SOMEWHERE SOMEONE'S DYING
"Whenever disturbing news is delivered to you, bear in mind that no news can ever be relevant to your reasoned choice.
Can anyone break news to you that your assumptions
or desires are wrong?
But they can tell you, someone died, died-even so, what is that
-EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.18.1-2
a well-meaning friend might ask you today: "What do you think about [insert tragedy from the other side of the world]?" You, in your equally well-meaning concern, might say, "I just feel awful about it."
In this scenario, both of you have put aside your reasoned choice without doing a single thing for the victims suffering from the actual tragedy. It can be so easy to get distracted by, even consumed by, horrible news from all over the world. The proper response of the Stoic to these events is not to not care, but mindless, meaningless sympathy does very little either (and comes at the cost of one's own serenity, in most
If there is something you can actually do to help these suffering people, then, yes, the disturbing news (and your reaction to it) has relevance to your reasoned choice. If emoting is the end of your participation, then you ought to get back to your own individual duty to yourself, to your family, to your country.