maybe you can imagine that, by adding to that overall cheer, that overall support for your side, if it’s a home game, that you would in some way be contributing.
You’re somehow helping the team, simply by cheering at the right moment and showing enthusiasm and support in some way to try to lift the morale of your side in some slight way.
But even that, it’s something.
If you’re one of 50 000 people, your voice, your cheer, your painted face, maybe, in team colours, and you’re helping to create an atmosphere of support for your side.
Now that’s a very, very slight contribution to actually moving the ball where it needs to go to win.
But even that, it’s something.
You can get into that feeling that you are part of that contest, that event, in some way.
But when you’re watching sports on TV, when you’re watching some kind of distant event, there is absolutely no contribution whatsoever.
You’re entirely passive.
No one involved in the event will know whether you are cheering for them or for the other team.
It’s completely passive.
You have no control whatsoever.
And yet, the whole world of sports fandom is this this intense emotional connection to the result, and like “I really, really want my team to win.
It’s the exact opposite of accepting what we cannot control So it makes me think about this, for one thing, in what sense is this like life?
Is having a really Stoic view of life to be able to watch the sport, with your beloved favourite team playing in a big game, and to actually not care what happens, to have a complete equanimity, to be completely unconcerned, and whatever the result is, that’s perfectly fine, because I can’t control it, and therefore there’s no point being upset about it?
Is that what it’s like, in life, to apply that kind of mindset?
It may be very reasonable, but it does seem like it’s very difficult.
#stoicsports #sportsfandom #stoicism