Stoic History

Mainly based on info from “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” – William B. Irvine

The First Stoics

  • Zeno – (333-261 BC) = the first Stoic

  • started as a Cynic
    • “same” as today’s homeless
    • Antisthenes
      • pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes
    • the Cynics were renowned for their wit and wisdom
    • Diogenes (pupil of Antithenes) – the most famous Cynic
      • Bad man obey their lusts as servants obey their masters.
      • because they cannot control their desires, they can never find contentment
    • lived on the streets of Athens.. same as Sokrates
    • constantly pushing their philosophy on other people
  • found to be more interested in theory than the cynics.. hence .. a combination & lifestyle & theory
    • as Socrates had done
  • Continue reading “Stoic History”

Marcus Aurelius

From Wikipedia:

Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD), was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, but the threat of the Germanic tribes began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately.

Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

 

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …

Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.

“People try to get away from it all-to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it any time you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions-than your own soul.”

Epictetus

Epictetus (Greek: Ἐπίκτητος; AD 55 – AD 135) was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses.

Philosophy, Epictetus taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.

Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty to care for all fellow humans. The person who follows these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.

we should keep firmly in mind that we are merely actors in a play written by someone else—more precisely, the Fates

 

Some things are up to us and some are not up to us.

If you wish to be a writer, write.

Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee.

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.

He is a drunkard who takes more than three glasses though he be not drunk.

If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.

It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.

No great thing is created suddenly.

No man is free who is not master of himself.

Silence is safer than speech.

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

 

 

 

 

Seneca (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD)

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca; ca. 4 BC – 65 AD) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was later forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he may have been innocent. His father was Seneca the Elder and his elder brother was Gallio.

 

Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life

Life’s like a play; it’s not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters

He who is brave is free.

A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.

It’s not hard to find the truth. What is hard is not to run away from it once you have found it.

A great fortune is a great slavery.

It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.

A great mind becomes a great fortune.

True happiness is to understand our duties toward God and man; to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future; not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears, but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is abundantly sufficient

A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.

To wish to be well is a part of becoming well.

A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.

A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.

There is no great genius without some touch of madness.

A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two.

All cruelty springs from weakness.

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – William B. Irvine

Link – William B. Irvine

“Bill Irvine has given us a great gift: the most accessible and inviting description of modern Stoicism available. Read this book and be prepared to change your life!”–Sharon Lebell, author of Epictetus’s The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

TOC

  1. Introduction: A Plan for Living
  2. Part One: The Rise of Stoicism
    • One: Philosophy Takes an Interest in Life
    • Two: The First Stoics
    • Three: Roman Stoicism
  3. Part Two: Stoic Psychological Techniques
    • Four: Negative Visualization: What?s the Worst That Can Happen?
    • Five: The Dichotomy of Control: On Becoming Invincible
    • Six: Fatalism: Letting Go of the Past . . . and the Present
    • Seven: Self-Denial: On Dealing with the Dark Side of Pleasure
    • Eight: Meditation: Watching Ourselves Practice Stoicism
  4. Part Three: Stoic Advice
    • Nine: Duty: On Loving Mankind
    • Ten: Social Relations: On Dealing with Other People
    • Eleven: Insults: On Putting Up with Put-Downs
    • Twelve: Grief: On Vanquishing Tears with Reason
    • Thirteen: Anger: On Overcoming Anti-Joy
    • Fourteen: Personal Values: On Seeking Fame
    • Fifteen: Personal Values: On Luxurious Living
    • Sixteen: Exile: On Surviving a Change of Place
    • Seventeen: Old Age: On Being Banished to a Nursing Home
    • Eighteen: Dying: On a Good End to a Good Life
    • Nineteen: On Becoming a Stoic: Start Now and Prepare to Be Mocked
  5. Part Four: Stoicism for Modern Lives
    • Twenty: The Decline of Stoicism
    • Twenty-One: Stoicism Reconsidered
    • Twenty-Two: Practicing Stoicism
  6. A Stoic Reading Program

Continue reading “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – William B. Irvine”