Stoicism: is virtue the only good?

‪’Stoicism‘ is a philosophy that began in the Hellenistic Age in Ancient Greece, which became an extremely strong influence on the understanding of ethics. As ‘Socrates‘ said, ‘to know is to know oneself‘, and reason was the source of discovering value. Stoics believed that many things were out of our control, but our thoughts aren’t, and the way to reach an ideal state of mentality was to apply logic, reason and virtue, and it’s futile to become unhappy about things beyond our control. ‬

‪”Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius‬

‪Stoics contemplated a lot about actions they’d made during the day, and if they feel they were unjust, irritated or made angry over something irrelevant or trivial, they’d reconsider their actions for the following day, and when the next day arrives they’d remind themselves that life can be hard, and that they will face challenges that are often out of their control. They will encounter people that will be frustrated, rude, ignorant, and by reflecting in advance, they’d aim to rise above them and refrain from being provoked. ‬

‪”Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have. Epictetus‬

So what are the principles of stoicism? ‬

‪’Zeno of Citium‘ invented stoicism around 300 years BCE, and was originally called Zenonism before its name change. It became extremely popular as people wanted to pursuit a good and happy life, and became an extension of cynicism. The stoic fourfold scheme is as follows:‬

‪* Love the truth and seek wisdom‬

‪* Act with justice, fairness, and kindness toward others‬

‪* Master your fears and be courageous‬

‪* Master your desires and live with self-discipline‬

Stoicism is about learning to control your emotions, by learning self discipline, by applying reason to reach clear, concise, unbiased judgements. It resembles Buddhism in its four noble truths, and is a great philosophy, it’s just hard to master, as whilst I was writing this I got angry with two people on social media.

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