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  • Stoicism is a philosophical school

  • that began in ancient Greece

  • and was later dominant in ancient Rome and which continues

  • to have hugely urgent and important things to teach us

  • about calm, resilience and emotional stability

  • Its ideas should be at the

  • heart of any attempt to remain serene

  • in face of turbulent, unpredictable

  • and often mean minded world.

  • Arguably, the greatest and certainly the most

  • prolific stoic philosopher was the Roman author and statesman

  • Seneca who was born in

  • 4 BC in Spain and died in 65 AD in Rome.

  • A lot of Seneca's thought is known to us from the letters

  • he wrote to his friends giving them counsel at times

  • of trouble.

  • Seneca had a friend called Lucilius, a civil servant

  • working in Sicily. One day,

  • Lucilius learned of a lawsuit against him which

  • threatened end his career and disgrace his good name.

  • He wrote to Seneca in a panic.

  • "You may expect that i'm going to advise you to picture

  • a happy outcome and to rest in the allurements of hope."

  • Replied the philosopher.

  • "But i'm going to conduct you to peace of mind through another root

  • which culminated in the advise if you wish to put off

  • all worry assumed that what you fear may

  • happen is certainly going to happen.

  • This is an essential stoic idea.

  • We must always try to picture the worst that could happen

  • and then remind ourselves that the worst

  • is survivable. The goal is not to

  • imagine that bad things don't unfold,

  • it's to see that we are far more capable of enduring them

  • than we currently think.

  • To calm Lucilius down, Seneca advised him to himself entirely

  • at home with the idea of humiliation, poverty

  • and ongoing unemployment.

  • But to learn to see that these were,

  • from the right perspective, not the end

  • of everything. If you lose this case,

  • can anything more severe happen to you than being sent into exile

  • or left to prison? Ask the philosopher,

  • who had himself, survived bankruptcy and eight years

  • of exile in Corsica.

  • Hope for that which is utterly just and prepare

  • yourself for that which is utterly unjust.

  • Seneca gave Lucilius a meditation

  • to maul over in the luxury of his home that he was now

  • in danger of losing. I'm may become a poor man;

  • I shall may then be one among many.

  • I may be exiled; I shall then regard myself

  • as born in a place to which I shall be sent.

  • They may put me in chains; what then?

  • Am i free from bonds now?

  • Behold this clogging burden of a body to which nature

  • has feted me.

  • Seneca tells us that we must grow familiar with

  • and hold before us, at all times,

  • not just the sort of events we like to plan for

  • that are recorded in living memory or are common in our

  • age group and class. But the entire range

  • of possibilities - a longer and inevitably

  • far less agreeable list which finds

  • space for cataclysmic fires, suckings and

  • untimely deaths. He wrote:

  • "Nothing ought to be unexpected by us. Let us place

  • before our eyes in its entirety the nature of man's

  • lot. Not the kind of evil that often happens but

  • the very greatest evil that can possibly happen

  • We must reflect upon fortune,

  • fully and completely.

  • At one point, a friend of Seneca's lost a son.

  • And the consoling thoughts run in the similar direction.

  • Marcia, a lady of a senatorial family

  • was devastated by the death of her son Metilius, not yet 25.

  • She fell into a period of mourning

  • that seem to have no end.

  • Three years after the death, her sorrow have not

  • abated one bit. Indeed it was growing stronger everyday

  • So Seneca sent her an essay in which he expressed

  • the hope that given the length of time that elapsed

  • since Metilius' death, she would forgive him for going beyond the usual

  • condolenses to deliver something darker but

  • perhaps more effective.

  • To lose a son was surely the greatest grief that could befall a mother.

  • But given the vulnerability of the human frame,

  • Metiliusearly death had its place in a merciless

  • natural order which daily

  • offered examples of its handy work.

  • He wrote: “We never anticipate evils before

  • they actually arrive.

  • So many funerals passed our doors, yet we never dwell on death.

  • So many deaths are untimely,

  • yet we make plans for our own infants.

  • How they well done the toga, serve in the army,

  • and succeed to their father property.

  • They might end up doing such things,

  • but how mad to love them without remembering

  • that no one had offered us a guarantee that they would

  • grow to maturity let alone make it to dinner time.”

  • If Metiliusdeath had been unexpected for Marcia,

  • it was only on the basis of a wishful assessment of probabilities.

  • You say, I didn’t think it would happen, do you think

  • there is anything that will not happen

  • when you know that it is possible to happen.

  • When you see that it has already happened to many.

  • Seneca imagined meeting Marcia before her birth

  • and inviting her on a tour of the troubled earth

  • so she could weigh off the terms of life then choose

  • whether or not to accept them.

  • On the one hand, Marcia would see a planet of

  • all inspiring beauty and occasional goodness.

  • On the other, a place of intermittent, unspeakable horror.

  • Would Marcia choose to step into such a world?

  • Her existence suggested her answer.

  • Importantly, the stoics Seneca did add

  • that if things were truly unendurable,

  • we have no obligation to continue forever.

  • Here’s another letter from Seneca:

  • The wise man will live as long as he ought

  • not as long as he can.

  • He always reflects concerning the quality

  • and not the quantity of his life.

  • As soon as there are numerous events in his life,

  • that give him trouble and disturb his peace of mind,

  • he sets himself free.

  • And this privilege is his not only when the crisis is

  • upon him but as soon as fortune seems to be maltreating him.

  • Then he looks about carefully and sees whether

  • he ought or ought not to end his life on that account.

  • He holds that its makes no difference to him

  • whether he’s taking off be natural or self-inflicted.

  • He does not regard it with fear as if it were a great loss

  • for no man can lose very much

  • when but a driblet remains.

  • It’s not a question of dying earlier or later

  • but of dying well or ill and

  • dying well means a escape from the danger of living ill.

  • Seneca was not advocating random

  • or thoughtless exits.

  • He was attempting to give us more courage

  • in the face of anxiety by reminding us that it is always

  • within our remit when weve genuinely tried everything

  • and rationally had enough to choose a noble path out of our troubles.

  • When we are furious, paranoid, depleted, or sad

  • the philosophy of stoicism is on hand

  • as it has been for 2000 years

  • to nurse us with its hugely fortifying,

  • distinctive and unusual wisdom and friendship.

Stoicism is a philosophical school

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ストイシズムが重要な理由 (Why Stoicism Matters)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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