You know? I was going to launch full-speed ahead into the concepts of apathy, skepticism, stoicism, happiness, etc., but I think instead I should explain this "New New-Stoicism" crap. I admit is a little bit of a conceit of mine, but bear with me while I try to put it in a historical context.
The ancient Greek dudes came up with Classical Stoicism (that's a link to Wikipedia), where their philosophy was a set of personal ethics which depended on a system of logic. According to them, you had to get down with nature. They had a regular bromance with nature. Everything was about being one with nature, 'cuz that's the only way to be happy and what not. Actually, most of the Western virtue ethics are based on those classical stoic concepts. Of course, with the rise of Christianity in the Western world, the ancient Greek dude stuff got left by the wayside, 'cuz they were a bunch of pagans and of course nothing good could come out of them.
But then, in the Renaissance there was this Belgian guy, Justus Lipsius, who invented the Neostoicism. He wanted to grab Christianity and Stoicism, put 'em in a blender, and make a smoothie of goodness. Actually, I think all of those guys back then didn't think of themselves as Neostoics, or whatever. That's more like a historical designation… Anyhoo, yeah, those guys back then were thinking that they could take the best parts out of Stoicism and apply it to Christianity. All of that pagan, naturist crap should be replaced with thoughts about God and Christ and stuff. I mean, people like Saint Augustine had tried without much success to do just that since, like, the 4th Century. It didn't stop them from trying again in the 17th Century, though.
Then, in the 20th Century, we had some dudes who wanted to see how those good-ol' ancient Greek dudes would've done their thing if they were, like, in modern times. So now we have Modern Stoicism. You know what? If all this I've been talking about sounds a little bit familiar, it's because the Stoic concepts (Classical, Neo, or Modern) have been filtering down into the mindset of the common people for a long time. For my medical peeps, if this blog sounds suspiciously similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it's because the philosophy behind CBT actually is the Modern Stoicism.
That brings us to this: my pretentious New New-Stoicism. I've got to tell you, I do believe in God. Maybe not the Sunday-school version, but an all-powerful one. One who takes zero shit from no one. Oh, He cares for us, but He does whatever He wants, and no one can stop Him. But I believe we live in this body, and everything human is also of the flesh. And so, when I discovered the Stoic concepts in my youth, I thought to myself, "Hey! How can I possibly get all spiritual and shit if I'm a prisoner of my body?"
Well, I believe that, by behaving ethically and morally, by always striving to act rationally, by trying to reach the ideals of the Four Virtues and avoiding the Four Vices like the plague, I should be able to get my spiritual mojo on.
Thus, this thing: The New New-Stoicism. (Applause!)
See y'all next time!
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