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Frequently Asked Questions About Stoicism

Was Cicero a Stoic?


Cicero never claimed to be Stoic. He claimed to be not a Stoic.

At the core of Cicero's difference with the Stoic School is the School's cynicism regarding human institutions.

Is Stoicism something I have to believe in, or commit my life to?

No. Not everybody can, and many who can won't. However, anybody who is to reach eudaimonia must practice Stoicism, because the perfection of Virtue is necessary and sufficient for human thriving.

In this way, the Stoic School considers this question similar to, "Is gravity something I have to believe in, or commit my life to?"

What is Stoicism, considered as a philosophy of life in modern times?

Stoicism is the same today as it was in ancient times, because the key to human eudaimonia has not changed. The increasing relevance of Stoicism in modern times does not detract from the Stoic School; it magnifies its enlightenment.

The eternal Paradoxes are fundamental to Stoic School teachings. Among them is: All vices are equal, and all virtues are equal. Therefore, those to whom it appears "ancient" Stoicism is not "modern" enough for their discriminating tastes expose themselves as blind to that which has been passed down generationally.

To be candid, Stoic physics, cosmology, ethics, etc. enjoy modern corroboration from various sciences and social sciences.

It is not the case that, "No modern person believes in orthodox classical Stoicism as a whole."

They are Stoics.

They are alive and well. Therefore, any who might be tempted to apologizing for the practicality of full Stoicism would do well to meditate first on why they should make a bad judgement about appearances all around them and right in front of their eyes.

Right Reason reveals that the full happiness of Stoicism is rooted in and germinates from the laws of Nature. That is to say, the School's ethics, logic, and pathetics are grounded in its teachings on the cosmos. Therefore, ignoring the School's cosmology produces arbitrary ethics from an arbor foreign to Stoicism.