My Life as Training


“Nature does not permit good men to be harmed by what is good. Virtue is the
bond between good men and the Gods. The good man is given trials so as to
harden himself”–Seneca

Training. Invented by the Greeks?

When I read this quote, I thought to myself:  life is a training ground for you to get better.  All the trials and challenges that are sent to me are for me to train to make me better.  They are all sent here for me to test my mettle.  They are sent to build my virtue.

I differ with Seneca just a little.  I don’t think Nature is scheming to make me better.  In fact, I have some trouble envisioning Nature as caring one way or another about my virtue.  While I do think that there are things in this universe that I can’t explain, I don’t spend much time trying to figure out if God, the gods, or the universe has a plan for me, nor do I find it necessary to ask for the Divine to look out for me.  If the fates have a plan for me, then my asking for this or that will not change that plan.  As an added bonus to this strategy, I figure I am not wasting my time or that of the cosmos with my requests.  How’s that for faith?  In the end, I’m not even sure there is a plan for me or anyone else for that matter.  This is convenient, because I don’t really care about whether there is a plan or not.  I am agnostic to the BIG plan for me.

Gerd Kanter continues the Greek training legacy.

So, my job is not to decide whether there is or is not a BIG plan for me.  My job is to “act in the play” that I am a character in (see Epictetus/click here).  There are some who think that their God will not give them anything they can’t handle.  I really don’t think that way.  All I do is live my life one challenge at a time.  Also, I need to prepare myself through my philosophy to be a man of virtue no matter what scenes unfold in my “play.”

Life is training…for more life.  Life is training to become a man of virtue.

*Photo of Gerd Kanter World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka by  Eckhard Pecher*

2 thoughts on “My Life as Training

  1. Excellent post Chris! I’d like to thank you for recommending “A Guide to the Good Life”, I just finished it and it was a very enjoyable read. I don’t know if you take requests but…a future post that expands on your thoughts in the last paragraph of “a BIG plan” and “the play” would be interesting. I find it difficult to understand your indifference to the possibility of a transcendent being (i.e. God). Thanks.

  2. Thanks Pete (pjstap). I will put your suggestion into the vast kaleidosope of ideas of my brain, and see what comes out on the other side. “Indifference” to God’s plan…hmmm. It changes the meaning a bit if you replace it with “acceptance.” More to follow…stay tuned.

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