Stoicism

 Stoicism (Summary from Wikipedia)

Beginning around 301 BC, Zeno taught philosophy at the Stoa Poikile (Painted Porch), from which his philosophy (Stoicism) got its name. Stoicism laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of virtue in accordance with nature. The universe, in Zeno's view, is God: a divine reasoning entity, where all the parts belong to the whole. The path to Eudaimonia (happiness, blessedness, flourishing) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or the fear of pain, and by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.  

External things such as health, wealth, and pleasure, are not good or bad in themselves, destructive emotions resulted from errors of judgment, an individual's philosophy is not what a person said but how a person behaves. Because "virtue is sufficient for happiness", a sage would be emotionally resilient to misfortune. Epicurus' claimed that "Empty are the words of that philosopher who offers no therapy for human suffering".

Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions. "Virtue consists in a will that is in agreement with Nature." This principle also applies to the realm of interpersonal relationships; "to be free from anger, envy, and jealousy", and to accept even slaves as "equals of other men, because all men alike are products of nature".

Cleanthes  opined that the wicked man is "like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes". A Stoic of virtue, by contrast, would amend his will to suit the world and remain, in the words of Epictetus, "sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy", thus positing a completely autonomous individual will.  Zeno's ideas developed from those of the Cynics, whose founding father, Antisthenes, had been a disciple of Socrates.

Stoicism became the foremost popular philosophy among the educated elite in the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire,  "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 a word, whatever are not our own actions."

"The universe itself is God and the universal outpouring of its soul; it is this same world's guiding principle, operating in mind and reason, together with the common nature of things and the totality that embraces all existence. Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being". Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, iv. 40

For the Stoics, reason meant using logic and understanding the processes of nature—the logos or universal divine order and reason, inherent in all things. The four cardinal virtues of Stoic philosophy is derived from the teachings of Plato: Wisdom, Courage, Justice, Temperance

Since right reason is the foundation of both humanity and the universe, it follows that the goal of life is to live according to reason (according to nature). The Stoics did not seek to extinguish emotions; rather, they sought to transform them by a resolute "askēsis" (asceticism) , that enables a person to develop clear judgment and inner calm. Logic, reflection, and focus were the methods of such self-discipline, temperance was split into self-control, discipline, and modesty.

"Follow where reason leads". One must therefore strive to be free of the passions, bearing in mind that the ancient meaning of passion was anguish or suffering, in reaction to external events. The idea was to be free of suffering through apatheia (apathy: literally, "without passion") or peace of mind,  being objective, or having clear judgment and equanimity in the face of life's highs and lows.

Following Socrates, the Stoics held that unhappiness and evil are the results of human ignorance of the divine reason in nature. Suicide was permissible for the wise person in circumstances that might prevent them from living a virtuous life. Suicide could also be justified if one fell victim to severe pain or disease, but otherwise suicide would usually be seen as a rejection of one's social duty.

Stoic philosophical and spiritual practices included logicSocratic dialogue and self-dialoguecontemplation of death, and training attention to remain in the present moment (similar to mindfulness and some forms of meditation), and daily reflection on everyday problems and possible solutions with journaling.

"Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall today meet ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of the ignorance of real good and ill...I can neither be harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work together"... Marcus Aurelius

Many parallels between Stoic spiritual exercises and modern cognitive behavioral therapy have been identified. Stoics commonly employ ‘The View from Above’, reflecting on society and otherness in guided visualization, aiming to gain a "bigger picture". "A fine reflection from Plato. One who would converse about human beings should look on all things earthly as though from some point far above, upon herds, armies, and agriculture, marriages and divorces, births and deaths, the clamor of law courts, deserted wastes, alien peoples of every kind, festivals, lamentations, and markets, this intermix of everything and ordered combination of opposites". Marcus Aurelius

A distinctive feature of Stoicism is its cosmopolitanism; all people are manifestations of the one universal spirit and should live in brotherly love and readily help one another. They held that external differences, such as rank and wealth, are of no importance in social relationships. In particular, they were noted for their urging of clemency toward slaves. Seneca exhorted, "Kindly remember that he whom you call your slave sprang from the same stock, is smiled upon by the same skies, and on equal terms with yourself breathes, lives, and dies."

Influences on Christianity: The apostle Paul met with Stoics during his stay in Athens, as reported in Acts 17:16–18. In his letters, Paul reflected heavily from his knowledge of Stoic philosophy, using Stoic terms and metaphors to assist his new Gentile converts in their understanding of Christianity. Early Christian writers employed some of the central philosophical concepts of Stoicism. Examples include the terms "logos", "virtue", "spirit", and "conscience". But the parallels go well beyond the sharing and borrowing of terminology.

Both Stoicism and Christianity assert an inner freedom in the face of the external world, a belief in human kinship with Nature or God, a sense of the innate depravity—or "persistent evil"—of humankind, and the futility and temporary nature of worldly possessions and attachments. Both encourage Ascesis (asceticism) with respect to the passions and inferior emotions, such as lust, and envy, so that the higher possibilities of one's humanity can be awakened and developed. Stoic writings such as Meditations by Marcus Aurelius have been highly regarded by many Christians throughout the centuries.

Zeno of Citium Quotes:   “Man conquers the world by conquering himself.”

“The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature.”

 “Well-being is attained little by little, but nevertheless is no little thing itself.”

 “When a dog is tied to a cart, if it wants to follow, it is pulled and follows, making its spontaneous act coincide with necessity. But if the dog does not follow, it will be compelled in any case. So it is with men too: even if they don't want to, they will be compelled to follow what is destined.”

“We have two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak.”

“All the good are friends of one another.”

“A friend is our alter ego.”

“He would stretch his hand out in from of his and show his open palm…and he would point to his hand and say “this is perception”. then he would slightly close his finger just a little bit and point to his hand and say “This is assent” you know.. agreement or belief. Then he closes his fist tight and points to it and says “This is Comprehension”. Then he takes his other hand and covers his fist and says “This is Knowledge.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca Quotes:

"The stoic must necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that issues from deep within, he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys"

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There are more things that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.

Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Time heals what reason cannot.

All cruelty springs from weakness.

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.

All art is but imitation of nature.

Marcus Aurelius Quotes:

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.

Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back.

It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Love nothing but that which comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny. For what could more aptly fit your needs?

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Foolish are those who have no aim to which they can direct every impulse and every thought

Epictetus Quotes:

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.

It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

No man is free who is not master of himself.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

Only the educated are free.

You are soul carrying around a corpse.

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