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San Diego Stoics Message Board › Questions for Saturday meetup

Questions for Saturday meetup

user 4143008
San Diego, CA
Post #: 10
Although stoicism is extremely attractive to me as a way of life, I have certain doubts and objections to it I would like to discuss at the meetup tomorrow, if we have the chance. I certainly don't wish to use up the whole meeting for my own personal questions, but I would be glad if we had time to discuss some of them in addition to the other issues of the group.

Here are some queries and propositions I've come up with. Questions 1-6 are more theoretical and are addressed in the Stoic literature. Many of them really hinge on the questions of metaphysics and epistemology, so question 2 is key. I am much more interested in Questions 7-8 however, which depend more on experience and are not as well addressed:

1) The universal appropriateness of Stoicism -- Stoicism may be more appropriate for certain people in certain situations. In certain situations, one has no choice but to reconcile one's desires with one's condition by moderating one's desires. However, in the modern West, individuals often have the ability to greatly change their situations and achieve their desires. Perhaps on balance hedonism is more appropriate for individuals with such opportunities.

2) Metaphysics - What evidence is there for a rational, conscious logos/god? Don't many of the same objections to Christianity apply to Stoicism? How could we know?

3) Virtue - Without the Logos, what would be the justification for virtue? Assuming the Logos existed, what is the justification? Can we derive an ought from an is? What is the greater purpose of the Logos, and why should we align ourselves with it?

4) Indifferents - Many indifferents are actually quite nice/horrible, and it is our nature to enjoy/hate them.

5) Desire - Eliminating desire is dangerous. Without desire, and without a larger moral framework/purpose (which our society provides little of), one can lose motivation for life and slip into nihilism.

6) The centrality of will - There are other ways of altering one's mentality such as exercising, taking drugs (caffeine, alcohol), etc. that act on consciousness biochemically rather than through acts of will or thought. What have the Stoics said about that?

7) For those who know - how effective is Stoicism as a life philosophy? Can one truly be indifferent to rain, cold, libido? Is ataraxia truly greater for mankind than hedonistic joys?

8) Dealing with society - How does a Stoic deal with the larger society when his/her reactions and beliefs may seem so alien? Must he explain his worldview repeatedly? Must he suffer opprobrium when he does not feel sorrow at the deaths of others? Especially important, how does a male stoic maintain a relationship with a woman when emotions/empathy are so important to them?
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