Caption: : The central philosophy to the idea of Stoisawg
Key Ideas Around Stoicism
only thing that is truly good is an excellent mental state, identified with
virtue and reason. This is the only thing that can guarantee our happiness.
External things such as money, success, fame and the like can never bring us
happiness. Although there is nothing wrong with these things and they do hold
value and may well form part of a good life, often the pursuit of these things
actually damages the only thing that can bring us happiness: an excellent,
rational mental state.
emotions are the project of our judgements, of thinking that something good or
bad is happening or is about to happen. Many of our negative emotions are based
on mistaken judgements, but because they are due to our judgements it means
they are within our control. Change the judgements and you change the emotions.
Despite the popular image, the Stoic does not repress or deny his emotions;
instead he simply doesn’t have them in the first place. This isn’t as cold as
it might at first sound: we ought to overcome harmful, negative emotions that
are based on mistaken judgments while embracing correct positive emotions, replacing
anger with joy.
Stoics suggest we ought to live in harmony with Nature. Part of what they mean
by this is that we ought to acknowledge that we but small parts of a larger,
organic whole, shaped by larger processes that are ultimately out of our
control. There is nothing to be gained from trying to resist these larger
processes except anger, frustration, and disappointment. While there are many
things in the world that we can change, there are many others we cannot and we
need to understand this and accept it.
light of what we have seen, there are some things we have control over (our
judgements, our own mental state) and some things that we do not (external
processes and objects). Much of our unhappiness is caused by confusing these
two categories: thinking we have control over something that ultimately we do
not. Happily the one thing we do have control over is the only thing that can
guarantee a good, happy life.