Stoicism, to me, is far from being the pursuit of happiness. It is instead self-sufficiency attained by absolving the emotional imperative in life through an extensive and rational evaluation of oneself, which neither brings happiness nor sadness. It is equanimity.
In my previous post about coping strategies for emotional suffering and trauma, I had postulated that being narcissistic is one excellent and fool-proof way – and this was back when my knowledge in this wonderful Hellenistic school was at its infancy. Now that I can safely regard myself as a practicing Stoic, how did I tie that in with my past subscription to narcissism? The form of narcissism I’d advocated had its premises not in the reluctance to uphold virtue, in holding an ignorant and over-inflated ego but rather in the autonomy from society. Most people are evolutionary conditioned to predicate their social, economic and life decisions upon the repercussions it might have on one’s social standing. Women are particularly susceptible to this sort of social behavior. Men are too, but only to a lesser degree. Narcissism, in the context of social autonomy, refers to the individual’s ability to operate autonomously, or without the influence, from the many dictates of society. This lack of social autonomy is regarded in my philosophy as a massive hindrance to self-actualization and personal enlightenment.
internalize, internalize everything!
Throughout history and in parallels observable in the present-day, there are keen differences in the many institutions of culture, economy and polity between civilizations. But these differences, when abstracted, generally seem to share one common premise somewhere in the garbled causality links. The premise is the philosophy of Romanticism.
To give you a little historical insight, Romanticism is the philosophical movement that shaped up in a post-industrial Western Europe in the mid-18th century. It is believed to have been instigated by the poets, artists and philosophers in response to the paradigm shifts brought on by industrialization and the intimidating perplexities of modern civilization. These artists and poets thought that Romantic ideas were inherently what held the sanctity of the individual together, in attachment with their free and creative and spiritual side. Note that I use the words free and spiritual freely here – our discussion here pertains to a life philosophy, not one of epistemology or metaphysics. This idealism prompted the romantically-distraught to wage a war against the industrial establishment in their passionately-worded literature, paintings and philosophy. The cultural movement that manifested out of this collective ambition is then believed to have vastly set apart the post-industrial Western civilization from all others that were falling steadfastly into the age of industrialization.
Regressing through almost every civilization, excluding the West, one can distinctly see how the institutions of culture are designed to benefit the collective ambition of their peoples. Some markers may include those belonging to markets and society, for instance. Marriage is an apt contender to gain a deeper perspective on the lack of Romantic ideas in Eastern and Islamic cultures. I say this because the idea of wedlock adapted for the modern, post-industrial society calls upon a monogamous relationship on the part of the male subject and a hypergamous practice on the part of the female that draws upon a system of meritocratic honor. In the East, parents and extended family members are tasked with marrying off their children. This system, however contradictory to our evolutionary conditioning, orients the individual’s life decisions toward the greater prosperity of their family, and ultimately, society. Education isn’t much farther either, with much of what students learn aligning with the prevailing market scene. To these cultures, it is not the individual that is important, but the collective ambition and sustenance of their peoples. To them, the individual’s welfare is contained in their collective prosperity, rendering an ego-centric culture obsolete.
the cultural doctrine that one should live a life they want and do as they desire is unique to the West
I got you there huh? With that catchy, or at least what I’d like to call catchy title? I was going for a tagline Alternative Thinking: A Prequel To Alternative Facts, you know because you can always think differently about the facts at hand but not necessarily change them, or alternate them like some people have been doing. You know just how much we are used to thinking normally, like we never really think you know, from other perspectives, it is like one of those weird other-worldly trips people talk of on psychedelic substances.
What’s the deal with North Korea? I mean, it is something we could be afraid of. Or possibly not because they just chose to mess with the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal. But are they really? For a moment, I felt like the whole thing we have been told by the news to be propaganda. I’m not delusional, maybe a little but there was this reporter from Pyongyang on CNN who’d spoken to some locals of which one who was insistent on America being bullies and that North Korea will simply not beg for peace saying that they simply liked peace and that they had their children and people to take care of. You have probably heard of this interview if you watched CNN today, but you didn’t because you don’t watch the news or you’re a Trump supporter who only watches Fox, either way this was real. Continue reading