Wisdom and Virtue. The Stoic principles.

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In last Tuesday’s post, Stoic philosophers believed that living life according to nature is a way to achieve happiness. The full post is on this link https://maylynno.wordpress.com/2021/10/12/living-life-according-to-nature-the-stoic-principles/

Stoic philosophers transformed philosophy into a praxis, a practical discipline of daily life. If nature is bigger and stronger than all of us and if its actions aim to survival in a rational way, then wisdom is to live according to nature.

Therefore, wisdom is the root virtue without which one can not be ethical nor a philosopher. Even success and real power can’t be achieved without wisdom. Think about Marcus Aurelius who was a Stoic philosopher and one of the greatest emperors of the Roman Empire.

What is virtue? Virtue is a life led according to nature.

Living life according to nature. The Stoic principles.

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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.

Watch “6 Hits of Stoic Motivation (Sports and Philosophy)” on YouTube

Seneca

Ryan Holiday, the specialist of Stoic philosophers and the creator of the YouTube channel Daily Stoic which I highly recommend, talks about the strong relationship between Stoic philosophers and sports. In his video, he breaks down the idea of a workout routine and its benefits to Stoic philosophers. In addition he talks to professional athletes who were inspired by stoicism and how it helped them in their career.

Click on the link below to watch the video:

Le désir (synthèse de cours)

Une synthèse de cours sur le désir.
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Le désir est une notion philosophique principale et un concept fondamental pour la compréhension de l’Homme et de son action dans le monde. Ce document ci-contre propose deux définitions du désir:

  • La défintion classique du désir en tant que manque visant le plaisir (définition commune héritée de Platon)
  • La seconde est la définition du désir en tant qu’energie de vie (défintion héritée de Spinoza).

Self knowledge and happiness

Traditionally speaking, from ancient Greeks and yogis to religions and philosophy, happiness was thought of as a result of self knowledge or knowing oneself. The idea behind it is that happiness doesn’t resonate with ignorance.

As much as this concept of happiness still on today, as much as it is not complete. For the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, “Ignorance is a blessing”. So, knowledge doesn’t bring happiness; in fact it can bring sadness and despair.

Imagine one would find out about a deep forgotten childhood trauma? Imagine knowing a dark family secret? Imagine knowing the eventual death date? Imagine a clear self knowledge without any good luck in actions?

Happiness is not about self knowledge but about an attitude or a will to be happy; that’s fifty percent of the deal. The other fifty percent are left to luck.

Sénèque et la comédie humaine tragique.

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« Mais il ne sert de rien d’avoir éliminé les causes de tristesse personnelle : car il arrive quelquefois que le dégoût du genre humain nous saisit, quand nous voyons tout ce qu’il y a au monde de crimes heureux. Lorsqu’on songe à quel point l’innocence est rare et la droiture introuvable, lorsqu’on se représente que la probité n’est autant dire jamais désintéressée, que la débauche a des profits aussi répugnants que ses débours, que l’ambition, se trahissant elle-même, en arrive à chercher son éclat dans l’ignominie, l’âme alors sombre dans la nuit : on a l’impression que les vertus, qu’on ne peut plus s’attendre à rencontrer et qu’on a plus d’avantage à pratiquer, sont anéanties, et l’on est la proie des ténèbres. Aussi faut-il nous appliquer à ne pas trouver haïssables, mais risibles, les vices des humains, et à imiter Démocrite plutôt qu’Héraclite : celui-ci ne pouvait paraître en public sans pleurer, l’autre sans rire ; l’un ne voyait que misère dans toutes les actions des hommes, l’autre que sottise. Prenons donc toutes choses légèrement et supportons-les avec bonne humeur : il est bien plus conforme à la nature humaine de se moquer de l’existence que d’en gémir. Ajoutez qu’on rend meilleur service au genre humain en riant de lui qu’en se lamentant : le rieur nous laisse quelque espoir d’amendement ; l’autre s’afflige stupidement des maux qu’il désespère de guérir. Enfin, pour qui juge les choses d’un point de vue supérieur, on montre une âme plus forte en s’abandonnant au rire qu’en cédant aux larmes, puisqu’on ne se laisse troubler que d’une émotion toute superficielle et qu’on ne voit rien d’important, rien de sérieux, rien de déplorable non plus, dans toute la comédie humaine ».

Sénèque, De la tranquillité de l’âme, in Dialogues, Tome IV, texte établi et traduit par René Waltz, Paris, Société d’édition « Les Belles-Lettres », 1970, p. 100-101.

Instead of achieving the good life, how about a good-enough life?

My philosophy discussion group has been pursuing the topic of what constitutes a good life.  We started our quest with a look at ethics and moral philosophy.  Wow. In case you’re wondering, there are no real answers in the realm of moral philosophy, even fewer answers than in other fields of philosophy, if that’s possible!  […]

Instead of achieving the good life, how about a good-enough life?