If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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Olaz
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If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby Olaz » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:07 pm

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

I am building greater and greater internal joy and resilience with the stoics the longer I experiment with and apply their teachings. Do any of you use their ideas? How do you find them?

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Another quote I like, but that is more an ideal to strive to than a reality (rightfully so):

“For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it?
A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.”
― Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

steveo73
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby steveo73 » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:41 am

I really like Stoic philosophy but I prefer Epicurean philosophy. In my opinion the Stoics worked too hard.

I simply try to use simple ideas like only worry about what you can control. Use things like negative visualisation.

Epictetus: No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.

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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby jacob » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:27 am

There's not much to find. Very few primary writings survived. I've basically read all of them.

There are several modern interpretations/books/popularizations/introductions by Irvine, Stock,... I'd recommend starting with Stock. Then reading all the classics (Seneca, Aurelius, Epictetus, Rufus), then Irvine ... then some of the modern analyses if you want.

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Ego
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby Ego » Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:52 am

Epictetus, Nietzche, Schopenhauer and The Buddha playing Sorry

Image

Full comic here:
http://existentialcomics.com/comic/102

.

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bryan
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby bryan » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:24 am

Confession: I haven't been able to read the stoics like Marcus Aurelius. It's just a big block and can't take in what I'm reading.

Also, always found it dubious that these sort of lessons can be taught via reading or lectures. Anytime I hear someone espousing stoicism, they seem to take themselves so seriously.

Which reminds of that book Siddhartha. Definitely a fan of Hermann Hesse; haven't read anything by him since the early 2000s though. One more major book of his left unread on the table that I'll get to soon..

I'm curious if there are existential/philosophy quizzes like there are for religions, politics, or personality types. Never really been big into philosophy. Just tried a couple stupid ones i just found and got: existentialism, Augustine, and Sextus Empiricus. How boring.

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bryan
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby bryan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:58 pm

Coincidentally, picked up another Hesse book (and since 2015 read the one I mentioned) today at the thrift store.

Coincidence because I came to this thread to share this comic: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/efficient-sorting

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BRUTE
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:20 pm

nice find, existentialSort :)

also this quote from the 2015 comic is money:

Arthur wrote:Humans suffer because they were born.

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bryan
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby bryan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:17 pm

and for those new to SMBC, be sure to click the big red button under the comic ;) (spoiler: zenSort)

and just like xkcd, there is hover/alt text.

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FBeyer
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby FBeyer » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:26 am

bryan wrote:... Anytime I hear someone espousing stoicism, they seem to take themselves so seriously...

If you will indulge when I go down the No True Scotsman route: One of the primary virtues of stoicism is not to mission, but to lead by quiet example. Stoicism is about doing, not talking; one who talks more about stoicism has yet to internalize it's core ideal. That could be a reason why people seem to take themselves so seriously when they preach their philosophy: they might have adopted the philosophy for its signaling value rather than its effects on bettering their lives.

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fiby41
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby fiby41 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:44 am

The problem is stoicism is no longer a lived tradition. One needs to have a very high degree of self-realization to pick such concepts directly by reading a book. It's like reading a user/instruction manual and claiming you know how to drive/use an instrument/software. You don't know shit until you have actually tried your hand at it. Conversely, the opposite is not true. Ie You can practice/operate a machine even when you haven't read its user manual.

Campitor
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby Campitor » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:23 pm

Stoicism I use every day: Life is short, live it well and live it wisely. Ignore critics and don't sweat things you can't control and get busy mastering yourself.

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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby The_Bowme » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:53 pm

I read about it in college as part of an ancient philosophy course. My impression was that it was hard to make use of today, given the ancient metaphysics built into the theory. The ethical system seems to rely on two metaphysical claims-- (1) that the universe is rational and ultimately beneficent because of that, and (2) that man is a rational animal and that our chief value is in being rational. If you adopt (1) and (2), it can make sense to not really worry about actual outcomes, but only your internal framing of them and keeping your emotions in check.

However, for me the first claim seems to be just part of classical philosophy's unexamined assumptions that can't really be maintained except by fiat. It certainly could be true, and sometimes I feel like it must when I'm feeling mystical, but it doesn't seem like something I can put much faith in. Certainly its hard to argue deductively for it without starting with even less plausible premises.

The second assumption is pretty problematic to maintain given evolutionary theory, and seems close to committing the naturalistic fallacy. It assumes that species have ends, and that those ends are co-extensive with that species's distinguishing features.

I don't find either claim something I can believe so as to help me feel better about awful things happening, and so Stoicism to me becomes more just a form of cognitive therapy (which is nothing to sneeze at), rather than a functional philosophy.

But then again, I don't like to bring this up, if Stoicism works for people, great. Sometimes I feel like it's better not to voice doubts about useful world views, but at least with Stoicism I feel better about it given the value they place in rationality. Maybe someone can get me on board though! All that said, my favorite was The Enchiridion from Epictetus, which has the rhetorical advantage of being written by a slave rather than a master.

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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:21 am


The_Bowme
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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby The_Bowme » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:00 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:Is she a Stoic?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yop62wQH498
She is placing her happiness in the contingent event of the sun shining tomorrow-- a most troubling and fraught approach, not to be encouraged in the properly stoic orphan child.

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Re: If you use the ideas of stoicism, how have you found them?

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:49 pm

Yes, I can see that the lyrics might be interpreted in that manner. I have always heard them as something more like "your internal coping mechanisms are bound to improve after a good night's sleep, and then you can work on improving your external circumstances." Of course, in a situation in which even sleep becomes impossible, you will eventually go insane and then die. So, pretty much Maslow hierarchy cornerstone, since non-availability of oxygen would hardly even give you a minute in which to summon up an optimistic thought.


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