“Press on toward excellence of mind with all your speed, with all your strength. If anything holds you back, untie the knot, or cut it!” – Seneca
My personal approach to embodying the principles of Stoicism consists of adhering to logic, (meta)physics and ethics. In today’s discourse we will focus on the importance of logic, and why we need to keep this aspect of the mind active if we are to remain steadfast in our philosophy of life.
In the diagram above there is an arrangement of pieces on a chess board. Go ahead and find the best move for black. If you already figured it out then take another look to see if you can locate the second best move. Many will not be able to solve the puzzle. Do you know why? It’s because they don’t understand the ground rules.
The same can be said of our relations with others. If we fail to understand the elements of good social etiquette, then it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to apply the appropriate technique and/or conference of ideas, thus we will fall short of attaining a positive and constructive outcome.
Even though chess is not the same as dialogue, it does possess dialectical features that are similar to the rules required for reaching an objective within a social context. We could say these features are largely symbolic but they can also be interpreted along a more literal bases too.
For the sake of keeping this talk clear, concise and direct: let us say that both chess and dialogue are mainly constructed and enhanced through the adaptation and recognition of patterns that increase in complexity. In other words, both systems consist of logical processes that are intrinsically related to one another due to the psychological nature of mind.
However, it doesn’t mean if you are good at negotiating then you’ll also excel as a chess player. Suffice it to say that a grand master in chess by virtue of his genius possesses strong logic. This in turn may be used to enhance the dialectical process of ascertaining truth and/or perspective by which philosophy continues to mother all disciplines.
I love the metaphor of chess and dialogue. In both activities, you are trying to get a point across, albeit one is to win while the other is to convey a message clearly.
Dialogue is a means to receive and communicate ideas clearly. There are various kinds of dialogue—personal, business, political, therapeutic, pedagogical, etc.—each with different and/or similar ends in mind. To the degree that objectives are met we can interpret (e.g. qualify, quantify) them as wins.