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The man who sleeps on the floor can never fall out of bed - Alan Watts (who said it was a proverb from somewhere else)

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You can definitely interpret this in a number of different ways, but the one that sticks out to me is that when you sleep on the floor you are grounded, and when you're on a bed you are on a sort of comfortable cloud that helps you forget the hardness of the ground.

When you're already grounded in reality, it will never take you by surprise. It's important to avoid the comfort of self-delusion, to know the nature of reality so that you don't get hurt by it

This topic was modified 4 months ago 2 times by gardnermcgee

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Or you can sleep on bed, just accept the fact that there is a possibility of fall and behave accordingly.

This is what most Stoics warns us about. They never tell us to not sleep on the bed, figuratively or literally. Just how one supposed to deal with the fall.

If one were to take this proverbial bed literally, how ridiculous it would be to give up on comfort and safety of bed because you don't want to fall on the floor. That isn't very stoic, is it? Scared of some fall that may or may not come.


Margaux Dizon
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I mean in essence, it's saying "you can't lose what you don't have".

There is an odd tradition of Stoics sleeping on the floor. It's about being cautious about anything they have in their lives which they might afford to lose.

In Ancient Rome, where exile or elevation tended to be the norm for anyone of note, losing your bed was a hilariously real possibility.

These days in Western countries, not so much, but the lesson applies very widely to the things we could afford to lose that we don't truly need - sexual relationships, wealth, fancy cars, etc. Indeed, we do lose all those things - it is just a question of whether we wise up to their meaninglessness at the end of our lives when it is too late to change course, or much earlier when we could use the wisdom to live well for longer.