The Stoic Saturn

This symbol represents principles and philosophy that help keep me grounded and happy. I scribble it in notebooks, on receipts, and sometimes in books or while I’m on the telephone talking to people.

What I have control over

The circle signifies the extent to which I have control over things. The inside is my thoughts and actions. Outside the circle are all those things that I cannot control. Although we can influence some things beyond our control, represented by the line extending beyond the circle, ultimately, that influence comes from what and how we think and what we do. This principle is a cornerstone of Stoicism, a 2000-year-old practical life philosophy that is an important guide to me.

“Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others…”

Epictetus (B. 55 AD – D. 135 AD). Quote from Enchiridion and Selections from the Discourses

Fortune doesn’t care about my goals

The line in the symbol represents a diagonal line on a graph with an X and Y axis. The X axis is luck or fortune. The Y axis is what we want and wish for in life. This concept was first introduced by Arthur Schopenhauer…

“Events and our chief aims can be in most cases compared to two forces that pull in different directions, their resultant diagonal being the course of our life.”

Arthur Schopenhauer (B. 1788 – D. 1860). Quote from Counsels and Maxims

The line is neither completely horizontal – we get everything we want, nor is it completely vertical, fortune intervenes all the time. Rather our hopes and desires are pulled by fortune.

Diagonal line representing the pull that fortune places on our wishes

Although the line is a straight diagonal in reality there are many ups and downs, as fortune plays its hand, sometimes in line with our aims and other times against our wishes.

The X/Y diagonal could also represent any type of compromise. Relationships. Decisions me must make. Anywhere where there is a balance. A trade-off between two opposing forces.

The middle diagonal also represents moderation. Walking the path of temperance rather than swaying between extremes. A middle path to harmony and tranquillity.

The answer to the ultimate question

The angle of the line crossing the circle from the horizontal line is deliberately 42 degrees, rather than balanced exactly halfway at 45 degrees. I believe that luck, life, randomness, chaos and the universe have a greater influence over our lives than our hopes, wishes and desires.

I’m also a fan of Douglas Adam’s, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  In this story, the number 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”.  Whenever I look at my logo there’s reminder to not take myself or life too seriously. Thanks Douglas.

I’m a speck in this Universe

Overall the symbol suggests the planet Saturn, the wider solar system and universe of which I’m just a very small part.

The symbol reminds me:

  • only my actions and thoughts are within my control, so focus on these if I want to achieve stuff in life or make changes in the world
  • no matter what my goals in life, fortune can always intervene
  • to exercise temperance in all I do
  • don’t be too serious
  • I’m only a small part of a complex and vast Universe expanding beyond anything I can imagine
  • of Working The Good Life


The symbol is similar to the symbol for null or zero and is a letter and vowel in several languages (Ø). Interestingly, the mirror image of this symbol, with a backslash instead of forward-slash, is the sign that Hobos or the nomadic workers who roamed the United States used to identify a route as a “Good Path”.