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Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy

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  • Dave
    ... For Stoics neither good nor bad lie anywhere outside of the moral will, or character. So, any external disaster or tragedy is not an evil, but at worst a
    Message 1 of 29 , Jan 1, 2013
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      --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "NishmaBlogMaster" <nishmarrw@...> wrote:
      >
      > My answer to RW is nothing occurs without a cause.  There is suffering.  It has a cause.  That cause is pathos.  Whatever one thinks about gun control violence at its root is pathos driven.  Political and social answers to these sorts of dispreferreds tend to address symptoms and not the root cause.»
      >
      > Indeed I wanted to learn the Stoic approach to a human caused tragedy. I was not concerned with political action, the media is saturated with that stuff.
      >
      > I'm also interested in how Stoics would address natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina. It can be perfectly academic, I'd like to learn the process.


      For Stoics neither good nor bad lie anywhere outside of the moral will, or character. So, any external disaster or tragedy is not an evil, but at worst a dispreferred indifferent. By judging a tragedy in this way, the Stoic avoids suffering a pathos, and thereby maintains his 'good flow'.

      Epictetus' Discourses, 3.8 demonstrates how to make proper use of impressions, or "appearances" in George Long's translation.

      How we must exercise ourselves against appearances (öáíôáóßáò).

      As we exercise ourselves against sophistical questions, so we ought to exercise ourselves daily against appearances; for these appearances also propose questions to us. A certain person's son is dead. Answer; the thing is not within the power of the will': it is not an evil. A father has disinherited a certain son. What do you think of it? It is a thing beyond the power of the will, not an evil. Caesar has condemned a person. It is a thing beyond the power of the will, not an evil. The man is afflicted at this. Affliction is a thing which depends on the will: it is an evil. He has borne the condemnation bravely. That is a thing within the power of the will: it is a good. If we train ourselves in this manner, we shall make progress; for we shall never assent to any thing of which there is not an appearance capable of being comprehended. Your son is dead. What has happened? Your son is dead. Nothing more? Nothing. Your ship is lost. What has happened? Your ship is lost. A man has been led to prison. What has happened? He has been led to prison. But that herein he has fared badly, every man adds from his own opinion. But Zeus, you say, does not do right in these matters. Why? because he has made you capable of endurance? because he has made you magnanimous? because he has taken from that which befalls you the power of being evils? because it is in your power to be happy while you are suffering what you suffer; because he has opened the door to you,1 when things do not please you?2 Man, go out and do not complain.

      > Best Regards,
      > RW

      Best wishes,
      Dave
    • Erika McCants
      I m also interested in how Stoics would address natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina. It can be perfectly academic, I d like to
      Message 2 of 29 , Jan 1, 2013
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        "I'm also interested in how Stoics would address natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina. It can be perfectly academic, I'd like to learn the process."

           My guess is that one would have to remember that these storms are an act of/part of Nature, and that, because of this, there is no one that they can blame.  Then, one would have to use the fortitude that one had been developing , along with the other virtues, to help get themselves through the ordeal, knowing that they could not be defeated by it unless they let it.

        Erika
      • Grant Sterling
        OK, so what exactly are we asking here? 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such events occur? 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved in such an
        Message 3 of 29 , Jan 1, 2013
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          OK, so what exactly are we asking here?

          1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
          events occur?

          2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
          in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
          etc.)

          3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
          not directly involved?

          4) Something else?

          It seems to me that the responses given on this
          List so far have mostly been good, but have been
          addressing different issues. Almost everything
          I say below has already been stated by others:

          The event occurred either because the attacker
          was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
          making real choices, or because he had false
          beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
          an interaction between a less-complete mental
          disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
          of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
          Nothing here should disturb us.

          If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
          accept that the vice or insanity of others is
          not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
          responses are irrational. If he can take steps
          to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
          all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
          comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
          help, taking care again not to experience grief,
          anger, etc, oneself.

          If the event was the result of insanity, then
          it may be that various sensible gun control
          policies might have prevented the attacker from
          easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
          to kill such a large number of people in such a
          short time. (The same is true if the act was in
          whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
          case matters are more difficult because it is
          hard to decide in advance who is potentially
          vicious.)
          If the event was the result of insanity, it
          might be true that better mental health care
          would reduce the number of such incidents. On
          the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
          lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
          at the cost of constraining the lives of many
          people who would never shoot anybody. Your
          views on this matter will depend, in part, on
          your degree of confidence in the psychological
          community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
          If the event was the result of vice, then
          it might be that better laws encouraging people
          to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
          incidents. Of course, given that the government
          is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
          could or would institute policies designed to
          encourage virtue.
          So there are deep underlying political and
          social issues here...but they are extremely
          complex and the average citizen has little or
          no chance of creating a substantial change for
          the better.

          This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
          thought that has been discussed on this List
          many times. My view, stated here frequently,
          is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
          worrying about such events--they are out of our
          control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
          in a position of political authority, then one
          needs to spend the time and research necessary
          to work through these difficult issues and make
          decisions that seem best.)

          I do not think that there is anything in
          Stoicism that requires support for individual
          rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
          Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
          freedom to do what they want to do almost always
          leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
          I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
          that either defense of gun rights or of gun
          control is required...the Stoic will defend
          whatever specific measures are most rational in
          the particular political and social position that
          she finds herself.

          Regards,
          Grant
        • NishmaBlogMaster
          All of this is helpful Grant you addressed a lot of facets, and I appreciate that. Thanks to all Best Regards, RW
          Message 4 of 29 , Jan 1, 2013
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            All of this is helpful

            Grant you addressed a lot of facets, and I appreciate that.

            Thanks to all
            Best Regards,
            RW
          • stoic_thorn_bearer
            Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics to dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we ultimately may
            Message 5 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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              Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics to dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we ultimately may not change much it's easy to let government fall under 'not in our power' , yet for those living in democracies we may have greater responsibility to participate, apply reason, become educated on the issues without being carried away by passion. Indeed, if stoics and reasonable people don't do their part, fools and those without reason will continue policies that make no sense. To do that without being 'carried away' with passion is the challenge.
              Karlton

              ics@yahoogroups.com, Grant Sterling <gcsterling@...> wrote:
              >
              > OK, so what exactly are we asking here?
              >
              > 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
              > events occur?
              >
              > 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
              > in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
              > etc.)
              >
              > 3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
              > not directly involved?
              >
              > 4) Something else?
              >
              > It seems to me that the responses given on this
              > List so far have mostly been good, but have been
              > addressing different issues. Almost everything
              > I say below has already been stated by others:
              >
              > The event occurred either because the attacker
              > was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
              > making real choices, or because he had false
              > beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
              > an interaction between a less-complete mental
              > disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
              > of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
              > Nothing here should disturb us.
              >
              > If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
              > accept that the vice or insanity of others is
              > not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
              > responses are irrational. If he can take steps
              > to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
              > all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
              > comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
              > help, taking care again not to experience grief,
              > anger, etc, oneself.
              >
              > If the event was the result of insanity, then
              > it may be that various sensible gun control
              > policies might have prevented the attacker from
              > easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
              > to kill such a large number of people in such a
              > short time. (The same is true if the act was in
              > whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
              > case matters are more difficult because it is
              > hard to decide in advance who is potentially
              > vicious.)
              > If the event was the result of insanity, it
              > might be true that better mental health care
              > would reduce the number of such incidents. On
              > the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
              > lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
              > at the cost of constraining the lives of many
              > people who would never shoot anybody. Your
              > views on this matter will depend, in part, on
              > your degree of confidence in the psychological
              > community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
              > If the event was the result of vice, then
              > it might be that better laws encouraging people
              > to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
              > incidents. Of course, given that the government
              > is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
              > could or would institute policies designed to
              > encourage virtue.
              > So there are deep underlying political and
              > social issues here...but they are extremely
              > complex and the average citizen has little or
              > no chance of creating a substantial change for
              > the better.
              >
              > This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
              > thought that has been discussed on this List
              > many times. My view, stated here frequently,
              > is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
              > worrying about such events--they are out of our
              > control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
              > in a position of political authority, then one
              > needs to spend the time and research necessary
              > to work through these difficult issues and make
              > decisions that seem best.)
              >
              > I do not think that there is anything in
              > Stoicism that requires support for individual
              > rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
              > Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
              > freedom to do what they want to do almost always
              > leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
              > I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
              > that either defense of gun rights or of gun
              > control is required...the Stoic will defend
              > whatever specific measures are most rational in
              > the particular political and social position that
              > she finds herself.
              >
              > Regards,
              > Grant
              >
            • Michelle Creedy
              Hi Karlton I just joined the Stoic list yesterday because I read a little about Stoasism and it really spoke to me. I m really glad to read all of these
              Message 6 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                Hi Karlton

                 

                I just joined the Stoic list yesterday because I read a little about Stoasism and it really spoke to me. I’m really glad to read all of these different viewpoints and yes, I think we still need to be compassionate and help others even if we can’t really change much. The great thing about stoics is that stoics are not carried away by issues.

                 

                Michelle

                 

                 

                From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of stoic_thorn_bearer
                Sent: January-02-13 8:49 AM
                To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy

                 

                 


                Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics to dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we ultimately may not change much it's easy to let government fall under 'not in our power' , yet for those living in democracies we may have greater responsibility to participate, apply reason, become educated on the issues without being carried away by passion. Indeed, if stoics and reasonable people don't do their part, fools and those without reason will continue policies that make no sense. To do that without being 'carried away' with passion is the challenge.
                Karlton

                ics@yahoogroups.com, Grant Sterling <gcsterling@...> wrote:

                >
                > OK, so what exactly are we asking here?
                >
                > 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
                > events occur?
                >
                > 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
                > in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
                > etc.)
                >
                > 3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
                > not directly involved?
                >
                > 4) Something else?
                >
                > It seems to me that the responses given on this
                > List so far have mostly been good, but have been
                > addressing different issues. Almost everything
                > I say below has already been stated by others:
                >
                > The event occurred either because the attacker
                > was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
                > making real choices, or because he had false
                > beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
                > an interaction between a less-complete mental
                > disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
                > of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
                > Nothing here should disturb us.
                >
                > If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
                > accept that the vice or insanity of others is
                > not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
                > responses are irrational. If he can take steps
                > to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
                > all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
                > comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
                > help, taking care again not to experience grief,
                > anger, etc, oneself.
                >
                > If the event was the result of insanity, then
                > it may be that various sensible gun control
                > policies might have prevented the attacker from
                > easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
                > to kill such a large number of people in such a
                > short time. (The same is true if the act was in
                > whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
                > case matters are more difficult because it is
                > hard to decide in advance who is potentially
                > vicious.)
                > If the event was the result of insanity, it
                > might be true that better mental health care
                > would reduce the number of such incidents. On
                > the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
                > lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
                > at the cost of constraining the lives of many
                > people who would never shoot anybody. Your
                > views on this matter will depend, in part, on
                > your degree of confidence in the psychological
                > community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
                > If the event was the result of vice, then
                > it might be that better laws encouraging people
                > to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
                > incidents. Of course, given that the government
                > is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
                > could or would institute policies designed to
                > encourage virtue.
                > So there are deep underlying political and
                > social issues here...but they are extremely
                > complex and the average citizen has little or
                > no chance of creating a substantial change for
                > the better.
                >
                > This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
                > thought that has been discussed on this List
                > many times. My view, stated here frequently,
                > is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
                > worrying about such events--they are out of our
                > control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
                > in a position of political authority, then one
                > needs to spend the time and research necessary
                > to work through these difficult issues and make
                > decisions that seem best.)
                >
                > I do not think that there is anything in
                > Stoicism that requires support for individual
                > rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
                > Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
                > freedom to do what they want to do almost always
                > leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
                > I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
                > that either defense of gun rights or of gun
                > control is required...the Stoic will defend
                > whatever specific measures are most rational in
                > the particular political and social position that
                > she finds herself.
                >
                > Regards,
                > Grant
                >

              • stoic_thorn_bearer
                Hi Michelle, glad that you joined the group. I think there are those here who come at stoicism from many different angles. I happen to be a Christian who finds
                Message 7 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                  Hi Michelle, glad that you joined the group. I think there are those here who come at stoicism from many different angles. I happen to be a Christian who finds great truth and wisdom in stoicism, so I seek to incorporate it into my life.
                  I wish you well on your stoic path.
                  Karlton


                  --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Michelle Creedy" <mjcreedy@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Karlton
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > I just joined the Stoic list yesterday because I read a little about
                  > Stoasism and it really spoke to me. I'm really glad to read all of these
                  > different viewpoints and yes, I think we still need to be compassionate and
                  > help others even if we can't really change much. The great thing about
                  > stoics is that stoics are not carried away by issues.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Michelle
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  > stoic_thorn_bearer
                  > Sent: January-02-13 8:49 AM
                  > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics to
                  > dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we
                  > ultimately may not change much it's easy to let government fall under 'not
                  > in our power' , yet for those living in democracies we may have greater
                  > responsibility to participate, apply reason, become educated on the issues
                  > without being carried away by passion. Indeed, if stoics and reasonable
                  > people don't do their part, fools and those without reason will continue
                  > policies that make no sense. To do that without being 'carried away' with
                  > passion is the challenge.
                  > Karlton
                  >
                  > ics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ics%40yahoogroups.com> , Grant Sterling
                  > <gcsterling@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > OK, so what exactly are we asking here?
                  > >
                  > > 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
                  > > events occur?
                  > >
                  > > 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
                  > > in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
                  > > etc.)
                  > >
                  > > 3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
                  > > not directly involved?
                  > >
                  > > 4) Something else?
                  > >
                  > > It seems to me that the responses given on this
                  > > List so far have mostly been good, but have been
                  > > addressing different issues. Almost everything
                  > > I say below has already been stated by others:
                  > >
                  > > The event occurred either because the attacker
                  > > was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
                  > > making real choices, or because he had false
                  > > beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
                  > > an interaction between a less-complete mental
                  > > disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
                  > > of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
                  > > Nothing here should disturb us.
                  > >
                  > > If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
                  > > accept that the vice or insanity of others is
                  > > not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
                  > > responses are irrational. If he can take steps
                  > > to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
                  > > all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
                  > > comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
                  > > help, taking care again not to experience grief,
                  > > anger, etc, oneself.
                  > >
                  > > If the event was the result of insanity, then
                  > > it may be that various sensible gun control
                  > > policies might have prevented the attacker from
                  > > easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
                  > > to kill such a large number of people in such a
                  > > short time. (The same is true if the act was in
                  > > whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
                  > > case matters are more difficult because it is
                  > > hard to decide in advance who is potentially
                  > > vicious.)
                  > > If the event was the result of insanity, it
                  > > might be true that better mental health care
                  > > would reduce the number of such incidents. On
                  > > the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
                  > > lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
                  > > at the cost of constraining the lives of many
                  > > people who would never shoot anybody. Your
                  > > views on this matter will depend, in part, on
                  > > your degree of confidence in the psychological
                  > > community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
                  > > If the event was the result of vice, then
                  > > it might be that better laws encouraging people
                  > > to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
                  > > incidents. Of course, given that the government
                  > > is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
                  > > could or would institute policies designed to
                  > > encourage virtue.
                  > > So there are deep underlying political and
                  > > social issues here...but they are extremely
                  > > complex and the average citizen has little or
                  > > no chance of creating a substantial change for
                  > > the better.
                  > >
                  > > This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
                  > > thought that has been discussed on this List
                  > > many times. My view, stated here frequently,
                  > > is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
                  > > worrying about such events--they are out of our
                  > > control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
                  > > in a position of political authority, then one
                  > > needs to spend the time and research necessary
                  > > to work through these difficult issues and make
                  > > decisions that seem best.)
                  > >
                  > > I do not think that there is anything in
                  > > Stoicism that requires support for individual
                  > > rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
                  > > Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
                  > > freedom to do what they want to do almost always
                  > > leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
                  > > I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
                  > > that either defense of gun rights or of gun
                  > > control is required...the Stoic will defend
                  > > whatever specific measures are most rational in
                  > > the particular political and social position that
                  > > she finds herself.
                  > >
                  > > Regards,
                  > > Grant
                  > >
                  >
                • Michelle Creedy
                  Hi Karlton I too am a Christian and would find it very interesting to hear more about how you incorporate stoasism into your life. Perhaps you can recommend
                  Message 8 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                    Hi Karlton

                     

                    I too am a Christian and would find it very interesting to hear more about how you incorporate stoasism into your life. Perhaps you can recommend some good books and/or websites? I’m not sure if this post goes beyond what I’m supposed to be asking on this list so folks feel free to let me know.

                     

                    Michelle

                     

                     

                    From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of stoic_thorn_bearer
                    Sent: January-02-13 10:09 AM
                    To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy

                     

                     

                    Hi Michelle, glad that you joined the group. I think there are those here who come at stoicism from many different angles. I happen to be a Christian who finds great truth and wisdom in stoicism, so I seek to incorporate it into my life.
                    I wish you well on your stoic path.
                    Karlton

                    --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Michelle Creedy" <mjcreedy@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Karlton
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I just joined the Stoic list yesterday because I read a little about
                    > Stoasism and it really spoke to me. I'm really glad to read all of these
                    > different viewpoints and yes, I think we still need to be compassionate and
                    > help others even if we can't really change much. The great thing about
                    > stoics is that stoics are not carried away by issues.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Michelle
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                    > stoic_thorn_bearer
                    > Sent: January-02-13 8:49 AM
                    > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics to
                    > dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we
                    > ultimately may not change much it's easy to let government fall under 'not
                    > in our power' , yet for those living in democracies we may have greater
                    > responsibility to participate, apply reason, become educated on the issues
                    > without being carried away by passion. Indeed, if stoics and reasonable
                    > people don't do their part, fools and those without reason will continue
                    > policies that make no sense. To do that without being 'carried away' with
                    > passion is the challenge.
                    > Karlton
                    >
                    > ics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ics%40yahoogroups.com> , Grant Sterling
                    > <gcsterling@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > OK, so what exactly are we asking here?
                    > >
                    > > 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
                    > > events occur?
                    > >
                    > > 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
                    > > in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
                    > > etc.)
                    > >
                    > > 3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
                    > > not directly involved?
                    > >
                    > > 4) Something else?
                    > >
                    > > It seems to me that the responses given on this
                    > > List so far have mostly been good, but have been
                    > > addressing different issues. Almost everything
                    > > I say below has already been stated by others:
                    > >
                    > > The event occurred either because the attacker
                    > > was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
                    > > making real choices, or because he had false
                    > > beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
                    > > an interaction between a less-complete mental
                    > > disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
                    > > of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
                    > > Nothing here should disturb us.
                    > >
                    > > If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
                    > > accept that the vice or insanity of others is
                    > > not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
                    > > responses are irrational. If he can take steps
                    > > to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
                    > > all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
                    > > comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
                    > > help, taking care again not to experience grief,
                    > > anger, etc, oneself.
                    > >
                    > > If the event was the result of insanity, then
                    > > it may be that various sensible gun control
                    > > policies might have prevented the attacker from
                    > > easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
                    > > to kill such a large number of people in such a
                    > > short time. (The same is true if the act was in
                    > > whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
                    > > case matters are more difficult because it is
                    > > hard to decide in advance who is potentially
                    > > vicious.)
                    > > If the event was the result of insanity, it
                    > > might be true that better mental health care
                    > > would reduce the number of such incidents. On
                    > > the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
                    > > lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
                    > > at the cost of constraining the lives of many
                    > > people who would never shoot anybody. Your
                    > > views on this matter will depend, in part, on
                    > > your degree of confidence in the psychological
                    > > community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
                    > > If the event was the result of vice, then
                    > > it might be that better laws encouraging people
                    > > to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
                    > > incidents. Of course, given that the government
                    > > is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
                    > > could or would institute policies designed to
                    > > encourage virtue.
                    > > So there are deep underlying political and
                    > > social issues here...but they are extremely
                    > > complex and the average citizen has little or
                    > > no chance of creating a substantial change for
                    > > the better.
                    > >
                    > > This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
                    > > thought that has been discussed on this List
                    > > many times. My view, stated here frequently,
                    > > is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
                    > > worrying about such events--they are out of our
                    > > control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
                    > > in a position of political authority, then one
                    > > needs to spend the time and research necessary
                    > > to work through these difficult issues and make
                    > > decisions that seem best.)
                    > >
                    > > I do not think that there is anything in
                    > > Stoicism that requires support for individual
                    > > rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
                    > > Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
                    > > freedom to do what they want to do almost always
                    > > leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
                    > > I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
                    > > that either defense of gun rights or of gun
                    > > control is required...the Stoic will defend
                    > > whatever specific measures are most rational in
                    > > the particular political and social position that
                    > > she finds herself.
                    > >
                    > > Regards,
                    > > Grant
                    > >
                    >

                  • Erika McCants
                    Then you must define individual rights. My neighbor may think he has the right to let his large, violent dogs run free, but my individual rights require laws
                    Message 9 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                      "Then you must define individual rights. My neighbor may think he has the right to let his large, violent dogs run free, but my individual rights require laws to restrain his ideas for my family's safety. That could apply to many scenarios. As the bible says, rulers are not a terror to the good, but to lawbreakers. I go back to what I said, we need reason and common sense in government/politics. "Your rights end where my nose begins". Wise saying by my high school history teacher."

                         I agree that it is very important to think very hard about and define your individual stands on individual rights and many other things.   It's also important, though to not become discouraged when your attempts to act on your beliefs, no matter how virtuous it was for you to act on them, do not result in the results you were intending to get.  The only thing you had control of in the situation were your attempts, not the results of those attempts.

                      Erika
                    • stoic_thorn_bearer
                      Michelle, Not long ago I posted a short article expressing my thoughts about the Stoic Christian. I mention some texts in the article:
                      Message 10 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                        Michelle,
                        Not long ago I posted a short article expressing my thoughts about the Stoic Christian. I mention some texts in the article:
                        https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1V-ZZsU022n2jvNSqsDj4xlUffLZyybdxIMPqnbEogpE
                        Epictetus' Discourses is an accessible starting point and he is where I got started with Stoicism.
                        Karlton
                        --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Michelle Creedy" <mjcreedy@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi Karlton
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > I too am a Christian and would find it very interesting to hear more about
                        > how you incorporate stoasism into your life. Perhaps you can recommend some
                        > good books and/or websites? I'm not sure if this post goes beyond what I'm
                        > supposed to be asking on this list so folks feel free to let me know.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Michelle
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                        > stoic_thorn_bearer
                        > Sent: January-02-13 10:09 AM
                        > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Hi Michelle, glad that you joined the group. I think there are those here
                        > who come at stoicism from many different angles. I happen to be a Christian
                        > who finds great truth and wisdom in stoicism, so I seek to incorporate it
                        > into my life.
                        > I wish you well on your stoic path.
                        > Karlton
                        >
                        > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com> , "Michelle
                        > Creedy" <mjcreedy@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Hi Karlton
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > I just joined the Stoic list yesterday because I read a little about
                        > > Stoasism and it really spoke to me. I'm really glad to read all of these
                        > > different viewpoints and yes, I think we still need to be compassionate
                        > and
                        > > help others even if we can't really change much. The great thing about
                        > > stoics is that stoics are not carried away by issues.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Michelle
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > From: stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com>
                        > [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                        > Of
                        > > stoic_thorn_bearer
                        > > Sent: January-02-13 8:49 AM
                        > > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com>
                        > > Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics
                        > to
                        > > dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we
                        > > ultimately may not change much it's easy to let government fall under 'not
                        > > in our power' , yet for those living in democracies we may have greater
                        > > responsibility to participate, apply reason, become educated on the issues
                        > > without being carried away by passion. Indeed, if stoics and reasonable
                        > > people don't do their part, fools and those without reason will continue
                        > > policies that make no sense. To do that without being 'carried away' with
                        > > passion is the challenge.
                        > > Karlton
                        > >
                        > > ics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ics%40yahoogroups.com>
                        > <mailto:ics%40yahoogroups.com> , Grant Sterling
                        > > <gcsterling@> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > OK, so what exactly are we asking here?
                        > > >
                        > > > 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
                        > > > events occur?
                        > > >
                        > > > 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
                        > > > in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
                        > > > etc.)
                        > > >
                        > > > 3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
                        > > > not directly involved?
                        > > >
                        > > > 4) Something else?
                        > > >
                        > > > It seems to me that the responses given on this
                        > > > List so far have mostly been good, but have been
                        > > > addressing different issues. Almost everything
                        > > > I say below has already been stated by others:
                        > > >
                        > > > The event occurred either because the attacker
                        > > > was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
                        > > > making real choices, or because he had false
                        > > > beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
                        > > > an interaction between a less-complete mental
                        > > > disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
                        > > > of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
                        > > > Nothing here should disturb us.
                        > > >
                        > > > If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
                        > > > accept that the vice or insanity of others is
                        > > > not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
                        > > > responses are irrational. If he can take steps
                        > > > to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
                        > > > all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
                        > > > comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
                        > > > help, taking care again not to experience grief,
                        > > > anger, etc, oneself.
                        > > >
                        > > > If the event was the result of insanity, then
                        > > > it may be that various sensible gun control
                        > > > policies might have prevented the attacker from
                        > > > easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
                        > > > to kill such a large number of people in such a
                        > > > short time. (The same is true if the act was in
                        > > > whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
                        > > > case matters are more difficult because it is
                        > > > hard to decide in advance who is potentially
                        > > > vicious.)
                        > > > If the event was the result of insanity, it
                        > > > might be true that better mental health care
                        > > > would reduce the number of such incidents. On
                        > > > the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
                        > > > lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
                        > > > at the cost of constraining the lives of many
                        > > > people who would never shoot anybody. Your
                        > > > views on this matter will depend, in part, on
                        > > > your degree of confidence in the psychological
                        > > > community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
                        > > > If the event was the result of vice, then
                        > > > it might be that better laws encouraging people
                        > > > to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
                        > > > incidents. Of course, given that the government
                        > > > is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
                        > > > could or would institute policies designed to
                        > > > encourage virtue.
                        > > > So there are deep underlying political and
                        > > > social issues here...but they are extremely
                        > > > complex and the average citizen has little or
                        > > > no chance of creating a substantial change for
                        > > > the better.
                        > > >
                        > > > This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
                        > > > thought that has been discussed on this List
                        > > > many times. My view, stated here frequently,
                        > > > is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
                        > > > worrying about such events--they are out of our
                        > > > control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
                        > > > in a position of political authority, then one
                        > > > needs to spend the time and research necessary
                        > > > to work through these difficult issues and make
                        > > > decisions that seem best.)
                        > > >
                        > > > I do not think that there is anything in
                        > > > Stoicism that requires support for individual
                        > > > rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
                        > > > Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
                        > > > freedom to do what they want to do almost always
                        > > > leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
                        > > > I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
                        > > > that either defense of gun rights or of gun
                        > > > control is required...the Stoic will defend
                        > > > whatever specific measures are most rational in
                        > > > the particular political and social position that
                        > > > she finds herself.
                        > > >
                        > > > Regards,
                        > > > Grant
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • stoic_thorn_bearer
                        Erika, Well said. I think both Epictetus and Marcus said something to that effect. It can get easy to be discouraged. We are only responsible for our actions,
                        Message 11 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                          Erika,
                          Well said. I think both Epictetus and Marcus said something to that effect. It can get easy to be discouraged. We are only responsible for our actions, not the reactions of others. If we have done what we can do, affected what was within our sphere of influence, we should be content.
                          Karlton

                          --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Erika McCants <Bascilla@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > "Then you must define individual rights. My neighbor may think he has the
                          > right to let his large, violent dogs run free, but my individual rights
                          > require laws to restrain his ideas for my family's safety. That could apply
                          > to many scenarios. As the bible says, rulers are not a terror to the good,
                          > but to lawbreakers. I go back to what I said, we need reason and common
                          > sense in government/politics**. "Your rights end where my nose begins".
                          > Wise saying by my high school history teacher."
                          >
                          > I agree that it is very important to think very hard about
                          > and define your individual stands on individual rights and many other
                          > things. It's also important, though to not become discouraged when your
                          > attempts to act on your beliefs, no matter how virtuous it was for you to
                          > act on them, do not result in the results you were intending to get. The
                          > only thing you had control of in the situation were your attempts, not the
                          > results of those attempts.
                          >
                          > Erika
                          >
                        • Michelle Creedy
                          Hello Karlton Thanks so much for this. I ll read it tomorrow and who knows, I may even start some kind of discussion with a few questions. So far, I m enjoying
                          Message 12 of 29 , Jan 2, 2013
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                            Hello Karlton

                             

                            Thanks so much for this. I’ll read it tomorrow and who knows, I may even start some kind of discussion with a few questions. So far, I’m enjoying the views on the list.

                             

                            Michelle

                             

                            From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of stoic_thorn_bearer
                            Sent: January-02-13 8:09 PM
                            To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy

                             

                             


                            Michelle,
                            Not long ago I posted a short article expressing my thoughts about the Stoic Christian. I mention some texts in the article:
                            https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1V-ZZsU022n2jvNSqsDj4xlUffLZyybdxIMPqnbEogpE
                            Epictetus' Discourses is an accessible starting point and he is where I got started with Stoicism.
                            Karlton

                            --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Michelle Creedy" <mjcreedy@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hi Karlton
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > I too am a Christian and would find it very interesting to hear more about
                            > how you incorporate stoasism into your life. Perhaps you can recommend some
                            > good books and/or websites? I'm not sure if this post goes beyond what I'm
                            > supposed to be asking on this list so folks feel free to let me know.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Michelle
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > From: stoics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                            > stoic_thorn_bearer
                            > Sent: January-02-13 10:09 AM
                            > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Hi Michelle, glad that you joined the group. I think there are those here
                            > who come at stoicism from many different angles. I happen to be a Christian
                            > who finds great truth and wisdom in stoicism, so I seek to incorporate it
                            > into my life.
                            > I wish you well on your stoic path.
                            > Karlton
                            >
                            > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com> , "Michelle
                            > Creedy" <mjcreedy@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hi Karlton
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > I just joined the Stoic list yesterday because I read a little about
                            > > Stoasism and it really spoke to me. I'm really glad to read all of these
                            > > different viewpoints and yes, I think we still need to be compassionate
                            > and
                            > > help others even if we can't really change much. The great thing about
                            > > stoics is that stoics are not carried away by issues.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Michelle
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > From: stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com>
                            > [mailto:stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                            > Of
                            > > stoic_thorn_bearer
                            > > Sent: January-02-13 8:49 AM
                            > > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:stoics%40yahoogroups.com>
                            > > Subject: [stoics] Re: Stoic Responses to Newtown Tragedy
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Grant, that was well said. Sometimes I wonder if it is too easy as stoics
                            > to
                            > > dismiss that third point regarding being a good citizen. Because we
                            > > ultimately may not change much it's easy to let government fall under 'not
                            > > in our power' , yet for those living in democracies we may have greater
                            > > responsibility to participate, apply reason, become educated on the issues
                            > > without being carried away by passion. Indeed, if stoics and reasonable
                            > > people don't do their part, fools and those without reason will continue
                            > > policies that make no sense. To do that without being 'carried away' with
                            > > passion is the challenge.
                            > > Karlton
                            > >
                            > > ics@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ics%40yahoogroups.com>
                            > <mailto:ics%40yahoogroups.com> , Grant Sterling
                            > > <gcsterling@> wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > OK, so what exactly are we asking here?
                            > > >
                            > > > 1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
                            > > > events occur?
                            > > >
                            > > > 2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
                            > > > in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
                            > > > etc.)
                            > > >
                            > > > 3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
                            > > > not directly involved?
                            > > >
                            > > > 4) Something else?
                            > > >
                            > > > It seems to me that the responses given on this
                            > > > List so far have mostly been good, but have been
                            > > > addressing different issues. Almost everything
                            > > > I say below has already been stated by others:
                            > > >
                            > > > The event occurred either because the attacker
                            > > > was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
                            > > > making real choices, or because he had false
                            > > > beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
                            > > > an interaction between a less-complete mental
                            > > > disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
                            > > > of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
                            > > > Nothing here should disturb us.
                            > > >
                            > > > If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
                            > > > accept that the vice or insanity of others is
                            > > > not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
                            > > > responses are irrational. If he can take steps
                            > > > to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
                            > > > all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
                            > > > comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
                            > > > help, taking care again not to experience grief,
                            > > > anger, etc, oneself.
                            > > >
                            > > > If the event was the result of insanity, then
                            > > > it may be that various sensible gun control
                            > > > policies might have prevented the attacker from
                            > > > easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
                            > > > to kill such a large number of people in such a
                            > > > short time. (The same is true if the act was in
                            > > > whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
                            > > > case matters are more difficult because it is
                            > > > hard to decide in advance who is potentially
                            > > > vicious.)
                            > > > If the event was the result of insanity, it
                            > > > might be true that better mental health care
                            > > > would reduce the number of such incidents. On
                            > > > the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
                            > > > lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
                            > > > at the cost of constraining the lives of many
                            > > > people who would never shoot anybody. Your
                            > > > views on this matter will depend, in part, on
                            > > > your degree of confidence in the psychological
                            > > > community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
                            > > > If the event was the result of vice, then
                            > > > it might be that better laws encouraging people
                            > > > to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
                            > > > incidents. Of course, given that the government
                            > > > is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
                            > > > could or would institute policies designed to
                            > > > encourage virtue.
                            > > > So there are deep underlying political and
                            > > > social issues here...but they are extremely
                            > > > complex and the average citizen has little or
                            > > > no chance of creating a substantial change for
                            > > > the better.
                            > > >
                            > > > This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
                            > > > thought that has been discussed on this List
                            > > > many times. My view, stated here frequently,
                            > > > is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
                            > > > worrying about such events--they are out of our
                            > > > control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
                            > > > in a position of political authority, then one
                            > > > needs to spend the time and research necessary
                            > > > to work through these difficult issues and make
                            > > > decisions that seem best.)
                            > > >
                            > > > I do not think that there is anything in
                            > > > Stoicism that requires support for individual
                            > > > rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
                            > > > Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
                            > > > freedom to do what they want to do almost always
                            > > > leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
                            > > > I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
                            > > > that either defense of gun rights or of gun
                            > > > control is required...the Stoic will defend
                            > > > whatever specific measures are most rational in
                            > > > the particular political and social position that
                            > > > she finds herself.
                            > > >
                            > > > Regards,
                            > > > Grant
                            > > >
                            > >
                            >

                          • Scott Rhodes
                            I feel refreshed! Thanks Grant. Im thinking of another question that might be useful to consider. I hope it does not come across insensitive or offensive.
                            Message 13 of 29 , Jan 3, 2013
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                              I feel refreshed! Thanks Grant. 

                              Im thinking of another question that might be useful to consider. I hope it does not come across insensitive or offensive.

                              Although it is pointless to ask what would have been the outcome if Adam Lanza had been a Stoic, nor does it seem to have mattered even if the whole community of Newtown had been Stoics. The same outcome could have followed.

                              But in the case of Adams mother, Nancy, given what we have been told, can we determine un-stoic choices that she made that may have been critical in the outcome? 

                              This is pure speculation since we cannot know more than the  broadest generalizations that have been reported. But given that it is true that she often spoke about apocalyptic scenarios and violent civil revolt, her need to own firearms and to teach Adam to use them follows a familiar current trend and profile. That is to say, she appears to have been in the passionate grip of frightful scenarios if not paranoid rhetoric.

                              Of course she may have possessed guns and taught Adam to use them purely out of a sense of duty. She may indeed have kept her anxieties from him. Even so, if it is true that Adam was known to throw violent tantrums, there seems to have been something behind Nancy's decision to teach him to use a gun and to make them available which exceeded   better judgment. Even as she clearly loved Adam and was devoted to caring for him, she evidently felt there was something more threatening than the possibility that Adam would throw a tantrum and use one of her guns.

                              If this was the case this does not amount to a matter of personal blame. There are no doubt countless similar family situations that do not turn so tragic.

                              Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum,  
                              "With love for humanity and hatred of vice."

                              (St. Augustine.Letter 211)
                               


                              On Jan 1, 2013, at 8:55 PM, Grant Sterling <gcsterling@...> wrote:

                               

                              OK, so what exactly are we asking here?

                              1) What should a Stoic believe about why such
                              events occur?

                              2) How should a Stoic react if s/he is involved
                              in such an event? (As a parent, teacher, student,
                              etc.)

                              3) How should a Stoic react as a citizen, if
                              not directly involved?

                              4) Something else?

                              It seems to me that the responses given on this
                              List so far have mostly been good, but have been
                              addressing different issues. Almost everything
                              I say below has already been stated by others:

                              The event occurred either because the attacker
                              was biologically unbalanced and incapable of
                              making real choices, or because he had false
                              beliefs about what things have true value. (Or
                              an interaction between a less-complete mental
                              disturbance with a vice.) The specific outcomes
                              of the attack result from the Logos and the gods.
                              Nothing here should disturb us.

                              If involved in such an event, the Stoic should
                              accept that the vice or insanity of others is
                              not in our control. Fear, anger, or other such
                              responses are irrational. If he can take steps
                              to save the lives of oneself and others, then by
                              all means he will do so. Afterwards, the Stoic should
                              comfort others in whatever way seems most likely to
                              help, taking care again not to experience grief,
                              anger, etc, oneself.

                              If the event was the result of insanity, then
                              it may be that various sensible gun control
                              policies might have prevented the attacker from
                              easily obtaining weaponry that would allow him
                              to kill such a large number of people in such a
                              short time. (The same is true if the act was in
                              whole or in part a result of vice, but in this
                              case matters are more difficult because it is
                              hard to decide in advance who is potentially
                              vicious.)
                              If the event was the result of insanity, it
                              might be true that better mental health care
                              would reduce the number of such incidents. On
                              the other hand, stronger restrictions on the
                              lives of those deemed "mentally ill" comes
                              at the cost of constraining the lives of many
                              people who would never shoot anybody. Your
                              views on this matter will depend, in part, on
                              your degree of confidence in the psychological
                              community to diagnose and treat such illnesses.
                              If the event was the result of vice, then
                              it might be that better laws encouraging people
                              to moral behavior would reduce the number of such
                              incidents. Of course, given that the government
                              is not run by Stoics, it is unlikely that they
                              could or would institute policies designed to
                              encourage virtue.
                              So there are deep underlying political and
                              social issues here...but they are extremely
                              complex and the average citizen has little or
                              no chance of creating a substantial change for
                              the better.

                              This gives rise to a major issue in Stoic
                              thought that has been discussed on this List
                              many times. My view, stated here frequently,
                              is that the Stoic should spend little or no time
                              worrying about such events--they are out of our
                              control. {Obviously, if the Stoic is serving
                              in a position of political authority, then one
                              needs to spend the time and research necessary
                              to work through these difficult issues and make
                              decisions that seem best.)

                              I do not think that there is anything in
                              Stoicism that requires support for individual
                              rights and freedoms as paramount. (The ancient
                              Greeks frequently warn that giving people the
                              freedom to do what they want to do almost always
                              leads to vice, since people have distorted desires.)
                              I am certain that nothing in Stoicism suggests
                              that either defense of gun rights or of gun
                              control is required...the Stoic will defend
                              whatever specific measures are most rational in
                              the particular political and social position that
                              she finds herself.

                              Regards,
                              Grant

                            • Mike Stewart
                              This is a good analogy, Karlton, but I am not sure of your point. We have laws in place to allow the neighbor to enjoy dog ownership with appropriate leash
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jan 5, 2013
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                                This is a good analogy, Karlton, but I am not sure of your point. We have laws in place to allow the neighbor to enjoy dog ownership with appropriate leash requirements, sanitation requirements, fencing, etc. in order to preserve other's rights to not be burdened by the animals. We don't take the dogs away unless there are extreme circumstances and we don't eliminate dog ownership nationwide because there are some crapy, irresponsible dog owners out there.

                                If I am to define individual rights, then I would keep it simple. Individual rights shall be in keeping with the concepts of loving thy neighbor and balance. Keep your dogs, so long as they stay of my lawn. If you cannot control them then an objective third party can and shall mitigate.

                                This would apply to pets, gun ownership, lifestyle choices, religion or lack thereof, hobbies, fashion, musical taste, etc. If they are kind and loving neighbors, what else matters?

                                As for your quote, "Rulers are not a terror to the good, but to lawbreakers" I am not sure how to reply except to be blunt. While this is a wonderful ideal, it has rarely if ever been fully realized throughout recorded history. Having read this in context (Romans 13:1-5 inserted below) I find it both concerning that you would lean on this so heavily in your argument. I know we all live in our own reality, but from my perspective your reality is utopian. If God appointed my "rulers" then God is both good and evil and also rediculously hilarious. I rather like to think of God as pure love.

                                Romans 13:1-5

                                Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.




                                --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "stoic_thorn_bearer" wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > Then you must define individual rights. My neighbor may think he has the right to let his large, violent dogs run free, but my individual rights require laws to restrain his ideas for my family's safety. That could apply to many scenarios. As the bible says, rulers are not a terror to the good, but to lawbreakers. I go back to what I said, we need reason and common sense in government/politics. "Your rights end where my nose begins". Wise saying by my high school history teacher.
                                > Karlton
                                > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Stewart" wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Thanks to all for a vibrant conversation. I am grateful to you for the banter. My replies to your kindly input:
                                > >
                                > > Karlton asks a question I too am keen on and offer this: I see a trend in belief systems to clutter up perfectly good objectives with too many details that ultimately obscure the goal of the system. The expression, "can't see the forest from the trees" comes to mind. As an example from Christian text, Matthew 22, 36-40, when asked what the greatest of commandments was Jesus responded to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and secondly, to love thy neighbor as thyself. I hope I don't need to give any of a million examples as to how christians throughout time have missed this mark and did so in the name of God (... all religions have done this ... in my mind this is the ultimate irony).
                                > >
                                > > I say, keep it simple. Remove ourselves from the trees, relieve ourselves the burden of the details and focus on the greater objective of being virtuous. With that in mind...
                                > >
                                > > As Scott pointed out, I treaded dreadfully close to a gun debate so I need to clarify my pondering. I was looking at the incident and subsequent social and political response from a more long term sociological perspective. As a cycle of nature, societies that stand up anew as proponents of individual rights and freedoms, over time, ultimately corrode as freedoms are relinquished in favor of more centralized government. I'm merely pointing out that the USA pendulum is headed in a specific direction. My use of the 2nd Amendment is anecdotal and wasn't meant to portray my personal opinion of it's merits.
                                > >
                                > > Speaking to politics and legislature in general, I would think that any stoic that is not in favor of individual rights over centralization of power is perhaps not a Stoic after all. I welcome a debate on that point.
                                > >
                                > > RW, you bring up a point that further illustrates my conversation with Karlton above regarding keeping things simple vs what we see in social religious expression. Where Jesus is said to have boiled down the old testament into two commandments, I've boiled down the Bible to one word: LOVE. In fact, Stoics, other philosophies and religions all have the same roots in this one concept. It's the details and usually supernatural conjecture created by humans (naturally flawed) that tends to divide and divert attention from this fundamental foundation that God has given us. If you think about it, don't the cardinal virtues of Stoic philosophy fall under the banner of "love"?
                                > >
                                > > On being quoted, after so many generations of humanity, I am certain no thoughts and no words of mine are original. Anything I say has been said and probably better nearly an infinite number of times before. However, if you wish to use my name in association with a quote, I'd like the opportunity to be certain I have not been taken out of context if at all possible.
                                > >
                                > > To all a virtuous new year!
                                > >
                                > > Mike S
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "stoic_thorn_bearer" wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > > I often wonder why reason cannot be applied to political as well as other areas. Does our stoicism stop at the political affiliation?
                                > > > Passion for or against guns is, I believe, non-stoic.
                                > > > I have a gun, but could easily live without it. I have spoken with preppers recently and could not help but wonder who they expect to be shooting with all those semi-automatic weapons. As for myself, I'd rather be dead than fighting people in the streets over scraps of food, if you believe in that zombie-apocalyptic nonsense.
                                > > > Common sense cannot prevail here in America due to the mixing of religion and politics and extremism destroying reason. Violence is woven into American culure and unless reason prevails, we should expect to see many more tradgedies.
                                > > > Like Epictetus, I'd rejoice to see just one stoic.
                                > > > Karlton
                                > > > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Scott Rhodes wrote:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Hi Mike
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Nice Newtown pun. The general direction of your response is tantalizing. Jan Garrett has pointed out here on the list that the Stoic philosophical disposition is very problematic when it comes to political matters. (and I agree with him)
                                > > > >
                                > > > > What is most valuable about this list is that the contributors give one another thoughts and ideas that are learned or at least go beyond the typical or topical. We all flirt with the danger of deteriorating into debating personal opinions while we are merely trying to keep philosophy close to our hearts.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > I am not a moderator and this list is pretty tolerant so forgive me if I come off as a buzz-kill but I have to I ask a favor of all: please let's make an effort to NOT turn this list into a forum for current topical news, most especially on the subject of gun control--unless of course it is patently clear that there is sufficient Stoic content to steer clear of the standard argumentation. Gun control is notorious in that regard.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Of course my point is not directed to your response, Mike, nor to Frugal's question. The question was certainly appropriate, and so was your response.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > I'm addressing those temptations in us all, when we are tempted to respond by merely giving voice to either passionate agreement or disagreement. I think everyone knows what i mean, how we sometimes worsen conversation by inviting or invoking a reflexive series of predictable notions and a dialectical mise en abyme. Gun control is, again, notorious in that regard.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > And we've all been on the other side of the table, quietly listening to the same old songs until your silent endurance begins to collapse and you just want to leap up and jerk the table cloth out from under everyones platters of pleasure and platitudes.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Such images come to us as possibilities, or course of action we disperfer, yet we may retain it internally to counter the passion, it makes us smile and the pressure is relieved for a moment.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > One of the most insightful theories among the ancient stoics is that of phantasia. The consideration of how our mental activity is largely wordless, that ideas arise in our minds as images and that our focus on language causes us to overlook that activity, it's a Stoic consideration that well survives into modern times. It not only has personal meditative insight and benefit it also has a whole field of media and cultural studies wrapped around it.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > What are the consequences of addictive imagination? The Stoic strategy of distinguishing one's judging faculty from the impression and enjoyment of images is a fundamental tool that would serve us even more so today than in the days when there was no tv, YouTube, movies, porn or video games. We are wired in like never before.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > I'm not intending to be derogatory toward the technologies of media at all. The problem is that like all technologies they easily seduce, overwhelm and over power those who haven't been given the slightest instruction on what it is to "imagine".
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Most of us in western society mature in years while we remain completely ignorant of the nature and dictates of internal images which we presume are fundamental to who we are or can be. Seeing is believing.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > What a alarming notion, if we are so thoroughly and relentlessly bombarded by methods designed to intensify and proliferate these internal sensations and at the same time we are left uninitiated, wholly blind to the reality of our exception, ignorant of any schematic whatsoever, defenseless.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > "With the broach of the dying woman
                                > > > > Oedipus put out his eyes." (Cocteau)
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Scott
                                > > > >
                                > > > > On Dec 31, 2012, at 2:59 AM, "Mike Stewart" wrote:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > > My response regarding the stoic view of tragedies like that of Newtown reminds me of three things. First, in a strange coincidence, Newtown reminds me of Newton and his 3rd Law of Motion, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Basically, there is good and bad in everything.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Not to diminish the horrifying nature of the events or take away from the terrible losses so many families now have to live with, but we are mere mortals and will never fully understand the full power and balance of nature. We can however acknowledge this and that is the power we have to help control our passions.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > This leads to my next point. Stoics are not devoid of feelings as is so often recited. Stoics merely attempt to control their emotions rather than be controlled by them. While Stoics strive to temper their actions and reactions with sound reason that in no way means they feel not. After all, the Stoic reward for being virtuous is good feelings.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Lastly, as I was watching things unfold, my thoughts went quickly to how the nation was going to respond to this event. Specifically regarding guns and legislation. It was easy to predict irrational and emotional responses from Washington and a scared public. I had hoped our "leaders" were going to address the poor state our mental health care system is in which may have helped prevent the Newtown shooting, but knew that this would serve as a platform to potentially launch a repeat of one of histories most troubling recurring events - The disarming of citizens. We will see...
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Having seen so many atrocities worldwide I may be accused of being desensitized to such violence and there might be some truth to that. But the pattern is predictable. Horrific acts that defy reason are perpetrated by sick, non-virtuous people. This cannot be preempted 100% of the time now or perhaps ever. Sad, but true. Worse still, in my opinion, is the response by those who are supposed to be reasonable people.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > I have come to expect disproportionate and ultimately counterproductive and destructive responses to such things. I'm just doing the math and this is what I've come up with.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > On a brighter note, throughout all of my research I have come up with one very shiny statistic. In 2300 years of practice, I can't find a single occurrence of genocide in the name of Stoicism. I don't care what anyone says, APATHY RULES!
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > ~ Mike
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "NishmaBlogMaster" wrote:
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Excellent
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Just what I was thinking
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Thanks!
                                > > > > > > Best Regards,
                                > > > > > > RW
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                              • Mike Stewart
                                Allow me to elaborate on the virtues of keeping it simple. I was raised Catholic. While I am eternally grateful for the moral foundation and exceptional
                                Message 15 of 29 , Jan 5, 2013
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                                  Allow me to elaborate on the virtues of "keeping it simple." I was raised Catholic. While I am eternally grateful for the moral foundation and exceptional education I received, I find the practice a bit tedious. I do not intend to offend anyone, only make a point. The practice of Catholicism is accompanied with fanciful rituals, protocol, routines and ceremonies that only complicated my relationship with God and confused me as much of it seemed in conflict with scripture. In fact, the more I read, the more inconsistencies and even contradictions I found within the text and with the practice.

                                  To reconcile that, I studied other religions and philosophies and realized it is human nature to clutter up perfectly good things with the intention of fixing what wasn't broken to begin with. Much it up with secret hand shakes and rhetoric if it makes you happy, but my research has shown these things are likely to detract from and ultimately pervert to the antithesis of the original intention.

                                  With that, I give you Stoicism in it's simplicity:

                                  Motto: Live according to nature

                                  How? Practicing apathy is virtuous and rewarded with contentment and good feelings.

                                  "Apathy" - eradicating the tendency to react emotionally or egotistically to external events; the things we cannot control.

                                  With love,
                                  Mike



                                  --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Scott Rhodes wrote:
                                  >
                                  > On Dec 31, 2012, at 3:40 PM, "Mike Stewart" wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > I see a trend in belief systems to clutter up perfectly good objectives with too many details that ultimately obscure the goal of the system.
                                  > >
                                  > > I say, keep it simple.
                                  >
                                  > It should be pointed out before going any further that complexity is one of the identifying features of Greek thought, quite exemplary and beautifully so in Stoicism.
                                  >
                                  > Stoicism is deliberately inclusive and complex. It was conceived that way. Simplifying it would be like trying to make Cajun food without a roux. A bowl of boiled crawfish doth not make a gumbo.
                                  >
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