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Stoicism and the Art of Not Caring

Andreas Züst | 8:30


We are born into this world hungry, vulnerable and confused. As we go through life we attempt to eliminate these feelings by trying to control the conditions of the world around us. We seek to accomplish and obtain things, achieve higher status, acquire wealth or fame, develop power and so on. We live with the persisting hopefulness that in the future we will have and control enough stuff to free ourselves of our emptiness, vulnerability and confusion and find some ultimate happiness and security outside of ourselves. This hopeful vision of the future might sound reasonable, but perhaps it is what keeps us contained in our problems.

To help us better understand and deal with our seemingly unquenchable hunger for ultimate control and happiness outside of ourselves. We will look to the ancient philosophy of stoicism. stoicism is a philosophy that started in ancient Greece and was then further popularized in ancient Rome. stoicism is an especially unique philosophy and how potently it has withstood the test of time across 1000s of years. Arguably, the teachings and wisdom of stoic philosophy are equally if not more relevant today than ever. In recent history, stoicism has found huge appeal.

It was used and encouraged by recent historical leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Nelson Mandela, written about by current popular authors like Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene and Ryan Holiday just to name a few and has found a rather large community on the internet. stoicism is enduring popularity is not without good reason, the principles of stoicism can help us find calmness, presence and resilience in a world of increasingly overt chaos, anxiety and insatiable desire for more. In stoicism, we exist in a reality that does not care about our personal opinion of it, we cannot ask it nicely to remove the chaos suffering, hardship and uncertainty, nor can we will ourselves onto it with force. In order to do so. However, stoicism suggests that that does not mean we are subject to be helpless victims of the world. Rather, stoicism proclaims that there are two domains of life, our external being the things outside of our mind, which we cannot control, and the internal our interpretations and reactions to the external which we can control.

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