I am so firmly determined to test the constancy of your mind [Lucilius] that, drawing from the teaching of great men, I shall give you also a lesson: Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?” It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while Fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence… You need not suppose that I mean meals like Timon’s, or “paupers’ huts,” of any other device which luxurious millionaires use to beguile the tedium of their lives. Let the pallet be a real one, and the cloak coarse; let the bread be hard and grimy. Endure all this for three or four days at a time, sometimes for more, so that it may be a test of yourself instead of a mere hobby.
I have imagined myself doing this a few times. I can’t help but want to try it.
Stoicism practice of eating just bread for a few days? Or just oatmeal? Sounds kind of dreamy. A carbohydrate dream. Simplicity. Delicious. Sign me up. I guess that would negate the experience though. Ok, I’ll make mine not organic. That’s terrifying. Yup – that would take it next level for me in the fear department.
I’ve got the wearing “coarse clothes” part already done since I sold my clothes dryer in the name of frugality. Air-drying clothes and towels makes ’em scratchy. So, check, been there… still doing that.
I am thinking of what I’d have to do in order to make real with this experiment. I was honest when I said eating non-organic would probably have me twitching so that would be a good one to try. Eating something like just oatmeal, although tasty, would indeed make me twitchy after a couple of days because of its lack of well-roundedness so that’d work on me, too.
What else… thinking here… oh I know… going without a lick of makeup (i.e., no coverup if I have a pimple) for a few days where I had to venture into public. That’d probably freak me out and be a good experience.
Definitely going without my technology side-kicks like iPhone and computer.
Suddenly I’m not so keen on doing this experiment now. Probably means I should really do it.