by Pamela Daw
The stoic reading for this morning was a passage from Epictetus where he quotes another teacher. The gist of the passage, (click here to read it), was that we should not tell people we identify as a Stoic or follow Stoic philosophy. The reasoning behind this was that when we mess up, as humans often do, the effectiveness of the philosophy will not be put into a bad light by our failure.
Honestly, I wonder if this “policy” was the reason that this incredible way of living became unknown and fell into disuse, except for the parts of the philosophy that became part of the early Christian teachings and tradition? Michel and I decided about two years ago that we would use the label of Stoic in the community. People would ask us what we believed, what we used as a guidepost on the hazardous roadways of life and we began to answer Stoicism.
I, personally, believe that Stoicism has something for everyone. Whether they choose to wear the label of a Stoic, or just take some of its teachings/practices into their own personal practice, people need to know that there is a rational alternative that can work with their own personal thoughts around belief and divinity.
Of course, in allowing ourselves to be known as teachers, Michel and I have opened our lives up for scrutiny and recrimination. We continue to identify ourselves as students though, as we are students of Stoicism, and share the knowledge that we have learned with others. We will always be students as the Stoic Sage is a goal that consists of an ever moving target as we continually strive to perfect and craft the life that we are living.
We are crafting a life together, artists continually striving to sing the perfect aria, or create that perfect sculpture. Our craft is the art of living and living well.
This piece was a blog entry originally appearing at Musings of a Stoic Woman.