“[Q]ualities which we ought to possess become better and more desirable the more extensive they are: if justice is a good thing, no one will say that it would be better if any part were subtracted from it; if bravery is a good thing, no one would wish it to be in any way curtailed: consequently the greater anger is, the better it is, for whoever objected to a good thing being increased? But it is not expedient that anger should be increased: therefore it is not expedient that it should exist at all, for that which grows bad by increase cannot be a good thing.”
— Seneca, On Anger.
This got posted in one of the larger Facebook groups last week. I’ve been listening to it in the car on my daily commute the past few days and found it to be well worth the time.
The author discusses several problems in interpretation of spiritual exercises in a Philosophy descended from Socrates, where virtue is a kind of knowledge, and knowledge is sufficient for virtue. I found the arguments compelling.
Also, the author addresses three spiritual exercises, the Three Disciplines of Epictetus, and distils and describes them well.
Depending on which sections of the Stoic-internet you frequent, you may have a range of ideas about Stoicism and religion.
In some, there is the ahistorical idea that the Stoics were closet atheists, in others theists of various stripes, maybe pantheists, deists, or panentheists.
I’m interested in Stoic theology, a decidedly minority position on the internet today. And this got shared in one of the groups the other day, and I thought I’d pass it along.
It’s a Master’s thesis on Stoicism as a religion. Dangerous waters indeed, no?