Why did the Romans adapt Greek stoicism? Simple. The Romans adapted Greek stoicism to fit their needs. That insight raised one question: Should we adapt both stoic schools to fit our modern-day needs? Yes. I think so. Here are my top 3 reasons why I think so.
The world has changed much over the last 1500 years
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius died in March 180 AD. He is one of the last prominent stoic writers that added works to the Stoa. With the spread of Christianity came the decline of stoicism. In 529 AD Emperor Justinian I closed the last stoic schools.
For 1500 years stoicism has been a dead school. Yes, many people lived by the stoic philosophy. But, nobody extended the common stoic knowledge. Nobody established a new school.
In those 1500 years our world changed a lot. Examples: Our society is less spiritual. We live reactive lives. We live in cities with millions of inhabitants. We’re constantly bombarded with information.
A new stoicism could help us to solve our new (age) problems, like information overload.
Some stoic knowledge is outdated
A big part of stoicism are psychological techniques like negative visualization. The Stoics discovered them by trial and error. Thus, many techniques work, but others don’t.
Today we have a better understanding of psychology. We can test with the scientific method what works and what not.
A new stoicism could fix outdated knowledge and ground it more on science.
Every generation needs an own translation and interpretation
Every translation and interpretation is a product of its time. An English translation of the meditations from today is very different compared to translation from the last century. Today we write and talk different. A reader today has problems to understand the last century version. Another obstacle is that words and ideas changed their meaning over time.
When Marcus Aurelius writes about nature he means something else than we do.
A new stoicism could help us to understand stoicism in the context of our times.
Let’s follow the Roman path
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca
Stoicism is wonderful philosophy that leads us to a richer, happier and virtuous life. But, it is in some places outdated. Stoicism no longer contains all answers to our everyday problems. Times changed and stoicism should do it too. Let’s follow the Roman path and revive the stoic school. We deserve a strong and alive stoicism.
In the future I will write about (new) topics that I think should be part of modern day stoicism. I will also write interpretations for some statements and (outdated) concepts. Bottom line is, I will write about, what I think, should be part of the new stoicism.
I will categorize all that under the buzzword StoicMindset.
It’s not a new branch of stoicism! It’s not a new stoic school! It’s just a buzzword.
Gaius Wolf, Munich 22.June.2016