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Earlier this week a delegation of Chinese medics arrived at Malpensa airport near Milan from Shanghai on a special China Eastern flight carrying 400,000 masks and 17 tons of equipment. The salutation banner the visitors rolled out on the tarmac, in red and white, read, “We’re waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.”

In a stance of supreme cross-cultural elegance, this was inspired by the poetics of Seneca, a Stoic. The impact, all over Italy, where people still study the classics, was immense.

The Chinese were consulted in advance and they preferred Seneca to a Chinese saying. After all, for China, a 5,000-year-old civilization-state that has confronted perhaps more than its share of instances of luan (“chaos”), there’s nothing more rejuvenating than post-chaos.

China is donating coronavirus test kits to Cambodia. China sent planeloads of masks, ventilators – and medics – to Italy and France. China sent medics to Iran, which is under unilateral, illegal US sanctions – and to Iraq, which the Pentagon is bombing again. China is helping across the (Eurasian) board, from the Philippines to Spain.

President Xi Jinping, in a phone call with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, pledged in the wake of Covid-19 to establish a Health Silk Road, a companion to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative.

Thus, finally, there’s the Philosophical Silk Road celebrated at an Italian airport, a meeting of Greek/Latin stoicism with Chinese stoicism.

Slave, orator, emperor

Stoicism, in Ancient Greece, was pop culture – reaching out in a way that the sophisticated Platonic and Aristotelian schools could only dream of. Like the Epicureans and the Skeptics, the Stoics owed a lot to Socrates who always stressed that philosophy had to be practical, capable of changing our priorities in life.

The Stoics were very big on ataraxia – freedom from disturbance – as the ideal state of our mind. The wise man cannot possibly be troubled because the key to wisdom is knowing what not to care about.

So the Stoics were Socratic in the sense that they were striving to offer peace of mind to Everyman. Like a Hellenistic version of the Tao.

The great ascetic Antisthenes was a companion of Socrates and a precursor of the Stoics. The first Stoics took their name from the porch – stoa – in the Athenian market where official founder Zeno of Citium (333-262 BC) used to hang out. But the real deal was in fact Chrisippus, a philosopher specialized in logic and physics, who may have written as many as 705 books, none of which survived.

The West came to know the top Stoics as a Roman trio – Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. They are the role models of stoicism as we know it today.

Epictetus (50-120 AD) was born as a slave in Rome, then moved to Greece and spent his life examining the nature of freedom.

Seneca (5 BC-65 AD), a fabulous orator and decent dramatist, was exiled to Corsica when he was falsely accused of committing adultery with the sister of emperor Claudius. But afterward he was brought back to Rome to educate the young Nero, and ended up sort of forced by Nero to commit suicide.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (The Younger) c5 BC-65 AD. Roman Stoic philosopher, committing suicide in his bath, having antagonised Nero. Photo AFP / rom Hartmann Schedel ‘Liber chronicarum mundi’ (Nuremberg Chronicle), 1493 woodcut, Nuremberg
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (The Younger) c5 BC-65 AD. Roman Stoic philosopher, committing suicide in his bath, having antagonised Nero. Photo AFP / rom Hartmann Schedel ‘Liber chronicarum mundi’ (Nuremberg Chronicle), 1493 woodcut, Nuremberg

Marcus Aurelius, a humanist, was the prototypical reluctant emperor, living in the turbulent second century AD and configuring himself as a precursor of Schopenhauer: Marcus saw life as really a drag.

Zeno’s teachers were in fact Cynics (the nickname affixed to them came from a Greek word meaning “dog-like, currish, churlish”) whose core intuition was that nothing mattered more than virtue. So the trappings of conventional society would have to be downgraded to the status of irrelevant distractions at best. Few of today’s (lowercase) cynics would qualify.

It’s enlightening to know that the upper classes of the Roman empire, the 1%, regarded Zeno’s insights as quite solid, while predictably deriding the first punk in history, Diogenes the Cynic, who masturbated in the public square and carried a lantern trying to find a real man.

As much as for Heraclitus, for the Stoics a key element in the quest for peace of mind was learning how to live with the inevitable. This desire for serenity is one of their linkages with the Epicureans.

Stoics were adamant that most people have no clue about the universe they live in. (Imagine their reaction to social networks.) Thus they end up confused in their attitudes towards life. In contrast to Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics were hardcore materialists. They would have none of that talk of “Forms” in an ideal Platonic world. For the Stoics, these were nothing but concepts in Plato’s mind.

For the Epicureans, the world is the unplanned product of chaotic forces.

The Stoics, in contrast, thought the world was a matter of organization down to the last detail.

For the Epicureans, the course of nature is not pre-determined: Fate intervenes in the form of random swerves of atoms. Fate, in ancient Greece, actually meant Zeus.

For the Stoics, everything happens according to fate: an inexorable chain of cause and effect, developing in exactly the same way again and again in a cycle of cosmic creation and destruction – a sort of precursor of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence.

Resigned acceptance

The Stoics were heavily influenced by Heraclitus. Stoic physics dealt with the notion of interpenetration: the physical world as a stirred concoction of intermingled substances, quite an extraordinary precursor of the equivalence of energy and matter in Einstein.

What the post-modern world retains from the Stoics is the notion of resigned acceptance – which makes total sense if the world really works according to their insights. If fate rules the world, and practically everything that happens is out of our hands, then realpolitik means to accept “everything to happen as it actually does happen,” in the immortal words of Epictetus.

Thus it’s pointless to get excited about stuff we cannot change. And it’s pointless to be attached to things that we will eventually lose. (But try selling this notion to the Masters of the Universe of financial capitalism.)

So the Way, according to the Stoics, is to own only the essentials, and to travel light. Lao Tzu would approve. After all, anything we may lose is more or less gone already – thus we are already protected from the worst blows in life.

Lao-Tzu (c.604-531 BC) on his Buffalo, Qing dynasty (ceramic) by Chinese School, (18th century); Musee Guimet, Paris. Photo: AFP
Lao-Tzu (c.604-531 BC) on his Buffalo, Qing dynasty (ceramic) by Chinese School, (18th century); Musee Guimet, Paris. Photo: AFP

Perhaps the ultimate Stoic secret is the distinction by Epictetus between things that are under our control – our thoughts and desires – and those that are not: our bodies, our families, our property, our lot in life, all elements that the expansion of Covid-19 has now put in check.

What Epictetus tells you is that if you redirect your emotions to focus on what is in your power and ignore everything else, then “no one will ever be able to exert compulsion upon you, no one will hinder you – neither there’s any harm that can touch you.”

Epictetus the Greek Stoic philosopher. Photo: AFP / ©Costa/leemage
Epictetus the Greek Stoic philosopher. Photo: AFP / ©Costa/leemage

Power ultimately irrelevant

Seneca offered a definitive guide that we may apply to multiple strands of the 1%: “I deny that riches are a good, for if they were, they would make men good. As it is, since that which is found in the hands of the wicked cannot be called a good, I refuse to apply the term to riches.”

ORDER IT NOW

The Stoics taught that to enter public life means to spread virtue and fight vice. It’s a very serious business involving duty, discipline and self-control. This goes a long way to explain why over 70% of Italians now applaud the conduct of the prime minister in the fight against Covid-19. Conte did rise to the occasion, unexpectedly, as a neo-Stoic.

The Stoics regarded death as a useful reminder of one’s fate and of the ultimate insignificance of the things of the world. Marcus Aurelius found enormous consolation in the shortness of life: “In a little while you will be no one and nowhere, even as Hadrian and Augustus are no more.” When circumstances made it impossible to live up to the ideals of Stoic virtue, death was always a viable Plan B.

Epictetus also tells us we should not really be concerned about what happens to our body. Sometimes he seemed to regard death as the acceptable way out of any misfortune.

At the top of their game the Stoics made it clear that the difference between life and death was insignificant, compared with the difference between virtue and vice.

Thus the notion of a noble suicide. Stoic heroism is plain to see in the life and death of Cato The Younger as described by Plutarch. Cato was a fierce opponent of Caesar, and his integrity ruled that the only possible way out was suicide.

According to Plutarch’s legendary account, Cato, on his last night, defended a number of Stoic theses during dinner, retreated to his room to read Plato’s Phaedo – in which Socrates argues that a true philosopher sees all of life as a preparation for death – and killed himself. Of course he became a Stoic superstar for eternity.

The Stoics taught that wealth, status and power are ultimately irrelevant. Once again, Lao Tzu would approve. The only thing that can raise one man above others is superior virtue – of which everyone is capable, at least in principle. So, yes, the Stoics believed we are all brothers and sisters. Seneca: “Nature made us relatives by creating us from the same materials and for the same destiny.”

Imagine a system built on a selfless devotion to the welfare of others, and against all vanity. It’s certainly not what inequality-provoking, financial turbo-capitalism is all about.

Epictetus: “What ought one to say then as each hardship comes? ‘I was practicing for this, I was training for this.’” Will Covid-19 show to a global wave of practicing neo-Stoics that there is another way?

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy, Ideology • Tags: China, Coronavirus, Eurasia 
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  1. Sasha says:

    Words to die by.

  2. Imagine a system built on a selfless devotion to the welfare of others, and against all vanity.

    That first item is not a very good characterisation of the proper aims of Stoicism – at least, the early- to middle-Stoa, which is where the ethical meat is (by the time of Παναίτιος – the 7th σχολάρχης – Stoicism was already being watered down).

    There is no place for ‘selfless devotion‘ in Stoicism (all the way to the CE period), because ‘devotion’ is a passion (πάθεια).

    For a Stoic to be guided by passions is completely antithetical to the overarching philosophy – one of the central aims of Stoicism is ἀπάθεια (equanimity; absence of disturbance by passions).

    Also, since ‘the welfare of others‘ is a thing you cannot control, the attempt falls well outside the set of καθήκοντα (‘[morally] appropriate acts’).

    On the flip side: a Stoic would not attempt to do unmerited harm to anyone or their interests: that is the precise opposite of a καθήκον , and would be a violation of Stoic ethics.

    So the default early-Stoic position is calm indifference to, and non-interference in, the welfare of others – the Szyslakian

    I’m more of a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish you any specific harm“.

    I’ll take that every day of the week, over people who want to interfere.

    Hierocles was late-Stoa (2ndC CE), so whatevs – I have little time for post-Chrysippian Stoicism – but even his taxonomy of duty involved concentric rings that expand as proximity to the individual decreases.

    I like to think of that as ‘circles of giving a fuck‘. (I have strong Cynic leanings when it comes to propriety).

    Ideally a Stoic doesn’t give much of a fuck even about himself – apart from trying to behave correctly. So anyone in the outer circles should expect near-zero fucks.

    A reasonable naming convention for the circles of giving a fuck is, I submit –

    Self > Family > Friends > Neighbourhood > Town > District > Region > Country > World…

    (Note the difference with Cynicism: Stoics are not κοσμοπολίτης first).

    .

    The upshot of the foregoing is that a Stoic has negligible obligation to intervene actively in the life of anyone outside his friends.

    First, because it’s outside of controllable things; second because the involvement is unlikely to make a difference. It is absolutely not a καθῆκον.

    What can also be seen from the foregoing is that by the standards of the ‘proper’ (scholastic-period) Stoics, key people being idolised by the recent ‘Stoic’ revival aren’t Stoics.

    .

    inb4 This is a Stoic version of No True Scotsman“.

    Not really: I’m saying that morally and ethically, Stoic ethics was going backwards (slightly) before the end of the scholastic period (2nd century BCE).

    Because of a recent uptick in interest in Seneca (mostly because of Tim Ferriss), people think that the Roman-era Stoics (‘Late’ Stoics) are all there is.

    Fuck that: most of them aren’t recognisably Stoic for those who have read what is available of original (early-Stoa) Stoicism.

    It would be interesting to have more-than-fragmentary evidence of the contributions after Chrysippus, because the contributions of the later leaders of the school are pretty weak sauce.

    By the time you get to the Roman period, it’s mostly regurgitation with little or no innovation.

    There’s no harm in that, so long as you regurgitate accurately: in my view there’s no point in trying to improve on Stoic ethics circa 280-250BCE – which makes it a really special contribution to human existence.

    Everyone’s got a hard-on for Marcus Aurelius nowadays. He’s the best example of a non-Stoic late-‘Stoic’: in doing his ‘duty’ – even unwillingly – he took on a role that is entirely based on doing unmerited harm.

    So fuck him, and those who think he’s worthy of emulation: lionising a military dictator who wrote fluffy derivative philosophy is what you get when you stop being interesting in truth or virtue, and start being interested in being popularity with dummies.

    (I don’t really give a fuck though – being a half-assed late-Stoic will get people closer to being good people).

    .

    The second bit (don’t be vain) is a result of, not an aim of, the ἄσκησις (practice/discipline) of attempting to live according to a sound set of ethical principles.

    To draw a comparison to Freemasonry: everyone starts as a ‘rough ashlar’ … but in (scholastic) Stoicism there are no perfect ashlars.

    Even Stoic sages – those who have achieved ἀρετή – have to maintain the practice. (Plus, nobody ever gets to be a sage).

    Canonically, Stoicism dissolves into 1 philosophical goal and a half-dozen ethical principles that are (relatively) straightforward.

    • the τέλος is εὐδαιμονία (well-being); ἀρετή (moral excellence) follows if you practice forever.

    The core principles

    • ἀπάθεια → ἀταραξία (indifference to passions leads (eventually) to absence of [moral] discomfort)
    • ἐπιστήμη > δόξα (knowledge is superior to, and should precede, belief)
    • καλόν > ἀξία (morally ideal is superior to valuable)
    • καθῆκοντα > ἀδιάφορα (moral things are superior to indifferences)
    • προηγμένα > ἀπροηγμένα (preferred-indifferences are superior to dispreferred-indifferences).

    Chrysippian Stoicism also gave the world the twin treasures of empiricism and (Propositional) Logic: it is a bit of a travesty that we use Latin terms (modus [tollendo] ponens, modus [ponendo] tollens) for analytical skills that were invented by a Turk educated in Athens.

    Stoic ethics circa 250BCE was as near to perfect as any ethical system ever devised: Seneca, Epictetus and their ilk wrote well, but from what we can deduce from fragmentary evidence, they didn’t actually have to change any part of the system of ethics codified by Chrysippus.

    Think of it: a bunch of (mostly-)immigrants[1], in the birthplace of Western philosophy, devised an ethical system which holds up after 2300 years.

    Compare that to the drivel that pretend to pass for ethics in the Old Testament.

    [1] Greek philosopho-wannabes would have been screeching “dey tuk ahr jerbs!” and voting to build a wall…

    Zeno: Cypriot;
    Cleanthes: Turk;
    Chrysippus: Turk;
    Diogenes of Babylon: Iraqi;
    Antipater of Tarsus: Turk;
    Panaetius: Greek;
    Posidonius: Syrian (kidding! – he was born there but his family were Greek)
    Seneca: Spanish mestizo (Dad was a Spanish-born Roman; Mum was a Latinx).

    Fucking diversity hires!

    HAIL KEK

    • Replies: @gkruz
    , @animalogic
    , @SLM
    , @anon
  3. Now somebody is going to bring up Mao and famines.

    China is a good country. The US is not. It’s as simple as that, contrary to your ancient, ignorant Cold War thickheadedness.

    • Replies: @gkruz
  4. Will says:

    “Imagine a system built on a selfless devotion to the welfare of others, and against all vanity. It’s certainly not what inequality-provoking, financial turbo-capitalism is all about.”

    Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. – Proverbs 14:34

  5. gkruz says:
    @obwandiyag

    God forbid that someone bring up the greatest mass murderer in history and his crimes. God forbid someone mention China is still a communist death-dealer. God forbid someone point out that this apparent altruistic benevolence is just damage control from the guilty originator of the pandemic and a cyncial attempt to evade responsibility for it. You’re a lying idiot, plain and simple.
    Or a Chinese propagandist

    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @obwandiyag
  6. gkruz says:
    @Kratoklastes

    There were no Turks in classical times. What is now Turkey was inhabited by Semites, Celts, and Greek colonists. The Turks arrived from Asia in the middle ages. Try reading history next time.

  7. @Kratoklastes

    This is interesting & quite good:
    “A reasonable naming convention for the circles of giving a fuck is, I submit –

    Self > Family > Friends > Neighbourhood > Town > District > Region > Country > World…”
    Im guessing that your “circles” are concrete representations of the various degrees of “closeness” or contiguousness between humans. The underlying ethic of these circles appears to be the idea of justice & obligation. That is, one has greater obligations to family over acquaintances. Greater obligations to a fellow countryman than to a foreigner. This is all in theory: circumstances could change things. (ie greater obligation to a real friend than a treacherous family member etc).
    Clearly you have considerable knowledge of Classical learning. So i hesitate to disagree with you. However, i feel you have been a little unfair to Marcus Aurelius.
    “Everyone’s got a hard-on for Marcus Aurelius nowadays. He’s the best example of a non-Stoic late-‘Stoic’: in doing his ‘duty’ – even unwillingly – he took on a role that is entirely based on doing unmerited harm.

    So fuck him, and those who think he’s worthy of emulation: lionising a military dictator who wrote fluffy derivative philosophy is what you get when you stop being interesting in truth or virtue, and start being interested in being popularity with dummies.”
    Its some time since i read his Meditations but, i shall say this: whether philosophically derivative or not, the Meditations are valuable as literature of honesty & sincerity.
    The Emperor attempts to cut down to his “real” self (& to a general humaness) & its relationship to Nature, Fate etc.
    His writing is moving to say the least.
    Nor do i think you are quite fair in the whole “role” of “unmerited harm” & “military dictator”. Its open to debate whether he did overall more harm than good.
    We have to ask what could he really do ? If he wasnt emperor then someone else would be. Would they be worse ? Given he had children the option of adoption would be vexed indeed. So, Commodus….
    Do we actually think he didnt have some idea of his son’s true character ? Their short joint rule was likely an attempt to “teach” Commodus the necessary responsibilities etc of leadership.
    Marcus Aurelius reminds me of the common comparison between “rock” & “hard place”.

  8. @gkruz

    I reject such black & white judgements as:
    “China is a good country. The US is not.” Ridiculous. However, your response to it is almost as black & white….

    • Agree: Realist
  9. @gkruz

    You are the lying idiot. Not even lying. Just stupid like the typical Assholian. Guess what that means. Because I am sure you live in Assholia. You would have to to be so stupid.

    The virus is an Assholian virus. This is going to be censored soon, so read it quick. Proof it’s from Fort Detrick, US of A, capital of Assholia.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/947867908642430/permalink/2855048134591055/

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
  10. The global Coronavirus lockdown gives me more time to tend my garden. Today I started tomatoes, lettuce, and radishes. I guess I get it.

  11. SLM says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Something that puzzles me: why, once we stopped saying “nigger,” did “fuck” and its variations become so common?

  12. Suicide from devotion to Stoicism (more probably just sadness) would negate one’s stoicism, by their own logic.

    Anyone who admires this philosophy should come to Russia. A nation of Stoics: passive, unreacting, avoidant, dull. No amount of abuse or pain moves these people to cry out or fight back as their carry out their sad, narrowly circumscribed lives. Buckwheat porridge is still an acceptable meal for many.

    Which in my opinion refutes Stoicism and Communism in one stroke.

    • Replies: @JL
  13. anon[353] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kratoklastes

    they were greek colonist or anatolian helenized people nothing to do with turks at all

  14. Thank-you Pepe for this fascinating primer on Stoic philosophy and its cultural history. I find myself drawn to both Stoicism and what may be thought its antipode, Romanticism (contra practicality as I understand it: Follow where your mind goes!). Of course one’s orientation of mind is situational – the starting point of your piece – but in broader reflection on you piece I’m for a duality of values. We live most fully in developing/embracing both modes – conscientious thought & self-discipline and passionate engagement. But I think that of the two Stoicism is most vital, for only in developing the will-power to hold it all together, to not give in to self-destructive impulses, can one have some autonomy over one’s emotional course along life’s way rather than be a castaway at sea.

  15. Anon[348] • Disclaimer says:

    The salutation banner the visitors rolled out on the tarmac, in red and white, read, “We’re waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.”

    Somebody please tell the clueless Chinese that charity should be done in quiet without any self-promotion, especially considering this is a pandemic started by them in the first place. These people really have no clue about optics or how to do public relations. Totally cringey.

  16. Pepe Escobar: “At the top of their game the Stoics made it clear that the difference between life and death was insignificant, compared with the difference between virtue and vice.”

    The widespread panic over the virus is anything but Stoic, so it’s unclear to me how this pandemic supposedly has made us all into Stoics. Also, we live in a very un-Stoic age, where concern for one’s own reputation and material well-being are of paramount importance to most.

    Pepe Escobar: “Imagine a system built on a selfless devotion to the welfare of others, and against all vanity.”

    Such a system would not be Stoic. The Stoic only seeks virtue through the perfection of his understanding of what is in his control and what is not in his control. Thinking that one can control something that is not in fact within one’s control is an example of the ignorance that Stoicism sought to dispel.

    • Agree: Adûnâi
  17. @obwandiyag

    lol. Bad ChiCom propagandist say what?

  18. JL says:

    Good column Pepe. Though I feel like pointing out that Seneca was fabulously wealthy, something of an ancient oligarch. If he was indifferent to wealth and its trappings, why did he not just give it away to the poor and live as a pauper?

  19. JL says:
    @Marshall Lentini

    It sounds like Russia is very much not to your taste or liking. Why don’t you leave it? I mean, you’re basically the opposite of a stoic, whining about your lot in life while doing nothing to change it.

    • Replies: @Marshall Lentini
  20. @JL

    Of course you don’t know that I’m doing nothing to change it, you’re just saying that because you’re a punk. As for your advice, it’s both obvious and stupid, entry to most countries now being barred.

    Funny, though, that among your comments I find this:

    [Russia] is only one generation removed from systemic collapse, so a lot of people have a living memory of how to survive it. It’s hard to rattle the Russians, they just shrug.

    Which is pretty much what I said. Now unless you want to pick a time & place in the city to talk shit to my face, assuming you’re here, kindly ignore my comments as I shall yours.

    • Replies: @JL
  21. JL says:
    @Marshall Lentini

    Relax, Marshall, it’s just the internet! I didn’t argue that your take was wrong, it’s spot on. What I don’t understand is foreigners who live in Russia, or any country, really, while simultaneously bashing and hating it.

    Granted, this isn’t a topic I feel so strongly about as to inspire violence, sorry you got so annoyed. I can see why you’re unhappy, Russia is not a place for the thin skinned. And I’m also genuinely sorry that you’re now stuck in Russia, a place you clearly despise. Here’s hoping this thing goes away, and you’re eventually able to leave, both you and Russia will be better off for it.

    • Replies: @Marshall Lentini
  22. @JL

    Ok, sorry for being so testy. It’s becoming a really rough year, for reasons everyone knows, and reasons I have to keep private.

    What I don’t understand is foreigners who live in Russia, or any country, really, while simultaneously bashing and hating it.

    I hear you. I never wanted to be that guy. When I got here I was full of goodwill, helping babushka with her bags in spite of her rudeness, learning the language, telling everyone how much better it is than America. After a year, I’ve been rubbed down to the bone and am truly terrified of being stuck here indefinitely. And believe me: I shall do whatever it takes to get out!

    • Thanks: JL
  23. Anon[341] • Disclaimer says:

    The CCP’s failure to quarantine their country from the rest of the world, i.e. to shut down all outbound flights ASAP back in early January, is the reason why we now have this pandemic. Even countries that originally was able to combat this virus, like HK, Taiwan, SK, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and China itself are reporting huge jumps in number due to travelers coming in from abroad. So round and round this is just going to go.

    China has nothing to be proud of. No matter what they do they cannot come out of this smelling like roses. Sending medical equipment to countries hit hard by this crisis that is entirely of their making, like to their closest allies Italy and Iran, is the least they could do. The last thing they should do is trumpet their “help” in this manner.

    The world now realizes how much China’s tentacles have spread to all four corners of the earth, not just through their goods but through their people as tourists, immigrants, students, businessmen, diplomats. There will be more pandemics like this coming out of China as long as their sanitation standards are not up to first world standards, and they continue to eat the disgusting shit that they eat. The whole world should boot all Chinese nationals out of their country and back to China, regardless of which citizenship they have pretended to take up, and cut off all contacts with them until they clean up their markets and their acts.

  24. Behavioural Experimental Psychology trumps the stoics in so far as we have either a flight response or a fight response to the COVID-19 conundrum. Flight response is the incorrect behavioural response because we can’t outrun a pandemic.

    The only rational response of a rational thinking mind would be to stand against the virus and utilize the fight response. Herd Immunity thesis is NOT a viable option here, and NOT part of the equation.

    RW

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