Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter PilotPosted: November 20, 2016
Remember this guy? For some reason or another I bought this pamphlet of a speech he gave at King’s College, London, November 1993:
Stockdale was a 38 year old naval aviator when he got sent to Stanford for two years of study. He was pretty bored until a professor handed him a copy of The Enchiridion, a collection of the teachings of Epictetus.
What does Epictetus teach?
He taught how to play the game of life with perspective:
Five years later, this is what happened to Stockdale:
Stockdale was wrong about how long he’d be there. He was there for 7 1/2 years, much of it in solitary confinement:
How did he spend his time? Well, for one thing he constructed a sliderule in his mind from equations tapped to him in code through a concrete wall::
A bigger collection of Stockdale’s speeches and essays:
where he distills what he learned through his prison experience down to “one all-purpose idea, plus a few corollaries”:
What he has to say about public virtue is distressing as I watch the future president:
Recommend Courage Under Fire, which costs five bucks or $3.85 on Kindle. Thoughts Of A Philosophical Fighter Pilot is for the serious Stockdale student.
I think you can appreciate the greatness of Stockdale and also find this funny:
Coverage of another philosophical fighter pilot, John Boyd, here.