On Stoicism

The problem with Stoicism is that tranquility is its end, and not a means to an end. Yes, there were some Stoics who embraced a certain responsibility to achievement, a sort of honor that results from great action, but this remains vague in most of the writing. True too, there were some great men who were Stoics-- Marcus Aurelius, Cato, Seneca. But one has to conclude there were many, many more who were not great in any way, though were exceedingly tranquil.

And that's the problem. There is the real possibility that you don't do shit with your life after you've achieved the deep tranquility Stoicism offers.

I think men should aspire to greatness, which means the defeat of ideas and men that are your contemporaries, or who came before. To see who wins is man's highest meaning. Life should be competitive, and the losers should be crushed and never pitied. In this way something like advancement is possible, and one makes his contribution to the question of man's advance. An advance towards what, I cannot say. This could be an advance without a goal. It may not be an advance then, you say. Okay, you said it. But let's have battles and see who wins. Let's see who's got more power, the better idea, the better kettlebell routine, the better poem, the better sense of how to dress, the better way of placing skids with the forklift, the better arm bar--it don't matter. Let's debate and fight about every fucking thing and get hot and bothered about it and decide who's best. Let's go for the fucking knockout every second of every round and never let up, not once. And let's not stop until all the pity, all the love of neighbors, all the laziness, all the niceness and good etiquette, all the bad diets and habits and all the other carelessnesses have been stomped on and buried, as deep as we can bury them so they cannot be dug up again.

I think the Stoic tranquility gets in the way of this. And that's where I think Stoicism is wrong and why I think, on its own, it won't get you anywhere. But securing tranquil moments so that clear thinking is possible is important. If you are too disturbed by the world you may not be capable of anything great. Stoicism is a good method for gaining those tranquil moments. But becoming a tranquil idiot should not be your goal.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10.3.10

    On Monday, I am stoic. I pursue clarity.

    Tuesday, after having caught clarity, ravished it about, made it cry and whimper, and retreat, give up, and acknowledge defeat, I move on to something more meaningful. Perhaps a race. Perhaps a woman. Perhaps a creation.

    Wednesday, I reflect on Tuesday, and resolve to be even more aggressive. Faster. Wednesday is the high point of something. Tonight, I will race, then fuck.

    Thursday, I am hungover from fucking, I will engage in more competition. I will think. I will prepare mentally.

    Friday, I will resolve to destroy a piece of myself. I will destroy muscle tissue, so that it can be regrown stronger. I will destroy brain cells. I will create a fog around myself, confusing motives. This is also a competition. Find the best one, and make her feel like the best one. Make the others feel like nothing, because they are nothing.

    Saturday is for the physical body. Creativity and such can wait. Culture and society can fuck off. This is a day to be a champion. To destroy one's own preconceptions. Or fail spectacularly.

    Sunday, one might again long for clarity, tranquility. This can be achieved through music, exercise, and fucking in the morning.

    These are merely ideas and words. It is text. I could delete the words, but can not un-write them.


Copyright © Moraline Free