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In this issue of THE STOIC, our contributors offer simple ways of practicing Stoicism.
Women and Stoicism
In the 5,000 year old epic Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, Gilgamesh sets out to find the secret of immortality. He undertakes an ardous journey and faces many dangers in his quest. In the end, he comes to the understanding that humans cannot be immortals. All we can do is to live our lives well here on this earth.
It is commonly believed that Marcus Aurelius’ wife Faustina was unfaithful to him. Personally, such things don’t interest me. We read Marcus Aurelius because his thoughts are uplifitng. Little does it matter (except for him maybe) whether his wife was faithful to him or not.
John Bogle , founder of the Vanguard Group, one the world’s largest mutual fund companies, has this to say about how we live ineffectively: We chase the ‘wrong rabbits’, things that don’t matter, instead of going after the ‘right rabbits’, things that do matter.
John Bradford, the Sixteenth Century English Reformer, was a humble man. He was the Chaplain to King Edward VI. Yet, it is said that, whenever he saw a criminal led to his execution, Bradford would exclaim,
There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford!
Stoicism is based on reason, not revelation. If it is based on reason, then Stoic knowledge cannot be the Stoics' exclusive preserve. Anyone who reasons should be able to come to similar conclusions, whether a Stoic or not. That is the premise of this issue.
Lives of The Stoics by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman is a significant contribution to modern Stoic literature.
Stoic Thoughts for Every Day of the Month.
As ‘the year like no other’ comes to a close, we may want to reflect on our lives so we may steer them better in the new year. In this issue of THE STOIC, our contributors provide excellent perspectives on living a better life, no matter what we have been through this year.
Our time is short
How to do I lead my best life? This dilemma is common to all humans, not just Stoics. When we ask ourselves this question, the first thing we need to realize is that our life is made up of time. When we waste our time, we waste our life. Yet time goes faster than we realize, as Seneca realized.
We are all comfortable in our little worlds. People who are different from us and who differ with us create in us some insecurity. This type of insecurity is sometimes nurtured for political purposes.
A curious philosophy
Stoicism is a curious philosophy. At its core is the strong conviction that we need nothing and need no one to be happy. Epictetus clearly summarizes this conviction.
How do we react when unexpected things—such as a job loss or a health problem—happen to us? How do we react to predictable daily events? We often react to events in a way that causes more misery. Many people get depressed by they way they habitually react to things.
Developing the virtue of courage
This is the nineteenth excerpt from our 10-week course on Stoicism. The book covering all course material, readings, and exercises is available from https://amzn.to/2Ck0fje.