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We cover in this issue some of the less commonly discussed themes of Stoicism. Our contributors in this issue argue that we are used to comforts, pity others who are less fortunate, find it hard to cope with situations like the pandemic, find it difficult to cope with transience and imperfection, and we are tired.
In A Scandal in Bohemia, a conversation between Sherelock Holmes and Watson goes like this:
Stoicism is a philosophy of life. Its path may be hard but it sets no traps. The Stoic traps we discuss in this issue are the traps we set for ourselves when we practice Stoicism. And such traps are many.
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.