Stoicism

Stoicism was founded at the Stoa in Athens by Zeno of Citium circa 200 BC. Stoics stressed moderation of emotions, with solemn contemplation of options. They believed it was better to accept Fate as Reality, rather than wasting time fighting it with free-will. Our will (prohairesis) can be cultivated from ‘tabula rasa’ (clean slate) in harmony with Nature, for better contentment.

Stoicism is a conglomerate of personal and social ethics informed by logic and nature. We all will die, and so philosophy should prepare us for that destiny. We have little control over our fates, but should accept the responsibility for our own emotions and decisions. Detachment from emotions is one way to be responsible in our thoughts and actions. Stoics are skeptical about extremes of desire or fear. We should seek to understand our purpose in life, in relation to society and human nature. Seneca and Epictetus believed virtue was sufficient for happiness, a wise sage was immune to misfortune. Stoics tend to have a solemn demeanor, with a trust-worthy seriousness. Remain calm and think about it.

From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular during the Roman Empire, and influencing the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Cicero. Stoic pantheism influenced Christianity, and Stoic God as Reason blossomed in the Renaissance. Over the centuries, stoicism became very important for self-reflective poetry, literary naturalism, and stalwart pragmatism.

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