Everything's Not Awesome – Page 2 – The Three Stoics

Everything's Not Awesome


Stoicism has a surprise cameo in 'The Lego Movie, the Second Part'.

You may be familiar with the title song from the first Lego Movie, "Everything is Awesome' which is basically a musical expression of the main character's view of life - and all of the awesome things it includes.

His overly-simplistic optimism and a large dose of naivety end up getting him through the day...but in the sequel things get so bad, even Emmett, the eternal optimist loses hope and starts to despair. And hope gives way to nihilism...

'Everything's not awesome, everything's not cool"
'What's the point? There's no hope - awesomeness was a pipe dream'

And then, just when everyone is about to give up, succumb to doubt and despair and disappointment because everything isn't awesome after all, like they had all hoped, stoicism shows up to save the day:

'Everything's not awesome, things can't be awesome all of the time
It's not realistic expectation but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try
To make everything awesome in a less likely, unrealistic kind of way
We should maybe aim for not bad 'cause not bad, well that would be real great'

And with this now more realistic and pragmatic view of life they gain new strength to go on. When they expected and hoped for life to be a un-ending series of awesomeness, they were unable to deal with the disappointments, which inevitably came. The disparity was too crushing. 

But once they re-framed their view of life - that it's unrealistic to expect things to be awesome all of the time - then their difficult circumstances become common place rather than a terrible deviation from the 'way things should be'.

And when their goal become 'not bad' instead of 'awesome' it's achievability gave them motivation. 

In short, stoicism saved them from nihilism. A practical view of the world gave them courage to confront fate, whereas their previously optimistic view left them with overwhelming disappointment.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notion unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” ― Marcus Aurelius


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