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Has anyone spent any time really delving into the philosophy of stoicism? It seems to be a philosophy that may be useful in these troubled times. I've been exploring it a bit. The UB has some good things to say about stoicism:

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121:4.3 (1336.1) 2. The Stoic. Stoicism was the superior philosophy of the better classes. The Stoics believed that a controlling Reason-Fate dominated all nature. They taught that the soul of man was divine; that it was imprisoned in the evil body of physical nature. Man’s soul achieved liberty by living in harmony with nature, with God; thus virtue came to be its own reward. Stoicism ascended to a sublime morality, ideals never since transcended by any purely human system of philosophy. While the Stoics professed to be the “offspring of God,” they failed to know him and therefore failed to find him. Stoicism remained a philosophy; it never became a religion. Its followers sought to attune their minds to the harmony of the Universal Mind, but they failed to envisage themselves as the children of a loving Father. Paul leaned heavily toward Stoicism when he wrote, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”


The english word "stoic" has some unflattering associations such as being unfeeling or disinterested or long-suffering. But there are a number of modern texts on stoicism that shed these associations and demonstrate the usefulness of the concepts put forth by Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca. These new texts describe stoicism using phrases such as "Today the word "stoicism" is often used to mean suffering without complaint, but the true ideas, and ideals, of the Stoics are far more powerful and interesting. Stoicism means knowing the difference between what we can control and what we can't, and not worrying about the latter. The Stoics were masters of perspective, always taking the long view while remembering that life is short. And they were deep and insightful students of human nature, understanding how we manage to make ourselves miserable as well as how we seek and can find fulfillment."

Another source on modern stoicism states that, "The goal of Stoicism is to live a life of virtue, which means living a life of service, compassion, and good will towards other beings. In order to achieve virtue, an individual must manifest what is the highest good in themselves at all times and in all situations."

If anyone is interested in exploring parallels between stoicism and UB concepts, and ways to use these ideas to enrich our daily lives, I'd love to use this thread as a discussion for doing so over the next several months.


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Very interesting. I wonder...can one be guided by such lucid and functional morality which aligns so well with universe realities (buddhism, taoism, and stoicism are 3 examples given in the UB) and not lead to and result in religious experience? Moral decisions, we are taught, are expressions of religious experience. Evolutionary religious experience.

And we know that those with such philosophies of living and deep moral motives have, today, soul and God Fragment and Spirit of Truth to experience faith and truth by personal revelation. But the UB warns about religions of good as well. Interesting topic.

Wiki has a very good introduction to Stoicism.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophywhich was founded by Zeno of Citium, in Athens, in the early 3rd century BC. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia(happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that "virtue is the only good" for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora), but have value as "material for virtue to act upon". Alongside Aristotelian ethics, the Stoic tradition forms one of the major founding approaches to Western virtue ethics.[1] The Stoics also held that certain destructive emotions resulted from errors of judgment, and they believed people should aim to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is "in accord with nature". Because of this, the Stoics thought the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said, but how a person behaved.[2] To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they thought everything was rooted in nature.

Many Stoics—such as Seneca and Epictetus—emphasized that because "virtue is sufficient for happiness", a sage would be emotionally resilient to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase "stoic calm", though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious.[3]

Stoicism flourished throughout the Romanand Greek world until the 3rd century AD, and among its adherents was Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It experienced a decline after Christianity became the state religion in the 4th century AD. Since then it has seen revivals, notably in the Renaissance(Neostoicism) and in the contemporary era (modern Stoicism).[4]

:idea: 8)


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Thank you for that input, Bradly. I agree it has many interesting facets that, in my view, are not at all contradictory to the UB teachings. As with any philosophy or mental outlook on life, one need not adopt all its principles unthinkingly or wholesale, but may find the jewels of truth that speak to one, individually, and incorporate those values as fits one's needs and abilities.

Although the UB states that, "While the Stoics professed to be the “offspring of God,” they failed to know him and therefore failed to find him." Being a person who has already sought God and found him; and believing unreservedly in the fatherhood of God, this is not a concern in my case.

One thing I like very much about it is it brings to the forefront of my awareness the importance of how I *choose* to react to things that happen. Many people see this as a 2-step event: something happens ---> we react. But stoicism reminds us that there are actually at least 3 steps: something happens ---> we form an opinion or judgement about that event (it is good, bad or neutral, etc.) ----> we react based upon that judgment. What can we control of this process? Not the thing that happens. Events happen that we cannot control. The only thing we can control is our opinion/ judgement of it. If we decide that the event is not worth our energy worrying about, we ignore it. If we find the bright side of the event, we react positively. If we choose to see doom and gloom/ only downsides, we react negatively to it.

Stoicism takes it a step further with a practice that, to me, is reminiscent of the role of the Thought Adjuster in our lives. An even happens ---> we form a judgement or opinion about it ----> *we ask ourselves what would our best self do?* ---> we react. In this sequence, we have the opportunity to 'exchange our mind with Jesus' ' or to ask 'What would Jesus do?' or simply listen to the leadings of our Thought Adjuster.

Stoicism proper is about aligning your life to the Logos (their word for an ominipresent force; but in UB parlance this is God the Father). The will of God prevails regardless of what we do. Only the divine knows best. So give up your individual desire and desire what God determines.


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I think it was the Stoic in me that wrote this poem a number of years ago:

All life has it's seasons,
A rise and fall of joy and pain.
From old stems locked in wintry prisons
New buds, in Spring, are freed again.
Thus always and in everything Nature reasons
equally with plants, and Men.


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Gizmo,
That poem is very well done, and beautiful! Thank you for sharing it.


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Thanks! Nice to be appreciated.

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One thing I like very much about it is it brings to the forefront of my awareness the importance of how I *choose* to react to things that happen. Many people see this as a 2-step event: something happens ---> we react. But stoicism reminds us that there are actually at least 3 steps: something happens ---> we form an opinion or judgement about that event (it is good, bad or neutral, etc.) ----> we react based upon that judgment. What can we control of this process? Not the thing that happens. Events happen that we cannot control. The only thing we can control is our opinion/ judgement of it. If we decide that the event is not worth our energy worrying about, we ignore it. If we find the bright side of the event, we react positively. If we choose to see doom and gloom/ only downsides, we react negatively to it.


I've often argued that the only essential freedom we have is our attitude towards the stuff that happens in our lives. It starts out as a choice: "am I going to be pissed off about this situation, or accept it as a growth opportunity?". But over time, in the course of many years of self observation, there is only one choice, one attitude, that leads to peace.

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Events happen that we cannot control. The only thing we can control is our opinion/ judgement of it. If we decide that the event is not worth our energy worrying about, we ignore it. If we find the bright side of the event, we react positively. If we choose to see doom and gloom/ only downsides, we react negatively to it.


Ah, but Agon, do we really know what is worth worrying about? The least amount of self observation has shown us over and over how our own opinions are often wrong. The desire and effort to see past my own bull ka kadoodie has helped me discern a Witness who does not judge, but simply reflects what's there, impartially, for me to see.

Until the UB, I understood this experience as Objectivity. Now I believe that this is my T.A., and the recognition of this makes what was an idea construction into a personal religious experience. Thank you!


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Gizmo wrote, "Ah, but Agon, do we really know what is worth worrying about? "

Indeed! No one said this stuff is easy! :-) Personally, I find that experience helps a lot with this. The philosophy of stoicism has a couple of tools to help with it also. One is to remember the impermanence of all things. Like the sand on the beach becomes covered with new sand every time the waves roll in, that is what much our life worries are like. Another tool is to abstract awa from it by looking at it 'through a telescope'. So, view your troubles as they would be viewed from outer space; see the entire planet as the tiny blue ball in the dark and starry cosmos and then zoom in to see your own predicament, there, by the highway, with your car's flat tire. It's not such a big deal when you look at it that way! lol.

But yeah, much of what I've been reading on this topic says that no one is "a stoic" because one never really gets there. It's a continual practice. (The phrase, 'practice makes perfect' doesn't really apply in this context, ha!).

And, of course, the guiding principle is to worry about, or focus on, only those things that we control. All 'externals' - things we can't control, are definitely not to be worried about.


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I agree!!!

Our motives and our responses are about all that we control. Our response-ability is a skill learned and applied in every situation according to experience and wisdom. Life's choices are primarily a series of situational responses I think. Those responses are unthinking and reactionary until thoughtful and then habitual until naturally reflexive expressions of maturity, poise, and wisdom.

Perhaps from animal/ego to moral/stoic to religious/wise?

Wisdom expresses our growing objectivity and expanding morality...the embrace and appreciation of that and those beyond self. The expanded time unit helps!

I find the concept that uncertainty is but the doorway to adventure to enhance the appreciation for the art of personal response-ability and the release of anxiety and doubts.

Do you know the Zen fable of the old farmer and the horse?

An elderly, hard-working Chinese farmer and his son, had a single horse. They used the horse to plow the field, to sow the seeds, grow the crop, and transport it to the market. The horse was essential for the farmer to earn his livelihood.

One morning, the horse broke the fence and ran away into the woods. When the neighbors found out that the only horse the farmer had, had run away, they came to solace him. They said – “Your only horse has run away just before the planting season. How will you till the land? How will you sow the seeds? This is unfortunate. This is bad luck.”The farmer replied – “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”

A few days later the farmer’s horse returned from the woods along with two other wild horses. When the neighbors found out the news, they said – ” Now you have three horses! You can till the land much faster with three horses. Maybe you can buy more land and sow more crop and make more money. Or you can sell the other two horses. Either way, you will be a rich man! This is good luck! “The wise farmer replied – “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”

Next morning, the farmer’s son started training the wild horses to that they would help till the land. While attempting to mount one of the wild horses, he fell down and broke his leg.Just before the sowing season, the son would not be able to help the farmer with his broken leg. The neighbors came once again and commented – ” This is really unfortunate. This is bad luck.“The wise farmer repeated – “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”

A few days later, the king’s men started to visit each village in the kingdom. A war had started between their kingdom and a neighboring enemy state. The king’s men were enlisting the eldest son from each family to join the army so that they could defeat the enemy state. When they came to the farmer’s house they saw the son with the broken leg. He would not be of much use in the army and hence they didn’t take him. He was the only eldest son in the entire village who was not forcibly taken by the king’s men to fight the war. The neighbors, some of them with teary eyes, came once again to the farmer and commented – “Your son breaking his leg was really fortunate. He is the only one who was not taken. What a stroke of good luck.“

The farmer calmly replied – “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”

:wink:


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We are surely not meant to create or invent a religion around the UB, don't you think? The religion of Jesus - "love the Father and your neighbor as yourself" cannot be improved upon, or so I believe. But we can create a Culture around the UB that honors the ideas and idea-makers of the past, as Argon is doing with his thread on Stoicism.

Fan said, “we know that those with such philosophies of living and deep moral motives have, today, soul and God Fragment and Spirit of Truth to experience faith and truth by personal revelation." There have been many others who had Truth to tell and inspiration for our personal search. Anyone come to mind?


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159:5.13 To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance...

126:3.14 He craved a trustworthy and confidential friend, but his problems were too complex for his human associates to comprehend. The uniqueness of the unusual situation compelled him to bear his burdens alone.

The reality of stoicism is that truth, of how personal problems cannot quite be understood by others, if they are something that are truly meant for you, then you must find your own original solutions to solve them.

You can talk about social ails, or the collective woes of one's household, even seeking advice as one householder from another. But there is always the threshold that Stoicism represents, of, like Job, "facing one's dilemma alone in the universe."

This truly speaks to the need within each household for youth and siblings to grow up to become self-directed beings capable of working within every situation one happens to find one's self.

In a sense, "Stoicism" per se may not be essential, but it is necessary for self-directed beings to "go it alone", to handle personal problems personally and decisively. And this type of reasoned faith is in my opinion the main characteristic of what we in Urantia call that.

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SEla_Kelly wrote:
159:5.13 To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance...

126:3.14 He craved a trustworthy and confidential friend, but his problems were too complex for his human associates to comprehend. The uniqueness of the unusual situation compelled him to bear his burdens alone.

The reality of stoicism is that truth, of how personal problems cannot quite be understood by others, if they are something that are truly meant for you, then you must find your own original solutions to solve them.

You can talk about social ails, or the collective woes of one's household, even seeking advice as one householder from another. But there is always the threshold that Stoicism represents, of, like Job, "facing one's dilemma alone in the universe."

This truly speaks to the need within each household for youth and siblings to grow up to become self-directed beings capable of working within every situation one happens to find one's self.

In a sense, "Stoicism" per se may not be essential, but it is necessary for self-directed beings to "go it alone", to handle personal problems personally and decisively. And this type of reasoned faith is in my opinion the main characteristic of what we in Urantia call that.


Sorry you feel this way Stephen. Truly we are NOT alone. The very point and purpose of the Revelation...we are never alone and we bask in the Divine personal affection, protection, asuurance, and guidance of our Heavenly Parents!!!!

And faith is not reasoned. Another contradiction of the UB.

How unfortunate.

It is true that we must choose and experience the results of the choices we make. Religious experience and wisdom cannot be given to us or to another and wisdom is earned and learned by trial and error we are taught. Still we are never alone in our choices and uncertainties but always are the Spirits with us.

Also, we are taught that friendship and teamwork eases burdens and loneliness and leverages sincere efforts exponentially. We must choose to be alone and must isolate ourselves by our own choices. Or so I understand.

:-$


102:6.5 (1124.7) Convictions about God may be arrived at through wise reasoning, but the individual becomes God-knowing only by faith, through personal experience. In much that pertains to life, probability must be reckoned with, but when contacting with cosmic reality, certainty may be experienced when such meanings and values are approached by living faith. The God-knowing soul dares to say, “I know,” even when this knowledge of God is questioned by the unbeliever who denies such certitude because it is not wholly supported by intellectual logic. To every such doubter the believer only replies, “How do you know that I do not know?”

102:6.6 (1125.1) Though reason can always question faith, faith can always supplement both reason and logic. Reason creates the probability which faith can transform into a moral certainty, even a spiritual experience. God is the first truth and the last fact; therefore does all truth take origin in him, while all facts exist relative to him. God is absolute truth. As truth one may know God, but to understand—to explain—God, one must explore the fact of the universe of universes. The vast gulf between the experience of the truth of God and ignorance as to the fact of God can be bridged only by living faith. Reason alone cannot achieve harmony between infinite truth and universal fact.

102:6.7 (1125.2) Belief may not be able to resist doubt and withstand fear, but faith is always triumphant over doubting, for faith is both positive and living. The positive always has the advantage over the negative, truth over error, experience over theory, spiritual realities over the isolated facts of time and space. The convincing evidence of this spiritual certainty consists in the social fruits of the spirit which such believers, faithers, yield as a result of this genuine spiritual experience. Said Jesus: “If you love your fellows as I have loved you, then shall all men know that you are my disciples.”


Last edited by fanofVan on Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:45 pm +0000, edited 2 times in total.

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Don't ascribe shame onto my name!! Bearing one's burdens alone is the hallmark of Stoicism, and something I am proud of!


MY FAITH IS REASONED FAITH!!! "Fool! for which is more valuable, the Gold (faith) of man, or the altar (reason) whereby man may sanctify his gift?" Matthew 23:17

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You know, sometimes I tend to "mix up" what is considered "stoical", versus or compared with what is considered "cynical", but consider this: you know people always say "Love is such a wonderous thing," or "love is a many splendoured thing", things like this, yet if you are cynical, you would think "although love is a many splendoured thing, it has often driven the mind of man insane, when he cannot have it perhaps," or for other reasons. Therefore, one is able to witness the power of love, and in becoming philosophically reasoned within one's faith, he can approach love and the forces of the universe as "something earned", or "as a sacred trust". However, love gives something for man to become passionate about, howevermuch his own strivings may actually be misplaced. To become wise, one cannot simply experience love, but isn't there a process, of learning to maintain the inner trust, to preserve feelings within relationships, and then one learns to gratify the love of others when it becomes how will you say this "maturely expressed," when it is witnessed that another cooperates on the level of interpersonal trust. In that sense, one must experience love through human relationships in order to realise God's love for the inner soul, and this cannot be without passion. But the passions that arise within human behaviours, throughout the maturational process. If you love others, and love comes from God the source of all creation, then your passions will direct you to love others, in a way that God would have intended. The truth might not be that others continually assail man or the circumstances of the household, or the minds of men, but rather the truth of failing to experience God's love in every moment might be that we ourselves continuously fail in the equilibrium of personal honour and interpersonal trust, that would be needed to maintain that love which God reserves personally for every individual.

Or, I could say, "what good or what use is man's love, if he has not shown that he has cultivated life on his own estate???" "What value is love without Prudence?" Love is also the source of torment which is said to make many men terribly unhappy. Such is the stoicism that operates in men's mind in the auspices of their own love for their family.

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Real love never causes torment or distress or disappointment Stephen. Only lust or other forms of covetousness and desires and self importance frustrate, disappoint, and lead to unhappiness.

Neither is love earned according to the Papers. It is freely given to us and, like forgiveness, it is received AS GIVEN to others.

What book are you reading anyway??!!

:-& :roll:


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Right, love mixed with human desires. You can call it something else at that point if you want to. But Jesus' own desires cannot be called "inhuman". There must be some means for the actual love that each human individual possesses, when these grow through outward means suitable to real spiritual maturation of the human individual. It is not only ourselves compared to the character and conduct of Jesus himself, it is the question of how through love God teaches the mastery of all other living energies. It is the realisation of man as a finalitor, not the comparison of one individual to Jesus. In such actuality of finality, the love becomes expressed universally by the human individual. The human individual offers God's love within his relationships, even as God offers love to the human soul. This is one interpretation of Jesus demand: "freely have you received, so freely that you may give", or so freely that you may learn to give. And experiencially, one has the witness of how children do love without sin, that adults actually affect the inner climate of the human tabernacle by distorting the universal energy, through wilful acts that go aginst either the nature of the emerging soul or against the inclinations towards normative adaptive responses per se. And the energy in the mind actually contains the perfect reflection of such thoughts at all times!
74:6.6 Adam and Eve could communicate with each other and with their immediate children over a distance of about fifty miles. This thought exchange was effected by means of the delicate gas chambers located in close proximity to their brain structures. By this mechanism they could send and receive thought oscillations. But this power was instantly suspended upon the mind's surrender to the discord and disruption of evil.
It is, therefore, important to recognise how a world that had experienced default of the Material Sons, did have one man that never had his thought-link with the Paradise Father "suspended", in a comparable way. Even though people might say, "this theory of thought exchange is laudably relegated to a former culture", one must realise that the seven adjutant mind spirits are operative within the mind of the human individual, and that the central nervous system transmits energy by the microcoulomb in most animals.

Stoicism will keep observable human experiences separate from the facts sets of accepted science, or accepted social discourse, for long enough to see that such notions will become valid to science in the future, when Urantia finds its own age of life and light. Real psychological phenomena do not overnight become accepted, until there is a real basis of measure. The British Royal Society of the 19th Century has, thankfully, driven away phisiognomists and mesmerists, but eventually a real variable, a real basis shall be found. Jesus said that anyone who thinks lustful thoughts of adultury in his own mind has already sinned against God, and so empathetic imprints of human sin must be real as per some kind of energetic measure of human incohesiveness, of musical dissonance perhaps. In Star Trek: the Next Generation, there was one particular episode ( https://www.tor.com/2012/07/17/star-tre ... olationsq/ ), of a world-culture with established protocol for recognising and handling such mind-adultury. And certainly, the universe if not Urantia still contains all of the energy that once existed from the actual willful acts within the minds of men psychologically speaking.

Adults who realise that there is a corresponding telemetry in the broadcasts, should realise why Urantia and the other more than thirty fallen spheres of Satania's rebellion, are not qualified to wantonly project their sins abroad to happy normal spheres of Edentia, Salvington, let alone the seventh superuniverse. "Let us reform our thoughts, and our ways, and return to the affairs of replenishing and renewing the face of the earth". We should see that it is only proper for man to become a wholly loving creature, without sin, and be satisfied that there is a path and a means, even within the revelation unto every human mind, for each of us to purify the inner tabernacles, that we may in the solace of our individual hearts recognise God. Our appetites, if not love per se, should be restrained by wisdom, and humans must refine the quality of their empathy, their experience of universal energy, through the recognition of love.

This is one thing I heard from Beritu Haile Sellassie, and the same thing from a man while we were both locked in a psych-ward: that the failure of wisdom in one generation implies that the energy and the angels that drive progress would flee from the human vessels who once enjoyed the power and the liberty of God's sacred trust. That such transferrence often contains traumatic forces from the lust and the adulturation of God's love for humanity, because the leaders the torchbearers of progress did not contain that energy properly, they acted towards their own selfish purposes, or they did not act according to the intended purpose of that trust. If the Adjuster transcribes the truly divine experiences of the human individual, but in the witness of the soul there is also such transcription of sin, when power should be taken from one man's personal trust and given, sometimes painfully and traumatically, into another. And that is a horrific occasion that helps me to realise that truly I may not recognise what it may be for me to do God's will, and I cannot truly instruct that to others except that I may do God's will, but in certain occasions I have enough conscience, I possess enough morality to know what it would have meant to sin. I, too, have committed such acts and detest the moments I have done them. And so tribunes and republics may pour their scorn onto me, that mankind may learn, that there is a greater love for other human individuals who have loved and not sinned, for the course of their entire lives.
171:6.2 Then Zaccheus stood upon a stool and said: “Men of Jericho, hear me! I may be a publican and a sinner, but the great Teacher has come to abide in my house; and before he goes in, I tell you that I am going to bestow one half of all my goods upon the poor, and beginning tomorrow, if I have wrongfully exacted aught from any man, I will restore fourfold. I am going to seek salvation with all my heart and learn to do righteousness in the sight of God.”
In the sixth age a man's mind is now disciplined in everything,
And he no longer wishes to do reckles deeds.

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