“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
If you are looking for clear judgment and inner calm, Stoicism is a philosophy that you should pay close attention to. Stoicism is a school of thought from 2000 years ago, but the problems in human psychology that it deals with are more prevalent than ever before.
Being a Stoic means you are free from the destructive effects that your emotions can have on you. The Stoics sought to free themselves from anguish or suffering, that is, “passively” reacting to external events. They wanted to base their decisions on reason and logic. By using clear judgment in the face of life’s highs and lows.
Stoic characteristics can sometimes come across as “aloofness,” “standoffishness,” or “arrogance”, but their impact on all concerned is purely beneficial.
The roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, author of Meditations, was a firm believer and explained his beliefs in his book while leading the empire in battle. In a time of war and death, Stoicism took off because it offered security and peace.
This real life philosophy is essential for anyone wanting to live and succeed in the real world, so without further ado, we give you:
10 Things You Need To Know About Stoicism
1. Belief and Opinion come from a lack of knowledge
According to the Stoics, the senses constantly receive information about what is happening in the world around them. The mind has the ability to approve or reject an impression based on reason, and it is only by reasoning that we can determine what is true and what is a figment of our imagination or a manifestation of our emotions. Only by gaining relevant knowledge and consulting peers can we come to know the difference between truth and a belief or opinion.
2. The entire Universe is one living organism
The Stoics regard the universe as one living being with one substance and soul. All living things are therefore living in accordance with fate, and it is fate that decides each living beings destiny.
3. Quiet reflection makes for better decision making
Logic, reflection, and concentration were the methods used to achieve inner calm and wisdom. The Stoics believed in taking time before they reacted to their emotions, and based their decisions on quiet reflection rather than impulsive reactions which often do more harm than good.
4. There is a universal reason to nature
The Stoics believed that there is a universal reason in nature, and all human actions should be in accordance to that. So therefore, something perceived as being evil was an action that was ignorant to the reason of nature.
5. Self dialogue as a tool for better decision making
Socratic dialog and self-dialog during meditation form an essential part of the Stoic way of life. As part of a daily routine, a Stoic is expected to reflect on their actions throughout the day and question the decisions that they made. Using reason and logical analysis, they are training themselves to make better and more useful decisions.
6. Awareness of death
Contemplation of death forms an important part of a Stoics way of thinking. To know that you’re going to die has a big impact on how you make decisions and which issues or concerns you allow yourself to be consumed by. A daily reminder that life is fleeting can make many insignificant issues simply disappear from your life.
7. There is a natural equality of all human beings
Because the Stoics believe that all people are manifestations of the one universal spirit and should live in brotherly love and readily help one another. With this notion, there is no hostility or negative tension between any two living beings because of the natural equality of all human beings. It was perhaps the first Western philosophy to preach universal brotherhood.
8. Fear nothing
Because of their belief in fate, Stoics therefore believe that fear is an irrelevant emotion. Apart from the fear of physical harm, our fear of situations and outcomes is a harmful emotion which hinders our happiness. Fear can only enter the mind with our consent and by choosing to not listen to it, we become courageous.
9. Stoicism is a philosophy of leadership
Stoicism teaches you that before you can control and influence others, you have to be able to fully control yourself. By using virtue and reason when making decisions, a leader can keep their calm and decisive demeanor even in the face of great adversity.
10.Stoicism advocates non-materialism
Stoics believe that they should always be familiar with poverty, just in case you became poor. Stoicism doesn’t mean you can’t be rich. Seneca was a senator and Marcus Aurelius was an emperor but they merely advocated non-materialism.