Stoicism

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Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:26 pm

So I found myself at a talk on Stoicism last night, I had no idea the talk was going to be about this as it was hosted by a somewhat famous Illusionist who just happened to be talking on the subject. I found it very interesting with crossovers with Daoist,Buddhist,Zen thinking. Im gonna do it bit more reading on the subject but was wondering if anybody else had any insights or knowledge on this.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Peacedog on Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:47 pm

Tim Ferris is a big proponent of stoicism.

Many elements of stoicism were likewise incorporated into early Christian thought although the practice itself was rejected due to its close association with paganism and the Roman ruling elite.

Frankly the combined concepts of ethics, will and life as a non-stop training environment have a lot going for it. Most people here, and anywhere else, would have issues with the incredible amount of self discipline associated with using it as a directive philosophy in life. Particularly the concept that it is your fault if your life sucks, you are poor, unhappy, etc. In that regard, it has much in common with the practice of Hermetics. One of the primary Hermetic mottos is, "Be brutal with yourself and generous with others." As such it has much in common with Stoicism.

However, I would add that taking complete responsibility for your actions, and place in the world, is one of the few routes to being content/happy/fulfilled that I've ever found.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:19 pm

Thanks. Part of the talk discussed how we are only responsible for ourselves and our thoughts. Yes it sounds a bit brutal and uncaring which I don't think is the message, only that a lot of mental energy is wasted on things which we should not really be concerning ourselves with.

However, I would add that taking complete responsibility for your actions, and place in the world, is one of the few routes to being content/happy/fulfilled that I've ever found.


I couldn't agree more. I find it funny how people blame others for things they dont like or when things dont go the way they want them too. Its always somebody else's fault.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby GrahamB on Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:25 pm

Was it Derren Brown?
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:26 pm

yup
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Re: Stoicism

Postby GrahamB on Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:37 pm

He's got a stoic book coming out.

Seems to me you can go with the all these modern versions of it (not authentic but easier to understand), or look at the original documents we have left. The best starting point is Epictetus' handbook, which is actually pretty easy to read:

http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:40 pm

cheers mate.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Peacedog on Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:10 pm

Being responsible for yourself and your thoughts is an issue involving classical stoicism and its implementation as neo-stoicism in the modern world that requires a bit of an explanation.

The pagan world was not organized in the way the modern world is and many things that modern people consider to be universal beliefs simply didn't exist.

The pagan world largely functioned along the construct of circles of power. And the strongest man stood at the center of a given circle. That man could literally do anything he wanted to any of the other people in his circle. Anything. They simply did not matter. Concerning yourself with the thoughts/desires/needs of others within your circle was considered nonsense. For example, the patriarch of a family could sell his children into slavery, kill unwanted newborns, kill/disfigure slaves (although this was considered economically unwise), confiscate the holdings/property of family members under his control and more without any involvement of outside civil authority.

Likewise, if you lacked the power/resources necessary to influence your environment then it was your fault for not further extending the reach of your circle.

Many systems of classical thought were attempts to contain, and/or limit, this approach to the world. Some were more successful than others.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:36 pm

In a way this is very true to this day as we are held responsible for the control of our 'circle' although there are, as you say limits to this. And also for countries /governments who control their circle and all within.

Seems to be setup for conflict and a fight for power though ?
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Peacedog on Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:06 pm

I'd say you are spot on with the concept of circles of power breeding instability and violence.

The ancient world was full of violence and instability on a per capita basis that would shock most inhabitants of the current Western democracies.

Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature can provide some insight into this. Working a few insurgencies in the developing world can provide actual exposure to this environment.

One of the sadder aspects of modern education is the wholesale abandonment of the recognition that Western values and beliefs put severe limitations upon the circles of power model. And the realization that this older approach to human affairs is largely the standard operating procedure outside of the West even today.

While Stoicism definitely provided a basis for modern Western belief systems its implementation into neo-Stoicism would I'm sure provide challenges to most people on a number of levels.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:23 pm

One of the sadder aspects of modern education is the wholesale abandonment of the recognition that Western values and beliefs put severe limitations upon the circles of power model. And the realization that this older approach to human affairs is largely the standard operating procedure outside of the West even today.


brings to mind Japanese culture and how they are almost overly responsible for their actions, or at least they used to be.

The stoics put great importance on how your life ended too.

Interesting how even today we refer to a circle of friends or a circle of influence.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby vadaga on Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:43 pm

I enjoyed Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, great book.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby GrahamB on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:45 am

On the subject of Meditations, this is a great article - Reflections on reading it every year for 10 years by Ryan Holiday

http://observer.com/2016/10/100-things- ... ditations/

I like the point he makes about not going the cheap route and getting a free translation. He's right, the free ones aren't as good.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Mr_Wood on Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:12 am

Just ordered the Hayes translation, cheers chaps.
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Re: Stoicism

Postby fuga on Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:47 am

I am reading the Obstacle is the Way. Good little book.
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