The Future of Humanity Lies in the Balance
Stoicism must win in the Battle between the Sophists and the Stoics
Life, true life, cannot be lived in theory. Everything must be an exercise in application. I believe people can be divided into two categories today - the Sophists, Takers & Talkers versus the Stoics, Givers & Doers.
One of my favorite Stoics is a little known Stoic named Epictetus whose life followed much more well-known historical Stoics like Zeno, Plato, and Socrates. Even Marcus Aurelius, a contemporary of Epictetus was far more well-known than Epictetus even though one could categorize Marcus Aurelius as a student of Epictetus. The Stoics stated that the real geniuses and prophets were the creators that brought new philosophies into being, while they referenced those that only spread new ideas as messengers or apostles. In this sense, though Epictetus came from the humble origins of a slave while Marcus Aurelius rose to become emperor of Rome, Epictetus was the genius and Marcus Aurelius his apostle. Furthermore, Epictetus shunned endless study of philosophy without application of one’s studies to a principled way of life and thought that studying all the great philosophers that preceded him without the faithful application of this wisdom in one’s life was a waste of time.
The Stoics further believed that one must be a student of death to understand how to live properly. They claimed that without coming to terms with the inevitability of death, one could not understand how to live, as a persistent fear of death would prevent one from comprehending the need of being present to fully live.
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