The Stoic Universe

in philosophy •  last year  (edited)

After my first post on Stoicism last week (which I strongly suggest to read if you have missed it) I had a dilemma on how to proceed. To start by quickly revising the history and the main characters or to introduce you to the main ideas and concepts first. I decided that the ideas are more important and after all, if you don’t like them, why bother with history and stuff? Lets jump into it then!

The three main pillars of Stoicism

  • Logic - The Stoics propounded that knowledge can be attained through the use of reason, in principle capable of separating true from false. The ultimate goal: focus on the things that are in your control, do not focus on what isn’t.
  • Ethics - Good lies in the soul itself - in wisdom and self-control. The four fundamental virtues of Stoic ethics are Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Temperance. Stoics believed that if someone does not live in a virtuous way he is ignorant and you have to try to teach him, instead of assuming that he is just evil.
  • Physics - Stoic’s view of how the Cosmos. Most Stoics had Pantheistic view of the Universe. They believed that everything is interconnected and presents a whole. The entire Universe is an organism, which every single one of us is a part of.

Some of the important ideas that come from these main pillars:



Social Duty

For the Stoics it was considered immoral to not help and to not live for the common good, if you can. One can see how this principle is connected to the Stoic’s view of the Universe.

“We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs.” - Bill Clinton

“What brings no benefit to the hive brings none to the bee” - Marcus Aurelius

Empathy

While most people are just waiting for their turn to talk, the stoic considers not only the words being said, but the thoughts and emotions from which they surface. This is the art of listening, which fosters understanding and connection between ourselves and others.

“Acquire the habit of attending carefully to what is being said by another, and of entering, so far as possible, into the mind of the speaker” - Marcus Aurelius

Self-transformation

The Stoics believed in social reform, but they also believed in personal transformation. More precisely, they thought that the first step in transforming a society into one in which people live a good life is to teach the people how to achieve happiness depending as little as possible on the external circumstances. The Stoics would add that if we fail to transform ourselves, then no matter how much we transform the society in which we live, we are unlikely to have a good life.

“One cannot pursue one’s own highest good without at the same time necessarily promoting the good of others. A life based on narrow self-interest cannot be esteemed by any honorable measurement. Seeking the very best in ourselves means actively caring for the welfare of other human beings. Our human contract is not with the few people with whom our affairs are most immediately intertwined, nor to the prominent, rich, or well educated, but to all our human brethren.” - Epictetus


All sounds good in theory - but how to achieve it? Fortunately the Stoic philosophy is very practical - it provides the tools, not only the ideas! A big part of it consists of different exercises, designed to help you with your transformation. Some examples:

Morning meditation – visualising the day ahead and thinking about the upcoming challenges. This is different to the meditation we know from the East.

Asking “Is this within my control?”. This is in my view the single most important question. And it sounds simple now when you read it, but it is so easy to forget! I bet that in the last 24 hours you did worry about at least 1 thing that wasn’t in your control. Why? Building the habit of asking yourself this question can help you if not stop worrying, at least worry much less.

The view from above. This is a very cool one. Wherever you are close your eyes. Then picture yourself from above. See yourself, how you are standing or sitting. Zoom out further, get out of the room, apartment, building (if you are indoor). Imagine that you are a little drone or a small airplane and zoom out even more. See your town from above, your country, the earth. Go as far as you can. The idea is to remind yourself that you are just a microscopic part of the much larger Cosmos, and your problems are not that important in the large scheme of things.
*Edit: Today I got inspired from this exercise and wrote another post.

There are many more tools and exercises, but I will save them for the future. :)

Next week I’m going to provide you with a little bit of history and introduce you to some of the main guys in Stoicism. Now I would like to wrap it up with a quote:

“Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.” - Epictetus

I do not inspire to be a life-guru or to have any genius revelation about life.
My ultimate goal with this series will be to stimulate your brain cells to think on different topics. If I state something it will be merely my own opinion on things and I accept and embrace that yours may be different. Please share it with me. :)

I will be posting weekly on philosophy, life and ideas to improve it. Check out my initial post to understand more about my general idea.

Additionally I am interested in books, poker, cooking, psychology, astronomy. If you would like to know more about me, check out my introduction.

Bonus: check out this post if you want to make the best pancakes tomorrow for your loved ones!

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stoicism pragmatically changed my life for the better, especially the quality of ideas about the characters of the human being is quite profound and very wise in terms of dealing in real life. :)

excellent comment

I liked it ... amazing words
It is nice to have that balance between your life and those around you
Great post from you
Thanks for sharing

Thanks @slimanepro!

I agree with you one should have a very clear goal in ones life and he should have some ethics and principle along with him and he should enjoy the journey in life without any complaints or blaming anybody it will be a very beautiful journey of every human being

i see

A good reminder for people studying stoicism.
It's easy to forget the principle of stoicism in our daily lives unless we are reminded. Especially in our current society

is stoicism pseudo buddhism?

There are many comparisons between the two. In fact people call Stoicism "The Buddhism of the West". And yet they are very different as well, Stoicism is more practical and connected to everyday life, and Buddhism is more spiritual.

great comments

Amazing article, really love the message as well!

Very precise on certain things displayed in the post. The circumstances of many people's misfortunes are self-inflicted. They dwell on situations that are beyond their control and instead on focusing on getting a solution, they just let themselves overwhelmed by them.

And most of the time is unconscious. Each individuals tend to think they are the center of the universe while they are just the center of their own lives and their programmed realities.

The most important aspect, no matter on what we believe in, is to confront the premise that we are a part of an integrated mechanism.

Even in the scope of the earth, as Bruce Lee put it:

"Under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family"

The thing is that we're different with relevant and personal attributes.

Very well said, @edave! Bruce Lee is an inspiration!

Great article. I will keep up to date on future ones. Thank!

Glad you liked it!

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvote this reply.

amazing audio

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Great Article
the words and the wisdom of the stoics got me thinking.

More to come, @sirtamuno!

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thoughtful post. I think the notion of pursuing happiness needs to be updated to reflect all the research of today.

Elements of what you touch on no longer live their solitary existence in the world of philosophy but no are being adopted by some scientific circles I.e. Mental health benefits of mindfulness.

The narrative should be rewritten to incorporate such lofty notions.

Makes a lot of sense to me. We are just now starting to prove scientifically what Buddhists and Stoics knew millenia ago.

Buen Post. Muy informativo

Muchas gracisas!

Very interesting content, I like the article

The four fundamental virtues of Stoic ethics are Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Temperance.

Ethics teaches one the wisdom to have courage and see that justice is done with temperance.
Knowledge of any kind is honored and prized but based on the importance and relevance of knowledge. Some will be prized and honored above others.
I will prize and honor your knowledge you shared with me sir. Kudos sir.

@rabiujaga "Ethics teaches one the wisdom to have courage and see that justice is done with temperance." Nice one! Thanks for that!

Thank you too sir.

I think there may be a lot of reason, especially in the physical part of stoicism, the whole universe is an organism of which we are all part, it sounds and I think it is absolutely reasonable and probable.

I think that empathy and self transformation are key, we must help the environment to become a healthier space so we all benefit and that is the idea.

The truth is very interesting everything that you raise in this publication, especially the tools you provide to make it all come true and not just in theory.

Empathy and self-transformation are the key in my opinion as well! More to come my friend! @agocoeficiente10

Excellent - "the view from above" had been called the Overview Effect by at least one astronaut and we can learn a lot from those brave men and women and how the direct experience of those views affected their lives and consciousness. Great post and a synchronicity for me. Thanks!

You are welcome!

Really great walkthrough and explanation of a very big branch of philosophy. Loved it!

Thanks, @docmartens!

I'm studying stoicism as well. Great article, thanks!

Welcome!

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very good post and enlightening, thank you very much

It's too deep and dramatic

This post has received a 50.04 % upvote from @boomerang.

This was an amazing article, I would love to see more like this. Stoicism reflects my personal philosophy and I feel can really help to better this humanity as a whole. Please keep up the great work!

Thank you, @asmodayus! Will keep posting!

Oyee! que buen post amigo, son muy buenos e interesantes, saludos desde venezuela

Thanks for this sharing of this philosophy. Resteem to spread the word

Thanks, @philosophie!

Our main goal in life is to help others, and if you can not do it, at least do not hurt them.

In my own opinion one should always first help himself, before turning to help others :) @vanejournalist

Luar biasa

good post, thank you for posting useful things, keep working and useful for others

Thanks, @rungkhom!

Thank you for the great post!

When you copy/paste or repeatedly type the same comments you could be mistaken for a bot.

Tips to avoid being flagged

Thank You! ⚜

awesome graphics boos

Cambiar a español
perfect, I agree with your point of view, in addition to it I will follow your next post, I am new to the community and I want to expand my compression horizon.

Thanks!

Have you ever thought about if there is so many planets like ours out there and they are watching us

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What a great truth, these are the messages that fill the soul and the worth to read, thanks for sharing it.

All children and women want to get old, but everyone stays with him. When we say that we have a good time all the time, we condemn the future without knowing it.

I CONGRATULATE YOU

Friends are not my steemit voting power. I am commenting.
Genius is a great post, so you countless
Thank you so much for fun, funny writing. I'm a general steemit user. I want to follow the wonderful people like you. Please give me upvote and follow me.

Hello, very good post!!

Simple, dramatic and deep....keep the ink flowing

El universo espectacular

This was a really deep and wise post. I definitely agree that meditation helps us enhance our well being, and I really like the stoic philosophy you presented. It's really important that we are connected with ourselves, and have self awareness because it helps us make the best decisions for our lives.

Thank you, @jessica23!

OMG this post discribe a lot of my thoughts i don't have an idea about this philosophy but i think this is what I always try to follow. Thanks for this post, Follow.

It`s all about finding your inner philosopher :) @natalieavila

Amazing! Shared a good part of the ideas that reflects your post, the truth had no knowledge sosbre is stoic. Thank you very much for giving me a new address to educate me regarding the integral formation of my being.

Count on that I will be attentive to your content

such deep thoughts, so well written, much wow! ;-)
also thanks for the pancake recipe

Cheers, @spreadfire1! Hope that you like the pancakes!

talking about ethics in terms of Stoicism is tricky business, because most of the philosophy is based on enduring hardships; a circumstance thats tough to judge from a moral standpoint. Furthermore, stoicism is based off of ancient Greek traditions and has trouble integrating into contemporary society.

"Most of the Stoicism is based on enduring hardships" is the most common misperception about Stoicism. Please read my inital post on Stoicisim misperceptions and give it a chance, it may surprise you :) @theaxclinic

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