Re: [stoics] Re: What does "living according to nature" mean?
- Dear Dave Kelly,
Thanks for your elucidation. I appreciate it.
A vulgar man, in any ill that happens to him, blames others; a novice in philosophy blames himself; and a philosopher blames neither the one nor the other.
- There's more! :)
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Richard" <pmsrxw@...> wrote:
> Dear Dave Kelly,
> Thanks for your elucidation. I appreciate it.
Don Robertson has also written about "living in accordance with nature". Like Hadot, he writes of "a system of coherence at three levels of nature", which provides the basic structure for applying Epictetus' Three Disciplines.
"The name "Stoic" simply refers to the stoa poekile, the "painted porch" within which Zeno of Citium, the school's founder, delivered his lectures and training. However, Stoicism has a more descriptive name, it is also called the "Natural Life" or "Following Nature", and many variations of this phrase are used to describe the basic orientation of the system. The ancient historian of philosophy Diogenes Laertius writes, `the end [of Stoicism] turns out to be living in agreement with nature, taken as living in accordance both with one's own nature and with the nature of the whole [universe]' (Diogenes Laertius: 1964, VII: 88). In this, Diogenes is alluding to the central Stoic distinction between (internal) human nature, and the (external) Nature of the universe. In fact, this basic ideal was interpreted as applying at three levels, Diogenes could have added, `living in accord with the nature of all mankind,' because the Stoics believed that the individual self can only be understand as one part, or rather a `limb', of the community of all people. Hence, we have a system of coherence at three levels of `nature':
1. Self. Moral integrity, truthfulness, and personal authenticity
2. Mankind. Empathic understanding, social justice, philadelphia ("brotherly love")
3. Universe. Being at one with life, with the All, with the totality of Nature
"The Stoic Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, employs these three tiers of psychological relations in the therapy journal he kept, the famous Meditations, when he writes:
`Your own mind, the Mind of the universe, your neighbour's mind be prompt to explore them all. Your own, so that you may shape it to justice [and authenticity]; the universe's, that you may recollect what it is you are a part of; your neighbour's, that you may understand whether it is informed by ignorance or knowledge, and also may recognise that it is kin to your own. (Marcus Aurelius: 1964, 9:22)'
"Stoicism, therefore, is essentially a philosophy of being at one (homologoumenos), or in harmony with, the totality of life. As psychotherapy, it equates mental and emotional health with integration or a sense of "oneness" at these three levels of existence. This simple and intuitive threefold classification also provides the basic structure for applying Stoic psychotherapy, the `Threefold Rule of Life.' "
> Regards, Richard