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Stoicism is a misunderstood philosophy. Small “s” stoic is the idea that you never show emotion and never react to things. Just sit there stone-faced as the world spins around you. That is not large “S” Stoicism. Stoicism is the idea that you do not control anything in the world beyond your reaction to something. To quote Marcus Aurelius, “You have power over your mind-not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”  

This is as freeing as it is a little bit horrifying. The Stoics go to the point of “Amor Fati” or the Love of Fate. The idea that you must love anything that comes at you, because hating it is pointless. It’s an inanimate event that cannot care about your hate. Your hate only damages yourself.   

Another large part of Stoicism, a part where I think many people draw the idea of stone-faced stoics, is “Momento Mori” or “Remember You Will Die.” The beginning of it is asking yourself “Is this what you want to die doing?” Whatever this is, is it worth the limited time you have? Another part is the idea that everyone will die. And you should picture this, hold this in your mind and then enjoy that person all the more when you see them.   

These ideas lead Stoics to be short in their grief and rage at the world. To ride the emotional wave to its height but then drop down its back. Rage and Grief will only harm you when clung to. They do not change the world. If they did, imagine that world. I don’t think any of us would want to live there. 

This is a very brief introduction to Stoicism by a novice of school. Someone farther down the path is Ryan Holiday. His books have recently joined the NLS collection. Stillness is the Key (DB97258) is the first to join and the only currently listenable. It is the third in his trilogy of Stoic works following Ego Is the Enemy and The Obstacle Is the Way. The NLS is also working on his book, The Daily Stoic, which is a daily reader. 

I highly recommend his books and Stoicism in general. Go and read.   

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