What’s right? How should I live? What’s the meaning of all this?
These are the timeless questions. The questions that every generation has wrestled with in their own way. You have, and at some point, your kids will.
Fortunately, the answer comes to us, as it often does, from an ancient prescription. “The goal of life is to live in harmony with nature,” Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, wrote in On Human Nature, “which means to live according to virtue, because nature leads us to virtue.” He then said that virtue is comprised of four components that are “inseparable but yet distinct and different from one another.”
To millions, they’re known as the cardinal virtues, four near-universal ideals adopted by Christianity and most of Western philosophy, but equally valued in Buddhism, Hinduism, and just about every other philosophy you can imagine. They’re called “cardinal,” C. S. Lewis pointed out, not because they come down from church authorities but because they originate from the Latin cardo, or hinge.
It’s pivotal stuff. It’s the stuff that the door to the good life hangs on.
Like the Cardinal directions, the four main points on the compass—north, south, east, west—the four virtues are a kind of compass. A guide to what to do, who to be, how to behave, how to respond in every situation.
As a parent, you must not only use this compass, but give it to your children to use as well. You have to model these virtues, and teach them—by example and by instruction—how they can too. Their life…and the future hinges on it. So memorize those four virtues. Act on them. Live them. And keep them close to your heart always.
If you want to carry the Four Virtues around like a compass, we are extremely excited to offer the Four Virtues Pendant!
The Four Virtues Pendant design, custom to Daily Stoic, was hand-sketched by Lewis Williams, an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. The mixed-metal pendants are handmade by Williams, who uses the ancient processes of carving into the wax and casting into brass and sterling silver and then sawing, engraving, hammering & soldering the metals with precision and care. Each pendant comes with a 24″ sterling silver chain and is handcrafted using traditional techniques and only the finest materials.
The front of the pendant features a custom-designed seal with four elements representing the Four Virtues: a lion (Courage), a man sprinkling water into a jug of wine (Temperance), a set of scales (Justice), and an owl (Wisdom). On the back, it says, “Acta Non Verba,” which is Latin for, “Actions, not words.” Learn more and get yours at dailystoic.com/virtuespendant!