Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Stoicism: the Philosophy, not the ignorance of pain

I have been meditating and all that. But I have found that, when meditating, it is best if I think around the ancient idea of Stoicism. I have found this particularly helpful during these times when the idea of America seems on the verge of breaking.

That part that appeals to me is the reliance on one's response to negative situations. Don't harp on what you cannot change, but change what you can. The idea is that rational reaction to items that come up, are - usually - not dependent on you. 

For example, take the overturn of Roe. It is not directed at me personally - neither would the overturning of gay marriage. I can decide to ignore it or fight it, but I have to realize that it is not completely on me. The situation, the response of others, these are things I cannot control.

I listen now to a daily podcast called: https://dailystoic.com/

The four virtues of Stoicism are: Justice, Temperance, Wisdom and Courage. Personally I need to work on temperance. In this case temperance is not the modern definition of "doesn't drink alcohol". It is related to the more complete and older meaning.

Definition of temperance

1 : moderation in action, thought, or feeling : restraint. 2a : habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions. ("2b." around alcohol was ignored).

So far it has worked very well for me. It is easier to let go. Not of the anger or a devotion to change, but to my overreaction. I will still do this, maybe occasionally, probably often, but this is what I am working on.

Like (good) religion, Stoicism stress virtue to others. Which is/was a key tenet of Christianity when it was founded.


  1. I accept the first four and try to apply them in my life. But I have trouble with "moving on." What does that mean? Ignoring what's troubling you? Often not a good idea.
    Accepting it. Again, often not a good idea. And how do you "learn" to move on? That's one I don't get.

  2. Yeah, this is where Stoicism is weird. They look at this two ways. 1) Memento Mori - latin for "remember you must die". They think if you don't move on, it gives that something a power over you. 2) Stoicism views each change to your situation as something to be accepted and even thankful for, even though many changes are negative. They live in moment and try to not be burdened as to what happened in the past. Learn from it, and avoid it in the future, but don't be burdened by it.


Lynn Sent me this from ABC News

 Lynn gave me the heads up that this story was on ABC Nightly News. It is great and funny. There might be an ad before it, but hold on; it i...