Stoicism and Cynicism (Philosophical Movements)

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Re: Stoicism and Cynicism (Philosophical Movements)

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:21 am UTC

JayDee wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Since I don't really experience negative emotions they don't prompt me to change. What prompts me to change is the anticipation, or prevention of negative situations. Perhaps avoiding pain, or being lectured. Or acting to prevent worry (if you can do something about it do it, don't sit there worrying).
Fair enough. I just need to include that anticipation in my "negative emotions etc." :D .

If you want - I wouldn't. And I wouldn't consider mourning or similar types of sadness negative either.
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Re: Stoicism and Cynicism (Philosophical Movements)

Postby JayDee » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:29 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:If you want - I wouldn't. And I wouldn't consider mourning or similar types of sadness negative either.
No worries. Truth be told, I think my original post was made in reaction to the whole 'I can avoid suffering if I don't care' element of Buddhism and your post was a convenient target.
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Re: Stoicism and Cynicism (Philosophical Movements)

Postby eijkaibjck » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

I know it is an aging thread, but I happen to think a lot of tcese things lately, and I don't see why a philosophy, or any other subject should be relevant only within a limited span of time.

This is the paragraph that made me reply:

Stoicism is a lot of "I don't care" attitude" from what I understand. I find myself not caring a lot, in that way I can relate to stoicism. I do know, however, that to gain in life in ways that truly make you happy, you really have to care a lot. More so than anyone and everyone else. I don't think stoicism is a good philosophy as it takes away a lot of the fight in a lifetime. You pretty much accept everything that's thrown at you. I don't want to live that way. I'd rather fight. In your case, I would suggest that to get this dream house - you are going to need to start fighting sooner or later. Otherwise, your dream house is going to be ripped from you and the stoic thing to do is to say, "well, that's how it is."
I don't think stoicism is passive in any way. I don't care about the common use meaning the word "stoic" has acquired. I would like to speak properly of the original source. Without citing the original.

It is easy to read the originals. Download somewhere a copy of the Enchiridion by Epictetus, or his sayings. On second choice, you can learn from Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Meditations. He was a Roman Emperor, and a stoic. Being stoic does not mean not doing things, but doing them, and worrying about them, rightly.

You can download from audiobooks of the above authors, if you prefer to listen to them while rock-climbing in the middle of the night.

The well known "serenity prayer" is a good sum up of stoic philosophy.

Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference

You may say it is not from the stoics, but it sums it up pretty well. Stoics called Serenity "sophrosyne", courage "andreia", and wisdom "sophia". The main issue in stoic philosophy is expressed in the poem: to distinguish between things you can change and things you cannot change. It doesn't mean you are passive regarding unchangeables. It is a tool to cope with the inevitable.

Many people praise religion because it helps people deal with losses. That seems a good excuse for a religion, even if it is false. If we could find a way to alleviate sorrow without recurring to crude lies we would be worthy of so much more credit.

Stoicism is criticised for the very same thing that religion is praised. Stoicism does not want you not to feel sorry for the loss of your wife or your child. It is a method to help you out of sorrow sooner. You can't do anything about it, so you should find consolation in that very fact. Everything that was given to you shall be returned.

But it is also a misstake to stand still when definetively you should do something about, um, something.

The point is correctly understanding which things are under your responsibility and which aren't. Work for the first and bear the rest with an attitude.
Ok, I take it back.

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