Stoicism 101: Can we be “Good” without a Higher Power as a Role Model? [Episode 5]

Updated: Aug 4

Today, we will take a look at an ancient Greek philosophy called Stoicism, which is a school of philosophy centered around personal ethics, founded about three hundred years before the time of Jesus.

We’ll unbox some examples of Stoic practices and exercises. - Train Perception to Avoid Good and Bad

- Take The View From Above

- “Is This Within My Control?”

- Amor Fati: Love Everything That Happens


Guests: Cassidy and Ryan

Introduction

Can we be “good” without God? In this episode, my friends Cassidy and Ryan, from Dallas, help me explore the world of Stoicism.


Summary

  • The 12-Step “Serenity Prayer” is a Stoic meditation prayed to a Higher Power

  • Stoic practices:

  1. Train your perception to avoid good and bad. There is no good or bad to the practicing Stoic. There is only perception, which you control.

  2. Take the view from above; practice sympatheia.

  3. “Is this within my control?” Externals are uncontrollable; I can only control myself.

  4. Amor Fati: Love everything that happens. Treat each moment (no matter how challenging) as something to be embraced and not avoided, to not only be okay with it but love it and be better for it.

Quotables

  • “Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” --Marcus Aurelius

  • “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” --Marcus Aurelius

  • “How beautifully Plato put it. Whenever you want to talk about people, it’s best to take a bird’s-eye view and see everything all at once— of gatherings, armies, farms, weddings and divorces, births and deaths, noisy courtrooms or silent spaces, every foreign people, holidays, memorials, markets— all blended together and arranged in a pairing of opposites.” --Marcus Aurelius

  • “The view from above changes our value judgments on things: luxury, power, war…and the worries of everyday life become ridiculous.” --Pierre Hadot

  • “In outer space you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.” --Edgar Mitchell

  • “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .” --Epictetus

  • “Amor fati” --Latin phrase (literally "love of fate")

  • “That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.” --Friedrich Nietzsche

  • “A + B = C. If you change A and you don’t change B... C is still going to change.” --Cassidy Villano

  • “A blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown into it.” --Marcus Aurelius

  • “Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to; rather, wish that what happens happens the way it happens: then you will be happy.” --Epictetus

  • “Memento mori” --Latin phrase (literally “remember you must die.”)


Recommended Resources + External Links


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