Texas Abortion Laws & Stoicism
Until I found Stoicism and started living the philosophy, I had many opinions. I still have many opinions, but I don’t have so many tied to my emotions. Previously when a belief was attacked I would be prone to frustration and anger. But from learning the thought strategies of Stoic philosophy and living it for about a year now, I realized I had more control over my mind than I first thought.
“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.” -Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
On May 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Human Life Protection Act into law. I am pro-choice, upon hearing this the natural thoughts of a pro-choicer are like.
“Wtf is wrong with Texas?”
“How is it 2021 and this is a thing?”
“I’m so pissed off at this world!”
When our emotions are triggered our mind rapidly serves up negative thoughts.
But we have a choice. With practice, we can teach our minds to block thoughts from our emotional response systems. I heard the news, saw the thoughts, and thought “Nah, I’d rather not.”
I think Marcus’s idea is brilliant but can be refined a bit. Realistically we can’t stop our opinions. They are too fast, too instant. But when the thought connects to the emotional response system, that you can control. Like a van full of people, the border patrol gets to evaluate the situation before allowing entrance. Our conscious mind gets to do the same. Either “your cool” or “get the f#$* out of here.”
Picture a swimming pool on a breezeless day; the water sits motionless. Tying emotional value to any single emotion is like setting up a mini trebuchet with a tiny rock aimed at the pool. Abortion, mini trebuchet. Trump, mini trebuchet. Your friend’s girlfriend, mini trebuchet. These small rocks are cocked, ready to be fired upon hearing their favorite words.
Once the rock hits the pool of your mind, all bets are off. That thought is going to have its emotional wave and it will be hard to settle. Ever think about something that pissed you off all day long?
The key is to limit the number of opinions tied to your emotions. Get rid of these connections when there is no value OR when there is nothing you can do except feel something, like laws in Texas.