Topics: Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, Logos Pages: 3 (1351 words) Published: May 12, 2003
In the tree of Ethics, there are many twigs and branches that all trace back to a single root: how a person ought to act. Now, the paths that some branches take to get to that single root differ in many ways, yet all arrive at their own definition of how they themselves should live. The ‘branch' that I will be talking about today, is Stoicism. I will discuss the history and beginnings of Stoicism in the Hellenistic period, the basic ideas of stoicism, and I will share my own personal beliefs and skeptical ideas as concerned with Stoicism. To begin, what does the word ‘stoic' mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘stoic' as "one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain." In the world of Ethics, a stoic is defined as "a member of a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium about 300 B.C. holding that the wise man should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law." So what school of philosophy are we talking about? Who is Zeno of Cittium? Why did the stoics behave as they did? In the early part of the 4th century B.C. going on into the middle of the 3rd, a man named Zeno of Cittium left his home of Cyprus and went to Athens. There, he began to teach small groups of people about his ideas of ethics. He held his sessions on a painted porch on the Athenian agora known as the Stoa Poikile, from which the terms stoic and Stoicism derive from. At one point, Zeno, who had become adjusted to a life of riches, could not pay a resident tax, and as a consequence, was sold into slavery, where he was bought by a friend and freed. At first glance, one could look at stoicism and dismiss it as a relatively easy way to lead one's life. At the heart, stoics do not care about abstract reality, about how and why the universe began, or Earth for that matter. To a stoic, the most important concept is that of acceptance in human life. Some of the ideas that Stoicism is based upon comes from the mind of one...
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