5 Reasons Stoicism is Better than Epicureanism

Epicureanism is a philosophy first started by the Greek philosopher Epicurus. It believes that ultimately pleasure is the highest good and that all life should be geared to pleasure. It mainly focuses on creating a mindset that gets rid of all pain which will free the mind to experience the ultimate pleasure called Ataraxia, a form of superb tranquility. The Epicureans did believe virtue was important but only as a means to securing one from the pains of guilt.

1. Epicureans usually had a few friends, didn’t intend to have kids because losing a child would be terrible, and lived in small communes. Stoicism believed having kids was fine and that if you ever did lose them, Stoic exercises would prepare you for the day. Stoicism also did not isolate its people into small communes. Stoicism believed that practicing a life geared towards virtue would free one of negative passions and allow them to deal with just about any obstacle and so Stoics weren’t afraid to participate in the greater society.

2. Epicureanism believed that virtue was a means to happiness. Stoicism believed that virtue was the end/goal and if you pursued it like it was the end goal, then you’d find happiness. Seems like splitting hairs doesn’t it? Well, not really. The Epicureans were only using virtue as a vehicle to not feel guilty so that they could be happy. Stoics didn’t care about guilt or feeling good. They cared about practicing virtue for virtue’s sake. And only then can you reap virtue’s rewards.

3. Epicureanism saying to practice virtue just so its practitioners can sleep at night is hardly a good philosophy. What if someone came along and did a few bad things, felt guilty at first, but then didn’t care after a while and got the pleasure they wanted? Stoicism doesn’t use virtue that way. It’s not about feeling guilty or happy or remorseful. In fact, Stoicism would rather you cut out the remorse in your life and do what’s good regardless of how you feel about it. Epicureanism is too bogged down in how you feel about doing virtue and not just getting the virtue done.

4. Epicureanism doesn’t even really prepare you for a life of happiness. Think about it. Epicureanism wants you to hide in a commune somewhere with a few friends and care less about the world around you. Your life is actually very fragile because if you don’t participate in the world, the world can go crazy and destroy your precious commune. Stoics were all the time trying to prevent the world from going crazy.

5. Finally, Stoics already allow for pleasure as a preferred indifferent. That means in Stoicism you’re allowed to pursue pleasure so long as it doesn’t come into conflict with virtue. The Epicureans were smart in that they didn’t just pursue pleasure but avoided pain. But the problem is their philosophy still didn’t prepare them sufficiently for the pain that will always come creeping in no matter how many ways they try to prepare themselves for it. Stoicism knows you’ll feel pain and sometimes it’s best to just let it happen and then let it pass. Virtue is its own reward. Don’t let the pain be the problem. Let it be part of the solution.

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5 Reasons Stoicism is Better than Jordan B Peterson

Jordan Peterson is the psychology professor from the University of Toronto who has become something of a celebrity intellectual. Men’s Rights Activists and Alt Righters everywhere are absolutely happy to flock to this guy. He’s popular because he opposed a Canadian law that will supposedly destroy your career as a professor for not using gendered pronouns that go beyond two. Oddly, even though he’s opposed this law, his career is perfectly safe and he benefits greatly for his opposition to this law. Here are 5 Reasons Stoicism Is Greater than Him.

1. Jordan Peterson famously compared human beings to lobsters. As bizarre as this might sound it’s particularly pernicious. Jordan Peterson is saying that human beings have hierarchies like the lobster and that these hierarchies are not artificially created by global capitalism but just the natural order of things. Jordan Peterson is essentially saying that the terrible ways our system is is because we’re just designed that way and it’s not just that we’re designed that way but it’s good. So you should be happy being at the bottom. Stoicism just observes humans the way they are. There have been hierarchies throughout all time but they’re never exactly the same hierarchies. There used to be master-slave hierarchies, feudal hierarchies, and now we have capitalist hierarchies. Nothing is static. The Stoics knew the universe was change. The Stoics also believed everyone ultimately deserved equal status in the world of things. No one was a Sage, so everyone was in the same boat. No one was really any better than anyone else.

2. Jordan Peterson uses the theory of evolution in a way to justify his Jungian archetypal theory. Unfortunately he engages in evolutionary psychology, which most forms of it are pseudoscientific since we have no idea what were in the heads of our distant ancestors. It’s speculation at best, pseudoscience at worst. And Jordan Peterson should know better than to consider Carl Jung an important psychologist. Stoicism is always updating closely with the current science. Stoicism used techniques back in its ancient days that were a lot like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In fact, CBT owes quite a bit of its development to Stoicism, which is pretty much Stoic psychological techniques being tested in the lab.

3. Jordan Peterson may have won that interview with Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News but he can’t win an argument against a Stoic. Why is that? A true Stoic is adept at logic and rhetoric and knows when someone is using rhetoric as opposed to logic. Jordan Peterson is an excellent rhetorician but if challenged by an actual professional philosopher or psychologist like Massimo Pigliucci or Donald Robertson, he’d have to eat his hat. The problem is Jordan Peterson is used to being interviewed by people who don’t have expertise. But how would he do with an expert in his same field or in his crossover field: philosophy?

4. Jordan Peterson Lobster Lobster Jordan Peterson. Stoicism doesn’t use lobsters to justify its philosophy. Any questions?

5. Finally, Jordan Peterson doesn’t calm down his rabid followers. Zeno of Citium is known for reprimanding his followers whenever they became too uncontrollable. Jordan Peterson seems to make a killing out off having a fervent crowd of young pissed off white males. Stoicism has no place for any amount of fervent followers, even if a few.

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5 Reasons Stoicism Is Better Than Fox News

  1.  Fox News has a conservative bias.  Stoicism doesn’t have a conservative bias.  Fox News specifically runs news stories and commentaries designed to promote laissez-faire capitalism, anti-immigration policy, the military industrial complex, and a whole host of conservative issues.  Stoicism just tells you to try to observe the world without morally judging it.  As Shakespeare said, “nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
  2. Fox News has only been around since 1996 AD/CE.  Stoicism has been around since 300 BC/BCE.  Stoicism has really proven it can stand the test of time.  Sure, it merged with Christianity during the Dark Ages but it came back on its own during the Renaissance.  It has influenced many great thinkers during the ancient Roman times, Medieval times, Renaissance times, Age of Enlightenment, and current.
  3. Fox News along with many other news networks drummed up a lot of jingoistic passion in the United States to go to war in Iraq in March of 2003.  Stoicism doesn’t drum up negative passion e.g. jingoism.  In fact, it tries to calm down your negative passions and increase your compassion.  If Stoicism was more largely practiced in the US, we’d never rush into war.  In fact, we’d try to be much more diplomatic than we are now.
  4. Fox News has Sean Hannity.  Great Stoic thinkers, ancient and modern, do not include Sean Hannity.
  5. Finally, Fox News commentary is all about pointing out negative attributes of Democrat politicians and pointing out positive attributes of Republican politicians (unless they’re not conservative enough).  Stoicism ignores partisan divide and tries help you realistically assess people’s character.  So a Stoic is only going to judge politicos based on what they know of their virtues, particularly their justice and wisdom.

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5 Reasons Why Stoicism Is Better Than Communism

  1. When Communism has been tried, it’s killed between 85 to 100 million people.  When Stoicism has been tried, it’s killed less than 85 million people.
  2. Communism believes in the utopian vision that one day we can have a classless society of everyone contributing their fair share and receiving their fair share and there would be no more exploitation of the working class by anyone for profit.  Stoicism has never made such promises.  Zeno’s Republic was an idealized vision that Stoics could live in communal harmony but there’s no evidence that it made any promises that all societies would or could live in communal harmony.
  3. Communism believes in a power struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie.  Stoicism puts the power in your hands by declaring that the only thing in your power is your judgment, opinion, goal, and desire.
  4. While some people have claimed that Communism has yet to be tried successfully, Stoicism has been tried successfully for thousands of years.
  5. Communism, like capitalism, is about your freedom to work.  It’s a philosophy that emphasizes your freedom to work.  Capitalism and Communism of course have major differences in how to go about this but they care ultimately about human beings as working animals.  Stoicism is much cooler than this.  Stoicism believes you should have the freedom to philosophize.  You are a rational animal and a social being so the emphasis is on your freedom to live an analytical life, a life worth living.

5 Reasons Stoicism Is Better Than Feminism

  1. Stoicism already includes feminism but feminism doesn’t necessarily include Stoicism.  The ancient Stoics were similar to Plato in believing that women were just as equal to men in the ability to use reason and be virtuous.  Stoicism is a big tent philosophy that include feminism and many other elements.  Feminists aren’t always Stoics though.  Stoicism is larger in scope than feminism.
  2. Feminism mainly cares about power relationships between men and women.   Stoicism believes that the only thing in your power is your own opinions, desires, and goals, and everything else is indifferent.  But Stoicism does care about the virtue justice which means caring about a whole host of issues like wealth inequality, gender inequality, the environment, economic greed, and mental health issues.
  3. Feminism has several waves.  1st through 4th through I don’t know what but Stoicism is just Stoicism and always has been.  You don’t have to be a 3rd wave Stoic, you’re just a Stoic.  Being a Stoic means you believe in virtue as the end goal, which amazingly leads to eudaimonia.  And that’s that.  It’s easier to be a Stoic.
  4. While it’s good to be a feminist now (depending on your definition), it’s always good to be a Stoic (which is much more easily defined).  Stoicism is timeless and ahistorical.  It doesn’t depend on the history of the patriarchy and the historical changing dynamics of powers of one sex or gender over the other.  Stoicism is always about being virtuous which means helping the downtrodden no matter who they are or who they will be in the future.
  5. To be a proper academic Stoic you don’t need any college, you just need books by three main writers, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. To be an academic feminist though, you need a 4 year degree in feminism and gender studies and that can be quite expensive, you also need to know a whole host of writers (way more than 3) to comprehend feminism and be well versed in it.  Stoicism requires very little cognitive investment.pexels-photo-59657.jpeg

5 Reasons Why Stoicism Is Better Than Objectivism

  1. Objectivism is a pretty selfish philosophy.  You spend all of your time thinking about your self interest.  Sure, it’s enlightened selfishness so it’s not like you’re pure evil.  But, at the end of the day, you only care about yourself.  Let’s face it, it gets kind of lonely thinking only about yourself and what you get out of any relationship.  Rather, why not practice Stoicism where you actually care about other human beings enough to actually sacrifice yourself for the team?  You’ll feel much better thinking of yourself as part of a greater whole and people will love you for your sacrifices.
  2. Objectivism cares entirely too much about externals like productivity. and even makes productiveness a virtue.  Sometimes in life it’s difficult to be productive.  You might have a physical disability or a mental illness that makes it hard to be productive.  Rather than cry yourself to sleep at night about not being productive, maybe you can try Stoicism.  In Stoicism you don’t need to meet external goals to be happy, you just need to meet internal goals of trying to be a good person.  In Objectivism if you can’t be productive you’re a sad human being.  In Stoicism if you’re not productive, it’s completely fine.
  3. Objectivism stresses its own virtue of independence.  But let’s face it, in life, you’ll be dependent quite often.  Sometimes you’ll have to ask your friend for money or get so poor you’ll need welfare.  Objectivism would tell you you’re a parasite for needing help.  But let’s not forget that Stoicism looked up to Diogenes who was a complete beggar.  Human beings are interdependent animals.  We’re not atomistic individuals who are completely self-sufficient and Stoicism says that’s perfect.
  4. Objectivism defines justice way too selfishly to make anyone happy.  An Objectivist would say justice is achieved when everyone pursues their own selfish interests and no one else interferes with their pursuits.  Unfortunately, if we allowed for this to be the case, the rich would just own everything and, the majority, the poor would be living on breadcrumbs and sick and dying.  Fortunately, Stoicism wants you to be your brother’s keeper and so demands that you sacrifice a lot of your own interests for the team.  In a Stoic society, the rich may not be as happy as they would be in an Objectivist society, but, hey, the poor will be a lot happier and not as dead.
  5. The most obvious reason why Stoicism beats Objectivism is that Objectivism only uses its own virtues as a mere means to happy selfishness.  Unfortunately, as we have seen Objectivism requires never being dependent or always being productive and that’s just implausible in many people’s lives.  Stoicism, on the other hand, just wants you to mean well.  In Stoicism, you may be paralyzed from the neck down, but as long as you have a benevolent heart, you’re a good person.  And for a Stoic virtue is its own reward.  So being benevolent in itself will lead one towards eudaimonia (true happiness).

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    The Objectivist Ayn Rand being her selfishly selfish self!