I remember being drawn to elements of Stoicism even in my evangelical college. It’s not as simplistic as some present it. This is a good overview by Prof. Nancy Sherman, with some timely lessons on our common humanity:
“If You’re Reading Stoicism for Life Hacks, You’re Missing the Point” (NYT)
“Fear and anger too often “outleap reason.” We need to learn how and when to press the pause button. We need to mobilize attention, he says, to lessen the impact of near-automatic responses that are subject to distortion and error.
Ultimately, this is a life hack not just for me and my impulse control but also for us in thinking about how to build a community so that fear and rage don’t rip us apart. The goal of daily meditation is not just my equanimity. It is equanimity rooted in virtue, and virtue, for the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Stoics included, is always about how I live well as a cooperative member of a commonwealth …
In “On Anger” Seneca calls on us, “Let us cultivate our humanity.” That is the enduring Stoic promise: to empower us in our common humanity. It’s not self-help but group help. If the Stoics are worth reading, it’s because they constantly exhort us to rise to our potential — through reason, cooperation and selflessness.”
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