- Stoicism already includes feminism but feminism doesn’t necessarily include Stoicism. The ancient Stoics were similar to Plato in believing that women were just as equal to men in the ability to use reason and be virtuous. Stoicism is a big tent philosophy that include feminism and many other elements. Feminists aren’t always Stoics though. Stoicism is larger in scope than feminism.
- Feminism mainly cares about power relationships between men and women. Stoicism believes that the only thing in your power is your own opinions, desires, and goals, and everything else is indifferent. But Stoicism does care about the virtue justice which means caring about a whole host of issues like wealth inequality, gender inequality, the environment, economic greed, and mental health issues.
- Feminism has several waves. 1st through 4th through I don’t know what but Stoicism is just Stoicism and always has been. You don’t have to be a 3rd wave Stoic, you’re just a Stoic. Being a Stoic means you believe in virtue as the end goal, which amazingly leads to eudaimonia. And that’s that. It’s easier to be a Stoic.
- While it’s good to be a feminist now (depending on your definition), it’s always good to be a Stoic (which is much more easily defined). Stoicism is timeless and ahistorical. It doesn’t depend on the history of the patriarchy and the historical changing dynamics of powers of one sex or gender over the other. Stoicism is always about being virtuous which means helping the downtrodden no matter who they are or who they will be in the future.
- To be a proper academic Stoic you don’t need any college, you just need books by three main writers, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. To be an academic feminist though, you need a 4 year degree in feminism and gender studies and that can be quite expensive, you also need to know a whole host of writers (way more than 3) to comprehend feminism and be well versed in it. Stoicism requires very little cognitive investment.
- Buddhism is one of the major 5 religions of the world and it has 520 million followers. Buddhism is older than Stoicism but you’d think with all these followers and how long Buddhism has been around, Buddhism would be a lot more coherent. But it’s not. There are two major branches, Theravada and Mahayana and there might even be a third branch separate from the two: Vajrayana, depending on who you ask. And to complicate it further these 2 or maybe 3 branches divide even further into a large multiplicity of schools with their own dogmas and precepts. But with Stoicism, there’s just one: Stoicism. Nothing complicated about that. Virtue is the only good and if you follow virtue you’ll find eudaimonia.
- Depending on who you ask (seriously there’s very little agreement on anything), Buddhism depends on a belief in reincarnation, continuous death and rebirth, until you achieve enlightenment and break the cycle. This involves also a belief in karma, that if bad things happen to you in this life it could be because you lived a bad former life. None of this stuff actually can be empirically proved so it is what it is. Stoicism believes when you die nobody really knows what happens to your soul. So you might as well bet it just ends 2 meters under the ground and you should focus on this life. Buddhism does stress living in the moment and in this life. But so does Stoicism, it just doesn’t assume all this other complicated metaphysical mess.
- Buddhism offers enlightenment. But it requires an unnecessary amount of effort to become enlightened with no real guarantee. Your whole life is devoted to an escape from an illusion created by your ego. Many people sacrifice their whole life for enlightenment and then they die never having it (but at least they have a next life to pursue it or so they hope). Stoicism doesn’t offer enlightenment. Stoicism says just try to be a good person and if you work a little at mastering some of important virtues you’ll be pretty content. No heavenly bliss or pie in the sky nirvana. You’ll just have a more rational level head. Stoicism is much much more realistic. You get out of Stoicism what you put in.
- Buddhism requires an unnecessary amount of meditation that involves clearing one’s mind of distractions. Often times coupled with a focus on breathing. On point #4 some Buddhist is going to argue that this is not the case but like I said no two Buddhists ever really agree on anything. Stoicism doesn’t require this impractical attempt at emptying one’s mind. Stoicism just says focus on your own virtue, focus on what is truly in your power: your own judgment and that no event external to you is truly bad or good. It doesn’t involves hours of sitting in front of a candle in the dark investing in the impossible mental task of clearing your mind of all your thoughts.
- Finally, if you follow Buddhism to the letter you’ll have to eliminate all intoxicants from your life. No more drinking alcohol, no mind altering drugs, no nicotine, no unnecessary luxuries, no caffeine. All you get are some herbal teas with no caffeine benefits. Stoicism says if it’s in moderation and your liver can easily detoxify it from your blood, then have at it.
- Sam Harris spends most of his time attacking Islam. He seems to hate the religion more than any other religion. He spends an unnecessary amount of time trying to prove that Islam is not the religion of peace and tries to make it out to be the religion of strife. Stoicism doesn’t really attack anything or hate anything. It just wants to focus on virtue which is the only good. Stoicism is compatible with Islam and its followers and hopes that everyone can work together to become more virtuous human beings.
- Sam Harris admits that he’s bored by philosophy and basically ignores it. Stoicism spends considerable time thinking about other philosophies and learning from other philosophies and adapting. The Stoic philosopher Seneca frequently quoted Epicureans and tried to learn from their philosophy as well as he understood their philosophy.
- Sam Harris stole his ethics from utilitarianism and doesn’t credit any of the utilitarian thinkers for his ethics. Stoicism always credits other thinkers and doesn’t steal their ideas and make them worse.
- Sam Harris, because he doesn’t care about philosophy, wrongly asserts that free will isn’t compatible with determinism and so he rejects free will. Stoics on the other hand agree with a significant number of philosophers who have convincingly argued well for the compatibility of free will and determinism. Stoicism has always believed that free will is compatible with determinism.
- Sam Harris is a cult of personality who has fervent followers who defend him no matter what he does wrong or thinks wrong. Stoicism is an open philosophy with many of its own followers critiquing it and its thinkers. Seneca, for example, is critiqued a lot as being a Stoic hypocrite and out of touch.
- The Powerpuff Girls are the superhero trio Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. While they may fight crime and save the world, there is another important trio that saves philosophy: Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca. Sure, the Powerpuff Girls may seem to have more power than many of us non-super-hero-types but Epictetus reminds us that the only thing truly in our power is our opinions, desires, and goals.
- To be a Powerpuff Girl, you just need to be like any girl, a combination of sugar, spice, and everything nice but you need the special chemical X to make you have super powers. To be a Stoic girl, you don’t need any chemical X. You just need virtue. And virtue is far more excellent than some chemical.
- The Powerpuff Girls are an exemplar of moral strength. Always fighting crime in the name of justice and compassion. So while they are great examples of what anyone should be, they would understand that their virtues are what’s ultimately important and not themselves. So they would gladly honor the Stoic virtues of courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom over themselves.
- The Powerpuff Girls put many superheros to shame. They put Batman to shame, Superman to shame, even Yahweh. But can they put Cato the Younger to shame? No! Cato the Younger, a very serious Stoic, fought Julius Caesar from becoming dictator of Rome. But when Cato lost to Caesar did he bow down and let himself be pardoned? No, he cut out his guts (literally) in protest of Caesar’s reign. This symbolic gesture might be the reason why Caesar was later assassinated.
- While the Powerpuff Girls have won our hearts and minds as crusaders for justice and compassion, it’s always important to remember Stoicism. Stoicism has its flawed Stoic followers. But the concept of the Stoic Sage is perfect and absolute as our standard of someone bearing justice and compassion.
- Kanye Omari West was born June 8, 1977. Stoicism was born from the mind of Zeno of Citium in 300 BC. Stoicism has been around a long time and has waxed and waned and been through the philosophical grinder. Stoicism has made its mark in history, it has staying power. It’s not clear Kanye West will have nearly as much staying power. In 100 years Kanye West may be forgotten. Basically Stoicism has proved itself as an important idea and Kanye has yet to prove himself as an important idea.
- Kanye West has compared himself to Jesus Christ, the most important figure in Christianity. Stoicism has influenced, shaped, and created a large amount of what we know today as Christianity. Kanye West might think he is Jesus but Stoicism and its concept of the Logos is a lot closer to Jesus than Kanye may ever be.
- Kanye West may have Kim Kardashian but Stoicism has Marcus Aurelius, the great magnanimous emperor of Rome.
- Kanye West rudely interrupted Taylor Swift while she was receiving an award at the VMAs in 2009. Barack Obama famously called him a jackass for this stunt. Stoicism doesn’t interrupt people.
- Kanye West criticized Obama and praised Trump claiming that the mob can’t make him not love Trump. Stoicism is much more loving than Kanye. Stoicism is about brotherly and sisterly love of everyone be it the mob, Obama, Trump, immigrants, gold-diggers and is universal and impartial love. Stoicism also does not care about fame or the limelight except as possible means to virtue.
- NASCAR is expensive. It requires funding through many channels. NASCAR is funded through ticket sales, money from tv broadcast contracts. All the teams have to pay for their hardware, personnel, and travel. The teams fund this by selling sponsorship coupled with what they earn from competing. The auto manufacturers will also sometimes provide financial support. Stoicism is not expensive at all. The only investment it requires is a few simple mindfulness/meditative exercises throughout the day and focus on virtue.
- NASCAR has a large carbon footprint. Stoicism doesn’t. NASCAR switched to E15 “green fuel” but “green fuel” is a misnomer. NASCAR may use 15% Ethanol but the rest is gasoline . Stoicism is just a concept that transfers from one mind to another. Very little energy or money is required for that.
- NASCAR is a spectator sport that requires hours of time watching cars make a transit, usually in an oval. Stoicism doesn’t require this time investment of sensory repetition. Sure, you might review certain meditative techniques throughout the day in Stoicism but it sure beats watching cars travel in ovals ad infinitum. Also NASCAR is loud and can give you a headache. Stoicism is silent and can even help you mentally deal with your headache.
- NASCAR promotes competition. Stoicism promotes both competition and cooperation. NASCAR is just what you’d expect from a sport that is entirely profit-motivated. It’s motivated by cutthroat competitiveness. People actually die in their quest to race around tracks as a means to being first and everyone else last. Stoicism is much more cooperative. Instead of “me” first, it cares about others and their needs. Stoicism balances one’s needs with the group’s needs. If you’re not always first that’s ok because it’s not always a competition, you can be proud for someone ahead of you.
- NASCAR requires too much brain investment without very little brain reward. NASCAR requires you to know the drivers, requires you to keep track of points, requires you drink beer, requires you to travel to their events, requires you to schedule your tv time around NASCAR, requires you to watch tv period, requires you buy their products, requires you watch their commercials and become tempted by their commercials, it makes you have unrealistic goals of becoming a NASCAR driver, it might even make you have a need for speed and make you break the law. And what is the reward? Maybe a little buzz from the beer? Stoicism doesn’t require any of this. It just wants you to focus on being a good person and the reward is lifetime happiness. Imagine that. Stoicism requires very little investment for lifetime happiness.
- Objectivism is a pretty selfish philosophy. You spend all of your time thinking about your self interest. Sure, it’s enlightened selfishness so it’s not like you’re pure evil. But, at the end of the day, you only care about yourself. Let’s face it, it gets kind of lonely thinking only about yourself and what you get out of any relationship. Rather, why not practice Stoicism where you actually care about other human beings enough to actually sacrifice yourself for the team? You’ll feel much better thinking of yourself as part of a greater whole and people will love you for your sacrifices.
- Objectivism cares entirely too much about externals like productivity. and even makes productiveness a virtue. Sometimes in life it’s difficult to be productive. You might have a physical disability or a mental illness that makes it hard to be productive. Rather than cry yourself to sleep at night about not being productive, maybe you can try Stoicism. In Stoicism you don’t need to meet external goals to be happy, you just need to meet internal goals of trying to be a good person. In Objectivism if you can’t be productive you’re a sad human being. In Stoicism if you’re not productive, it’s completely fine.
- Objectivism stresses its own virtue of independence. But let’s face it, in life, you’ll be dependent quite often. Sometimes you’ll have to ask your friend for money or get so poor you’ll need welfare. Objectivism would tell you you’re a parasite for needing help. But let’s not forget that Stoicism looked up to Diogenes who was a complete beggar. Human beings are interdependent animals. We’re not atomistic individuals who are completely self-sufficient and Stoicism says that’s perfect.
- Objectivism defines justice way too selfishly to make anyone happy. An Objectivist would say justice is achieved when everyone pursues their own selfish interests and no one else interferes with their pursuits. Unfortunately, if we allowed for this to be the case, the rich would just own everything and, the majority, the poor would be living on breadcrumbs and sick and dying. Fortunately, Stoicism wants you to be your brother’s keeper and so demands that you sacrifice a lot of your own interests for the team. In a Stoic society, the rich may not be as happy as they would be in an Objectivist society, but, hey, the poor will be a lot happier and not as dead.
- The most obvious reason why Stoicism beats Objectivism is that Objectivism only uses its own virtues as a mere means to happy selfishness. Unfortunately, as we have seen Objectivism requires never being dependent or always being productive and that’s just implausible in many people’s lives. Stoicism, on the other hand, just wants you to mean well. In Stoicism, you may be paralyzed from the neck down, but as long as you have a benevolent heart, you’re a good person. And for a Stoic virtue is its own reward. So being benevolent in itself will lead one towards eudaimonia (true happiness).
- Look down at your feet in public, make very little eye contact, and hunch your shoulders.
Great philosophical thinkers spend a great deal thinking and they don’t have time to look around them. They need to be focused on their abstract thoughts and the hustle and bustle of the public can be a great distraction. They need to look at their feet as a meditative exercise and to make sure they’re not going to trip over something.
- Make others treat you like they’re responsible for helping you.
Constantly ask people if they can help you with something but don’t do it too frequently or they’ll get the idea you’re helpless. Also don’t do it enough that it will annoy them. The key is don’t be afraid to ask for help and even extra help when you don’t even need it. Try not to sound needy. If people close to you won’t help you in life, you’ve lost your job, and you’re close to homelessness, make sure you get a good social worker to help you get help from the government.
- Make enemies with the people who want the worst for you.
In life you’re gonna make enemies. So make sure you find out who actually is jealous of you and is just trying to bring you down. Make sure you can figure that out. Keep your enemies close at hand, understand how they tick, and drive them nuts by responding positively to their negativity. When they try to make you sad, just say, “it’s a beautiful day out, don’t you think so? You’re kinda pretty too.” This will piss them off and they may learn to keep their distance from you being so nice and not letting them get you down.
- Compare yourself to an ideal self in the future, don’t think of your past.
Always look to your future dreams as a guide to help mold you. Your dreams may not come true but make sure you have a rosy picture of the future of yourself and try to be that person. You may fail to become that person but maybe you’ll at least become an approximate version of that self. Set your ideal high. If you fail to make that ideal, hey, at least you maybe made it half way there.
- Let your children do things that make you mad but then learn not to be mad over time at them.
Your kids are gonna try to piss you off, that’s their nature. Try not to be a tyrant over your kid but try to be their friend and parent. Exercise very restrained authority. Give them rewards for good behavior and make sure you give them plenty of time to make up for their mistakes. Take them to the park and let them play for hours. You may get tired watching them at the park, so make sure you bring you smart phone and play video games while they play their heart out.
- Criticize the world as you set your house in order.
While you’re developing into your ideal human being you want to be, make sure you criticize the world for not living up to its ideal image. Politicians are bought by money, there’s greed galore everywhere, people in Flint, Michigan are drinking poison. The world is a terrible place. You likely are better than it by default. Make sure while you work on yourself you critique the terrible systemic social problems in the world. Make the world into an ideal image of it while you work on yourself and make yourself an ideal image.
- Pursue what is meaningful and what is expedient in equal measure.
The more virtuous you are, the more you’ll learn what tools to use in life. Life is full of expedient tools. Math can help you see if you’re getting cheated it’s a good tool. But it’s important to remember to be more virtuous. That means be more kind, be more knowledgeable of old wisdom spoken by wise people, have more courage, and try to remain calm in tough situations. You’ll learn all the short cuts in life as you develop practical wisdom. Don’t read Nietzsche until you’ve read ancient Greco-Roman philosophy.
- Sometimes you should tell little white lies and withhold some truth if it will cause too much harm to another.
Never tell your wife you think she looks kinda ugly, especially if she ages and becomes more ugly. But also learn to find the beauty in her as she ages. Never tell your husband he looks fat in his tank top when he’s gained a few extra pounds. If you’re late to work because you were being irresponsible managing your time, don’t tell your boss that you were being irresponsible. Make sure you have a very good excuse in mind for why you were late.
If you have a friend staying the night with you and there’s an ax murderer asking for where your friend’s whereabouts are, make sure you lie to the ax murderer about where your friend is located.
If you work for the CIA and the secrets will save hundreds to thousands of life with minimal sacrifice to anyone, make sure you keep those secrets.
- Assume the person you’re not listening to knows nothing.
If you’re not listening to someone it’s probably because they don’t have anything of value to say. Most people don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s why there’s Ph.D. Philosophers and Scientists. Those people are the kind of people you will be listening to. They actually say very interesting and insightful things unlike your friend who thinks he knows it all but quit halfway through college because he was too wasted to finish.
- Be vague in your speech
Most of the time in life you don’t have to specify exactly what you mean unless someone asks you to. So just keep talking and writing vaguely until it’s necessary to specify. Thinking vaguely can help you get a good vague feeling for an idea. It can help you know things within the ballpark. And most of the time that’s what matters. You know that an essay has 5 paragraphs and you know you have a general idea but you don’t need to specifically know what you’re going to write until the night before it’s due.
- Tell children not to be such a nuisance, especially when they’re near your house making lots of noise.
Make sure you tell children to be more quiet if they’re making lots of noise right outside your house. Call them little rascals and that you’ll hose them down with water if they don’t go away. If they don’t go away, find out who their parents are and complain. Do not ever call the police though, they tend to worsen the situation. Plus their cars have loud sirens and those damn blinking blue and red lights that can give you a seizure.
- Spay and neuter your cats and make sure you let your neighbors know.
That’s what Bob Barker always says.
Why did the Epicurean cross the road? Atoms randomly swerving made her do it.
Why did the Stoic cross the road? Because of rigid determinism.
Why did the Cynic cross the road? To go to the market place and shamelessly publicly masturbate.