Stoicism explained

stoic philosophy

Stoicism explained

We are born naked, hungry, and confused, and As we go through life, we try to eliminate these feelings. We seek to achieve and obtain things, strive for higher status and wealth. And yearn for power over others.

We live hoping that we will have enough to free ourselves from vulnerability and confusion in the future. And find the ultimate source of happiness.

While this hopeful future may sound sensible, it keeps us trapped in our problems. To help us delve deeper into the phenomena of happiness and control, we will look at the ancient philosophy of stoicism.

What is stoicism

Stoicism was found by Zeno in Athens, Greece, in the early 3rd century, and then it popularized in Ancient Rome. The fact that it has withstood the test of time makes it a unique school of thought. And arguably, still relevant today.

The principles of stoic philosophy can help us find calmness in the chaotic, anxious world. Although we cannot control hardships, suffering, and chaos, we are not subject to helplessness in the world.

Stoics believe that there are two domains of life. External and internal.
External is the things that exist outside of our minds that we have no control over, and the internal domain is our mental interpretations and reactions to the external, which we can control.

When we associate our happiness with the things we cannot control and persist believing that things outside of ourselves make us happy, we begin to walk on an endless path of needing more.

In stoicism, wealth, fame, and power should not be the center of one’s happiness but should only be enjoyed if they work out. Depending on them would mean inconsistent peace and happiness. Materialistic needs hold no power unless a person has not learned to live without them.

Roman emperor and famous stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius writes, “Almost nothing material is needed for a happy life for he who has understood existence.”

He was, at this time, the most powerful emperor who could have anything he wanted. But Marcus Aurelius lived with little interest in earthly needs to develop his fortitude.

Similarly, Seneca, one of the most renowned philosophers, pens down, “until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”

For a stoic, happiness is only developed through perspective and character. Nothing is inherently good or bad but only our interpretations of things.

Stoicism tells us that our existence is merely like a grain of sand against the entire world and body of nature. Everything that happens outside of ourselves is something beyond us. This is why we must strive towards the path of acceptance.

When we focus our attention on controlling our reactions to the external, we can begin to free ourselves from the world’s chaos and find happiness within.

Conclusion

Some of us practice stoicism without knowing what it is. For instance, when we start to live by our morals and stop comparing our lives with others. But it is almost impossible to practice stoicism throughout one’s life as greed and adverse reactions cloud our view.

Starting from our birth, we sprint through every moment, racing through our present, we seek the future. Society overwhelms us with the delusion of the never-ending process of success and fame. But in reality, no amount of goods can quench our thirst for happiness unless we give in and surrender to the world.

Seneca writes, “we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

It is not our control, how people see us, when we will die or what happens to us. In the stoic world, none of it matters. What matters is how we think and live our own lives of what we see as noble and necessary.

We are born naked, hungry, and confused, and As we go through life, we try to eliminate these feelings. We seek to achieve and obtain things, strive for higher status and wealth. And yearn for power over others.

We live hoping that we will have enough to free ourselves from vulnerability and confusion in the future. And find the ultimate source of happiness.

While this hopeful future may sound sensible, it keeps us trapped in our problems. To help us delve deeper into the phenomena of happiness and control, we will look at the ancient philosophy of stoicism.

3 Comments

  1. This is so well written, thank you for putting your work and efforts into this. It truly shines, in every sentence you put out.

    Cant wait to read more from you. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *