Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Crack In The Stoics Armor?

In his The Enchiridion, the 1st century C.E. Stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote that,
"Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them." [qtd. in Albert Ellis's Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, 1962 (1977), p. 54]
Since I consider the Stoics, important and still relevant predecessors of Korzybski's work, the following opinion piece on Stoicism in this New York Times blog caught my interest. A Crack In The Stoic Armor. I find it a thoughtful piece although I don't believe that the writer, Nancy Sherman characterizes Stoicism accurately. I greatly admire Admiral James Stockdale and have gotten a great deal from his writings and I don't think that his philosophy of life gets adequately summarized by the motto "Suck it up." See some of the subsequent comments on the blog page for other people's reactions to this. Worth reading and pondering.


pigeon toes said...

Thanks for directing my attention to Sherman's article. I'm still in the process of reading the comments to her piece.

Bruce Kodish said...

You're welcome pigeon toes.

Jeff Sharpless just published a review on his blog of a new book on Stoicism. I recommend the review and look forward to reading the book by John Sellars.

Here's the Sharpless link: http://portlandsocrates.blogspot.com/2010/06/jeff-sharpless-review-of-book-stoicism.html

Izgad said...

Good article.

I approach Stoicism largely from the perspective of Asperger syndrome. As an Asperger I tend to think in terms of a bifurcated reason/emotion. I do not understand other people’s emotions so I try to focus on reason. For this reason philosophies like Stoicism and Kantianism hold a great attraction to me. The same argument that is used here against the military can also be used against Aspergers.