Stoicism

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Martin Hash
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Stoicism

Post by Martin Hash » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:25 am

I’ve always been attracted to philosophy; it appeals my desire that life should be explainable. Unfortunately, of the hundreds of notable philosophies and philosophers, they are almost all b.s., with the exception of stoicism, from which the word “stoic” derives, defined in the dictionary as, “seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by pleasure or pain; impassive”; which pretty much ruins it for Stoicism the philosophy; tell someone you’re a stoic and they assume you’re psychologically damaged-goods. Of course, the caricature has little to do with the reality: Stocism is the philosophy of liberty, and the world would be a better place if everyone adopted it.

A Handbook for New Stoics.jpg

While looking for free audiobooks to listen to on YouTube, I found “A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control” by Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez. I didn’t give it much hope, all books on philosophy aren’t worth the time it takes to read them, but I do love a good vocabulary and turn of phrase, and this book was full of them. It started with the idea that virtue is a combination of wisdom & serenity, and went on from there:
• Stoics navigate their lives with equanimity
• Importance is lexicographic preference ordering
• Words have an emotional valence
• Hedonic treadmill
• The locus is yourself and things you have control over
• Epicurean
• Temperance
• Exercising moderation has intrinsic value
• Eating is a frequent & mundane activity
• Renunciation
• Impermanence
• Dichotomy of control
Those are self-indulgent words but attractive none-the-less.

It also had a list of principles that I certainly would like to embrace:
• Respond to demeaning & insults with humor.
• Speak without judging.
• Premeditate aggravating & frustrating people & situations
• Practice minimalism.
• Acknowledge the virtue of others.
• Take another’s perspective.
• Don’t speak too much about yourself.
• View from above.
• Accept change & death.
• Avoid frivolous conversation.
• Ignore criticism & insult.
• Focus only on what’s in your control.
• Beware both flattery & petulance.
• Expect the worthless to do wrong but to allow them to wrong others is graceless & tyrannical; helping is your duty as a human being.
• Don’t consider yourself elite.
• Rationalize challenges to highlight their benefits regardless of their conclusion.
• The only things that are truly good or evil are the things we can control: our own values judgments & decisions.
• Keep mutually beneficial company and avoid the vulgar.
• Moderation in all things, particularly eating.
• Ignore what others say or do: it’s under your control to become involved or not.
• Avoid resentment, estrangement and those whose intent is to thwart you
• Be reserved until you understand the situation you’re in.
• Cooperation creates allies.
• Be self-aware, ask yourself: Why am I doing this?
• Consider the cosmos: everyone thinks they are the center of the universe, and to them, they are.
(Those last few are my own thoughts that popped into my head after hearing the material.)

I was impressed. I Googled “stoicism” and searched for Facebook groups; the Pigliucci guy’s name kept coming up. I Googled him… Wow. Universalis: at least a 17, probably higher, 3 science doctorates, born in Liberia, educated in Italy, had a philosophy endowment at a college in New York. I found his blog and sent him a message to see how’d he’d respond; most people don’t:

Comment: I recently discovered you while doing an article on stoicism. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of you before? But you would say the same of me: the world’s only-ever simultaneously licensed doctor, lawyer, accountant & engineer; PhD, MD, JD, MBA. I like to debate evolution though I’m not a Creationist, but rarely find anyone truly qualified; you seem like that person. How does evolution explain hemoglobin?

He responded almost immediately:

Martin,
Thanks for the offer, but I don’t find debates on science to be conducive to the common good.
Cheers,
Massimo


Demeaning, elitist, collectivist prattle. At least he kept it minimal. So much for stoicism.

Masimo Pigliucci.jpg
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Re: Stoicism

Post by darkidea » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:49 am

I understood maybe half of that topic.....

But i think i feel stoic....

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Re: Stoicism

Post by Xenophon » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:06 pm

Seems to me that the common good is outside of his locus of control. Kind of weird for a stoic, right?

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Martin Hash
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Re: Stoicism

Post by Martin Hash » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:24 pm

Xenophon wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:06 pm
Seems to me that the common good is outside of his locus of control. Kind of weird for a stoic, right?
Ya think?

Here's my reply to him (which he never responded to):

Thank you for responding.
Is “common good” an aspect of stoicism?
I’m going to post my stoic article on my forum tomorrow; most of it’s written; I missed that?
Martin


Obviously, recognizing neither irony nor hypocrisy are among his strengths.
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Re: Stoicism

Post by Xenophon » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:29 pm

Martin Hash wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:24 pm
Xenophon wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:06 pm
Seems to me that the common good is outside of his locus of control. Kind of weird for a stoic, right?
Ya think?

Here's my reply to him (which he never responded to):

Thank you for responding.
Is “common good” an aspect of stoicism?
I’m going to post my stoic article on my forum tomorrow; most of it’s written; I missed that?
Martin


Obviously, recognizing neither irony nor hypocrisy are among his strengths.
Ha ha, I am mentally retarded, making me the victor. - Massimo Pigliucci, probably