Getting a handle on things
Author shows how to live by penning book and buying a house in Caz
By Willie Kiernan
According to Dr. Ronald Pies, a faculty member at Upstate Medical Center who recently purchased a house in Cazenovia psychiatry alone isn't equipped to solve all the mental and emotional ills of man.
"I've seen so many people crash and burn -- like they never expected -- it's fairly common in my line of work," Pies said.
In an attempt to equip modern man with more tools to combat pain, suffering and depression, Pies has written a book titled "Everything Has Two Handles." It is a guide to the art of living using the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism.
"Psychology doesn't dig into what Stoic philosophy does," Pies said.
The book begins with a quote from the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Things do not touch the soul." Pies says this is the "keystone in the arch of Stoic philosophy." Inserted with fictionalizations of his own case studies and peppered generously with philosophical quotes, the 74-page book connects Stoic principles to Christian, Judaic, Buddhist and Hindu worldviews.
"This inventory shows us a pathway to personal happiness and responsible living -- which turn out to be much the same thing," Pies writes.
While many of the characters in the case studies complain that God has singled them out in an unfair manner, Stoicism claims that nothing happens outside the realm of possibilities. Wealth, fame, disease and death are uncontrollable, but they don't touch the soul. What feeds the soul is character.
"Why character?" Pies said. "About the only thing you can control -- a job, awards, adulation, you can't control -- so why invest energy in what you can't control? Our culture puts an emphasis on things besides character, which is all you really have."