How Stoicism, a 2000-Year-Old Philosophy, Is Making a Comeback
An ancient philosophy is becoming popular again thanks to author Ryan Holiday.
Author Ryan Holiday is bringing back an ancient philosophy of "stoicism" and it’s proving a hit with the Silicon Valley crowd, Olympic athletes and hip-hop stars.
Stoicism was founded by the Greek philosopher Zeno of Cilium (334-262 BC) but it spread widely and was practiced for hundreds of years across the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire, all the way until Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE).
Stoics emphasized goodness and peace of mind from leading a virtuous, ethical life. In practice, they sought to limit negative emotions and encouraged self-control. The idea was to become clear-headed and thus able to tap into the knowledge of universal reason.
Holiday’s book “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph” lays out how to adapt stoicism to modern life, with particular focus on work anxieties and success. He sees stoicism as a kind of practical philosophy, a life hack, with growing through overcoming adversity as its key lesson.
He argues that: "’negative’ experiences are often the most useful and valuable experiences of our lives. So, to try to constantly avoid negativity ultimately hinders us.”
He further expounds on the virtues of stoicism:
“the philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment be based on behaviour, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses."
“Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t.”
While Holiday’s books and talks on stoicism have been successful, they also drew criticism from some over his background as a former PR man for American Apparel, and his self-promotional tactics. Others do not see his rebranding of stoicism as what New York Times calls “a self-help system for overachievers” to be actual stoicism.
Regardless, his books have won him many fans, from Google to NFL players and athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Cover photo: A seagull stands on the head of a statue representing late Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius at the Capitol hill in downtown Rome on December 30, 2014 . (Photo credit: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
No, depression is not just a type of 'affluenza' – poor people in conflict zones are more likely candidates
- Often seen as typical of rich societies, depression is actually more prevalent in poor, conflict-ridden countries
- More than one in five Afghans is clinically depressed – a sad world record
- But are North Koreans really the world's 'fourth least depressed' people?
America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.
- Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
- Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
- Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
- Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
- It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
- Some claimed 'Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.