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Stoic failing

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  • ian andrews
    Now, don t get me wrong. I love stoicism.... Love it. But something occurred to me while reading seneca s letters. In the first letter he talks about how you
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 7, 2013
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      Now, don't get me wrong. I love stoicism.... Love it. But something occurred to me while reading seneca's letters. In the first letter he talks about how you shouldn't jump from one book or author to another if you wish to improve, that you should stick to one form of remedy to it's end. Which is sound advice.... sound indeed, if you are a slightly bookish, Western educated male like me.
      Then a couple of letters forward, he talks about how he hates big crowds and feels less of a moral man. Also Marcus Aurelius constantly eludes to "fools" and "idiots" throughout his writing.

      Is Stoicism an elitist philosophy? It's a shame if it is, as stoicism has helped me a lot recently, and a lot of other people, I gather. It's also seems an irony that a philosophy that emphasises the unity of humanity should be confined to such a thin strata of society.

      At the very heart of Stoicism is the truth. A very rational, practical and comforting way to conduct our lives; a way to help humans grow spiritually, without the bullshit. A reason to get up in the morning, motivation. But because it has the reputation of an elitist philosophy, and because of it's historical setting, and because Stoic enthusiasts are inclined to quibble over unimportant abstract concepts, many people are turned off. 

      I'm only suggesting that maybe it would be good to spread the good word of Stoicism through other means; children's story books, games.... for example.

      I don't know... maybe I'm being pedantic. Maybe the main message of Stoicism is already alive in mainstream culture.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwSKkKrUzUk

    • MichaelB
      I think Stoicism is necessarily elitist, in that it s based on unremitting rational assessment of one s impressions. This is hard work and something very, very
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 7, 2013
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        I think Stoicism is necessarily elitist, in that it's based on unremitting rational assessment of one's impressions. This is hard work and something very, very few people are able to do. While in theory anyone may have the potential to be a sage, in reality it's going to be much tougher for some than for others. I haven't read much Aristotle, but I seem to recall his having argued that not everyone would be able to achieve eudaimonia (or something close to it) and that a person's socioeconomic status (for lack of a better term) made a big difference. I believe there's something to that.

        --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, ian andrews <ianslog@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > Now, don't get me wrong. I love stoicism.... Love it. But something occurred to me while reading seneca's letters. In the first letter he talks about how you shouldn't jump from one book or author to another if you wish to improve, that you should stick to one form of remedy to it's end. Which is sound advice.... sound indeed, if you are a slightly bookish, Western educated male like me.
        > Then a couple of letters forward, he talks about how he hates big crowds and feels less of a moral man. Also Marcus Aurelius constantly eludes to "fools" and "idiots" throughout his writing.
        >
        > Is Stoicism an elitist philosophy? It's a shame if it is, as stoicism has helped me a lot recently, and a lot of other people, I gather. It's also seems an irony that a philosophy that emphasises the unity of humanity should be confined to such a thin strata of society.
        >
        > At the very heart of Stoicism is the truth. A very rational, practical and comforting way to conduct our lives; a way to help humans grow spiritually, without the bullshit. A reason to get up in the morning, motivation. But because it has the reputation of an elitist philosophy, and because of it's historical setting, and because Stoic enthusiasts are inclined to quibble over unimportant abstract concepts, many people are turned off. 
        >
        > I'm only suggesting that maybe it would be good to spread the good word of Stoicism through other means; children's story books, games.... for example.
        >
        > I don't know... maybe I'm being pedantic. Maybe the main message of Stoicism is already alive in mainstream culture.
        >
        > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwSKkKrUzUk
        >
      • Steve Stoker
        Ian,   I don t think Stoicicm, as a philosophy/religion, is any more elitist than any other philosphy/religion. The adherents and practicioners may be
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 7, 2013
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          Ian,
           
          I don't think Stoicicm, as a philosophy/religion, is any more elitist than any other philosphy/religion.
          The adherents and practicioners may be elitist, but not the phlilosophy.
           
          I've seen the same things you're seeing and I just ignore them. Seneca and Marcos can go there own
          ways in this and I'll go mine. I've also seen the same thing in Buddhism, Christianity, etc. People
          can have elitist or any other view points they want, apart from the religions/philosophies they adhere
          to.
           
          Best,
          Steve

          From: ian andrews <ianslog@...>
          To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, April 7, 2013 5:24 AM
          Subject: [stoics] Stoic failing
           

          Now, don't get me wrong. I love stoicism.... Love it. But something occurred to me while reading seneca's letters. In the first letter he talks about how you shouldn't jump from one book or author to another if you wish to improve, that you should stick to one form of remedy to it's end. Which is sound advice.... sound indeed, if you are a slightly bookish, Western educated male like me.
          Then a couple of letters forward, he talks about how he hates big crowds and feels less of a moral man. Also Marcus Aurelius constantly eludes to "fools" and "idiots" throughout his writing.

          Is Stoicism an elitist philosophy? It's a shame if it is, as stoicism has helped me a lot recently, and a lot of other people, I gather. It's also seems an irony that a philosophy that emphasises the unity of humanity should be confined to such a thin strata of society.

          At the very heart of Stoicism is the truth. A very rational, practical and comforting way to conduct our lives; a way to help humans grow spiritually, without the bullshit. A reason to get up in the morning, motivation. But because it has the reputation of an elitist philosophy, and because of it's historical setting, and because Stoic enthusiasts are inclined to quibble over unimportant abstract concepts, many people are turned off. 

          I'm only suggesting that maybe it would be good to spread the good word of Stoicism through other means; children's story books, games.... for example.

          I don't know... maybe I'm being pedantic. Maybe the main message of Stoicism is already alive in mainstream culture.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwSKkKrUzUk

        • Richard
          I usually agree with Steve Stoker, and I do so again! :-) I see Stoicism [and life itself] as a process. Ask Yourself - Does Stoicism make for a better life
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 7, 2013
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            I usually agree with Steve Stoker, and I do so again! :-)

            I see Stoicism [and life itself] as a process.

            Ask Yourself - Does Stoicism make for a better life for me?

            If your "good life" gets "better" then I'd say yes.

            I also realize that having started Stoicism later in life that it's almost impossible for me to be "puritanical" about.

            What I tend to do is to identify those Stoic principles that have influenced society throughout history and make them my "time-tested" core principles.


            Regards, Richard

            “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
            ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
          • Steve Marquis
            Ian- I too see Stoicism as necessarily elitist. But this is personality type elitism not a social elitism. I think the Hindus where very clever when they
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 7, 2013
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              Ian-

               

              I too see Stoicism as necessarily elitist.  But this is personality type elitism not a social elitism.  I think the Hindus where very clever when they diversified their Yoga into several branches in order to capture different groups of people who had different dominant psychologies.  Stoicism is most certainly geared towards the philosophically inclined thinking type and that fits only the minority of folks out there.  It will always be this way and to think that Stoicism is the best path for everyone I think is naïve.

               

              What is best for a given person is the best guidebook for leading them through their particular _current_ mental geography.  That guidebook is not the same for someone with a desert geography as it is for someone with a jungle geography.  Furthermore as one advances the geography changes.  And that means, quite radically, that a guidebook that has been very useful until now is absolutely wrong and needs to be discarded in favor of a new guidebook (after you cross the river discard the boat).

               

              This will set me against those who think that only the ‘truth’ is necessary and that for everyone.  But I disagree most emphatically.  What is best is not a true vision of the end.  That may scare someone off or many other possible reactions.  What is best is what motivates one from where one is currently at in the right direction.

               

              So others having different beliefs that I see as ‘wrong’ may best be left alone all thing considered.

               

              In this sense elitism, normally a word with a bad connotation, is not bad.  It should be that way.  It should be an efficient method for the target group it is trying to help.  Part of the definition of being effective is targeting a particular subgroup of the whole; IOW to be elitist.

               This is not a Stoic failing - it is a Stoic strength.

              Live well,

              Steve


              From: ian andrews <ianslog@...>
              To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Sun, April 7, 2013 3:24:13 AM
              Subject: [stoics] Stoic failing




              Now, don't get me wrong. I love stoicism.... Love it. But something occurred to me while reading seneca's letters. In the first letter he talks about how you shouldn't jump from one book or author to another if you wish to improve, that you should stick to one form of remedy to it's end. Which is sound advice.... sound indeed, if you are a slightly bookish, Western educated male like me.
              Then a couple of letters forward, he talks about how he hates big crowds and feels less of a moral man. Also Marcus Aurelius constantly eludes to "fools" and "idiots" throughout his writing.

              Is Stoicism an elitist philosophy? It's a shame if it is, as stoicism has helped me a lot recently, and a lot of other people, I gather. It's also seems an irony that a philosophy that emphasises the unity of humanity should be confined to such a thin strata of society.

              At the very heart of Stoicism is the truth. A very rational, practical and comforting way to conduct our lives; a way to help humans grow spiritually, without the bullshit. A reason to get up in the morning, motivation. But because it has the reputation of an elitist philosophy, and because of it's historical setting, and because Stoic enthusiasts are inclined to quibble over unimportant abstract concepts, many people are turned off. 

              I'm only suggesting that maybe it would be good to spread the good word of Stoicism through other means; children's story books, games.... for example.

              I don't know... maybe I'm being pedantic. Maybe the main message of Stoicism is already alive in mainstream culture.




            • Iames Imaginius
              Hello,   I m trying to learn more about Boethus of Sidon.  I found all the excerpts from Diogenes Book 7.  Does anyone know where more information may be
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 21, 2013
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                Hello,

                 

                I'm trying to learn more about Boethus of Sidon.  I found all the excerpts from Diogenes Book 7.  Does anyone know where more information may be found.  A half hour of Google searches hasn't provided much.  Any help would be greately appreciated.

                 

                Thank you all!
                Iames

              • Scott Rhodes
                Hi Iames In case you have not seen Philo s passage on the general doctrine of world conflagration, Stoicism is considered at length and Boethus is repeatedly
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 22, 2013
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                  Hi Iames
                  In case you have not seen Philo's passage on the general doctrine of world conflagration, Stoicism is considered at length and Boethus is repeatedly mentioned :

                  ON THE ETERNITY OF THE WORLD* XV. 76 ff.

                   But some of those who used to hold a different opinion, being overpowered by truth, have changed their doctrine; for beauty has a power which is very attractive, and the truth is beyond all things beautiful, as falsehood on the contrary is enormously ugly; therefore Boethus, and Posidonius, and Panaetius, men of great learning in the Stoic doctrines, as if seized with a sudden inspiration, abandoning all the stories about conflagrations and regeneration, have come over to the more divine doctrine of the incorruptibility of the world; (77) and it is said also that Diogenes, when he was very young, agreed entirely with those authors.... XVI. (78) But Boethus adduces the most convincing arguments, which we shall proceed to mention immediately; for if, says he, the world was created and is liable to destruction, then something will be made out of nothing, which appears to be most absurd even to the Stoics. Why so? XVI. (78) But Boethus adduces the most convincing arguments, which we shall proceed to mention immediately; for if, says he, the world was created and is liable to destruction, then something will be made out of nothing, which appears to be most absurd even to the Stoics. Why so? Because it is not possible to discover any cause of destruction either within or without, which will destroy the world. For on the outside there is nothing except perhaps a vacuum, inasmuch as all the elements in their integrity are collected and contained within it, and within there is no imperfection so great as to be the cause of dissolution to so great a thing. Again, if it is destroyed without any cause, then it is plain that from something which has no existence will arise the engendering of destruction, which is an idea quite inadmissible by reason.


                  There is more said, at length.
                  S

                  On Apr 21, 2013, at 10:13 PM, Iames Imaginius <iimaginius@...> wrote:

                   

                  Hello,

                   

                  I'm trying to learn more about Boethus of Sidon.  I found all the excerpts from Diogenes Book 7.  Does anyone know where more information may be found.  A half hour of Google searches hasn't provided much.  Any help would be greately appreciated.

                   

                  Thank you all!
                  Iames

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