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The Stoics on Pain and Adversity

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posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 04:46 PM
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Very basically, the Stoic view is that all distress, unhappiness, and negative emotions arise from false judgments. Happiness is for those who judge correctly, and those who do not ascribe undue characteristics to “externals.” Nothing external is bad or evil, simply indifferent; evil is only the lack of virtue in men, likewise the good is only present in the rational, virtuous person. Happiness is in recognizing what is in our control and what isn’t in our control. Our bodies, our possessions, objects, people, and events are not in our control; the only things in our control are judgements, intentions, and desires--- the will and the ability to reason. Now, we cannot avoid feeling pain in some sense, nor can we avoid adversity, but the distress and suffering it causes is entirely up to us.

Epictetus, from the Discourses (presumably a dialogue between student and teacher):


“I have a headache.' Well, do not say 'Alas!' 'I have an earache.' Do not say 'Alas!' And I am not saying that it is not permissible to groan, only do not groan in the centre of your being."


Seneca:

“Pain is slight (levis est dolor) if opinion has added nothing to it; . . . in thinking it slight, you will make it slight. Everything depends on opinion. It is according to opinion that we suffer. (Ad opinionem dolemus.) A man is as wretched as he has convinced himself that he is.”



God or nature is "no mild taskmaster of virtues, [He] rears, as strict fathers do, with much severity. . . . He does not make a spoiled pet of a good man; he tests him, hardens him and fits him for his own service.”



"The assaults of adversity (adversarum rerum) do not weaken the spirit of the brave man; . . . for it is mightier than all external things (est enim omnibus externis potentior). I do not mean to say that the brave man is insensible to these, but that he overcomes them, and being in all else unmoved and calm rises to meet whatever assails him."



"All his adversities [the good man] counts mere training . . . Without an adversary, prowess shrivels. (Marcet sine adversario virtus.)"


God or nature (essentially the same to Stoics) speaking to man:

“Because I could not withdraw you from the path [of things hard to bear] I have armed your minds to withstand them all; endure with fortitude. In this you may outstrip the god; he is exempt from suffering evil (extra patientiam malorum), while you are superior (supra) to suffering it. Scorn (contemnite) poverty; no one lives as poor as he was born. Scorn pain; it will either be relieved or relieve you [i.e., you will die and so no longer feel it]. Scorn death, which either ends you or transfers you. Scorn fortune [i.e., luck, which can seem either good or bad, but in fact is not truly either]; I have given her no weapon with which she may strike your soul.”



Seneca tells of the fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher Stilbo, whose estate had been plundered, his daughters ravaged, and his city Megara conquered by the tyrant Demetrius. The tyrant asked Stilbo whether he had lost anything. His reply was "Nothing; I have all that is mine with me." Seneca comments (6.3):

Here is one who . . . says "There is no reason why you should doubt that a mortal man can raise himself above his human lot, that he can view with unconcern pains and losses, sores and wounds, and nature's great commotions as she rages all around him, can bear hardship calmly and prosperity soberly, neither yielding to the one nor trusting to the other; that he can remain wholly unchanged amid the diversities of fortune. . . . Alone and old, and seeing the enemy in possession of everything around me, I, nevertheless, declare that my holdings are all intact and unharmed. I still possess them; whatever I have had as my own, I have. There is no reason for you to suppose me vanquished and you yourself the victor.”


……….

Now, regardless of whether you agree with all they have to say, the Stoics have some wise words for us poor, poor modern people who have to suffer so much outrage, indignity, and hurt feelings on a daily basis.
Finally, for good measure:

"No man receives an injury without some mental disturbance, yea more, he is perturbed even by the thought of it; but the man who has been saved from error, who is self-controlled and has deep and calm repose, is free from such perturbation."

Further reading for those interested: people.wku.edu...

edit on 9-6-2016 by Talorc because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 05:33 PM
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It was an interesting read even if I think it is not 100% correct.

I do believe that all action can be seen as objective good (mutualistic), neutral or objective evil (parasitic).

There are souls that are close to pure soulless evil that do predatory things and they are not indifferent when they cause pain in others. They love causing the pain and the power they feel of being in control of another souls fate seeing the fear in another soul.

And I myself do not have any problem of these souls receiving the same insanity back at them and their suffering do not make me feel any empathy at all for them. They created the fate that will mirror their behavior.



I still possess them; whatever I have had as my own, I have. There is no reason for you to suppose me vanquished and you yourself the victor.”


I have 2 theories what this can be:
1 A souls who is probably so high on bliss state after a Amygdala fear overload that he do not even understand the suffering that can be caused to his loved ones or have already accepted whatever happens.

2 Or a soul using another tactic to deprive the tyrant of the pleasure in causing fear and therefore the tyrant will probably look for another victim where he can get his cause fear buzz.
edit on 9-6-2016 by LittleByLittle because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 11:03 PM
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a reply to: Talorc

I've always thought that the Stoic's were admirable people. It is a positive adjective, and properly describes what I just read.

I have to say, Job of Biblical fame, began as a stoic until he was essentially tortured. He complained something fierce but never cursed God as The Adversary predicted. God specifically mentions Job to Satan, who responds with the normally accurate statement that Job will curse God to his face if he takes away everything he has and his family, then it is his health and it is always God who mentions Job and approves Satan's recommendations.

All because he was the most righteous person in the world. God needed to make sure he was truly righteous by tormenting him.

Because it is not like he can read minds, right?



posted on Jun, 10 2016 @ 05:34 AM
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a reply to: LenatasataneL



Because it is not like he can read minds, right?


Can they not? Just because we are limited telepathic they must be to?



posted on Jun, 10 2016 @ 08:08 AM
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originally posted by: LittleByLittle
a reply to: LenatasataneL



Because it is not like he can read minds, right?


Can they not? Just because we are limited telepathic they must be to?


Who is they? I was talking about God.

You have got to be joking. You have everything ass backwards. Read it again.
edit on 10-6-2016 by LenatasataneL because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 10 2016 @ 02:46 PM
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originally posted by: LenatasataneL

originally posted by: LittleByLittle
a reply to: LenatasataneL



Because it is not like he can read minds, right?


Can they not? Just because we are limited telepathic they must be to?


Who is they? I was talking about God.

You have got to be joking. You have everything ass backwards. Read it again.


I say they, because the spiritual world is not just one being that can listen in. In Jewish and Christian faith they could be describes as Elohim or Watchers.
edit on 10-6-2016 by LittleByLittle because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 10 2016 @ 03:11 PM
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originally posted by: LittleByLittle

originally posted by: LenatasataneL

originally posted by: LittleByLittle
a reply to: LenatasataneL



Because it is not like he can read minds, right?


Can they not? Just because we are limited telepathic they must be to?


Who is they? I was talking about God.

You have got to be joking. You have everything ass backwards. Read it again.


I say they, because the spiritual world is not just one being that can listen in. In Jewish and Christian faith they could be describes as Elohim or Watchers.


I was JUST talking about God. Not Igrigori or Cherubim, Seraphim, Ophanim or Metatron.

Elohim does not mean Watchers, they are called Igrigori.

Elohim can mean the Mighty Ones, Gods or even just God. It goes back to ancient Canaan and the Sons of El and Asherah.
edit on 10-6-2016 by LenatasataneL because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 11 2016 @ 12:39 PM
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a reply to: LittleByLittle Re: '2 theories': 'Or perhaps victory is in the simpler things that you've long forgotten, things that require a simpler, more honest soul'- Monty Oum, as Professor Ozpin
There exists within every soul all the elements for happiness, peace and contentment, no matter what the raging river of life may throw, to the individual who pierces the blinders on their own soul they can be content. The man might seem delusional or weak, but in the account he is clearly in a clear and lucid state of mind, this coupled with his nonviolent approach to the man who destroyed everything he had (except his inner strength, which NO man can touch!) and his own account of his peace, it is clear that Stilbo had found what is commonly referred to as 'enlightenment'.

a reply to: LenatasataneL 'All because he was the most righteous person in the world. God needed to make sure he was truly righteous by tormenting him' You seem to have misunderstood- God already knew Job was the most righteous man, he didn't need to test Jobs Faith. However, Satan is the nemesis and the tempter, so of course his primary goal is going to be on those who are accounted as the most righteous, because if he can make Job, the most righteous man curse god then what has god left? So the reason for the tormenting was two fold. One, to prove to everybody reading the job account that Satan did not win, could not get Job to curse his Lord, and two, to prove to JOB his own account of righteousness! Like with the story of Abraham on the mountain, offering up little Isaac. That wasn't God testing Abrahams faith for gods sake- of course God already knew! But it was accounted so that Abraham might know his own Faith and righteousness, and so that Isaac and all of us could know and learn from the example.


edit on 11-6-2016 by 5leepingWarrior because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 11 2016 @ 09:34 PM
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originally posted by: 5leepingWarrior
a reply to: LittleByLittle Re: '2 theories': 'Or perhaps victory is in the simpler things that you've long forgotten, things that require a simpler, more honest soul'- Monty Oum, as Professor Ozpin
There exists within every soul all the elements for happiness, peace and contentment, no matter what the raging river of life may throw, to the individual who pierces the blinders on their own soul they can be content. The man might seem delusional or weak, but in the account he is clearly in a clear and lucid state of mind, this coupled with his nonviolent approach to the man who destroyed everything he had (except his inner strength, which NO man can touch!) and his own account of his peace, it is clear that Stilbo had found what is commonly referred to as 'enlightenment'.

a reply to: LenatasataneL 'All because he was the most righteous person in the world. God needed to make sure he was truly righteous by tormenting him' You seem to have misunderstood- God already knew Job was the most righteous man, he didn't need to test Jobs Faith. However, Satan is the nemesis and the tempter, so of course his primary goal is going to be on those who are accounted as the most righteous, because if he can make Job, the most righteous man curse god then what has god left? So the reason for the tormenting was two fold. One, to prove to everybody reading the job account that Satan did not win, could not get Job to curse his Lord, and two, to prove to JOB his own account of righteousness! Like with the story of Abraham on the mountain, offering up little Isaac. That wasn't God testing Abrahams faith for gods sake- of course God already knew! But it was accounted so that Abraham might know his own Faith and righteousness, and so that Isaac and all of us could know and learn from the example.



You are the one who is mistaken thinking that Satan is a nemesis because he did what God wanted. God could have said ,"nope, leave him alone." But he said, "yeah sure."

You're just indoctrinated into the Christian version of Satan and don't realize that the Jewish Satan is completely different from the Christian Satan.

Who do you think made Satan? And who assigned him the job of Adversary (of man)?

So you are calling obedience to God being a nemesis? Job is a Nemesis too then.

You should dig a little deeper into the meaning of Abraham and Isaac. It is a lot more complicated than you say and not a good example of righteousness.

The fact he was willing to kill his son does not make him righteous at all. It makes him a creep who pimps out his wife who is his sister twice.

Abraham was a coward who had no morals other than being a demons slave.



posted on Jun, 11 2016 @ 09:46 PM
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a reply to: 5leepingWarrior

Satan wasn't trying to win. He was following orders. He is loyal to God, and it was God who wanted Job tested and God who mentions his name to Satan.

People reading should get the message to weather any storm and will rectify suffering with reward if you don't blame your problems on him or Satan.

And that God can be a bastard sometimes.

Well, Yahweh that is. God is not Yahweh and can not be understood to be identified or named. He doesn't interact with humans and is Majestic Wisdom Infinite Good.

The source of evil in the OT is Yahweh, says Yahweh himself. Read it.



posted on Jun, 30 2016 @ 09:59 AM
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