Texts about Stoicism are found all the way back to Athens in the third century B.C. Greece may be considered the modern birthplace of philosophy and boy how the mighty have fallen. Stoicism is the ideology that man has control over his emotions by realizing the things that he does, and does not, have control over. This requires an acceptance of nature – both our environment and the nature of humanity and animal – and an accountability of personal judgement; both ideas have been forcefully pushed out of modern society and replaced with shallow negatives in their stead. Is it any wonder that we have such heated cultural disagreement?
When was the last time you turned on the news or opened your preferred social media page and were immediately frustrated upon seeing a particular post or story? Pretty recently I would wager. Stoicism dictates the relationship between the internal (judgements/feelings/reactions) and the external (events). The death of stoicism is the disruption in that relationship: when one believes that events are the cause of our emotions. For example, ‘The stormy skies made him angry’ is illogical – the storm is an event and therefore neutral; only the judgement of that event is cause for emotion. This may seem a simplistic example, but it is by these simplicities that our cultural harmony has been degraded.
Cosmic determinism is a tenant of this philosophy that relies on the notion of causality – C happened because of A and B preceding it. Things happen for a reason logically, not mystically (though there are schools of determinism based in theology). Logically, determinism can lead to prediction: A, B, and C occurred which will lead to D and E in the future – the predictive nature of the scientific method. We have no control over cosmic events whether they are stormy skies or human nature but stoicism prescribes the way in which we should react to them.
As stated earlier, the relationship between what we do and do not have control over is the basis for stoicism. We can control our reaction to events and this is made real by understanding the effect of our emotions on the cosmic events around us. As yourself, “What does being mad at a stormy sky accomplish,” to more fully understand the nature of the emotions impotency. I discovered a simple phrase that helps me overcome destructive emotions like this: “When you are mad, who is mad?” which demonstrates the nature of torture that we inflict upon ourselves. The only person being caused distress by anger is the person experiencing it.
The above illustrates why it is so important, indeed deemed virtuous by stoics, to understand and conform to nature. This is accomplished through indifference; thus why stoics today are described as emotionless or without empathy. And thus the first blow to stoicism is struck – how could one remain stoic in the face of such tragedy around the world? It is because the stoic realizes that emotional reaction only harms the self; people are not their emotions fore emotions are fleeting – people can only be judged by their actions. This also means the result of an action – not the intended result of an action. Many today praise politicians for their actions based on intended results rather than the authentic outcomes: thus the second blow to stoicism is struck. Milton Freedman famously said, “Sincerity is a much over rated virtue.”
The modern world has no place for people who act virtuously: who raise their children in a loving household; treat people fairly in action; live by a moral code with specific values. These people are labeled thought-criminals: racists, bigots, homophobes, because of thoughts or feelings. Through this, virtue (action) is dismantled and replaced by virtue-signaling (thought) – the third blow to stoicism.
Stoicism doesn’t exist only in the scientific community, but was heavily influential in early Christianity. The Seven Deadly Sins are based on the ideas of stoicism: how not to let external factors affect your inner calm and peace with God. Buddhism, though likely evolved independent of stoicism specifically, shares many of its notions of achieving inner peace through the same methods prescribed by the stoics. It is now out of political favor to have a dissenting opinion philosophically or scientifically and thus the fourth and final nail strikes through the coffin of stoicism.
Stoicism is about inner peace and tranquility which is why I find myself muttering the serenity prayer to myself more than ever these days. When the Mega-State whips up its media dogs, frothing at the mouth for the blood of inhomogeneous thinkers in the same breath that they demand “diversity” you can understand, nay, see the glee in their eyes as they fling fistfuls of dirt onto the unmarked grave of stoicism so that no man, woman, or child can ever again find peace without the calming opiate of state sanctioned politically correct free speech. The only virtue will be signaled as the truly virtuous are shackled, equality of opportunity replaced with equality of thought, and the ones crying loudest for diversity find themselves soaked in the soil of the graves they buried their opposition, marching towards their true goal in the death of stoicism: