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Re: The Cosmic City and the just social order

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  • Frederick Trenchard
    Tm writes: It is my opinion that stoic philosophy could eventually emerge as a ... I think this idea of Stoicism as a kind of preventative psychological
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 1, 2000
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      Tm writes:

      It is my opinion that stoic philosophy could eventually emerge as a
      >recognised form of preventive psychiatry - improving the emotional
      >well-being of (what do we call people commencing following stoicism - is
      >their a non-new age term?) followers / adherences, as well as reducing
      >social pathology in the neighborhood and the organisations which serve
      >neighbourhoods.

      I think this idea of Stoicism as a kind of preventative psychological
      hygiene is very interesting. It is the kind of work which was once and
      still is done by the church. For those who have the requisite faith it seems
      to be a proven fact that the incidence of suicide and other manifestations
      of depression decreases.

      If Stoics wanted to move forward in that direction they would in some areas
      find no competition at all because the churches and other agencies have
      opted out. But it is unlikely that Stoics could be motivated to do
      voluntary work simply with a view to setting up communities on the Christian
      model. Christians have a missionary history to fall back. The idea of
      being called to do a particular task is inherent in the Christian way of
      thinking. I don't think the Stoics have any equivalent idea.

      Are you suggesting that Stoicism should evolve as a social agency? Can you
      imagine, without simply imitating the church, how Stoics would set about
      doing that?

      Fred
    • bertr@diac.com
      ... Tim, I gather you don t see REBT as fulfilling that function. Can you elucidate? Bert
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 1, 2000
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        > It is my opinion that stoic philosophy could eventually emerge as a
        > recognised form of preventive psychiatry - improving the emotional
        > well-being of (what do we call people commencing following stoicism - is
        > their a non-new age term?) followers / adherences, as well as reducing
        > social pathology in the neighborhood and the organisations which serve
        > neighbourhoods.
        >
        Tim, I gather you don't see REBT as fulfilling that function. Can
        you elucidate?

        Bert
      • Keith Seddon
        Fred wrote: ... ________________________________ I m not so sure. This is what Seneca said: Shall I tell you what philosophy holds out to humanity? Counsel.
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 2, 2000
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          Fred wrote:
          ________________________________

          > Christians have a missionary history to fall back. The idea of
          > being called to do a particular task is inherent in the Christian way of
          > thinking. I don't think the Stoics have any equivalent idea.
          ________________________________

          I'm not so sure. This is what Seneca said:

          Shall I tell you what philosophy holds out to humanity? Counsel. One person is facing death, another is vexed by poverty, while another is tormented by wealth - whether his own or someone else's; one man is appalled by his misfortunes while another longs to get away from his own prosperity; one man is suffering at the hands of men, another at the hands of the gods. All mankind are stretching out their hands to you on every side. Lives that have been ruined, lives that are on the way to ruin are appealing for some help; it is to you that they look for hope and assistance. (Seneca, Moral Letters, 48.7-8, trans. Campbell, p. 98)

          The counsel that Seneca speaks of here, which aims to relieve people of their anxieties, and which in doing so will give to the philosopher's student a sense of profound tranquillity, is frequently conceived of, by the Stoics as well as the other philosophical schools of the Graeco-Roman period, in terms of medical imagery. That is, the philosophically unenlightened person who experiences the sorts of anxieties that Seneca enumerates is thought of as suffering a sort of sickness for which the philosopher has treatments and remedies just as the physician has prescriptions and regimes for people suffering physical illnesses.

          Seneca offers a picture of Lucilius, and thereby of all Stoics surely, as being responsible for responding to people in need who are conceived of as actively appealing for help from philosophers.

          Live with honour,

          Keith
        • Timothy Anstiss
          I wrote It is my opinion that stoic philosophy could eventually emerge as a ... Certainly. Whilst REBT is capable of delivering preventive psychiatry to
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 2, 2000
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            I wrote

            It is my opinion that stoic philosophy could eventually emerge as a
            >> recognised form of preventive psychiatry - improving the emotional
            >> well-being of (what do we call people commencing following stoicism - is
            >> their a non-new age term?) followers / adherences, as well as reducing
            >> social pathology in the neighborhood and the organisations which serve
            >> neighbourhoods.

            and bert responded:

            > Tim, I gather you don't see REBT as fulfilling that function. Can
            >you elucidate?

            Certainly.

            Whilst REBT is capable of delivering preventive psychiatry to individuals
            willing to use it, the majority of people will not look at it because of its
            therapy tag - i.e. stigma and prejudice. I am not sure how far Rational
            Effectiveness Training has developed since some of the articles I read about
            it. IMO stoicism would be promoting much of REBT's most effective messages
            and techniques anyway, because they are in complete harmony. Stoicism
            (neostoicism) is the marketing shell - containing much above and beyond
            REBT, but also containing much of REBT's terms, definitions and methods. You
            only have to look at A Dictionary of REBT by Dryden and Ellis to see what a
            great resource REBT is for stoics - they have done huge amounts of work for
            us in developing powerful methods to help individuals become more stoic
            like. So in summary, there are a few key differences between stoicism and
            REBT - e.g. REBT promoting long range hedonism - but in many ways REBT is
            just a distillation of means by which one can make more rapid progress in
            developing one soul along stoic lines. But stoicism may be a better vehicle
            for global diffusion of the big picture.

            In response to my suggesting stoicism might reduce social pathology in the
            neighbourhood and the organisations which serve the neighbourhood, fred
            wrote:

            "Are you suggesting that Stoicism should evolve as a social agency? Can you
            imagine, without simply imitating the church, how Stoics would set about
            doing that?"

            As it happens, I was at the time merely thinking that if more people were
            stoic-esque, there would be less family breakdown, unemployment, vandalism,
            crime, alcohol dependency, and various agencies would be more effective and
            efficient because their employees where less disturbable human beings - more
            concerned with maximising the value of their organisation to their customer
            than jostling for status within their organisations internal food chains.

            However, it not unreasonable to expected a group of stoics in a
            neighbourhood to voluntarily associate in order to more effectively
            alleviate the plight of others. I personally plan to make several million,
            and use the same to develop a system which promotes / disseminates /
            diffuses the things we talk about in this group. What asle is there to do? I
            am as happy as I have ever been, and more money will not make much / any
            difference to that.

            Stoicism as a social agency? Yes, but I tend to see it also as an esoteric
            brotherhood / sisterhood - working behind the scenes, influencing
            politicians, funding philanthropic activities, developing teaching packs for
            teachers to use in schools, establishing its own retreats and colleges,
            writing articles in major newspapers giving a stoic slant on the temporal
            issues of the day. Whatever it takes to help the unwashed recognise that
            there is a valid alternative to a life of striving and grasping other than
            buddhism.

            cheers

            tim




            -----Original Message-----
            From: bertr@... <bertr@...>
            To: stoics@onelist.com <stoics@onelist.com>
            Date: 01 March 2000 15:32
            Subject: Re: [stoics] The Cosmic City and the just social order


            >From: <bertr@...>
            >
            >> >>

            >
            >Bert
            >
            >
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          • bertr@diac.com
            ... From: Timothy Anstiss To: Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2000 8:15 AM Subject: Re: [stoics] The Cosmic City
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 2, 2000
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Timothy Anstiss <Anstiss.Shl@...>
              To: <stoics@onelist.com>
              Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2000 8:15 AM
              Subject: Re: [stoics] The Cosmic City and the just social order


              > and bert responded:
              >
              > > Tim, I gather you don't see REBT as fulfilling that function.
              Can
              > >you elucidate?
              >
              > Certainly.
              >
              > Whilst REBT is capable of delivering preventive psychiatry to individuals
              > willing to use it, the majority of people will not look at it because of
              its
              > therapy tag - i.e. stigma and prejudice. I am not sure how far Rational
              > Effectiveness Training has developed since some of the articles I read
              about
              > it. IMO stoicism would be promoting much of REBT's most effective messages
              > and techniques anyway, because they are in complete harmony. Stoicism
              > (neostoicism) is the marketing shell - containing much above and beyond
              > REBT, but also containing much of REBT's terms, definitions and methods.
              You
              > only have to look at A Dictionary of REBT by Dryden and Ellis to see what
              a
              > great resource REBT is for stoics - they have done huge amounts of work
              for
              > us in developing powerful methods to help individuals become more stoic
              > like. So in summary, there are a few key differences between stoicism and
              > REBT - e.g. REBT promoting long range hedonism - but in many ways REBT is
              > just a distillation of means by which one can make more rapid progress in
              > developing one soul along stoic lines. But stoicism may be a better
              vehicle
              > for global diffusion of the big picture.
              >

              Tim, in my general experience in trying to teach people about REBT
              there was a certain amount or resistance because they understood that the
              philosophy took away their freedom to have fun. They enjoyed becoming
              angry, they took moral pleasure in the state killing people, they "knew"
              what they wanted was right and what the other wanted was wrong, bad, etc.
              My wife and I presented to teachers at several of the local schools. When
              we discussed anger there was always a large group who argued it was right to
              become angry at injustice (of course, they included some of the kids
              miserable behavior in that). They thought getting angry was an effective
              response to things they didn't like - and then after the anger they reached
              for another bottle of beer. So, I am pessimistic about any system that
              eschews hedonism becoming part of the national character. But, ever
              striving -

              Bert
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