Why Stoicism?

Stoicism is in every sense a European life philosophy. The Stoic school of philosophy theorized that our happiness comes from living a virtuous life. Physical pleasure is not necessary, or even desirable, and is detrimental to the well-being and a healthy state of mind. Living in accordance with the laws of nature will allow the reader to elevate themselves to a higher moral state. Nature was simply a manifestation of the gods. It states that nothing in life is pre-ordained or decided for us and that we should accept what happens to us without protest. A persons’ behavior was the greatest way of inferring their life philosophy and belief, not their words. Whatever we received in life we should accept and find peace in it. The Stoic is one who can endure and persevere against pain or hardship without complaint or damage. They implore the student to live as honourable and simply as possible. The central tenant or theme of the philosophy is to make the pupil strive for a higher state of moral standard and quality. Those who occupy the highest scale of virtue will be in the greatest state of happiness.

Nobody can make you a Stoic. Philosophy does not come to the lazy and the weak. It must be found from within ones-self and cultivated relentlessly until it has been obtained. You must dedicate all of your time to becoming one and being obdurately resilient as one thereafter. You cannot waver in your endurance or your strength. Enduring your pains, overcoming your weaknesses, banishing your fears, exerting all of your energy towards your goals and ultimately accepting death is the way of the Stoic.

One of the most important concepts in Stoicism is to practice what you preach. You must never retreat from your lifestyle of moderation and simplicity. It serves nobody any purpose to give them advice and then do the opposite. A teacher is worthless if they cannot learn themselves. A drunk preaching the morality of temperance is worthless.

“That kind of man can be of no more help to me as an instructor than a steersman who is seasick in a storm.”
– Seneca

Complete abstinence from the world of vice is crucial in being a Stoic and a good European. If you can enjoy something and still be completely confident that you have upheld your virtue and your personal honour then and afterwards, then you have succeeded in being a Stoic. After all, attaining and preserving your philosophical worldview is the ultimate objective. Once you have done so, it is your duty to protect and uphold it. If you do so, you have resisted the darkness and kept your name. The darkness that has been clawing at our throats for the past 2,000 years and has dragged down so many. You do not have to abandon what you believe in to enjoy life but you must be careful to not loosen this control over yourself.

“If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor; if according to people’s opinions, you will never be rich.”
– Seneca from Epicurus

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
– Marcus Aurelius

One can still minimally pursue pleasure without absconding their personal virtue or beliefs. To me, pleasures are a distraction from fulfilling my personal morals. That is not say I completely shun and condemn them; I have learned to place less value on them. I set limits on the things I want to do and take pleasure in and have no cravings for them afterwards. Indulging is to completely submit and reveal one’s weakness. A Stoic derives just as much contentness from if he didn’t have what he does have. He only satisfies his most basic needs and is perfectly content in doing so. He never desires more than that.

“The wise man is content with himself.”
– Seneca

It means not smoking, not drinking, no drugs, no masturbation, no meaningless sex, not pursuing or caring about wealth and pleasure, controlling your emotions and not having more than you need. You must resist all urges you may have and placate them to the point where they no longer exist. You must find pleasure in the things that you will never be deprived of. Cravings should be eliminated by abstaining from them. Once the body and the mind has become accustomed to doing so, you will no longer have any desire for any decadent pleasures. If you can do this consistently, eventually you will not have any urges and only healthy habits.

Wealth is a means of slavery. The man who only cares for wealth and greed is no man but a slave. He has substituted simplicity for abundance, excess, extravagance, avarice and stupidity.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
– Epictetus

To be a Stoic is to live in harmony with Mother Nature’s eternal law. It is to embrace a simple way of life and how we have been decreed by nature to do. Enduring pain, avoiding indulgences, cheerfully accepting death, being careless of the thoughts and actions of others, upholding truthfulness and scorning hypocrisy are all steps along the path. We must replace the Judeo-Christian darkness of vice, apathy, greed, avarice, lustfulness, egotism, nihilism and self-gratification with the timeless principles of honour, courage, bravery, heroism, selflessness and discipline. By doing so, we can live long, honourable, and fulfilling lives as was intended for us by the eternity of the universe.

Stoic (alias European) characteristics and beliefs:
– Duty
– Pride
– Nobleness
– Abstinence
– Valor
– Loyalty
– Bravery
– Courage
– Vigilance
– Valiance
– Diligence
– Perseverance
– Responsibility
– Self-discipline
– Self-esteem
– Truthfulness
– Justice
– Moderation
– Humility
– Self-control
– Patience
– Accepting death

Judeo-Christian characteristics and beliefs:
– Dishonour
– Self-depreciation
– Self-gratification
– Degeneracy
– Indulgence
– Blindness
– Cowardice
– Greed
– Apathy
– Nihilism
– Squalor
– Slander
– Lust
– Anger
– Laziness
– Indolence
– Obscenity
– Fear of death

Important Stoic principles as compiled by me (in no particular order):

I: When you intend to complete or achieve a goal, do so with your full determination and mighty will. You will complete it if you do not waver from this.
II: When we are impeded or hindered we should not blame others. We only have ourselves to blame. Only the foolish blame others; The wise blames himself for his failures; The wisest blame neither themselves nor others.
III: When trying to accomplish a major objective, do not be distracted by anything unnecessary or petty.
IV: Do not wish things upon yourself that are not possible. Be content with what happens to you. Be content with what you possess.
V: You are only encumbered or impeded if you think so. If you view something that is bad as truly bad, then it is. Your will is only diminished if you think it is. Your physical ailments mean nothing unless you think otherwise.
VI: Turn your weaknesses into your strengths.
VII: We do not have control over what happens to us in life. We cannot pick the life we want to live. Accept what your fate is and be content with what you have.
VIII: Do not be insulted by others. Only you are validating their insults in your mind. They only have meaning if your own opinion thinks so. When you pay no attention to the insults you become stronger.
IX: If you do something that you do not fundamentally believe in to please somebody else, you have lost your meaning in life. Do not conform. If you wish to provide philosophical enlightenment to someone else and consider yourself a philosopher, then you shall be one.
X: Do not indulge in any vices or pleasures without delay or contemplation. Try to abstain from them. The results will be greater when you exercise your restraint. If you think it is reasonable under rare circumstances to enjoy them, do not let them consume you. Return to abstinence afterwards and reflect. To resist them completely is victory.
XI: Lives of dependency and wealth are the most troublesome.
XII: The virtuous and honourable life is the highest.
XIII: Those who have will are free.
XIV: Greed and wealth weaken the body while discipline and learning strengthen it.
XV: Be grateful for what you already have and do not ask for what you cannot have.
XVI: You should be troubled in the mind if you do not contribute anything of intelligence to other men.
XVII: Richness comes from luck and should not be depended on nor desired. Happiness comes from your will and your own power.
XVIII: Do not envy the possessions of the rich but despise their immoral and repugnant character.
XIX: Moderation, frugality and restraint are superior to extravagance, luxury and excess.
XX: The truth will always prevail over false and ignorant opinions.
XXI You can never be defeated if you seek the truth.
XXII: Those who have wisdom and are free of mind should not be associated with those dregs who don’t.
XXIII: Self-gratification is inferior to generosity, gentleness and self-efficacy.
XXIV: Pleasures lose their purpose if indulged in too often.
XXV: Your judgments will not be false if your will is strong.
XXVI: Live your principles and prove them in your everyday life.
XXVII: Work for your keep and be modest in it.
XXVIII: Speak with reason and sparingly.
XXIX: Noble citizens living noble and moral lives are greater than reprobates living lives of luxury and dormancy.
XXX: Do not be surprised by the idiocy of the masses.
XXXI: Pay off your debts as quickly as possible.
XL: Just as the Sun does not need encouragement or applause to provide it’s splendor, do not demand or expect praise to provide your good actions and honour.
L: Morality is superior to wealth. Wealth corrupts and reduces men to pleasure and excess.
LX: Think before you act. You cannot revoke what has already been done.
LXX: To inspire or urge someone is better than reproving them. When you reprove them you are convicting their wrongs.
LXXX: The wise honourably resist pleasures and urges while the foolish and degenerate embrace them.
XC: You cannot be free if you cannot control yourself.
C: Your best way of attacking your enemies is to live the best you can. They despise this and will be tormented by it.
CI: Living contently is albeit short but the one with most satisfaction and delight.
CL: Knowledge is perpetual and superior to wealth.
CC: Learning is beautiful.
CCC: It is unreasonable to believe that things happen for no reason.
CD: Just because you associate with certain people does not automatically confer upon you their characteristics or wisdom. You do.
D: Do not stray from your knowledge nor converse with those who do not have similar wisdom.
DC: Wealth does not come from money. Richness is contentness.
DCC: Your life essence is more important than your body.
DCCC: Our troubles are only as severe as our opinions of them.

Honourable Stoics:

Seneca

Zeno of Citium

Epictetus

Chrysippus

Marcus Aurelius (Museo del Prado) 01

IMG_3349

“For no one is worthy of a god unless he has paid no heed to riches.”
– Seneca

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
– Marcus Aurelius

“No evil is honorable; but death is honorable; therefore death is not evil.”
– Zeno of Citium

“He needs little who desires but little.”
– Cleanthes

“Living virtuously is equal to living in accordance with one’s experience of the actual course of nature.”
– Chrysippus

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”
– Zeno of Citium

“I know, Lucilius, that no one can lead a happy life, or even one that is bearable, without the pursuit of wisdom, and that the perfection of wisdom is what makes the happy life…”
– Seneca

“Philosophy has no business in supplying vice with excuses; a sick man who is encouraged to live in a reckless manner by his doctor has not a hope of getting well.”
– Seneca

“In a single day there lies open to men of learning more than there ever does to the unenlightened in the longest of lifetimes.”
– Posidonius

Hail Stoicism!

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10 comments on “Why Stoicism?

  1. Melody says:

    Hello Fellow Stoic,

    I have been following Varg’s blog for a while now. I came across your blog through his. May I say, I really enjoy your style of writing and choice of subject matter. This particular piece on Stoicism is a nice summary of a subject matter that few delve into and even fewer practice. I have been reading Epictetus’s discourses lately and he does a great job speaking of these things In more detail. If you haven’t read it yet, you should! As a race conscious woman, I really appreciate seeing fellow European minded men keeping these thoughts alive. Keep up the amazing hard work!

    Melody

  2. Yes, I have read Epictetus’s works. His “Enchiridion” was the first Stoic work I read. I was immediately taken by it and have never looked back since. Yet it was familiar because I had always lived a simple life without excessive want. I guess it is just inherent for us to be like this. It is quite amazing, but at same time frightening, how true their words are today, if not even more true. Ancient wisdom is eternal.

    You need not worry about me keeping up the hard work. I don’t think I could stop if I tried! Starting a task and not finishing it is certainly something no Stoic would do 😉

    Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it deeply coming from another consciously minded person.

  3. freethought says:

    Very nice article!

  4. Mantis says:

    This is my first time on the blog, and may I say, this is a great article. I have been recently reading of the Stoics myself. Putting it into practice, though… ’tis difficult for one used to a life of comfort and decadence.

    No complaining though, it’s a worthy challenge! To live a disciplined and moral life in a lax and immoral world!

    I might say though, you compare “Judeo-Christian” and “Stoic/European” morals. I can’t speak for the Jewish aspect, but Christian and Stoic teachings are very similar in worldly matters. Today it is a decadent religion, but we shouldn’t denigrate the moral teachings of Christianity because of it, for they are the same as ours. The religious outlook is different, but the philosophy oh-so-similar. I think your “Judeo-Christian Beliefs” would be better termed “Decadent beliefs”, for they are common to decadent peoples all over, whether Judeo- Christian, Pagan or otherwise.

    PS: You look like a real Neanderthal, and I mean that as a highest compliment.

    • William K. says:

      Thank you for your compliment.

      Learning something unfamiliar to our conventional lifestyles can be easy to understand but it takes a lot of discipline and dedication to really practice it; especially something as rigorous as Stoicism. Yes, a lot of the things I took pleasure in had to be culled out or regulated to a healthy point. That said, I have since then gained a healthy and positive perspective of life and have learned much in the past few years.

      I will agree that such decadent values are present in all peoples and religions of the world and definitely is not something solely confined to Christianity. I have met many commendable Christians who are moral and healthy but do so for the wrong reasons. They live morally not because of a natural instinct, but out of a sense of compliance with their foreign god, else they would face the consequences.

      The reason I refer to such degenerate morals as Judeo-Christian is because this is where they have originated from in the European man. Before Judeo-Christianity the European man was much more healthy and moral. These principles only become prevalent in our ideology when we started adopting such corrupt dogmas from the Middle-East. The only reason we have the fragments we have from the Stoics is because their writings were deemed “worthy” of preservation by the Church. Everything else Pagan was burned. The reason Christianity has such a similar philosophical-belief system to the Pagan religion of Europe and Stoicism is because the early Church adopted these beliefs from the native European peoples. They had to do so in order to convert us, or else we would have resisted. Because of the familiarity of such principles (such as the God-man Jesus, anti-homosexual sentiments, anti-abortion feelings, dedication to your family and partner, certain practices on certain days, etc) Europeans were much more inclined to convert. We still celebrate the same Pagan holidays today under the guise of Christianity, only with different names and in a degenerately commercialized form. Christianity is essentially Paganism with Jewish figures and symbols. That said, to say that the moral teachings of Christianity are the same as ours is completely true but because of a different reason: they were originally from us.

      • Mantis says:

        Thanks for the informative reply.

        I wish you success in your path to wisdom and self-mastery. I will take you as an inspiration on my own path, to not fall off it for being to rigorous for my timid soul, but to stand strong and press on.

        Probably my next most important step is to get off the bloody internet, at once my biggest source of information and my biggest hindrance to self-knowledge.

        Perhaps you know the feeling.

      • William K. says:

        Yes I know the feeling. The internet can be a great impediment for learning the truth in it’s bog of idiocy, consumerism and advertisements. Conversely, it can be a fountain of information and enlightenment in a world devoid of any guidance and teaching. Here presents the paradigm of someone who disdains modern technology and social media. I don’t think I would have learned as much as I have or have met similar minded people without the internet. I never would have found any of the books or music that I prefer without it. The internet is indeed a rare case of something modern that isn’t totally detrimental to us. I guess we will have to just keep crawling through the bog and keep looking for those who are trying to escape it as well.

  5. Bes says:

    Very good written ! Keep up doing great work.

  6. julienboverman says:

    Is it good if i translate this to Dutch for a site of mine? All the credit’s will ofcourse be yours and i will give a link to this original article 🙂 .

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