What is Stoicism?

Stoicism is a philosophy of life that aims to have the follower live their life in accordance with nature. The Stoics believe this to mean one should try to be a rational and social being. The Stoics believed in the Fates and that the gods created them with these rational and social characteristics. We should therefore embrace the nature of things and be the best rational, social beings possible. It is also believed, that through living this way, we can reach tranquility and experience a profound joy (thank to the commenter below for pointing out my mix-up in priorities).

The typical definition of stoic is cold and devoid of emotion, but the opposite is the case. By using logic and reason to gain control of your negative emotions it is believed that reaching tranquility will allow you to experience a joy unlike anything else you’ve felt. So far I have found it to be true that I am experiencing more joy out of daily life and I am finding that Stoicism is quite natural and works for me.

The best first step would be to learn about negative visualization and start practicing it today.


  1. UnstableHeron

    October 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I’m by no means an expert on Stoicism, but a criticism I have encountered several times (and with which I agree), is that many people believe that tranquility, and the avoidance of internal discomfort, are the chief aims of Stoicism.

    This is an error – the chief aim of Stoicism is to live in accordance with nature, which is understood to mean living in accordance with one’s rational mind, and the rational, ordered cosmos (fate).

    The idea of Stoic’s seeking tranquility seems to come through strongly in William Irvine’s book, ‘A Guide to the Good Life’ (which was also my introduction to Stoicism).

    I think that the attainment of tranquility is meant to be a ‘side-effect’ of living rationally, in accordance with nature. The cultivation of a virtuous character, virtuous use of indifferents, and the proper recognition of what is in one’s control, and what is not, will naturally produce that sense of tranquility, if the principles are properly followed.

    Anyway, thought I’d add my thoughts!
    Keep up the good journalling!

    • Chris Lowe

      October 11, 2013 at 7:10 am

      I believe you’re right; and I have likely over simplified in trying to distill the definition into something easily digestible. I do make reference to the concept of living as a rational and social being in another post, but I will take some time to edit this to be more clear. On another note, I find it interesting to try to apply Stoicism in modern times; when much of society, and myself until recently, is living contrary to what the Stoics believe to be in accordance with nature.

      Thanks for contributing, I appreciate it and hope to have more discussions in the future.

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