Stoicism has been a philosophy that I’ve become acquainted with over the years, but have only now started to critically examine while trying to drop my own biases. Growing up, I viewed it as the strict military father that I wanted nothing to do with, and in doing so built up a horrendously false view of this philosophy.
Avoid your emotions. Suck it up. Do what you’ve been told… the misunderstandings of this system were egregious on my part.
Coming back to Stoicism after some personal growth combined with wanting a deeper understanding of the schools of philosophy out there, I have come to realize some of the beauty within this Hellenistic system. Though I do not fully subscribed to this school of thinking, there is most definitely wisdom in the wells of Stoicism that can provide benefit, and perhaps even solutions to some of our struggles even almost three thousand years later.
As an exercise in both writing and to further explore this school of thinking, I intend to write a daily article using the book of one of the most well known historical Stoics, Marcus Aurelius. The book I’m referring to is of course Meditations, which are the notes and journal entries of a Roman Emperor that contains advice seemingly applicable today, as well as being the evidence of work that a man was trying to improve himself whilst running an empire. Due to this work being his private writings never intended for publication, it is safe to assume that what Aurelius wrote is sincere.
I want to invite others on this undertaking as well, to create discussion about the passages from Meditations, and how one may have a different understanding of the passage based in their experiences as well as where these observations can best be applied in our daily lives.
The next article in this series, I will throw us directly into Meditations, which is actually similar to what Aurelius does himself, as he jumps right into ideas to reflect on and actions to apply immediately!