What is Stoicism & Criticism of Stoicism
In today’s increasingly chaotic and stressful world, more and more people adopt the philosophy of stoicism to help improve their lives.
Stoicism is a philosophy that’s mainly concerned with adopting and developing certain virtuous beliefs that you have to do with accepting your role in nature, not allowing yourself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or pain, striving to treat others fairly, acting rationally, and more
Many bestselling author speakers and bloggers are going as far as to say stoicism may be the single best philosophy you can follow the life a great life.
It’s certainly true that many people have expressed an increase in life satisfaction after adopting many historical beliefs.
But like with every philosophy, it’s important to examine the potential pitfalls and criticism of stoicism. And right now, there seems to be too much praise surrounding it.
Instead of taking a critical look at it now, if you want a full breakdown of what exactly stoicism is and what it’s followers actually believed, and make sure to check out the video in the description.
What is Stoicism
The philosophy of stoicism describes the set of virtues or behaviors a person should follow to achieve eudaimonia, which translates as happiness or, more specifically, human flourishing and having a high-quality overall state of life.
They say that there are four main cardinal virtues to the philosophy, but really, it’s better to think of the Stoics approach to virtue and behavior as threefold.
- Living at peace with our own nature, as rational beings without inner conflict and with self-love.
- Living at peace or harmony with other people, even those we despise because we’re all made up of the same nature and
- Living at peace with external events by welcoming the fate that befalls us without fear, complaint, or craving for more things.
It sounds like a pretty good philosophy to live by right, and by many accounts, it is.
Criticism Of Stoicism
Police of stoicism and how the ancient Stoics thought we should live. Our lives were derived by logic about their metaphysics or what they thought.
The reality was the problem with their metaphysics is, well, what’s wrong, at least according to the best theories modern scientists and researchers have about what reality actually is.
The Stoics believed in something called Pneuma, something that resides in everything, including us.
Pneuma translates to breath, which they thought of a Zika fiery element on Stokes believed events were deterministic due to everything just being nature, acting according to logical rules.
But because of this, Pneuma and us, we do have some degree of free will and how we choose to respond to these predetermined events that will happen to us, whether we like it or not; this forms the ground for the Stoics virtues and beliefs.
Science hasn’t indicated that the universe is deterministic. But not that there’s like a fiery god element or soul in us that gets to choose and, in a way, override determinism.
That’s the case, then the Stoics basic metaphysics is flawed, and the very foundation of how they derive their virtues and beliefs is fundamentally wrong in the philosophy sort of comes crumbling down Now.
You could argue that since doses, um is a philosophy, modern stoves could amend the metaphysics to be more logically correct.
Just because they’re metaphysics is wrong doesn’t mean that we have to abandon the philosophy. There could be some practical things we can pull out of it that can significantly improve our lives’ quality.
It’s Not Healthy to Keep Your Emotions Constantly and Check
Some people misinterpret stoicism to mean having to suppress all your emotions, which is incorrect. You don’t need to push your emotions away.
You need to control how you respond to them. Some stoicism followers believe you should keep all your emotions and reactions fully and check at all times. According to many theories of mind, that’s not only extremely unhealthy to do but probably impossible.
So, for example, according to many Stoics, it’s okay to feel sad at a funeral or happy for an engagement, just as long as you keep your reactions to the emotions in check at all times.
When you start to let the emotions get the best of you, That’s when you stop living virtuously.
But one could argue that part of being truly happy and healthy and embracing the human experience is to let our emotions get the best of us.
Sometimes studies have shown that to process things like trauma; you need to let yourself get angry and emotional to process the eventfully.
Keeping your emotions in check won’t do that and could even make your life worse over the long run thing with feelings of joy and delight. Yes, for some, keeping those and checking may result in a higher quality of life overall in the long run.
But for others, it may not
and suppressing your elation at say, getting engaged, for instance, could make your overall quality of life worse.
Many existential philosophers, like Nietzsche and John Paul Sartre, had issues with this idea as well. Sartre saw stoicism as an invasion that aims to keep both masters and slaves in their places.
Now that just meant that if a ruthless dictator got into power, people might try to just accept that had happened.
Instead of becoming enraged and overthrowing him.
Still may argue back that you could rationally work together to overthrow the dictator without letting the emotions get the best of you. As Sartre would respond, doses, um, would be unable to work the magic of emotion.
Have you ever seen a successful revolution without some sort of intense emotional desire, driving it at its core?
The goal of stoicism may not be achievable.
This sort of ties into the previous point, the philosopher Seneca talked about the Stoke sage as something that the Stoics could ultimately strive to be. This is someone who has full control over their emotions and can remain serene in the bowl of felonies—a terrible torture device.
Now he didn’t say that anyone could achieve this, just that. It’s something that we should all strive for.
Essentially, Seneca believes that we should try to make our body of Fortress able to withstand all the struggles with calmness and strength.
Whoever, some of our best theories of how the mind works suggest that it is impossible to do and even come close to.
There’s no way a healthy, functioning person will be able to fully suppress and control emotions like that, meaning that the ultimate goal is impossible and potentially extremely unhealthy and even dangerous to do the one psyche.
Where exactly does your Sphere of influence End?
Stoicism says that things not in our sphere of influence, like actions and opinions of others or health or reputation or wealth or things that we have no control over.
The key to living a good life is to learn to control things within our sphere of influence and learn not to worry about the things outside of it but sometimes is difficult to determine just where the sphere of influence ends, potentially making stoicism not as practical as some may portray it to be.
For example, imagine that you’re going to visit us a very sick relative on the verge of death, and your flight gets indefinitely delayed due to very bad weather.
A stoic may say Well, I feel really disappointed, but this was out of my control, so there’s no use getting too upset right now.
Hopefully, the delay will be lifted, and I’ll be able to visit them on. Just wait out the weather.
Another stoic may believe that the situation is still in their control and may spend several hours or days attempting to figure out how to get there to their destination. Maybe by an alternative means, like a train or driving themselves, they do not want to risk losing their relative before seeing them.
Let’s say that the latter Stoke put himself through much more emotional stress, driving through like a storm at a fast speed, but actually ended up seeing his sick relative before they passed away while the other did not.
Were both people stoics because they try to keep their emotions and check the entire time. Both took many different paths and live many different lives, though, so do they really fall under the same philosophy?
Was one more of a stoic than the other
Stoicism may not be the only way to achieve Eudaimonia.
The claim that a person can achieve Eudaimonia exclusively through virtue may not be valid, and virtue may not even be needed for Eudaimonia or a good life at all.
Indeed, it seems, stoicism is a much better way to live than something like traditional narrow Hedonism, or we’re only looking for pleasure. Previous philosophers have said, um, Hedonism is now evolved to preference hedonism, which encourages us to strive for any desire to mental state.
Instead of just chasing pleasure and happiness with preference hedonism, we can choose to pursue happiness, sadness, pain, and war. This philosophy allows us to adopt some parts of stoicism.
They may work for us rather than leave other parts of it out that aren’t making our lives better, making it potentially a better philosophy for well-being.
We also went over objective list theories in the past of wellbeing, which states that there are things that are in the world that are objectively good for us and produce wellbeing, whether we like it or not. And we should strive for these things.
If that philosophy is right and three cases, then we should be striving for things outside of our control instead of worrying that will affect us.
Stoicism, for some, is just another way to label yourself and box yourself in a rigid system for life.
That may not work. And who’s to say stoicism is right for everyone? Can we go into other people’s minds and know exactly what everyone’s feelings? Of course not.