Can you mix Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism?

Each of these philosophies has important points to make, and each has aspects that won’t appeal to some people. Here’s a life philosophy that combines and modifies elements of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism: We all want pleasure and to avoid pain, but our fear of things that are beyond our control is a frequent causeContinue reading “Can you mix Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism?”

Stoicism & Epicureanism: What’s the Difference?

Stoicism and Epicureanism were ancient rivals. And both philosophies are back. Which philosophy is right? Do you really have to choose? I think Stoicism and Epicureanism were rivals because of their similarities. They’re variations on a theme. Both philosophies explore how to live a virtuous life. Both see ataraxia (“without disturbance”) as a path toContinue reading “Stoicism & Epicureanism: What’s the Difference?”

What postmodernism gets right

Bashing postmodernism is popular. But maybe it’s not all bad. I have a theory about theories: Most beliefs, whether philosophical, political, religious, or otherwise, make at least some valid points. But most also take their good ideas too far. Postmodernism is skeptical of all grand narratives, which they say typically serve the interests of theContinue reading “What postmodernism gets right”

Is Stoicism bad for men?

Stoics don’t repress emotions, they put emotions into perspective. Traditional masculinity is harmful. Or so says the American Psychological Association. The APA’s blog declares that, ” traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” The APA’s claim raises many questions. Is that really all masculinity is? What positive aspects of masculinityContinue reading “Is Stoicism bad for men?”

Kindness: Marcus Aurelius

Stoics are not unemotional: they value emotions that make the world a better place. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Speak the truth as you see it, but with kindness, humility, and without hypocrisy (8.5). Wash yourself clean with simplicity, humility, and indifference to everything but right and wrong. Care for other human beings. Follow God (7.31).Continue reading “Kindness: Marcus Aurelius”

Who cares what people think?: Marcus Aurelius

Other people’s thoughts are not up to us. But whether we value their opinions is up to us. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Do you want praise from people who kick themselves every fifteen minutes, or the approval of people who can’t please themselves? Is it a sign of self-respect to regret nearly everything you do?Continue reading “Who cares what people think?: Marcus Aurelius”

Are human rights natural—or a social construct?

Either way, universal human rights are essential for human flourishing. The Declaration of Independence says “all men are created equal”—“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—because of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Trees exist whether human societies exist or not. But money doesn’t exist outside of human societies. Money is aContinue reading “Are human rights natural—or a social construct?”

Fearing change: Marcus Aurelius

Life is change. From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Frightened of change? What can exist without it? What’s closer to nature’s heart? Can you eat food without transforming it? (7.18) There is nothing bad in undergoing change — or good in emerging from it (4.42). What follows is always in affinity with what went before. Not aContinue reading “Fearing change: Marcus Aurelius”

Does goodness really exist?

It’s a question of faith. What is “the good”? We’ve debated this question since ancient times. More to the point, is goodness objective? That is, does goodness go beyond personal opinion? The morass of opinion If goodness is subjective then it’s relative. There would be contradictory notions of goodness, negating the existence of goodness asContinue reading “Does goodness really exist?”

Stoic Buddhism? Or Buddhist Stoicism? Or neither?

Stoicism and Buddhism have many similarities, but significant differences as well. What follows is my attempt to modify Stoicism with aspects of Buddhism. I also modify aspects of Stoicism I don’t fully agree with, such as describing a spectrum rather than a dichotomy of control, and saying that things that are not up to us (externals)Continue reading “Stoic Buddhism? Or Buddhist Stoicism? Or neither?”