What I Mean When I Say I’m Indifferent


This post is by Valet from Feld Thoughts


I no longer subscribe to many daily email newsletters, but I’ve kept a few. My favorite to wake up to is Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic.

Today’s headline was It’s Possible to Tune These Things Out but it linked to an older post titled The True Power Behind Stoic “Indifference”.

At morning coffee a while ago, Amy and I had a long conversation about the phrase “I don’t care.” I struggled to explain what I was trying to say and how it was often misunderstood when I said it. Through her reaction and feedback, she helped me better understand what people heard when I said “I don’t care.”

I tried shifting to the phrase “I’m indifferent” instead of “I don’t care.” I continued to feel that I was being misunderstood when I said this. I’d often provide strengths and weaknesses of each option presented but then end with “I’m indifferent.” I knew that this was confusing to some, but I didn’t know why until I read The True Power Behind Stoic “Indifference”.

Of all the loaded words in Stoic philosophy, “indifferent” is one of the most provocative. Marcus AureliusSeneca, and Epictetus each tell us that the Stoic is indifferent to external things, indifferent to wealth, indifferent to pain, indifferent to winning, indifferent to hope and dreams and everything else. You hear it enough times and it starts to sound like these people don’t care about anything. Especially since the modern definition of the word means precisely (Read more...)