• Brett
    3k


    Don’t make me play those stupid games, please.
  • Brett
    3k


    I’m guessing that you feel the social system is equitable and that people can succeed if they just try a little harder. That may account for your feelings about Stoicism. Do you think the system is equitable?
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21
    The system may or may not be equitable, but trying has a better chance of success than not trying, which has a 0% chance of success. Trying harder increases chances of success.

    I do not think that the current system in the western world is equitable.
  • Brett
    3k


    The system may or may not be equitable, but trying has a better chance of success than not trying, which has a 0% chance of success.Diagonal Diogenes

    Yes it does. But my point is that, in the world today, and I may be wrong, the constant battering from created externals is too much for what I regard as the idealism of Stoicism.

    Very few men would let their family starve, most would keep fighting until they fell.
    How has the idea of Stoicism helped, the idea that “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.” When the externals a man can control are so very few and the rest overwhelming and crushing.
    And more importantly how has it helped society?
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21
    That is a bit disingenuous.

    It has helped some people deal with their situations. More than the null situation.

    Would you claim that stoicism has harmed society?

    But, I would say that this part right here is wrong:
    The chief task in lifeBrett

    How can that be the most important thing to do in life? That doesn't seem like the correct way of prioritizing things.

    However,
    identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually controlBrett
    seems like a sensible proposition.

    With an example:
    Perhaps there is no benefit in getting worked up about Trump (wasting time and getting angry) since there is nothing a single person can do about that, but there could be great benefit instead spending the time doing something that yields some beneficial return on time invested - maybe talking a walk outside.
  • Brett
    3k


    But, I would say that this part right here is wrong:
    The chief task in life
    — Brett
    Diagonal Diogenes

    I’m quoting from Epictetus there.

    With an example:
    Perhaps there is no benefit in getting worked up about Trump (wasting time and getting angry) since there is nothing a single person can do about that, but there could be great benefit instead spending the time doing something that yields some beneficial return on time invested - maybe talking a walk outside.
    Diagonal Diogenes

    Not a very good example. Maybe you have no idea of the reality of life out there in the world, it’s hard to tell. Ruminating about Trump is hardly the same as making decisions about the health and safety of your family. I understand the idea about acting on the externals you have control over. But when the externals that are heaped upon you by other men are far greater than the ones you have control over you’re dealing with far more than just physical well-being, you’re beginning to wonder if those other externals don’t want you around.

    However,
    identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control
    — Brett
    seems like a sensible proposition.
    Diagonal Diogenes

    Yes it does, on paper.
  • Brett
    3k


    How could Stoicism have helped the slaves in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama? Stoicism may have kept them alive, they dealt with the externals they could have some control over, like hunger, fear and pain. But that was never going to change the externals they couldn’t control. No matter what they did the balance would never change. The change came from outside the states, not from the slaves identifying and separating matters so that they can say clearly to themselves what are externals not under their control, and what have to do with the choices they actually control.
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21

    My understanding is that Stoicism is a philosophy that helps people live their lives with greater inner peace - not as means of social change.

    I hold the opinion that stoicism helps more than it harms.

    Do you have an alternative, better way of dealing with internal thoughts as they pertain to uncontrollable external conditions?
  • Brett
    3k


    Do you have an alternative, better way of dealing with internal thoughts as they pertain to uncontrollable external conditions?Diagonal Diogenes

    No, but do I have to in making my case that Stoicism is not for the modern world?
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21
    No, and I will agree that it helps less in the modern world than in an older more agrarian civilization, but perhaps it is a better way to deal with modern challenges than... nothing?
  • Brett
    3k


    I’ll go along with that.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.6k
    If I may chime in, I believe that Stoic philosophy has a lot in common with a popular prayer asking for “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. Stoicism doesn’t emphasize the courage part so much, but it doesn’t just preach the serenity part, it also emphasizes the wisdom part. That is, Stoicism doesn’t say to just lay down and accept everything. If you do have some control over things, if you have a chance to fight back against injustices, Stoicism doesn’t say to forego that opportunity. It just says to be wise about whether or not there actually is anything you can do, and that if you really cannot do anything, then have the serenity to accept that. But if you can do something, then by all means always try. And you might not know whether you can or can’t until you try, so trying is a big part of wisdom.
  • praxis
    5.1k
    Sigh....god must be atheist

    I actually didn’t realize you’ve been fucking around from the beginning. Hook removed. :razz:

    Maybe you can take some credit for Pigliucci bailing.
  • I like sushi
    3.7k
    For me the hard problem that often remains a mere afterthought for these kinds of ‘schools of thought’ (ethical models, or whatever you wish to tag them?), is the fleetingly brief nature of how one is to decide upon one’s limitations.

    A rigid ‘stoic’ attitude may lead to an impoverished and cowardly life for one and an overtly belligerent and careless life of needless harm for others. Whenever I’ve looked into these kinds of ‘ethical attitudes’ I find them wanting in terms of how we’re to measure ourselves against the world and too much focus on programmes.

    Basically, I would prefer to see emphasis on the ‘materials of the human world’ rather than how to use the tools at hand - what use is a tool if we’re unable to discern where, when and how to apply it?

    From the comments above I believe Praxis hits the hammer to the anvil well enough in an attempt to fashion a a question worthy of wielding. That is, how do we ‘practice’ - what risks are worth the risk, and how we’re to cope with failure and success.

    Again, most focus tends towards the human heart and regard for the ego in terms of ‘success’ and ‘failure’. I stick to the firm ground that ANY public declaration of ‘moral’ (be it a ‘would’, ‘should’ or ‘could’) is necessarily framed in a disingenuous form as no individual can, or is willing to, bare their darkest desires. Better to understand our inner fortitude and cause yourself some distress before venturing out with claims of ‘what is better’ - even then only the hypothetical is generally able to disarm the ‘intent’ for the ‘reality’. And, further still, too many are ready to instantly dismiss the hypothetical as a dismal fake of life.

    This is quite a complex matter and I’m not trying to be oblique, merely as succinct as possible.

    ‘Teaching’ is not exactly something I am happy about as a term. Really the best means of learning is exposure and a steady decline in protection - an almost impossible problem of human judgement that will inevitably lead to mistakes and tragedy (that is our lot though as human being trying to be more).
  • god must be atheist
    4.4k
    We can however, through 1 and 2, influence A, B and even C in some circumstances. Influence, but never control.Diagonal Diogenes

    This makes sense, @Diagonal Diogenes, but classic Stoicism denies this. You either control something or you don't; there is no in-between like "influencing".

    According to your adjustment, if someone tortures me, I have the ability, through control of my motivation (to stop torture) and of my action, to get up and stop the torture by escaping, by fighting back, etc, as long as these are options available at the situation.

    But the TRUE Stoic will endure the torture, as he states, "I have no control over others' actions".

    This is where I chime in. Assuming the TRUE Stoic version, the torturer does have control over my feelings. I feel bad when he tortures me. His torturing me is a direct result of his motivation to cause me pain. Therefore he has control over how I feel! This is where Stoicism becomes self-contradictory; while with your adjustment, @Diagonal Diogenes, the discrepancy disappears.
  • praxis
    5.1k
    I’m not trying to be obliqueI like sushi

    Transparency is often overrated.
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21
    I was not aware that this "classic" definition exists. I will assume that you are correct in your claim.

    Through all material I have seen recently propagating stoicism as a virtuous philosophy, that was never the meaning I understood from it. Maybe I unconsciously made the adjustment when understanding the material.

    Would anyone blindly follow the classical definition of stoicism as a virtue without adjusting? That would seem folly as the wisdom advertised would have to be ignored in lieu of strictly following the dogma.

    As you, I also think the classical definitions are contradictory and problematic in that it would cause more harm than the null hypothesis.
  • god must be atheist
    4.4k
    I was not aware that this "classic" definition exists.Diagonal Diogenes

    I said it over and over again, that my response was to the mentions in the video made by Dr. Prof. Pigliucci and posted on this philosophy site. I have no other knowledge of Stoicism than what he said in the video. I explained it in the opening post, and then later again in this thread.

    The question in my Opening Post was addressed to Dr. Prof. Pigliucci, and therefore it was unnecessary to go outside his presentation in the video and bring in stuff from outside. He would have probably stood behind the video's content, I would imagine. So for my argument, I needed nothing else but his words in the video presentation.

    Disclaimer:
    I freely admit I am not an expert on Stoicism, and I am only responsible to what I said in the opening post and later about Stoicism, as it pertains to the question I posed to Dr. Prof. Pigliucci.
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21


    This is an example of confusion of meaning, definitions.

    Even if you defined in the OP what [Stoicism] means in exactitude in the context of that video and this thread, it does not match what [STOICISM] means to each person reading that word. Furthermore, even being aware of this distinction, I find it difficult to make arguments with concurrent parallel and slightly different definitions of a concept.

    Then what happens is that we start discussion past each other in confusion because the definitions and assumptions do not match, but because the words and letters form the same patterns in text, we naturally assume that they carry the same meaning in our mind as the person that wrote them, or even anyone else reading it.

    This is proven by the discourse in the thread so far.

    I apologize for the confusion I contributed to here.

    Using the OP as a source of definitions, I will attempt to reply to your original question:

    Stoicism can be taught, conditionally in the learning person already having a nature conducive to its contents.
  • god must be atheist
    4.4k
    Even if you defined in the OP what [Stoicism] means in exactitude in the context of that video and this thread, it does not match what [STOICISM] means to each person reading that wordDiagonal Diogenes

    True. But there is such a thing as accepting an assumption, not because you believe it it's true, but for the sake of argument. It has a name, that process, which I forgot again, although just last week someone told me again what it was.

    I defined Stoicism for the sake of the post, which was directed at Dr. Prof. Pigliucci in a question form.

    Using the OP as a source of definitions, I will attempt to reply to your original question:

    Stoicism can be taught, conditionally in the learning person already having a nature conducive to its contents.
    Diagonal Diogenes

    No, because only unknown things can be taught to a student. If the person (pupil) by nature is a Stoic, there is nothing you can teach him on Stoicism. This is also mentioned in the opening post. Grr-brr, hohem-hohem.
  • Diagonal Diogenes
    21
    No, because only unknown things can be taught to a student. If the person (pupil) by nature is a Stoic, there is nothing you can teach him on Stoicism. This is also mentioned in the opening post. Grr-brr, hohem-hohem.god must be atheist

    No I meant, you would formally teach about the subject of stoicism but I guess you are correct and this just semantics - the student would already be a stoic in practice.
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