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Modern Stoicism

By the Will of The Destroyer and The Creator

It is becoming unquestionable as a result of common knowledge bolstered by media that our societies have entered a decline.  We are looking at an uncertain period of transition in which—for Americans—we will remain relevant, but no longer the sole dominating force in world affairs.  Like Rome and Greece we find ourselves overburdened with our Pax Americana which followed after Pax Hellenica and Pax Romana.  The differences are there in that we do not annex other countries outright, but instead impose political restrictions, and through our popular culture then mold their own cultures and conception of us.  Even in the so-called anti-American nations, American products, “freedoms,” and way of life are held in high-esteem through an emulation of sorts even if America’s presence and policies are hated.  Nevertheless, what is to be said is universal to all western cultures whether European, American, or Hispanic.  The era of western power as the sole driving force of history as taught may very well be ending.  This shift in power is going to be a cause of economic, social, political upheavals.  Denial is useless and serves no one, even the blind political structure sapping countries of life as it has become unsustainable in its quiet corruption.  With surveillance increasing political activism has also become costly and dangerous: an option only for those who can deal with the consequences.  For those willing, non-political, yet not wanting to be conquered by the state of the age Stoicism finds new relevance.

Was it worth it?

            Once a major philosophical school of thought, Stoicism commanded great esteem in the very past empires we believe to model our nations after.  After some research, it will be revealed that Stoicism is not just philosophy as it is rather religious in character, but remains more a “way of life” than anything else as a person can be Stoic regardless of the state of their belief or non-belief.  Primarily, Stoicism teaches a person to be strong, courageous, calm, and composed: to not be swayed easily by emotion, events, nor by the consequence of the person’s being.  To simply exist and not compromise in virtue and morality become the marks of high character.  In a word it is a form of self-discipline.  This all seems quite simple on the surface, and it is, yet remains a great difficulty in practice.  However, this becomes a matter of worth considering as social elevation and stature, wealth, political and social rights, and general transparency once considered a birthright—if it ever existed all—have decayed.  The veil of illusion over the reality of our own selves is lifted: our true worth is not what we thought it to be in the eyes of the greater society.  We are part of the world in which we are parts, not the central force many of us want to be.

We are nothing but dust in a great void.

The appeal of a modern form of Stoicism becomes rather clear in uncertain times in which we feel as if we are being swept away.  The erosion of our rights and privileges is combined with an ever increasing hostile control makes us feel powerless, and we very much are.  Our human dignity, however, is not something that can be stripped away unless we let it happen.  Does such a notion hold weight with the masses of people concerned more with pleasure?  Of course not, but some deserve a measure of sympathy and compassion simply for knowing that there is something better even if they cannot find it.  The traditionalist is a person who despite their means is a person who wishes to imbue his soul with nobility.  There are no aristocrats but those who have sought to find ascension in their souls.

A Stoic Man, an imperial archetype for all to aspire to: peasant, bourgeois, wealthy.

To be stoic is something both simple and complex.  It requires cultivating and conditioning not of the body, but of the soul.  Soldierly and martial stoics may also condition the body, but it is not a prime factor in being a stoic.  The serenity of the sage, a virtuous life, is not attained simply by doing good works, but by finding clarity devoid of extremes of emotion.  One must be ready and willing to accept what has been ordained or doled out to them by the Will of Divinity: fate, in a word.  If it happens to you, it was meant for you.  If it happens to you, you can handle it.  It is the anticipation of an unfortunate even that is worse than the event itself.  Fear … is often a prime motivator in control by hostile parties, but fear is still that same factor preventing us from finding our place and developing as men.  Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Zeno, these were real men who used courage, dignity, and intelligence to overcome their obstacles.  In the case of the former, lacking the power to prevent a greater decline, a great legacy applicable to combat, human relations, and other struggles was passed down through the ages.  Learn how to be an imperial Stoic from Aurelius’s Meditations and Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic.  Our age mirrors those of the past in many ways.  Go … be a man.

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  • http://lifescansdarkly.wordpress.com/ Dan

    Stoicism seems to be undergoing a small revival these days, and there’s never been a better time. If only we placed a real emphasis on teaching grounded philosophy in grade schools, instead of relegating it to the realm of abstract graduate courses (and I’ll smack anyone who majors in philosophy; might as well major in breathing).

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