In this article, we’ll cover What is Stoicism? , From Where this Stoicism philosophy came into existence? , How can we implement this Stoicism philosophy in our lives?
What is Stoicism?
For those who know the meaning of Stoicism that’s great and for who don’t know the meaning of Stoicism, here’s a brief explanation
First of all, I am really glad that you have some sort of curiosity regarding Stoicism. This term has actually a really long history as this term was first found by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. So basically, the philosophy of stoicism suggests that
“A person can’t control the situations happening externally, but a person always has control of what’s happening internally” which means a person can’t control the factors happening in the real world or externally but the person always have control over the factors happening in his own mind.
So, what Stoicism really teaches?
It teaches how a person can control and handle the situation occurring to him. No matter how good or worse the external events get, through the practice of stoicism philosophy a person is able to think and act wisely and rationally.
Before we dive into the principles of Stoicism we’ll first learn,
Where this Stoicism philosophy came into existence?
Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC but was famously practiced by the likes of Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. The philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.
Principles of Stoicism.
- Nature – Nature is rational.
- Law of Reason – The universe is governed by the law of reason. Man can’t actually escape its inexorable force, but he can, uniquely, follow the law deliberately.
- Virtue – A life led according to rational nature is virtuous.
- Wisdom – Wisdom is the root virtue. From it springs the cardinal virtues: insight, bravery, self-control, and justice.
- Apatheia – Since passion is irrational, life should be waged as a battle against it. The intense feeling should be avoided.
- Pleasure – Pleasure is not good. (Nor is it bad. It is only acceptable if it doesn’t interfere with our quest for virtue.)
- Evil – Poverty, illness, and death are not evil.
- Duty – Virtue should be sought, not for the sake of pleasure, but for duty.
Who were the Stoics?
The Stoics were people who followed a realistic but morally idealistic way of living, a philosophy of life developed by Hellenistic Greeks and eagerly embraced by the Romans. The Stoic philosophy had a strong appeal to Christian theologians of the early 20th century, which echoes in our own modern culture.
“I believe that [Stoicism] represents a way of looking at the world and the practical problems of life which possess still a permanent interest for the human race, and permanent power of inspiration. I shall approach it, therefore, rather as a psychologist than as a philosopher or historian… I shall merely try as best I can to make intelligible its great central principles and the almost irresistible appeal which they made to so many of the best minds of antiquity.” Knapp 1926
How can you implement Stoicism in your life?
So, here are some of the methods that you try to implement Stoicism in your life.
1. Practice what you fear.
Let’s say you live a very lavish life, wearing good clothes and having regular meals let’s say three times a day. But what if I say practice poverty, by practicing poverty I mean just take a few of the days in a month and try looking your worst or a little worse. Try wearing old clothes, have some difficulties while commuting, don’t have regular meals or skip 1 meal a day, for example, If you three meals a day try having 1 or 2.
By doing this you are already getting prepared for the worst times. By doing so your misfortune will eventually turn into a fortune or your luck. So never just anticipate your fear try enacting your fear like it’s a showdown time lets face it.
If you fear heights, go on climbing the mountains.
If you fear breakups, enact as you’ve already had one.
If you fear losing money, practice like you’ve already lost it.
2. What stands in the way becomes the way.
It should sound familiar because it is the same thinking behind Obama’s “teachable moments.” Right before the election, Joe Klein asked Obama how he’d made his decision to respond to the Reverend Wright scandal. He said something like ‘when the story broke I realized the best thing to do wasn’t damage control, it was to speak to Americans like adults.’ And what he ended up doing was turning a negative situation into the perfect platform for his landmark speech about race.
So, what this actually means that the Stoics always turn negative into positive. Try looking at the world around you from a different angle. Every negative event occurring to you must have some sort of positivity in it. like I said before a person can not control the external events but a person always has control over the internal events happening in his mind, try thinking rationally and always extract a positive lesson from any negative event.
This practice is commonly used by the entrepreneurs, they know how to take advantage even if the situations are worse, no matter how poor is the financial status of the company right now, they are surely going to find the way out of it and with a great comeback. And a real Stoic always turn obstacles into opportunities.
3. Remember how small you are.
Alexander the Great who conquered the known world and had cities named in his honor. This is common knowledge. The Stoics would also point out that, once while drunk, Alexander got into a fight with his dearest friend, Cleitus, and accidentally killed him. Afterward, he was so despondent that he couldn’t eat or drink for three days. Sophists were called from all over Greece to see what they could do about his grief, to no avail.
Always remember that every achievement is ephemeral (not lasting for a long time) and the possession of your achievement is for just an instant.
If everything is ephemeral, what does matter? Right now matters. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, that’s what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics.
Now you will have a clear idea of what a successful life really is. Just try to stay honest with everyone and even with you, try to stay humble, try always wishing luck to others never curse anybody. These are some of the qualities or achievements that are truly going to stay with you life-long and surely going to lead you to success.
4. A View from Eagle’s eye.
Ever wondered how silly your daily problems are, this point can be concluded from the above point “Remember how small you are.” So if you had realized how small your problems are then congratulations you are already going in the right direction but you still haven’t then let me explain to you.
Always look from an Eagle’s eye by this I mean always look at your problems collectively. Before judging how big is your problem try thinking of the people who are going to sleep empty stomach tonight while you will be enjoying your dinner. try thinking of that soldier who is risking his life and knows that today or tomorrow he is going to get shot by an enemy.
Always take a step back, zoom out and see life from a higher vantage point than our own. This exercise—envisioning all the millions and millions of people, all the “armies, farms, weddings and divorces, births and deaths”—prompts us to take perspective and just like the previous exercise, remind us how small we are. It reorients us, and as a Stoic scholar, Pierre Hadot put it, “The view from above changes our value judgments on things: luxury, power, war…and the worries of everyday life become ridiculous.”
5. Dying Every Day.
Well, this is a tough one actually but I will try to go as brief as I can. So, what If I told you that leave your life right now, and just think that In these many years what you have done, what you have said, what have you thought, and how efficient your life was in these many years.
The philosophy of stoicism suggests that the term dying every day has a really wider scope by practicing this theory you can eventually live a fruitful life. What if their’s no next day you’ll eventually start living your day to it’s fullest. And who knows what can you achieve if you practice it daily.
Meditating on your mortality is only depressing if you miss the point. The Stoics find this thought invigorating and humbling. It is not surprising that one of Seneca’s biographies is titled Dying Every Day.
After all, it is Seneca who urged us to tell ourselves “You may not wake up tomorrow,” when going to bed and “You may not sleep again,” when waking up as reminders of our mortality. Or as another Stoic, Epictetus, urged his students: “Keep death and exile before your eyes each day, along with everything that seems terrible— by doing so, you’ll never have a base thought nor will you have excessive desire.” Use those reminders and meditate on them daily—let them be the building blocks of living your life to the fullest and not wasting a second.
Q. Can stoicism make us happy?
A. According to the Stoics, our happiness depends only on what is up to us, not on external circumstances that we can’t fully control. We can strive to get a good job, stay healthy, raise a thriving family, or find interesting friends, but whether we succeed is only partly in our power.
Q. Can stoicism help depression?
A. Stoicism helps to overcome depression. The principles and the methods of stoicism really eradicate the roots of depression within you. It teaches you to look at your problems from a different angle.
Q. When did stoicism start?
A. In the early 3rd century BC.
Q. Where did stoicism originate?
A. Stoicism originated as a Hellenistic philosophy, founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium (modern-day Cyprus), c. 300 B.C.E. It was influenced by Socrates and the Cynics, and it engaged in vigorous debates with the Skeptics, the Academics, and the Epicureans.
Q. What do stoicism mean?
A. The meaning of Stoicism is “A person can’t control the situations happening externally, but a person always has control of what’s happening internally”.
Q. How to do stoicism?
A. Heres a quick summary of how to do Stoicism.
1. Practice what you fear.
2. Rember what stands in the way becomes the way.
3. Remember how small you are.
4. Look from an Eagle’s eye.
5. Live every day like you will not wake up tomorrow.
Q. How to pronounce Stoicism?
If you enjoyed reading “Stoicism: Everything you need to know.” then please let me know in the comments and if you have any other queries or questions regarding Stoicism then also let me know in the comments. Stay tuned for more.