The Week Of Living Stoically

A team from the University of Exeter are challenging you to live as some Romans did, and embrace stoicism for one week. Stoicism is the recognition that there are elements in nature beyond our control, and by embracing virtue and reason, and eliminating the rash judgements that lead to emotional reactions, achieving happiness. While it's too late to register for the research portion of this experiment, that doesn't mean you can't take part on your own. The researchers are urging those who partake to keep journals of their experiences, to explain their decision making processes and how their reactions can become much more rationalised and effective.

This may seem a little cold, and that is certainly the reputation stoicism has earned over the centuries, but the analytical elements of the stoic philosophy are a corner stone of the modern therapeutic method. Self study of behaviour, identifying weaknesses and bettering ones self through purging of destruction or harmful habits is literally what the Age of Self-Improvement is all about. The Exeter team posits that, while this is all well and good, it's maximum effectiveness is undercut by a culture of touch-feeling over sharing (technical term, that). And with the rise of social media, a person's self image is increasingly dependent on constant validation (or at least, acknowledgement) from others. "Here is a picture of some food I will be eating, do you like this?"


As funny as Ron Swanson may be, he's actually an excellent example of how to live a stoic life. He's pretty much the ideal of the philosophy. His emotionality is limited. His reasoning is based on logic, survival and self fulfilment. He doesn't stand for frivolity. And he's at his most compromised when those things are taken away (by Tammy. Either one). The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness is a guide to stoic achievement.

Personally, I've never been an overly emotional person. Or, an emotional person. Or a person, really. My involvement with the human race has always been predicated more on a technicality than any actual kinship. But I liked to think that my actions and reactions are based on an understanding of myself and my environment, and that no matter how frustrating or ridiculous the world gets around me, I have limited control over that, and can at best remove myself from it's influence.

It's a hell of a lot easier than screaming into a pillow.

Via The Globe and Mail.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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