I’ve read a good bit by Jocko Willink, I own one or two of his books. Recently he was asked about Stoicism, and I’m always leery when I see questions about our school, since almost invariably they’re talking about little-s stoicism, rather than our School as it was or is today.
However, in this video, Jocko begins by saying he’s not well read on these topics. I appreciate this. He notes that the distinction between ivory tower academics and the kinds of people he respected. A younger version of him set that aside, he had nothing to learn from them.
An older, wiser Jocko has changed his mind somewhat on that, but still hasn’t waded into it as deeply as most readers of this blog. While he may have come to some similar conclusions, his course room was the battlefield, and a hard life.
That leads to an interesting observation: that the sorts of things we’re discussing are perennial, and a true human universal. They are tested outside the ivory tower by many, daily.
So while slightly tangential to the tone this blog usually takes, it was nice to see someone speak near our topics of interest respectfully and with self-awareness.
I don’t always agree with the content of the thinkers highlighted by The School of Life, nor indeed with their interpretation of those thoughts. However, this video came across the transom recently, and I thought it was a well-handled take on what is one of the more contentious aspects of Stoicism.
Epictetus’ reminder that the door is always open is probably the most meme-like distillation of the Stoic position on suicide. There are few others positions which get such a heated debate by newcomers to the school and outsiders alike. I spoke about this once before, and it still holds I think.
It is difficult to carefully handle such a topic, when emotions are high and the results seems to affect others sharply as they do the subject. There is an opportunity to whitewash this position for the modern, and I think The School of Life did a good job of avoid that.
The traditional festival culminating in the winter solstice is upon us. Massimo, my friend Yannos, and a few others have shared this article, and I thought you might like to see it also. I would recommend Yannos’ post especially, (you may need to use FB’s translate function) for a more in-depth look at the festival than the linked article provides.
Yannos is a wealth of knowledge, and the online Stoic community is fortunate to have him.
How to Celebrate the Saturnalia!
You can now submit questions via #CuriousCat , if you are so inclined.
Please check out https://curiouscat.me/MountainStoicWV
I’ve been doing some reading on Socrates lately, and so the google algorithms decided I’d be interested in this video. This is not an aspect of Socrates I’m very familiar with, and I’ve not yet read any Montaigne. You may also find it interesting.
Cosmopolitanism is discussed, there’s a note of “shamelessness,” and maybe oikeiôsis too.
This was posted in the Traditional Stoicism group, and is well worth the read.
I came across this article which discusses what Hadot calls “spiritual exercises” in some depth. The author takes exception to that label, but I think it suits just fine. I had recently joked in a conversation that if I had a dollar for every scholar who said something along the lines of “I won’t detail exactly what the exercises in Epictetus are…” that I’d have a goodly number of dollars.
Braicovich does not say this, however. He notes 18, although (spoiler alert), he later pares that down significantly. Either way, it’s worth the read.