Stoicism is a philosophy founded by the Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. According to this school of philosophy, there are two factors. The internal world and the external world. The internal world contains emotions, reactions, behaviour and all the things that a human being controls. The external world is wealth, status, validation etc. Stoicism describes wealth as neither good nor bad. Although a human being should always live a life of modesty and should not pay much attention to the external world. We do not control what happens in the external control but we do control our actions and our reaction toward the external world. We should build such a mindset where the external world doesn’t have an overwhelming effect on us.
In today’s generation, everyone’s life is a busy one. No one has the time to be free and reconnect with themselves. This makes us lose touch with ourselves. This is how the world moves. We are controlled by the external narrative and are always chasing some illusionary goal that we think will give us all the joy and happiness needed in life. We’re all chasing one thing or the other. But stoicism has always said that no material thing in the external world can attain happiness. You always have to look within. Bureaucracy makes us a slave to the external world and we do not break the pattern until we are dead.
Stoicism teaches us to take control of our lives. It tells us not to be controlled by the greed of wealth and status. It encourages us to find ourselves. You can inculcate stoicism in your life by getting across some of the stoic readings. Marcus Aurelius was a believer In stoicism. He was probably the richest man when he existed. He was still believed to live a modest life and people around him worshipped his virtue. One has to grasp an understanding of the world he lives in and more importantly they have to grasp an understanding of themselves. Stoicism encourages independence in thinking. It makes us see what really exists.
Personally, stoicism gave me an understanding of what the external world is. I came across it when I was 16 years old. I was very materialistic as a kid. I used to seek joy in buying all the gadgets that I wanted. There were times when I used to feel hollow but I never really knew what it was and why do I feel that? Stoicism made me understand that void. The void had been created due to the lack of real value in my life. I realised it and started studying stoicism. With time, my understanding of the world got better. Sometimes it makes me laugh how unconcerned I was. We all get lost in our lives sometimes. The games that we make for ourselves can sometimes trap us. But a true human being will always find a way to see through the fake and embrace reality.
“ I THINK, THEREFORE I AM”
• Rene Descartes