“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering”-Nietzsche
Understanding ancient stoicism will help you survive future events. The world saw countless unexpected tragedies turn atrocious in 2020, while the approaching new year is starting to feel like a high-budget cliff hanger.
When the world gets ugly, or you happen to get caught in the wrong part of town while a peaceful mob starts tearing the block down, knowing how our ancestors reasoned with a reality overflown with random chaos will give you the needed perspective to stay calm and collected.
This article covers the power and resolve we can gain in understanding a stoic mindset, and explains how the philosophy can bring resolve to past and future events.
“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good”-Marcus Aurelius
Man has been questioning the meaning of life, suffering, and existence since the dawn of civilization. To have the ability to experience a tragic event and not fall into hopelessness and despair is key to our individual and collective survival, hence the beginnings of Stoicism.
Stoicism is a philosophy and way of thinking that originated in Athens around 2,300 years ago. As pain and tragedy exists now as it did then, the early stoics viewed suffering as a thing to bare with patience and honor.
They viewed toughing out hardships and seeing their way through life without falling to pessimism as a virtue, and being virtuous was their highest goal. Some of the greatest thinkers of all time were stoics, which included Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Marcus Aurelius.
If we look back on history and study the conditions that our ancestors dealt with, even as recently as the 1800s and US Civil War, we can see that past pain was most often far greater than ours today. While war, disease, and extraordinarily high childbirth deaths surrounded the 19th century, conditions of 300 BCE were light years worse.
We have more in common with the ancients than most realize. This year has been all to difficult, and a vast amount have passed away regardless of the coronavirus. None of us are immune to hopelessness, despair, and avoidable tragic endings.
Today we deal with different but equally painful experiences as the stoics did. Suffering is unavoidable in human life, but the way we choose to view and deal with suffering results in our increased livelihood’s or ultimate demise.
The pandemic has now killed over 300,000 Americans, our economy has gone into recession putting everyone at risk, and we don’t know when the next wave of civil unrest will begin. If anything can be learned from the stoics, it’s how to endure and watch these things unfold without becoming fearful, giving up, or falling off the deep end.
As a community with a cornerstone that prioritizes survival, it’s crucial that we keep the mindset of indifference (like the stoics) when experiencing pain and difficult emotions. We’re all here in a sea of chaos together that we can’t escape, and our lives are finite having very limited time. We should thus strive to be like the stoics and become more virtuous.
As peppers we strive to achieve inner resolve to know we can overcome any and all future challenges, no matter the level of ferocity or atrociousness that could ignite around us. We believe in honor and act on what is right. These principles are at the very heart and soul of the prepper; they are virtuous.
Through our blood, sweat, and tears, we’ve done and continue to do all we can to create safety and stability for ourselves and those we love, as well as do good by our surrounding communities. We’ve studied the art of avoiding unnecessary risks, as well as practiced deescalating potential threats.
If we hadn’t already been long preparing for the stinging waves of economic depression, plagues, disasters, and societal breakdown, we may have been counted among the dead; as too many have already fallen to shock and dismay alone.
Though we may be entering into the midst of a new dark age where the stark grimness of our country’s path has become irrefutable, take heart and don’t lose faith in God or our people. If there’s any hope for today, it’s that nations rise & fall, good and evil men rule kingdoms alike, and that history continues to remember the honorable for chivalrous acts.
Though the new normal is here to stay and this world has been rough, I’ve been humbled to see so much grace and acceptance across the prepping community. I believe the community at large has endured and suffered well together. I’ve seen men and women from all age groups, backgrounds, and skill levels show brotherly love to one another.
We should be proud of our cohesiveness, but must not grow weary or short sited that a new year with new horrors is quickly approaching.
Ingrain those things which you love and hold dear into your minds, and remember that together we are proud and unmovable foes to the adversary.
“Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly. But to go away from among men, if there are gods, is not a thing to be afraid of, for the gods will not involve thee in evil”-Marcus Aurelius
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Eliot, Charles William. “The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.” The Harvard Classics, by Plato et al., Grolier, 1980, pp. 193–301.
Perry, Kevin, and Simon Critchley. Philosophy: Life, Death, Art, Knowledge, Time, Language, Love, God, Self, Free Will. Zephyros Press, 2015.
Saunders, J. (n.d.). Stoicism. Retrieved December 21, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Stoicism
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