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Stoicism

Essay by   •  October 17, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,162 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,149 Views

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Stoicism was a group of philosophers in the First Century who made laws that they thought should be followed by the citizens of Rome. Two of these laws were the concepts of rationality and nature. Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of Rome at the time and he also the most known Stoic. His concepts were vital to the survival of the Stoics.

The concept of rationality is what tells a human being what's right and wrong and what should be done and what is good for the human and the state by thinking. "the reason also, in respect which we are rational beings, is common: if this is so, common also is the reason which commands us what to do, and what not to do; if this is so, there is a common law also; if this is so, we are fellow citizens; if this is so, we are members of some political community; if this is so, the world is in manner of a state."(1) Marcus Aurelius says here that the citizens who are ration beings as a part of the whole political spectrum, should combine to make he world one state. He wants the world to join as one state and governed by one, the people are all part of the same political system, so they should join together.

In his Meditations Aurelius talks about every action having a purpose. "Let no act be done without a purpose, nor otherwise than according to the perfect principles of art."(2) He says here that the reason we have is because everything we do has a purpose. The purposes are there because they are the unwritten rules of art. These rules are abided because they just happen. The art sets its own rules through the purposes of the acts that are done. No act should be done if it does not follow the rules of art. Yet, the rules of are made by the act's purposes. This meaning everything has a reason why it is done and the purposes are legitimate.

A man's life does not become worse unless he makes it worse. "That which does not make his life worse, nor does it harm him either from without or with in."(3) In this quote, Aurileus tells the Stoics that the things that don't harm him won't make his life worse inside or outside including the soul. This meaning that a person should do what they feel is right, because it will not hurt them physically or mentally. Aurileus says that this is good for a person, it builds character and makes them strong physically, mentally, and spiritually. This rationality influenced the Stoics greatly. They were people who did what they wanted, when they wanted. They also did what they believed was moral. Aurileus' works inspired the Stoic community, his meditations is where a lot of the ideas of Stoicism took place. Stoicism picked up more followers, because the rational and reasonable writings and teachings of people like Aurileus.

Aurileus also comments on the concept of nature. This (nature) is what a person lives in, his or her surroundings and environment. It can also be the person himself. It is how a person lives, how they adapt to society. Nature is the society; it's the world in which the person lives in. "That which rules within, when it is according to nature, is so effected with respect to the events which happen, that is always easily adapts itself to that which is possible and is presented to it. For it requires no definite material, but it moves towards its purpose, under certain conditions however; and it makes material for itself out of which opposes it, as fire lays hold of what falls into it, by which a small light would have been extinguished: but when the fire is strong, it soon appropriates to itself the mater which is heaped on it, and consumes it, and rises higher by means of this very material."(4) Marcus

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