Stoicism’s moment

Why is being a Stoic so cool right now? Chiara Sulprizio explains the renewed popularity of Stoicism  in “Why Is Stoicism Having a Cultural Moment?”

Advertisements

Choose gratitude

Arthur Brooks explains in “Choose To Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier.” that it’s up to you whether to be thankful and that you’ll be better off if you choose to do so. “… we are more than slaves to our feelings, circumstances and genes. Evidence suggests that we can actively choose to practice gratitude — and that doing so raises our happiness.”

An experiment: tell the truth

“One day I decided to stop lying. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a big liar before in my life, but I decided to – to the best of my abilities – not lie at all. I defined some borderline case rules for myself, for example, it is ok to avoid or withhold the truth, when the effects of telling it would be harmful for myself or someone else (do I look pretty in this dress?), but not to tell a direct lie, however small.” Jacob Henricson gives the result of his experiment in “Honesty in Business – A Stoic Experiment.”  Kant would approve.

 

Providence or atoms … fate or chance? Not necessarily providence!

Is your life driven by a fate governed by a wise and just providence? Or are you and everything else simply the chance movement of atoms? Unlike Chris Fisher who claims modern Stoicism requires a belief in providence, Donald Robertson claims you can be a modern Stoic even if you are an atheist or agnostic. One common interpretation of the choice between providence and atoms offered by Marcus Aurelius “is that he is reminding himself that whether a creator God exists, or whether the universe is simply ordered by blind chance, in either case the practical (ethical) principles of Stoicism should still be followed.” For example, “whether the universe is rule by a provident God or due to the random collision of atoms, either way it makes no sense to blame others for our actions.”

Providence or atoms … fate or chance? Providence!

Is your life driven by a fate governed by a wise and just providence? Or are you and everything else simply the chance movement of atoms? In a defense of the Stoic worldview, Christopher Fisher says your psychological well-being may depend on how you answer these questions. “The chasm between the providentially ordered cosmos of the Stoics and the random atomic universe of the Epicureans was deep and wide, and it could not be bridged. Thus, as Marcus asserts, one must make a choice between them—either providence or atoms. … [W]e can choose to follow the cart of fate willingly, with gratitude for the life we have been given. We can take control of what is ‘up to us’ and leave the rest to providence. Or, we can continue to get dragged through life yelping all the way. The choice is ours and the choice is critically important to our psychological well-being.”