Close this search box.


Embracing Stoicism in Modern Life

Link to the Episode

Anshu Bahanda: Imagine this scene. It’s a morning and you are running around trying to get your day sorted. You’ve got emails to send out, you’ve got projects to deliver, you’ve got a million things to finish. You’re in an apartment building and the power goes, the electricity is gone. You find out that there’s a citywide blackout. You cannot get in touch with people outside. Now, what are you going to do? Are you going to go into a state of absolute panic? Or maybe you sit down in a place, find some snacks and start eating it? Or are you going to make the best of whatever the situation has thrown onto your lap? So you say, ‘Okay, there are certain things I can’t do, but what are the things that I can do? Can I play board games with my loved ones?’ And maybe if you’re in a building, maybe you will try and send out messages to your neighbours and form a chain of some sort as to where the medical resources are. So the last way of dealing with things, of accepting the situation that you’re in and doing what you can in that situation rather than trying to actually fight it, that’s Stoicism.

So Stoicism is all about focusing on the things that you can control, our reactions and our responses, rather than the things that you can’t control, like external events. And it’s about facing reality head on with a calm, rational mindset. And people often misunderstand this. Sometimes people feel Stoicism is about suffering silently or about being emotionless. It’s not those things at all. It’s about developing inner strength and managing your emotions. We have with us today to talk about Stoicism, Professor Jennifer Baker. She is the professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, USA, and she’s written a book about Stoicism. Thank you, Jennifer, for being here with us today.

Professor Jennifer Baker: Thank you. It’s such an honour. I really enjoy your work. 

AB: Thank you so much. So, Jennifer, many people equate Stoicism with actually suppressing one’s emotions. But as the Lebanese-American thought leader Nassim Taleb had said, ‘Stoicism is about the domestication of emotions, not their elimination.’ Can you explain this and where this philosophy originates?

Prof JB: Yeah, well, I see Stoicism as kind of growing out of Plato’s ideas and Aristotle’s ideas. And because Stoicism continued to be developed for hundreds of years, I really think of it as an improved account, an account that got to improve because so many philosophers were working on it after we had, you know, the provocations of Plato and Aristotle. So I would modify the language, domestication of the emotions, even though that’s a great point we are still going to have. They call them good emotions. I don’t feel they give us a lot of description of these good emotions, but I think that’s okay because their focus is on eliminating emotions that result from false beliefs. So anger, being outraged just for yourself, the idea that nothing bad should ever happen to you, no catastrophe should ever happen to you, to you or your neighbours, those things just aren’t realistic beliefs, you know, those are kind of very hopeful or self-centred beliefs. And when we get disappointed in those sorts of beliefs, we are emotional. So they say. That’s what explains typical emotion. So they’re unimpressed with typical emotion. They don’t want us to indulge in it, they don’t want us to romanticise it. They think it’s pretty destructive. But if we had the proper beliefs. So one belief… When it comes to a blackout or here, we have to leave every year for hurricanes… One belief the stoics would like is if it can happen to anyone, it can happen to me. So it’s pretty negative. It’s not really, it’s not the current culture to be so negative, but it means you would be prepared in a moment just like you described. You wouldn’t have to feel sorry for yourself, you wouldn’t have to be in so much shock that you have to adjust, you’d be able to focus on the tasks at hand. And the result of having that kind of realistic outlook and those sorts of sound beliefs is going to be that your emotions are very different from our typical emotions.

AB: What are some of the other common misconceptions about Stoicism? And how would you address them? 

Prof JB: In the public consciousness, we of course, have the problem that emotionless, rigid, and that can so often be the result of trauma. So it’s admirable in a way, you know, that that person won’t act out and, you know, you might have a very steady friend or grandfather that you can count on because he represses so much. But it doesn’t seem like any sort of example of happiness or stoics are supposed to experience joy. A lot of times those attitudes are associated with fear, you know, kind of wanting to be completely independent. And one misapprehension of Stoicism is that it’s a kind of individualism. And so they think of stoics as go it alone, live alone, completely independent types, when actually the ancient descriptions, like in the meditations, talk so much about our social nature being first.

AB: So, Jennifer, I want to ask you about amor fati, which means the love of fate in Latin. It’s a stoic principle. It embraces everything that happens to you, including suffering and loss. And everything is not just something to be tolerated, but actually welcomed and treated like a gift. 

Prof JB: Thankfully, even the ancients who wrote on Stoicism knew this was hard to achieve. So it really sets up an ethical ideal for us— Stoicism. You know, I would like to be virtuous. I would like to be happy. I would like to be able to accept fate as it comes. So those are the goals. They have said that it’s as rare as the phoenix for someone to achieve all those goals. Stoics thought without anger and emotion and all that distraction, we would react very quickly and efficiently. I mean, like a well trained soldier are always there as examples to those sorts of circumstances. So that focus is helpful to me. So if you just can’t believe your sailboat will sink, you can’t believe there’s a storm on a day that was promised to be sunny, you might really delay. I mean, sometimes people in that situation actually do stay still, you know, and everyone else helps. But if you have no distractions from what’s actually happening, you know, you accept the cancer diagnosis, you accept that there’s a fire in the garage, you accept that there’s a storm, you might be able to act in a really focused way to try and mitigate and address the situation. So it doesn’t mean you sit back and accept fate.

AB: So, Jennifer, I wanted to ask you about logos. Apparently, it refers to the rational principle governing the universe. 

Prof JB: Yeah. And so the ancient stoics were, you know, scientific minded, and their position on the universe is that it was infused by reason and that we, too, are infused by reason. It’s very beautiful. It is a way to get that kind of cosmic perspective where you might be grateful for everything in the midst of tragedy and loss. I mean, you could step back, if you believe that you have the reason for the universe coursing through you. And the way that they present it is, I just think, pretty reasonable, still today. So it’s not as if we’re all capable of following this logos. It is a challenge to follow it. We have many distractions. Our bodies give us many distractions. It’s not like we’re designed to be perfect, efficient logos followers. So we have to develop a second nature in order to kind of honour it in us. 

AB: So I also want to ask you about Epictetus. So apparently he was born into slavery, and his master broke his leg and it was left permanently damaged. But he educated himself. He went on to become a philosopher, a renowned philosopher, and then he was thrown out of Rome. So he established a school in Nicopolis and he carried on to influence Stoicism in a big way. And this whole concept that if life gives you lemons, make lemonade, don’t we all follow that to a certain extent? I mean, at the end of your life, or at the end of anyone’s life, if they look back at their life, they’re dealt a particular pack of cards and you just have to make the best [of it].

Prof JB: That’s such a great question. I mean, it really makes me, you know, think about how I can observe other people. You would maybe not think someone did that if they kind of ended up angry. And so I am surprised to hear sometimes from nursing staff how angry older people can be. You know, it’s not what we wish for, for anyone at the end of life, but I think sometimes people get afraid and very self protective, so they maybe get a little childish at the end and demanding. So that might be a contrast to what the stoics are hoping for. But I also see the positive that you just described. So people who don’t know anything about Stoicism, haven’t heard of it, they end up with a very stoic attitude without reading or being taught Stoicism explicitly. And I think it is that making the best you can with the lemons you’re given, and in those circumstances, that it’s possible. I have one friend who was in prison for a long time and he said he was happy in there. He made himself happy in there. I mean, to me, that’s such proof of Stoicism. 

AB: And I believe there are four main virtues, some of which you’ve touched on. Courage, justice, temperance and wisdom. 

Prof JB: It’s very countercultural, I think. So it’s not easy, or I would even say natural, for us to fall into these virtues. So they sound like descriptions we just use of wonderful people we know. But a stoic account of these virtues really takes some conscious effort because they really want you to organise your thoughts and your behaviours in a certain way so that you are being courageous by, I think a good example would be— not being afraid of being in the same circumstance as others. So it sounds like a virtue for the battlefield very often, but much more typically, we’re in situations where we think we’re too precious for something, yet we know others have experienced the hardship or the circumstance. So I think bravery is relevant all the time. You know, a stoic does not think of themselves as precious. If someone else can do it, you can do it. So that’s a kind of fearlessness that you’d walk around with. Stoics also, don’t, this sounds so terrible, but they are kind of anti-hope. And hope is really, like it’s endorsed all over. I see medical studies recommending hope, but that is that kind of lack of realism that they don’t like. And then also, you should be okay no matter what happens. And then when it comes to justice, we’re really supposed to be social with this account, not individuals and not loners or anything like that. It’s not that we are supposed to go with crowds or try to fit in, but we’re supposed to really accommodate ourselves to others. One way it would help with relationships would be— it’s not a life of negotiating with others. Like, you would have to figure out what to do on your own. You’re supposed to have a sort of principled or very deliberate way to understand what people deserve from you and what you can accept for yourself. So if you work those things out, that gets you to wisdom. So the virtue of wisdom, I always call it practical rationality. But the same thing. It’s a matter of understanding what you’re doing. So it wouldn’t just come naturally. In order for you to be a good romantic partner, you’d have to think so hard about how, the kind of rules or norms you want to follow, how your behaviour is going to be. And then. What’s the last? The last one? Temperance? Yes, I have trouble with temperance. But we can cause problems for ourselves by pursuing just pleasure. It’s too mindless. They do want us to be happy. That’s the whole goal, to be happy. But it’s a kind of wholesome happiness where you feel good about yourself, you feel comfortable around others. You’re proud of what you stand for. And it’s not the happiness of eating too much cake. So they do think there’s a treadmill that pleasure gets us on. We can make a philosophical mistake by thinking pleasurable things will make us happy. That would be a problem. So if you think getting a Ferrari will make you happy, that’s wrong. That’s not what would happen. And if you think eating too much cake will make you happy, that’s wrong. That’s a false belief. So that’s very… That would have to stay with Stoicism.

AB: So you’re saying don’t look at instant gratification. Oh, you know, like eating that cake might make you happy, right then, but later it might not be. It’s not good for you.

Prof JB: Definitely not immediate desires, for sure. And then this. I mean, I can see why people wouldn’t be fans of them for this. But even our pleasure before we become stoic is misleading. So it’s very fun to tell a mean joke or get one over on someone. I think some people enjoy exerting their power. They must really like that. That feels good to them to be unfair. So the stoics are just really distrustful of pleasure. They’re like, look at the things you guys like. I mean, that’s not a guide. So we do, kind of have to turn away from what brings us pleasure. I used an example of, like, even a red— a red nice car— it’s a trap for a stoic because we do start to think of ourselves as more worthy because of a car. And the stoics will think that is actually a trap because now you’ve become dependent on that prop and you’re not going to be as comfortable with just yourself. Just yourself. Just yourself. So is there any harm in having nice things? No, because you don’t have to be attached to them. You can have the right thoughts about them. But for most of us it would be a misleading path. They would wish that you had some hardship or were taken from those things or denied yourself those things so that you could develop properly. 

AB: One of the stoic ideals is to remain indifferent through opinions from the external world. Marcus Aurelius actually said, ‘It never ceases to amaze me. We all love ourselves more than other people, but we care more about their opinion than our own.’ Now, in today’s day and age where we have so much social media, anxiety levels, particularly amongst the youth, are hugely on the rise. How do we ignore external opinion? 

Prof JB: You know, I’ve been shocked by how cruel comments are on the Internet. You know, I mean, these, these really are going to have an impact on, I imagine, almost anyone. They would love for us to get strong enough to not care about them. Now, I’ve met some writers who are like that. I mean, they just know they’ll get aggressive, negative comments and they barely look at them and you can become that cool. Quite a challenge. Another option, another thing a stoic would recommend. I mean, they recommended this equivalent in the ancient world when it came to going to gladiator shows. Just don’t go. The stoics are really encouraging of trying something different than, than everyone else is doing, especially if it lets you maintain self control. So I’ve seen young people getting off their social media. You know, my son’s 20. Plenty of his friends aren’t on social media anymore, so that seems stoic to me, too. But then one thing that makes it such a puzzle is that the feedback we get from others is pretty meaningful. What’s stoic, I think, would be not being surprised or angry or refusing to accept that that may be how people are. So I think a stoic might be able to wade through social media very well and still get information from reactions. It just wouldn’t be devastating if you understood it. 

AB: But that’s very hard to do. Right. It’s very hard to say that I’m going to be able to, in a way, shut everyone out and still be out there living in the world. 

Prof JB: Yes. It’s like treating yourself like a sociologist or something. Like, ‘How interesting, you insulted me, you know, three times in this meeting, colleague, how interesting.’ Yeah, it’s very hard. They have a little bit of advice. I think this is Marcus Aurelius again. One way to handle it is you can have a reaction to your colleague downgrading your work three times in a row, but then as a stoic, you can analyse it so you can treat it. I think the expression is you can treat it like a bodily reaction. And I do notice people doing this who deal with illness or menopause. Even my body is making me nervous, my body is reacting to this medication. People who are on a lot of medication might shake or feel down in the dumps or weak, and they know it’s the medication. I think that type of approach is what they used to recommend. When you’re getting the insult, like, oh, my face flushed at that insult. I feel ready to fight or fly due to that insult. But you do not accept that as guidance. 

AB: So you’re saying, see what effect it has on you, but don’t act on it. 

Prof JB: Yes. Right. And don’t change your beliefs because of it either. And like, if a colleague insults you and then you fixate on that person and start to hate them or feel angry at them all the time, that’s not stoic, but you don’t want to deny what’s happened. You want to be aware of the dynamics, you know, just to be intelligent. But they do want us to have a very, very understanding attitude towards other people’s bad behaviour. 

AB: Seneca was a prominent stoic philosopher. He was a stoic, but he was also wealthy. The two seem to be slightly in contradiction with each other. Seneca went on to say, ‘It’s not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.’ Now, if you look at what he said and you look at how people view people of wealth, like someone, like an Elon Musk, no matter what he’s achieved, people still point fingers at him because of the way he started off. 

Prof JB: About how we point fingers at people who begin with privilege, is that it? 

AB: Yes. 

Prof JB: Yeah. I mean, I love that account of who’s poor. At the same time, you know, we can be intelligent and recognise reality, just like with social situations, that some people are really suffering from lack of resources, but it does not. On Stoicism’s account, you are not happy because you’re wealthy. So there are as many challenges in terms of being happy. And like I was saying, with nice things, you can be trapped. I mean, I think what you would lose as a wealthy person is the idea that you can, that you’re the source of your happiness. So if you’re so dependent on a nice setting and a clean place, a nice car, you will feel like you serve those things rather than them serving you, and you just won’t be free. Now, they don’t honour poverty. They want us to think through ideas philosophically. So if you don’t have enough to eat, you can’t even do that, you know. Don’t have a place to sleep, you can’t do it. Some religions, of course, will believe suffering brings enlightenment, but the stoics don’t. Seneca is kind of a good example because he was passive, it seems like with his wealth, he was not giving it to people who needed it. And I think a better stoic would have done that more.

AB: Thank you. Now, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius also wrote down his reflections during his military campaigns or during his personal illness, and it became this book. It became the book called Meditations. Now, obviously, the title gives away what’s in there, but can you share some of the helpful advice that Aurelius gave? 

Prof JB: Yeah. To me, he’s a wonderful source for someone who has to make decisions about others because he was in a position of control. And then a stoic ruling over people who are not stoic— that, to me, is kind of a fascinating dilemma. Stoics can deny themselves some things, but why would a stoic deny others what they’re interested in? And what Marcus Aurelius did, I think, kind of beautifully, was write down notes about how he could regard the things people wanted as indifference for himself, to keep himself mentally strong and happy. But he did not have to think they were indifferent to the people. So he said he was like gardening for others, even though he didn’t want the products of the garden. But he had no excuse for not gardening. Well, he didn’t need to change their minds. I think that’s pretty sophisticated. We will not have everyone agreeing with us about ethics and value and what should be done. 

AB: I don’t know what you feel, but I think there’s a lot of millennials out there who feel like that, actually. And you probably see a lot of students. Right. I don’t know if you’re seeing this whole generation which wants to change the way that, you know, they’re thinking.

Prof JB: Oh, I see. They want to change other people’s thinking. 

AB: Well, they want to change the world by changing their own thinking, not necessarily changing other people’s thinking.

Prof JB: Oh, that’s so interesting. Okay. All right, good for them. That’s so interesting. Yeah. It’s as if we’ve been sold a lot of conventional goods, a terminology we use in ethics. And the younger generations are not seeing them work to have made the older generations ethical or happy or impressive to them. So how wonderful if we have a generation of sceptics who might try something else. 

AB: Now, stoics are known for practising exercises that challenge their comfort zones, like wearing rags in public to confront personal vanity, or talking to strangers to get over social anxiety. Can you suggest any interesting exercises that our listeners could potentially do? 

Prof JB: Well, one really wonderful thing is that cognitive behavioural therapy was really developed with Stoicism in mind. So all of their techniques seem very stoic, deliberately designed as stoic. So an example would be, you would see a cognitive behavioural therapist. If you’re afraid to go to a happy hour for work, you just feel socially anxious. And one of the techniques would be to imagine the worst could happen. My students always laugh when I give this example, like, what if I just die by going? They laugh. But that is the kind of thing we do think [about] when we can’t get ourselves to do something. We have these ridiculous beliefs. And so that’s very stoic. The idea that we are actually motivated by ideas, that would be silly if we said them out loud. So we should really focus on what we’re so afraid of, because as soon as we examine it, we’ll be like, okay, I can probably handle this. It can’t possibly be true. That would happen. Or if it happens, somehow I can accept it. Or I could handle it because other people have. So that not relying on hope and not being overly optimistic, that’s a technique I use regularly. But one thing about Stoicism that I think is so perplexing is that even though you want to be in harmony with others and that’s the goal, you feel good about your relationship to others with Stoicism. I do think it can be pretty annoying to other people. So if we’re constantly talking about the worst that can happen to get ready, or if we’re constantly having sympathy for people who behave badly because they’re unhappy, not a lot of people will enjoy that. A lot of people want to be very condemning and take action when someone acts unethically, like there you would be very calm and just understanding. So it’s a real challenge to make yourself likeable, I think, as a stoic. And some of the techniques, like taking a cold shower in the morning or forcing yourself to run, I think those too could be off putting. 

AB: Lots of people are taking cold showers, by the way. It’s become the big thing. 

Prof JB: Yes, the ice baths, those things, I see how they’re stoic. I mean, we believe we need comfort there. You prove to yourself you don’t. But I’m not sure it’d be the most fun thing to see a spouse doing; spending a lot of time doing. 

AB: So one of the techniques which, from what you’ve explained to me, that, like you said, CBT or cognitive behaviour therapy, one of the useful techniques for people would be maybe like, if you’re worried about something, say to yourself, so what if that happens? So what? You know. And keep asking yourself till you get to the point where you realise it’s not that big a deal.

Prof JB: Oh, that’s perfect. And putting yourself in situations like you said, you know, so if you are used to nice cars, you can just imagine an ancient stoic telling that person, why don’t you take the bus for a while? You know, I mean, just really putting yourself in circumstances where you realise what makes you happy is you… 

AB: Yeah, not someone else. And then you ask them, okay, so, you know, ask the person to ask themselves, okay, ‘If I’m in the bus, then what happens?’ So the person might say, ‘Oh, someone might see me.’ So what? The person might think badly about me. So what? So you keep asking that, ‘so what?’ Till the person realises it doesn’t really matter. 

Prof JB: Yes. Oh, that’s so perfect. Yeah, that’s a great way to describe it. 

AB: So I believe a lot of stoics use every day as a training day for their souls and they treat everything like a gift. 

Prof JB: Well, I mean, there are probably several ways to kind of game the day like that, but my own personal examples would be I get very embarrassed if I get irritated by others. That seems like a failure to me. I know that’s a buddhist suggestion as well, but you know, how short sighted to be irritated by others. Like, what am I, surprised? And the things I get irritated by are so small, like a car driving too close to me, you know, I mean, is this, is this going to surprise me every week when it happens? So keeping my mood steady is a way to be stoic. And then whenever you have a kind of catastrophe, just household wise or work wise, it’s fun then to focus on the problem to be solved rather than anything about your own identity or, you know, your status in relation to others due to it, rather than any embarrassment. So that’s a challenge, you know, to take problems as positives, things you can handle. And then you just don’t want to let yourself down. So it’s not like just speaking personally. I don’t have that many rules for myself. And if I were a better stoic, I’d have more. But it’s also important. I mean, a lot of journaling that the contemporary stoics do is for this point, it is important to do what you think is right. So that’s a constant daily thing. Did I act in a way I would have said I should have acted? You know, so many things come up and you act differently and that practice is a little rough. You know, if you want to be a good friend, you probably have to think about that a lot because we have overblown ideas about what that means, you know, unrealistic ideas. But if you promise to, you know, always visit a friend in the hospital and you haven’t a few times, like, that’s stoic to me. Like, oh, why am I not living up to what I pledged to myself that I would do? So to me, that comes up. Those things come up daily.

AB: Right, right. And also, if you start treating anything that comes your way as a gift, so say as an example, you’ve broken something and you have to clean it up and it’s a vase that’s very, maybe very expensive and you’re freaking out that you’ve broken it, but if you tell yourself, well, this was a gift, it’s here to teach me something, it’s here to train me for a particular reason. That can be a very important factor. It just changes how you think about it; your perspective.

Prof JB: It does. And with insults, as we were mentioning, that would be the right attitude. Like, ‘oh, I’ve just learned something about you and how you feel about me and, okay, thank you for that information.’ A good thing instead of a devastating thing. 

AB: Jennifer, I also want to ask you about this particular meditation, which I didn’t know till fairly recently was a stoic meditation that I used to do. So it’s apparently, it’s premeditation malorum.

Prof JB:  Yeah, well, that would be anticipating the worst. Let me think of something that’s not dark, because I do think of very dark things when I think of preparing for the worst. What is not as dark as illness?

AB: Say, I’ll give you an example. So say you’re working towards a career, you want a job and you’re going for that interview. 

Prof JB: Okay? You’re going for the interview and you will want to prepare. I mean, stoics are workers, you know, they’re supposed to be intelligent, so you, you don’t ignore any information and you prepare. But of course, it is not up to you whether you get the job or not. You’re going to be giving people an impression that it’s theirs. That’s theirs, you know, so it’s, it’s not even really your business. You don’t have to fix it. You don’t have to. What you don’t have to prepare for is to manipulate them so that you get a favourable outcome. You give them some respect for their perspective. And if you think in advance in a way that’s practically wise, you will have a sort of game plan for yourself. This is like the deliberate nature of Stoicism where you will act ethically in the interview, you won’t fib, you won’t brag, you won’t hide anything. That’s a stoic feature. You will admit to mistakes and faults. So there shouldn’t be the anxiety of trying to, to hide yourself or present yourself as something different. And then the confidence that if they do not accept the package and if you are not who they want to hire, you’ll be perfectly fine. That’s a real possibility. It doesn’t reflect on your goodness, because your goodness was a matter of your preparation, your deliberate attempt to be ethical. So that’s all still there. You’re no worse for it. The judgement of others is flimflam. I mean, you know, who knows why they weren’t impressed. You maybe should be aware. It could be very superficial things or, you know, you’re just not a right fit and we should do something with it. It occurs to me that ancient stoics really worried about the destruction of romantic losses. You know, people, the play Medea, for example— I mean, we will do atrocious things when we’re rejected romantically. And a stoic would have that same kind of advice. You know, just like, just because you were not for them or that someone else was chosen over you, doesn’t mean your goodness is marred because you knew what you were doing before. You know, you’re just honestly and steadily trying to be a good person and do the right thing, but nothing else is guaranteed for you or even under your control.

AB: Lovely. Thank you. Thank you, Jennifer. That was such an amazing talk. Thank you for your insight.

Prof JB: Oh, you’re amazing. I’m so excited about this series.

AB: There’s a lovely little story about Diogenes of Sinope. Now, this is the Diogenes from the cynic school of thought. He would go and hold a lantern up to people’s faces and he would say, he’s on the lookout for an honest man. Alexander the Great heard about him and went to look for him. Diogenes actually lived on the outskirts of the city and his home was a bathtub. So when Alexander reached him, he said to him, he asked Diogenes, ‘What can I do for you?’ And Diogenes actually said, ‘Move out of my sunlight, you’re blocking the sun.’ So Alexander turns around and says to him, ‘if I were not Alexander, then I would wish to be Diogenes.’ And Diogenes turns around and says to Alexander, ‘if I was not Diogenes, I would also wish to be Diogenes.’ He didn’t care about authority, about power. He didn’t care who Alexander was and where he came from. He wanted freedom to live the way he wanted to. We’re talking here about the stoic principle of self sufficiency and the dismissal of authority or fame.

Thank you for being here with us today. I hope our episode today will help you lead a happier, healthier, more hopeful life. And I hope you will share it with friends and family who it can help. Thank you for joining us and please subscribe to this podcast and I’ll see you next time.