Stoicism - When I think of this, I mentioned the British palace guards who tourists like to mess with and try to get them to smile. But stoicism is much more than that, especially when dealing with such an uncertain, violent world. This particular quote from Marcus Aurelius, one of the last great Roman emperors, could fit perfectly in our time period:
Stoicism doesn't mean standing idly by while crazy stuff happens. I think, in many ways, it has to do with the ways in which you react (or don't react) to all the sensationalist news, Chicken-Littles, and Boys-Who-Cried-Wolf out there in the media. If we believed everything we saw and heard about our world that's dangerous, we'd never get our kids immunized for fear of them getting autism, we'd never buy certain brands of products b/c of an email circulating the globe about the product's danger, and we'd certainly never leave the house.
This article, "The Modern Wimp's Introduction to Stoicism", is rather crude but funny and tries to dispel the notion that being stoic means not flinching when boys get punched in the groin: http://www.primermagazine.com/2010/live/introduction-to-stoicism
This article talks about how to be stoic: http://www.stoics.fsnet.co.uk/#BeStoical
- However, do we ignore all of the warnings out there about impending doom? Too many people ignored the oncoming freight train of death that was attached to the subprime mortgage bubble, and you see where that got us in 2008. Too many people were busy making too much money to listen to the Pollyannas saying, "hold on a minute!" And sometimes, sifting through the town crier's messages, isn't there just the call for moderation? If global warming isn't happening exactly as Al Gore said it would, what's wrong with cutting back on our dependence on foreign oil and driving more fuel-efficient cars? What's wrong with getting involved more with the 3 Rs - recycle, reuse, and reduce? I don't know who is correct in the global warming debate, nor do I care, but there can't be anything wrong w/ America reducing its carbon footprint.
|Craig Damrauer's print from "Modern Art" which |
I think sums up the art cynic in all of us.
Your job: Pick one of the four Hellenist schools of thought and explain in 250 words or more how it applies to your life. If you're having trouble just sticking to one school of thought, or you take issue with something I've said here, then by all means, jump into the fray!
Due Wednesday, April 27 before class begins