On Stoic Virtues
Justice, Wisdom, Courage, Self Discipline, Prudence
Well-being is realized by small steps, but is truly no small thing. – Zeno
Many have called me a stoic. Yup, that is a good description of my approach to life. In fact, I have a business named after one of the most prolific stoics of antiquity. Although it is not widely discussed, some stoics LOVE making money, enjoy accruing POWER, and revel in DOMINATING the competition. Seems oxymoronic on the surface, how can someone be both a stoic and a winner? Because man contains multitudes, that’s how. Whether it be psychological or physical, man lives in a fluid reality. A joyous father one moment an enraged athlete the next. Man needs to be disciplined in all he does to lead a virtuous life.
I view stoicism as both a healthy/successful ideology and a fundamental daily practice in self discipline. The latter is especially important in our current era of excess and decadence.
A Stoic refers to a follower or practitioner of Stoicism, a philosophy that originated in ancient Greece and later gained popularity in Rome. Stoicism teaches individuals to cultivate inner strength, resilience, and virtue in order to attain inner peace and live a fulfilled life, regardless of external circumstances.
Stoics believe that the path to happiness and tranquility lies in understanding and accepting the natural order of the universe. They emphasize the importance of focusing on what is within one's control, namely one's own thoughts, choices, and actions, while accepting and adapting to the things beyond one's control.
Stoicism encourages individuals to cultivate virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. Stoics practice self-discipline, rationality, and mindfulness to align their lives with reason and moral principles. They strive to live in harmony with nature, seeking inner tranquility and a sense of purpose.
Stoics advocate for the importance of developing resilience and emotional equanimity, recognizing that external events are neutral and that our judgments and responses shape our experiences. They aim to detach themselves from external outcomes, finding contentment in virtue and the pursuit of moral excellence.
Stoicism has influenced various aspects of life, including ethics, personal development, and the understanding of happiness. Stoics believe that by living in accordance with reason, virtue, and the natural order of the universe, individuals can attain a state of eudaimonia, a deep sense of fulfillment and well-being.
A Stoic is an individual who follows the principles and practices of Stoicism, striving to cultivate inner strength, virtue, and tranquility in order to lead a fulfilling life in accordance with reason and nature
Stoics of note
Several prominent Stoic philosophers have left a lasting impact with their writings and teachings. Here are a few of the most prolific Stoics:
Seneca the Younger: Seneca was a Roman statesman, playwright, and philosopher. His works, including letters, essays, and tragedies, explore Stoic principles and practical wisdom. His writings cover a wide range of topics, including ethics, virtue, and the pursuit of a meaningful life.
Epictetus: Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher who focused on practical philosophy and the cultivation of personal ethics. Although he did not write any texts himself, his teachings were recorded by his student Arrian in the "Discourses" and the "Enchiridion." Epictetus emphasized the importance of inner freedom and resilience in the face of adversity.
Marcus Aurelius: Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and philosopher. His personal reflections and philosophical musings were compiled in his work "Meditations." Marcus Aurelius delved into the Stoic principles of virtue, acceptance of fate, and the importance of living a moral life while in a position of power.
Zeno of Citium: Zeno was the founder of Stoicism and developed its foundational doctrines. Although few of his original works survive, his philosophical ideas and principles influenced subsequent Stoic thinkers. Zeno's teachings formed the basis for Stoicism as a philosophical school.
Chrysippus: Chrysippus was a Greek philosopher who expanded and systematized Stoic doctrines. He wrote extensively on logic, ethics, and natural philosophy. Chrysippus played a crucial role in shaping Stoicism into a comprehensive philosophical system.
These individuals, among others, have contributed significantly to Stoic philosophy and have left behind a rich body of works that continue to be studied and admired for their insights into leading a virtuous and meaningful life.
5 philosophers walk into a bibliotheca
Marcus Aurelius (MA): Good day, esteemed philosophers. Today, I propose we engage in a dialogue regarding the merits of the cardinal virtues: justice, wisdom, courage, temperance, and prudence. Let us explore their significance and interplay in the pursuit of a virtuous life.
Epictetus (E): Indeed, a worthy topic, Marcus. Let us begin with justice, the virtue that encompasses fairness and equitable treatment. Justice ensures a harmonious society, upholding individual rights and promoting social cohesion. It is the bedrock upon which a virtuous society can flourish.