Stoicism: Explained

Stoicism: Explained


In order to overcome unpleasant emotions, stoicism encourages self-control and fortitude. The philosophy holds that through developing a clear, objective mind, one can see the universal reason. Up to the third century AD, the Hellenistic philosophical school of stoicism thrived in the Roman and Greek cultures. A philosophy of personal ethics, stoicism is primarily informed by its logical framework and conceptions of nature.

Concept of Stoicism

•    Stoicism holds that the way to happiness for humans as social beings is found in accepting what we have been given in life, not allowing our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain to control us, using our minds to understand the world around us and to contribute to nature's plan, working together and treating others fairly and justly, and so on.
•    Scholars distinguish between three major phases of ancient Stoicism: the early Stoa, which spanned from the school's founder Zeno of Citium to its third leader, Chrysippus - the middle Stoa, which included Panaetius and Posidonius and the late Stoa, which included Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius during the Roman Imperial period.
•    The Byzantine Emperor Justinian formally closed the ancient philosophical schools in 529 C.E., yet Stoicism developed from earlier schools of thought and had a lasting influence.
•    A significant philosophical approach throughout the Hellenistic era was stoicism.
•    The portico in the Agora in Athens, which was decorated with mural paintings and served as a gathering place for the first generation of Stoic philosophers to teach, is where the name of the school originates.
•    Numerous outstanding leaders throughout history have possessed stoicism in their veins. Kings, presidents, artists, writers, and entrepreneurs have all utilized it. The school of thought that emerged there survived the Athenian porch's physical demise and remained influential well into the Roman era and beyond. 

Fundamental Ideas of Stoicism

Three categories are usually used to divide stoic philosophy:
1.    Using logic, you may check the accuracy of your universe observations.
2.    Physics is a natural discipline that provides a framework for understanding the world around us.
3.    The study of ethics focuses on moral behavior.

Stoicism - Core Ethical Beliefs of Stoic Philosophers

Stoicism: Explained
•    Nature: Nature is a thoughtful entity.
•    Law of Reason: The universe is governed by the law of reason. Although humans can't avoid its inescapable influence, they may, for the first time, voluntarily adhere to the rule.
•    Virtue: To live virtuously is to live in conformity with one's rational nature.
•    Wisdom: The fundamental virtue is wisdom. It is the source of the four fundamental virtues of justice, foresight, and courage.
•    Apatheia: Life should be fought against emotion (anger) because it is illogical. Avoiding intense emotions is preferable.
•    No such thing as pleasant or terrible pleasure exists. It is only permitted if it does not prevent one from pursuing virtue.
•    Death, illness, and poverty are not intrinsically evil things.
•    Duty: Virtue should be undertaken for the sake of duty rather than for personal enjoyment.

Four Cardinal Virtues of Stoicism

•    Extensive thought, good discernment, perspective, and common sense are all characteristics of wisdom or prudence.
•    Justice or fairness is exemplified through acts of kindness, altruism, selflessness, and fair dealing.
•    Bravery, tenacity, sincerity (honesty), and self-assurance are all instances of courage or fortitude.
•    Orderliness, self-control, forgiveness, and humility are all characteristics of temperance or self-discipline.

Stoicism: Importance

•    The core idea of stoicism is emotional restraint. We gain from being able to control our emotions and desires in many different ways.
•    As long as they are channeled positively or through means that are constructive, emotions have power.
•    By exercising emotional restraint, we can avoid letting our success lead to haughtiness or complacency.
•    It helps us recognize and consciously suppress unfavorable feelings like anger, frustration, and pessimism in the face of failure.
•    Because, despite its ancient roots, stoicism continues to be a relevant ethical framework that can effectively guide one's behavior in the modern period, it is important in today's culture.


Zeno of Citium established the Hellenistic philosophical school of stoicism in Athens at the beginning of the third century BCE. It is a personal virtue ethics philosophy that draws inspiration from its logical framework and worldview, contending that virtue practice is both necessary and sufficient to achieve eudaimonia (happiness, often known as "good spiritedness"), one flourishes by leading an ethical life. The path to eudaimonia, according to the Stoics, is one of virtue and living in harmony with nature.

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