Stoicism is a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or by the fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.
Nature (understood also as the universe) is rational and deterministic whose actions aim for survival. The universe is governed by the law of reason. There is no hazardous phenomenon in the natural world nor intention. Everything natural happens for a reason.
Humans are part of the big nature; thus the importance to live according to its plan. Otherwise, human actions can provoke a disequilibrium as it is the case today with climate change, endangered species, floods and storms which are all lethal to humanity. If money is the goal, then nature is overexploited. Since nature is rational and tends to harmony, not to forget that it is much stronger than people.
One day, human actions can wipe out all existence. According to Stoic, this is the peek of human foolishness.
The debate about climate change and global warming has been around almost forever without any tangible worldwide change in the political behaviour or mindset. Clearly it is the endless conflict of politics versus life and this is how dangerous greedy politics has become. So, is the climate “convention” a democratic challenge?
It is unfortunately obvious that a leader who seeks popularity can’t work for the climate. Fighting for environment is fighting against economy, freedom, industries, consumerism, politics and the list is long. Some questions are to be asked for all climate enthusiasts: shall we give up using cars, trains and planes? The thought of it after 2020 the quarantine year can be a splash of icy water. At this point, happy few are up for this challenge of giving up cars, planes and trains but this is no big help. Consequentially, what should be done?
Two main acts, if done seriously, can make a difference. The first one is to have a new industrial policy for producing long term products just like big industrial companies made names to themselves in the last century for producing items that lasted for decades. The second act is educate people again to be sensitive to nature, to be awed by nature’s aesthetics so they will become its defenders. To learn it again requires reconnection with natural elements.
These two acts, especially the first one, are a democratic challenge for the decade to come.
Seth Godin, brilliant as always, distinguishes buying from shopping. The latter has more to do with desire, fantasy and pleasure; whilst buying is simply the act of getting of what one needs.
This distinction between desire and needs has been the debate in philosophy for ages. From those who condemned desire as a dangerous futility leading to alienation to those who praised desire as a pure human energy, desire has been the drive of consumerism as an ideology.
For mass consumerism requires mass production and the latter gave birth to injustice, human slavery, economical clash, more class divisions, global warming and the list goes on.
As usual, Seth Godin puts it in simple words and deep thinking. Read its post down below for more food to the mind.
In the novel, The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells sets out a frightening vision: The world we live in is on the verge of drastic and catastrophic change. We have essentially destroyed our world beyond repair. Complacency and ignorance have finally caught up with us; our once-prosperous lives will soon come to a halt and crash. […]
In the Preface of The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant asks three questions that gave the fourth one. His project is an enquiry undertaken by Pure Reason to search out the limits of Pure Reason. The questions are the following:
What can I know?
What ought I to do?
What may I hope for?
What is man?
I will start with the last one just to figure out how we can answer these questions today.
What is man? Or what am I?
I was told by reading Kant and other philosophers that I am a rational being, capable of speaking (Aristotle), living through dialectics so that the Universal Reason can establish itself in the world (Hegel), among other definitions. How did it serve me today?
Since the 20th century, rationality is technical or technological and we are submitted to machines and algorithms. All other fields and walks of life evolve and revolve around infotech and biotech with a progressive absence of critical thinking. I love the Kantian project and I believe Kant is one of the biggest philosophers ever, but we are more emotional and practical beings than highly rational. How can the critical thinking “function” with the massive amount of news and fake news by the minute?
What can I know?
Everything and nothing thanks to social media. It all depends on how we use this tool to our full potential. Potential can differ from one person to another; however technology can be a wonderful tool to learn new skills and to be updated.
What ought I to do?
Other than surviving on all levels, I think ethics are the name of the game for the present and the future. It lies on freedom and courage to step forward and be responsible for the whole world.
What may I hope for?
That’s the most difficult question especially today when the world is stuck between the pandemics and the economy crisis. I think by willing to be flexible and accepting that change is inevitable, by willing to work differently and having a new perspective on life, can we hope for a better future.
In 2019, the planet burned! From the Amazon Rainforest to Australia, fires devoured trees, plants, animals and lands. Facing this heartbreaking and scary scenery, only romantics like Greta and us yelled the danger of global warming.
So, global warming is the planetary issue, right?
Not so fast. The less romantic among us don’t care about global warming. To them the real underlying issues are elsewhere. They are respectively: energy and nutrition.
The world population was estimated to have reached 7.7 billion people in 2019. Authorities’ worries are more about producing energy (nuclear, alternative, fossil…) and finding ways to feed the immense number of mouths. It is an issue because food industry is one of the biggest energy consuming factors.
Does this all show us that the real problem is the shrinking of the vital space?
The vital space is the space needed for a specie to survive. With an increasing world population in terms of demographics, the concept of vital space is not openly discussed for ethical reasons obviously. The concept of vital space requires harsh questions: fewer babies? More birth control? If so, isn’t the current population at risk of aging?
Or, as awful as it sounds, wouldn’t wars do the job to lessen the number of people?
Whether global warming needs urgent and immediate actions, it is high time we let go of the past in order to face the future. What past are we talking about? Traditions and religions.