What are you attached to? If you remove it from your life, can you handle it? + The Philosophy of: Socrates (on indifference)

Is it possible to not get attached to anything?

Because nothing is actually yours. Your house, your car, your lifestyle, your marriage, your dog, your possessions, they’re not yours. They can easily be removed from your life in ways you have no control over (maybe even suddenly without warning).

Oh okay. So there is one thing.

If you say something’s yours, your telling yourself you have control over it. But there’s just one thing you have control over… your mind. Even your body isn’t yours. You’re renting it. Your looks, your skin, your face, your hair, it’ll all go.

Whether showing indifference to everything is either useful or healthy, who knows. But maybe it is healthy and useful to be indifferent to attachmentTo be cool with anything leaving your life, or suddenly not being able to do something, or something deteriorating in your life for reasons beyond your control.

Whether it’s your morning coffee, your traditional beer or glass of wine after work, travelling to new places, or even being able to play your favourite sports… try removing them from your life. See how you handle it. If it’s tough, excellent. It’ll make you prepared in the event that you can never drink coffee, beer or wine again or lose your money and can’t travel, or get injured in a way that sports isn’t an option anymore.

Socrates on Indifference

In Plato’s The Symposium (translated by Christopher Gill), Socrates gathers with a bunch of other blokes to talk philosophy and wisdom over lots and lots of wine (Agathon says: ‘We’ll argue for our rival claims to wisdom a bit later, and Dionysus will be our judge’). The expectation was that wine and wisom, one would go hand in hand with the other.

Usually, that is. Because on this occasion, they decide to take it kind of easy, due to being hungover from the night before.

But for Socrates it’s like, whatever, which was how he approached all trivial things. In this case though it was… Wine. or no wine. Either way:

It’s a stroke of luck for us –I mean, for Aristodemus, Phaedrus and the rest– that you who’ve got the strongest heads for drinking have given up. We’re never up to it. Of course, I don’t count Socrates: he can drink or not drink, so it’ll suit him whatever we do.

Sidenote: What’s also noteworthy here is Christopher Gill’s note on the passage:

Socrates’ imperviousness to drink seems to be presented as part of his exceptional toughness and invulnerability to weakness, emotion or desire.