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As an atheist and raising my sons as such I found the philosophy Stoicism a fantastic alternative to religion in finding meaning and value and solace in life. Is anyone else a Stoic?

MsDemeanour 7 June 9

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0

I've been pretty stoical all my life. Since before I even knew what it was!

12

If you mean in the Ancient Greek sense of the word it’s a fine philosophy to try to live by,..then yes. But the modern meaning of being long-suffering and uncomplainingly taking anything that life and society throws at you..no!

That's a good question.I don't know if the Stoics differentiated between adverse circumstances and malevolence. I find it hard to believe Marcus Aurelius would behave like the old idea of the peaceful Buddhist where evil needed to be stopped.

@brentan Aurelius spent much of his time at war. His values sustained him.

@MsDemeanour Well, that answers that!

7

After back surgery, my doctor laid my recovery squarely to my "Germanic stoicism" I did not understand and could npot fgure out if i was being insulted or praised, so I looked it up.
Stoics have always believed that the goal of all inquiry is to provide a mode of conduct characterized by tranquillity of mind and certainty of moral worth.
Well, that's me all right, certainty and moral worth, after so many years of sheer horneriness and moral laxity.

"a mode of conduct characterized by tranquility of mind and certainty of moral worth." I like that. Sounds like a wonderful state of being to work towards.

6

Years ago my wife happened to read a encyclopedia-style description of the classic Greek Stoics and noticed how close their worldviews were to mine. I looked it up and she was/is right. I have considered myself a Stoic ever since.

I highly recommend the Enchiridion of Epictetus for a short (maybe 100 pages) read of the principles of Stoicism.

The Epistles (letters) of Seneca to Lucilius are another excellent (if a little longer) presentation of the material.

English translations of both are available for free download anytime.
The Enchiridion: [gutenberg.org]
The Letters of Seneca: [gutenberg.org]

thankyou

5

I'm an atheist, too most of my life. I don't know much about stoics but I do know the older I get, prefer the company of my animals.

Two hens, two mixed breed dogs, four cats and two mares. And the wildlife on our 40 acres too.

Unconditional love and I love it. They keep me company, their needs are few, they don't disrespect and gossip, they give love back freely.

Sounds wonderful!

@Kojaksmom it really is!

I hear you. We have to stop the christian thinking that animals are here just for our amusement or to serve us and that they are disposable. I may have to stop calling myself a humanist because I am not at all sure that human beings are more important than animals (especially the endangered ones). Certainly my dog is more important to me than most humans and judging by the way most voted in the last election......she's far more intelligent!

@kodimerlyn She's nearly 12 but queen of my household 😀

5

Some good points, but I prefer not to ascribe to any particular philosophy.
I have little regard for the most of it, or philosophers, in general.

Pretty much agree. Even if you consider yourself a follower, the decisions ultimately fall to you.
The Rush lyric says it well: 'if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice'.

I do look at various philosophies to inform my decisions but I wouldn't try to deny the choices are mine (there's no other option).

I used to have a little interest in philosophy, but eventually I came to feel that there were many things more important.

5

I don't need alternatives to religion to exist peacefully and positively in this world and do my best to leave it better than I received it. So no.

I am with you on this. I don't need an alternative to religion.

@Heidi68 philosophies are not alternatives to religions, they are merely codification of ethical systems and attempts to rationalise our existence for thinking people. The aim is entirely different even though some comfort may be derived from either. Scorning philosophy in general is like scorning politics - one is free to blunder aimlessly through life if one wishes, but being proud of it is less justifiable
?

@Allamanda who is scorning anything? My response and Heidi68's were to the post that literally says: "I found the philosophy Stoicism a fantastic alternative to religions" So get off your high horse of philosophic bullshit and learn to read or at least try to be less touchy.

@Allamanda exactly what @Mofo1953 said. We are responding to the original post.

5

I really don't know much about it. I try to take the rough with the smooth as best I can - that's about it.

4

I very much relate to where they say it's less about what happens and more how we respond. I'm finding in my life that's been making a big difference. As I started listening, it was no surprise to me that they bring up Buddhism and behavioral therapy -- both have made an impact on me.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a life saver.!!!

@Katsarecool Absolutely.

4

I have always enjoyed reading the Stoics. Seneca is my favourite. Marcus Aurelius is a bit high-minded for me. Seneca has a wry humour I enjoy. In one of his letters he goes on about rising above petty annoyances and freeing your spirit so that nothing is important, then goes on to say that he is really going to have to move house because the people upstairs are driving him mad with their noise.

yes i love the humour of Seneca too. I don't think most people associate humour with the Stoics but there is some very funny stuff. AS for Aurelius, he was writing personal journals, so he was setting higher standards for himself than he perhaps would have done for others. I admire him for staying grounded while being Emporer. Not many in positions of power and wealth today are so humble and grounded

4

St. Paul was schooled in Athenian philosophy, and I've heard it claimed that the Stoic mindset entered Christianity through the Pauline epistles, as when he writes "...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" in Philippians 4.

yes yes yes. I heard this too.

4

I'm a Stoic. My experiences taught me to take many things in stride. It seems like the best option for me.

Buxx Level 7 June 9, 2019
3

Thanks for your responses lovely people. Those who 'don't need' any philosophy to guide your life....good on you. I bet you have discovered your own direction and way of living.

I live in a country where religion doesn't factor much and I see children and their parents growing up with no direction and are quick to blame and take offence. I am certainly not saying you can't have a moral compass without religion but I believe many atheists in my country (Australia) are losing their kindness and are grappling with an increasingly materialistic and isolating lifestyle. I believe schools, should be teaching citizenship and mental health. I would prefer it didn't label itself Stocism as there is no need. We can take the good principles from any philosphy but expecting people to live honourably without any guidance is unrealistic. Stoicism does it for me which is why I embrace it.

Stoicism principles help me with my mental health. eg Learn from the past, prepare for the future and live in the present. It embraces gratefulness and being of service to others, acceptance and striving to be the best sort of person you can be. These are principles reflected in modern day mental health theories like Acceptance, Commitment Theory. Perhaps they're a no brainer for enlighted educated people but they certainly make my life richer.
Thanks again.
Brenda

3

Why can't we just live without subscribing to a philosophy or looking for meaning? We're making life more complicated than it is because our brains are more imaginative than every other creature on Earth, who never contemplate this stuff and get by just fine.

You may still find that the Stocis still have a lot to offer since they are not really about finding a meaning in life, more indeed the exact opposite, being about practical solutions to living a life without meaning.

actually Stoicism is about simplifying life

3

Along with Buddhism and Hedonism, Stoicism is a mature attempt to deal with the challenge of living. Aspects of all three can be found in the New Testament, which an ugly amalgam of a primitive and barbaric tribal mythology with some of the wisdom of the classical world. I think that any of the "good stuff" in the Bible can be found better expressed earlier and elsewhere.

3

I was not aware of that. Thanks! It will be fun to learn more of Stoicism. I think I have a leg up on that. 😀

3
2

The problem is that stoicism is not atheist. They believe in the 'Logos", which created, sustains, and controls the whole Universe and every aspect of our lives. Their conception of "Logos" is almost identical to the god of western religions, and, specially, to the god of the Reformers (John Calvin, etc.)
In fact, so similar is the Logos to the god of Christians, that in the gospel of John the logos is 100% identified with the 3rd person of the trinity: "In the beginning was the Word [Greek: Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..."
This similarity or identification Logos = god, was one of the reasons early Christianity adopted Stoicism and rejected its rival school of philosophy, epicureism. [One of the most important stoic thinkers, Seneca, was considered by many to be a christian (though in fact he was not.)

I think they saw the universe as material and nature/ god the same thing rather than a personal god. The thing with the Stoics however isthat they were more science than religion orientated. They were always concerned with updating their beliefs as science brought forth new theories. This is why modern Stoicism dismisses the original concept of Logos while still believing they keep faith with the forefathers. I have no doubt that these progressive thinkers would've embraced natural science and evolution of today.

2

I lean heavily towards stoicism and greatly respect it's attributes in others.

2

I got a few phone apps on Stoic outlook that I'm getting some enjoyment from. Nothing in them indicates what test I must pass to count myself as a Stoic. But I suspect with all the bullsh*t I've weathered, there could be at least a few comforting words of advice or understanding in them.

I'll have to look for them

@MsDemeanour Daily Stoic Exercises and The Stoic

2
Sounds like a very good philosophy to live by. They made some passable rock music as well.

WOW thanks for that

@MsDemeanour We had some good bands in Scotland back then despite the Bay City Rollers 🙂

1

Nah, I lean more towards Epicureanism.

is that a hedonist?

@MsDemeanour no, but that's a common misconception. Epicureans are no more indolent pleasure seekers than stoics are emotionless and anti-social. I find Epicureanism wonderfully rooted in reality.

If we start from the basic principle of maximising pleasure and minimising pain, how should we organise society to make that possible for the largest amount of people? How should we behave as individuals?

Check out Epicurus, Lucretius and Democritus.

@MrBeelzeebubbles I shall certainly check these out. thank you

1

I had recently discovered Youtube videos about Stoicism and wanted to learn more. I have yet to actually delve into it.

1

I become more of a Stoic everyday. The process is accelerating with age. The hindrance has been pop culture.

yes. I am toying with the idea of getting rid of the internet. (I'd still have it on my phone). Just the thought of it makes me nervous.

@MsDemeanour I'm very happy to have the internet for research. I did a lot of research before the net, but the net has greatly increased my knowledge and saved me time. The net also saves my money.

1

My husband was a Stoic.

1

nope. i don't want to be an ic or an ist... atheist just describes my not believing in any gods and has no other attached philosophy. not so, stoicism. sometimes, not often, i am asked for my philosophy of life. i don't see why i should have to have one. can i not meet life's challenges (and joys) as i find them? i have a memory. i can learn what's poisonous, figuratively as well as literally, and what's beneficial, likewise. i think more or less logically, as limited by my species and how much sleep i've gotten (or not). i don't need to be recalculating constantly, not consciously anyway.

g

Good on you. you probably have enough insight. For me it is an answer to mental health....something I've struggled with.

@MsDemeanour me too. i am chronically depressed and have ptsd. look, we all do what we can toward doing what we need to do. we succeed to varying degrees, or not. i'm not judging. i know what works for me. i don't always DO what works for me, but i do try!

g

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