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New Stoa

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Long before I was Christian before I was even New Age I read a book by a Stoic named Seneca and I was very much impressed. Years later I also read the meditations by Marcus Aurelius and enjoyed that as well. Stoics were straight to the point in their meditations. The teaching is clear, the doctrine un-fussy. Its logic appealed to me. Imagine my delight when I found the religion alive and well in cyber space. There are communities and lectures and even real adherents to this ancient belief system.

Things You Will Need

To be a new stoa you will need a computer with the internet. Use the search engine of your choice to look up new stoa. Before joining a community you can do some due diligence by a cursory look on one of the one line research sites. Wikipedia is bland, but it has links at the bottom of each page. These links will set you up with the stoic stars: Zeno, the founder of the religion, Seneca and Epictetus.

You will also need a few books. I strongly recommend primary sources. If you read a book about Seneca, you'll only learn what some scholar thinks of his work and philosophy. Read Seneca himself. There are many translations. If the first one you pick up seems to full of footnotes, try another one.

You will also need logic and ethics and access to Nature. If you live in a city, find a city park, a wooded area or some privacy where you can get in touch with the great outdoors. A backyard is usually not good enough, but it can be if you arrange it thoughtfully.


Step 1

Some scholars have speculated that Jesus was aware of Stoic philosophy because Jesus did teach some ethics. Of course since the bible is mute on what Jesus was doing for much of his life we will never know. Stoicism was not a dead religion during Jesus life, but there are many stark contrasts to Christianity, in particular fundamentalist Christianity. If you are a fundamentalist, theoretically you can be stoic as well, but practically speaking you can not.

Step 2

You have to get rid of some of your preconceived possibly subconscious beliefs. Christians, at least fundamentalist Christians believe that no one is good. There fore one must proclaim Jesus Christ as a Savior. Even after that action most of them don't spend much time on ethics. Why bother if no one is good? According to more than one pastor in my area, once Jesus as a Savior is proclaimed you can murder as many people as you like, rape, dismember, and still go to heaven. Just being a nice person won't get you anywhere, as you are not saved by works AND everyone is inherently bad.

This flies in the face of stoic logic. It is very clear to them that people can behave well, and in fact ought to chose to behave well. In my own opinion I will say, it is not the love of money that is the root of all evil. The root of all evil is advancing oneself at the detriment of others. I can't think of a single evil situation where this is not true. That's why murder is evil, it is to the detriment of the person who died. That's why child molestation is evil, it is to the detriment of the vulnerable and the weak. One could find a consenting partner with out harming another. The detriment part is what makes stealing evil and lying evil sometimes. We've all told "white" lies and wondered why those lies are evil. If they are not to the detriment of another, they probably aren't evil. They may be good.

Step 3

You may have to lose some of your sub conscious new age beliefs too - because stoics are not new age. As strongly as the Christians believe everyone is inherently bad, new agers believe people are basically good. Stoics believe people harm themselves by having errors in judgment. Its close but not the same belief. They don't get hung up on other people's actions. They remain concerned mostly with themselves. I like that. If everyone devoted themselves to cleaning up their own lives, crime would no longer exist.

Step 4

You can join a new stoa society and validate yourself as a bona fide stoic or you can practice on your own. Living in accordance with Nature is paramount and reasonable. Nothing that harms Nature will end up being good for you. Dumping trash into the ocean kills fish. Dead fish effect the whole food chain. When the ocean dies, it's more of the earth than the land. We will have a real hard time getting clean water, topsoil, and anything else necessary for life.

Stoicism is a wisdom philosophy and not for the emotionally lazy. If you want to believe Jesus Christ died for your sins then you aren't taking responsibility for yourself. You have a savior but no accountability. That's why so many people just weeks after the glow of being baptized are back to speeding on the highway, cheating on their taxes and various sundry unethical behavior. They got heaven covered, and by no merit of their own, so they don't need to Stoic. They don't make very nice neighbors though.

Tips & Warnings

You may be pleasantly surprised by this new old religion. Stoics were the first religion to condemn rape. I don't believe even the bible addresses the issue as a sin. New Agers would say there are no victims. Stoics come clear on the side of wrong is wrong. No one has the right to violate another person. I like that.

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