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The Modern Man Is Getting Stoicism All Wrong (melmagazine.com)
75 points by paulpauper 45 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 74 comments



> "Stoic philosophy, Sherman tells me, isn’t a “black and white picture.” “You can cherry-pick as much as you like in order to get the picture you want,” she says. “But to use Stoicism for a political agenda... "

Which is exactly what this article and author is doing.

Sotcism isn't about expressing emotion (cry when appropriate, then stop would be the stoic message, and don't encourage grief in others)

It isn't about red pill philosophy.

It is, as expressed in the classic texts, almost exclusively about not worrying about bad circumstances, such as being exiled, being a cripple or being the ruler of the world but being surrounded by terrible people.

It is probably applicable to every woman and man alive. We all suffer set backs, sadness, mortality and loss.

Throughout history people have tried making it into other things. Fortunately we have the classic texts and they are amazing. My favorite being Senecas letters to his brother.


This! ^^^ The author paints an overbroad cartoon picture of a complex philosophy in order to fabricate a tale of 'toxic masculinity'.

Self control is not the act of not displaying or feeling one's emotions or drives. Rather it's the act of moderating one's behavior in response to those drives and emotions.


The only actual example of the author's straw-man "Stoicism" given in the article was his own attitude as a 14 year old.


The thesis of the article is that one shouldn't conflate "stoicism" with "Stoicism". And some people conflate other things with Stoicism in ways that exclude women and children.

You're basically in agreement with the author.


>The thesis of the article is that one shouldn't conflate "stoicism" with "Stoicism"

He may have asserted something like that at some point, but the article contains no cohesive argument to that effect.


Read the classics, screw the internet media, as Seneca said.


In other words, stoicism is completely dependent on morality, and being a moral relativist, that means stoicism is not only useless to me, but completely wrong.


There is no morality but the one you absorbed from your parents and culture, and then imbued with your own God authority by believing, whether that was a conscious choice or not. Moral relativism may be useless in your paradigm, but it is the absolute Truth that you made it up!


I've never actually suffered immortality to tell you the truth!


That's the trick, you're suffering immortality right this moment, but in order for you to actually know what that's like rather than having no perspective, you had to forget that you're everything else, narrow yourself down, and forget you're dreaming, and then boom, you're under the illusion or mortality, the illusion of death looming in an illusory future. But you're actually everything, you're actually God. False self is a bitch to shake though, the self-deception is total.


heh, that was a typo. I fixed it.


The title is the summary of most writing you can find about stoicism. That is it's hard to find stoic writing and easy to find writing about stoicism and specifically how modern ideas about it are all wrong. I can't say I've found much of the counterarguments they're all trying so hard to refute.

It's like trying to find a recipe for cake and finding only cookbook reviews.


People mistakenly extrapolate technological progress to progress everywhere else. Thus, they reason, surely the best source for Stoicism (or any other ancient practice: Christianity; Zen; Platonism; etc etc) is something written in the 21st century. After all, something written in the 21st century must be better because it's had so much more time to advance and be improved on!

But actually a lot of the time, the original sources are the absolute best. In some sense, you can use survivorship bias to your advantage. A book written in the 21st century might be so good that it will be remembered thousands of years from now (the odds are small although nonzero). A book written thousands of years ago, and remembered today, has, by definition, already passed that test.


21st Century books are for 21st Century audiences. They can explain, for example, a cultural / sociopolitical / religious context that the original author took for granted.


It's quite unusual how little this is really necessary. For instance a read I found incredibly fascinating was Konungs skuggsjá - The King's Mirror [1]. It was a book written for the education of the heir of King Haakon IV of Norway, in the 1200s. It takes the form of hypothetical questions from the son and prepared answers from the father.

It covers a wide array of training and topics. And you'd think you'd need an encyclopedia of references aside to understand the day and age of which it spoke. It features extensive religious and political references, yet the weird thing is a book written for royalty around 800 years ago feels oddly familiar. And in reality I found a good deal of the advice and knowledge it shared not only interesting but actually quite useful and wise. It also rather gives proof to the meaning of the tale of Damocles, without in any way intending to do such!

[1 - actual book] - http://www.mediumaevum.com/75years/mirror/index.html

[1 - wiki overview] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konungs_skuggsj%C3%A1


It is shocking how familiar/similar the thoughts/feelings and fears of ancient people are to that of my own mind today. It was such an eye opener when going through Eliade's History of Religious Ideas.


Best of both worlds is a modern translation with footnotes/introduction. Even without these, it's amazing how well you can glean the necessary context in most cases.


I don't know if I agree with that, especially certain classes of texts that assume you understand the background knowledge and what it was written for. The Bible is a good example of this. So much of the context in which the books were written is lost, and not really gleaned by a lay-person reading it. Reading academic commentaries and introductions to the various books has very much widened my view and made me understand the author's point more, rather than interpreting it through my 21st-century lens. I think there's definitely more of that needed, across all ancient philosophical texts.


The Bible works on many levels. Advanced knowledge of the context will unlock certain levels, but isn't required for many of those levels (including, I think, the deepest levels).

Jesus himself explicitly addresses this, saying: "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was well-pleasing in Your sight." (Matthew 11:25-26)

And there are places where Jesus seems to explicitly speak to the reader (Matthew 24:15, "Let the reader understand", spoken orally to a presumably baffled group of disciples with no stenographers present), and even to readers of a far more distant future time than today (Matthew 16:28, "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.")

See also Deuteronomy 31:21, "And when many troubles and afflictions have come upon them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants". God revealed to Moses that even in the far-flung future when people have strayed far from God, the required context will still be printed on every man's heart.


You say you disagree but then to explain at length how you agree?


I think because there was never anything really written about the shift in meaning.

Stoicism as practiced in antiquity shares a lot with mindfulness and Buddhism. It's about acceptance of the now. And what you can and cannot control. It's not that you aren't allowed to feel, just that you aren't allowed to have your emotion rule your reason.

Bob died. That is sad. You can grieve. But Bob is dead. Nothing is going to change that. Killing yourself so you don't have to live in a world without Bob is not rational. Yelling at someone for asking your a question is not rational. Even if you are sad. You can't control your sadness. But you can control your actions. And your actions should be dictated by reason. Setting up a will that details what happens when you die, that is a rational response to Bob's death. Even if it's informed by sadness. Because his death could have made you realize that you don't have a plan.

But over time, that has been warped into a complete rejection of emotion.

So when we say someone is stoic, that's what we mean, that they're displaying no emotion.

And that's the notion they're arguing against.


>I think because there was never anything really written about the shift in meaning.

My point is what I have found to read about stoicism is either a greatest hits of 200 CE or drawn out rhetoric about the wrongness of the dictionary definition of stoic. In other words, exactly the opposite of your line there, nothing but the shift in meaning.


I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear.

No one made any mention of why it should be "lack of emotion" rather than the definition from antiquity. It just kind of happened through a multi-generational game of telephone.


A couple weeks ago, a friend going through tough times asked if I’ve ever been really down in life, and how I dealt with it. I responded that in a pragmatic sense what has helped me most is staying in the present instead of worrying about the past or future too much. (Oddly I once found solace in that exchange from Kung Fu panda where his guru says, “Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be.”)

I think Stoicism has an overlap with Buddhism and Existentialism in encouraging this type of grounding oneself in the present. Hence its perseverance and revival.

In fact I was going to an appointment yesterday and thinking that I should not worry in the car about what the person I’m meeting is going to ask me. I’ll deal with it when I get there. There’s a Marcus Aurelius quote among those lines: "Let not future things disturb thee, for thou wilt come to them... having with thee the same reason which now thou usest."


There's a thing with sedentarism and estate/capital that you accumulate weight. When nomad you just go where you feel is the best and leave the "past". It's quite freeing


> It's quite freeing

You're implementing a nomadic lifestyle? Care to elaborate?


Oh no far from that. I've just been walking a lot carelessly in the woods. And there's something to nature where you can just go where you feel, stay where you feel like it.

There's this feeling that, your legs are your best friends, whenever something is not good enough, or good anymore, just move, don't think.


My knowledge of Stoicism (in the philosophical sense, not behavioral) is based on recently reading The Practicing Stoic, by Ward Farnsworth (https://www.amazon.com/Practicing-Stoic-Philosophical-Users-...). I recommend the book as a good introduction to incorporating Stoicism into one's life, and I think readers would be hard-pressed to see an endorsement of "toxic ideology" in the thoughts of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and other Stoic thinkers.


> And it’s certainly important to not use a mistaken view of Stoicism as an excuse for, basically, being a shithead.

People all over the world use mistaken views of complex ideas to justify their shitty behavior. Pop science, pop psychology, pop philosophy, all of it used to justify the stupid things people do. Is it 'important' to recognize this? Sure, I guess, but that isn't going to make those lazy, stupid people any more likely to learn the subject for real. They're just going to pick up a pop version of some other concept, because they don't actually want to better themselves: they want a justification for their shittiness.


I mantain a small page about Stoicism: http://pa-mar.net/Lifestyle/Stoicism.html

I would not consider myself an expert but I think that the original texts are perfectly fine (in a recent translation, of course) and do not really need neither transposing the examples to modern times, nor a lot of interpretation.

They were designed to work for humans, no matter what power they had (i.e. they can be useful to a slave or an emperor, and anything in between) and are pretty pragmatic without any need for elaborate conceptual frameworks.


Stoicism is basically cognitive behavioral therapy before cognitive behavioral therapy existed.


I'm not a stoic but after losing my faith in religion, I needed something to replace it, and also found stoicism helped w/ depression, but I namely only focused on a few main things.

1. There are 3 types of worries: What we have power over, what we share power over to change, and what we have zero power over. Stress goes down if we use 0 mental energy on group 3, 25% on group 2, and the rest on group 1.

2. Spend a few minutes a day to ponder the fact that one day I'll die. Am I doing everything I can to maximize my time here?

3. Don't push emotions away, but try to understand the triggers behind them. I'm rational anyways so this makes sense to me.

I think people of different beliefs and political backgrounds of course can go different ways w/ some of the teachings for sure... my therapist looked over my notes on stoicism and basically said it's CBT just under a new umbrella.

I'm a progressive, I support equality of wages (to a point) -- everyone should make enough to support a family, and have basic needs met if they put in 40 hours per week. Whether they work at Facebook or McDonald's.

I also have ADD so stoicism is just one part of the many things I focus on so I still have many things in my life 'not' in control, but I have a lot less stress because I worry less about things out of my control. I also have more joy because I realize I'm going to die, and it makes me want to enjoy my kids more cause I don't know when that day will come.

Honestly, I've felt more inspiration, love, hope, and in awe of the universe since I left the Mormon church, than I ever felt in it's grasp. I thank therapy, stoicism, crossfit, and ADD medication for that. Though I need to go back to crossfit --it's been a few months.


> In other words, Stoic philosophy doesn’t declare that a person should suppress emotions like grief, joy, pity or even shame, but rather that they should examine their origins. “You try to understand where they come from,” says Nancy Sherman, author of Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind and philosophy professor at Georgetown University.

The article expends a lot effort repeating this claim, without once citing a source clearly promoting stoicism (with a lower-case "s") as emotional suppression.

What looks like it might fit the bill doesn't:

> Case in point: Canadian writer Jordan Peterson — a man who believes that the patriarchy is Western civilization and claims “the masculine spirit is under assault” and therefore advocates for a return to 1950s gender roles — is often cited as one such truth-telling sage whose writings have been touted as a return to the Stoics.

Despite the reference to Peterson's work (the only specific citation of an alleged "stoic" I could find in the article), there's not one shred of evidence given to support the claim that Peterson specifically advocates suppression of emotion.

I didn't bother to follow the links - maybe it's explained there. But that's not the point. If you're going to say somebody is promoting a harmful approach to life, your duty as a writer is to prove that to the reader. This article doesn't do it.

Later on:

> Massimo Pigliucci, a professor of philosophy at City College of New York, refutes Vacula’s essay in a different article on the same site, arguing that Vacula’s assessment of Peterson’s writings, which contend that “white privilege is a myth,” is inherently not Stoic. ...

This really deserves an explanation but the essay does little to show the disconnect.


Why are first world middle-upper class people suddenly so interested in stoicism?


IMHO, for the same reason many of them are interested in Buddhism. I think many middle-upper class people struggle to understand why they are not happy in spite of their material wealth. Buddhism, Stoicism, and other philosophies offer answers for how one can find happiness/satisfaction in life, irrespective of one's material possessions or status. I also think that Stoicism in particular may currently be popular because, in comparison to eastern philosophies, it is more grounded in traditional Western thought and may be easier for Westerners to understand. At least compared to my efforts to understand Taoism, for example.


I'm sure there are many different reasons but I expect a common one is because our worlds have become deeply intertwined with online stuff. And online stuff is, almost entirely, fake. Not fake as it not real (though there is plenty of that) but posturing, signaling, image crafting, and all of this other fakeness to try to achieve some frequently superficial end or another. And piled on top of this is a hoard of companies all seemingly happy to create a dystopia to get people to click on ads so they can make a few more bucks to...? When you take a step back and look at it 'from a distance' it's all just so unimaginably absurd, and fake.

When 'soul searching' for whatever 'real' actually is, it's quite easy to end up in the classics of philosophy and, in one way or another, stoicism.


The world feels very uncertain for the middle-class these days, especially in an economic sense, which is one that strikes right at the heart of one's "locus of control". It doesn't offer the same kind of promise or opportunity as it did 40 years ago, and risks are advertised constantly. Stoic teachings have broad applicability: Epictitus(my favorite flavor) says to control the things you can control, and to not worry about the rest.

There is a patriarchal thread to some of this, as Stoicism could be interpreted in a "men's rights" sense of asserting dominion and gender roles. But focusing on "the way things should be" is rather a false way of going about it, since there's also a thread of mutually respecting struggle and self-mastery in the Stoic philosophers. There isn't a point in Stoicism where the status quo ever becomes OK, where you are "good enough". There is only another form of struggle to be had.


In my case it's not about uncertainty. I am rich, I've got cash, I've assets. I can buy whatever I want, I can use and consume any forbidden drug.

They sell me fake world. Then my fake world breaks like a shattered mirror and suddenly I am helpless, feeling pain, depressed, turning towards drugs.

Why I am so unhappy with my life? Because I am not born with exceptionally good looks, I see my girlfriend chasing guy who looks better than me but isn't as successful as me? Should I be happy about it? The girls who come for me, want resources - they fake love well. Suddenly, love disappears if I stop paying bills.

As a man with means, I can choose to take mind altering drug and numb myself down but I choose to handle psychological pain through philosophy and self realization.

I want to accept things as they are. I don't feel wronged, betrayed, I don't hold grudge towards anyone. I accepted the fact, what people are doing around me are doing whatever they want to do, whatever they feel serves their interest. This way of thinking can't be toxic.

The ones I thought I loved, cheated on me with prisoner (life destroyed but looks big and dangerous), another cheated with some banker (huge debts but exceptionally good looks)


Women are people too, and just as men many of them can have lousy characters. I know that it's easy to say, but you should be more aware and discerning about who you associate yourself with. Before those girls cheated on you, there were probably some clues that they aren't the most wholesome persons in the world.

For example, I'm sure as hell that if I were a woman, I wouldn't date Steve Jobs. He had tons of signs of a terrible person, and even when speaking in terms of my own self-interest I would have no guarantee that he wouldn't cheat on me or dump me at his earliest convenience.


Here's a certainly not contemplative answer which would suit HN best:

If money is no problem and you've correctly narrowed your problems down to your looks (here's where you might be wrong), plastic surgery is very effective.


I am happy with my looks, there will always be people far more successful, far more handsome - I've made peace with that long ago.

I am in A++ health, won't risk it for any surgery.


Are you ugly looking? You’re probably just exposed in the wrong crowd of girls


It's been popularized, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

It has spread fairly organically because it's not a bad starting point for a philosophy of life. I was introduced to the concept through Tim Ferris' podcast. He suggested as "a good default OS for your mind". I was having some personal difficulties at the time, and it really helped.

It also tends to slot in quite well alongside mindfulness practices, which have also become popular lately.


I guess it's because first world middle/upper-middle class are the most anxious of all social strata, because they have to constantly struggle with maintaining their social standings and that their children would not fall down, which is extremely hard, mostly because in first world middle/upper middle class kids have to compete with all other children in the same or lesser social standings and they usually don't have competitive edge. If u.s. society is a caste system, where upper middle class kids don't have to compete with middle class kids, and middle class kids don't have to compete with middle lower class people, where each class has its cultural/religious/socioeconomic/political moat to keep lower class people from getting in, people in general would not feel that level of anxiousness.


[flagged]


I wasn't trying to find a mate but I ended up meeting my current and likely life-partner during a particularly "stoic" time of my life where I had decided to stop trying so hard to make other people happy and focus on my own goals. I didn't stop holding the door open for ladies, or anyone passing through with or behind me, but I did re-align my career and life focus.

Since I wasn't trying extra-hard to win and keep her as I had in previous relationships I think it allowed us to find the places where our interests truly overlapped and allowed us a much deeper connection. I ended up having two kids with her and we get along and work together great. She's more attractive than me and makes more money, so what I offer her is not superficial, but I don't know that she would have discovered that in me if I had been trying hard to amplify those superficial attributes.

So I think there is something to be said for pulling back a bit on pulling out the chairs and paying all the bills but not for the same reasons you seem to think so. Also, I think many women are rightly cautious about a potential mate who seems to be trying too hard.


>Also, I think many women are rightly cautious about a potential mate who seems to be trying too hard.

Actually I never tried too hard because I see trying to hard as not respecting yourself enough.

Funny enough, I also found my current wife after turning stoic.


> Suddenly, you find yourself making zero effort for opposite sex and your expectations from them go down.

Here’s a white pill for you. Make an effort for the opposite sex, because they’re people, but still maintain no expectation that you’ll get anything in return. This is the next layer of the onion for you to peel back.


My advice to you is that stoicism help with thinks about these kinds of things. But your focus on the opposite sex sounds really unhealthy. Think I would definitely recommend you to get specific/professional help with that.

You need to deal with the issues you have, you cannot simply wish them gone. If you don’t deal with it, you will definitely carry it with you way longer then you should. It will prohibit you getting into meaningful relationships with others.

Part of mindfulness and stoicism is also accepting that your mental model doesn’t contain the whole truth of the universe, and to accept there are certain areas that you could be wrong.

Stay strong, and it’s good to read that you are working on yourself and learning.


>You need to deal with the issues you have, you cannot simply wish them gone. If you don’t deal with it, you will definitely carry it with you way longer then you should

My wife is a psychologist. She is always interested in listening to me, and I've told her whatever I think and she's ok with that.

I don't think I've some issues. There were some women who told me I am exceptionally handsome, they stay with me for sometime - then I found them cheating. Some were with me for money. And my wife so far is the only person who isn't like any of the ones I met in past, so there is some hope. But I also told her, I assume that one day you'll cheat on me too.

I don't think they've wronged me or anything. I don't hold grudge against women, it's just I realize their nature and have made peace with it. Ofc, all my conclusions come from my own observation. If you did not have such major setbacks in life, I am happy for you.

Thing is, you think I am rejected by women - so I am bitter.

But reality is far from it. I've friend's girlfriend hitting on me, provoking me to cheat with them on their boyfriends. I've married women at office coming to me to again cheat on their husbands. Then the ones I loved, cheated on me and left me. I've so many opportunities to sleep with women that I think there are no feelings involved in anything when it comes to them and they just like tingles and money.


Again, your reply only continues to externalize your happiness and self-esteem.


Not downvoting, but I'll comment on a few assertions:

> the world is gynocentric

Strange claim. How would anyone objectively refute that? How would you realistically prove it? It sounds along the lines of "everyone does everything to be remembered" or "your fate is written in the stars - you just can't read it."

> Stoicism, is red pill philosophy

That sounds like "Christianity is a Brazilian religion." It's true that some red pillers claim to be into it, but it's not an informative or precise way to frame it. Especially since women can be and are stoics too. (In fact, given their status in many countries I'd bet there are more "true Scotsman" stoic women than men!)

> "now opposite sex which is used to receiving nice things from me"

As long as you aren't introducing harm into their lives or refusing to view them as people that experience harm (both of which I'm assuming to be true) - I'm betting the vast majority of women would be totally fine with your stoicism. (And would prefer it to a lot of the alternatives.)

> You can use this philosophy to shield you from anything and everything

I think I get what you're going for, but to be clear for others - stoicism isn't about sticking your head in the sand. You can endure something and change it at the same time, it's about how you bear the thing before you've changed it and how you handle it when you don't succeed in changing things. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor! Not a "sidelines" kinda dude ya know?

At the end of the day though, if you're getting something out stoicism that has improved your life then you have every right to claim and embrace that. It's not like Seneca's running around suing people for defamation and it's not like I've ever met the guy to really know what was in his head...


>I'm betting the vast majority of women would be totally fine with your stoicism. (And would prefer it to a lot of the alternatives

When I used to work for someone, I refused advance of a coworker and she got me fired. Some people can't handle that I do not acknowledge their existence, I do not make them feel important, I do not give them attention.


> Is it a toxic way of thinking?

It might be, if it dominates your reasoning and view of the world.

It might be that what you are looking for is not the ability to refuse to open the door for a woman, but to being able to do so without a second thought.


While I do agree with the central tenets of the article, the author lost me in quoting someone as saying that neostoicism is '...based on the shallowness of the internet.'

I was around long before the internet, and I can promise you that so-called neostoicism was alive and well long before the internet was an idea, much less technically possible.


Pretty bad misrepresentation of Jordan Peterson there, and of modern "small-s stoicism" and of classical Stoicism for that matter. I was about to ask "What else does he get wrong?" but there's not really much left besides that.

You wouldn't think ignoring all articles that start with "I learned how to masturbate..." would be a sound or rationally supportable screening method, and yet...


The article was absolute garbage, as one might expect from the magazine for "dollar shave club." It is definitely a misrepresentation of what Stocicism actually is, assuming Seneca and Epictetus count as Stoic philosophers.

I have no idea what Jordan Peterson says, but the dipshit who wrote this is probably mistaken about that as well.

The author should concentrate on his strengths; writing articles on whether or not it is appropriate to wash your hands after jerking off. https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/should-you-wash-your-han...


Yes, but as your downvotes show, it's pointless defending him in "civilized" company.

TFA quoting JBP: "patriarchy is Western civilization"

Actual JBP quote: "...the really, real radicals on the left who are opposed to the patriarchy - the patriarchy is western civilization make no mistake about it - patriarchy is just a code word for that - and governed by their neo marxist dogma and postmodern dogma they believe that it needs to be retooled right from the bottom up and that's exactly what they're doing and that makes them natural allies I would say of any other system that opposes our system"

I.e. not "western civilization exists because of patriarchy" but "when they say patriarchy they mean all of western civilization".


It's just funny to me, that earlier in the same piece he quotes a guy who's essentially saying the same thing. "Nobody’s going to pretend that ancient culture in general was feminist," says Anthony Long, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of California at Berkeley. "It wasn’t. So inevitably when you’re reading ancient texts and philosophy, whether it’s Aristotle or Stoicism, the male gender will tend to be emphasized and male activities will tend to be emphasized." Yeah, or, succinctly, you could say Western Civilization is the patriarchy. Or slightly less succinctly you could say Western Civilization is made of books, and dudes wrote most of the books. Partly because women weren't even allowed to learn to read & write in many cases. Patriarchy led to dude-learning which led to dude-writing which led to Western Civ being mostly made of dude-books promulgating dude-ideas a.k.a. more patriarchy. Western Civilization (those books) is a manifestation, result and cause of patriarchy. It should not boggle the mind.

"First you said women didn't have a voice. Then you said men did most of the talking. Make up your mind!"


The actual quote makes Peterson look worse? The whole "patriarchy is Western civilization" is an idea that can be traced through Christian theology, Monarchism up to more modern Conservative philosophers like Leo Strauss and Roger Scruton. The quote itself is a strawman/buzzword soup. He sounds completely unhinged.


He's saying that about "real radicals". I'm not really following fringe radical left movements, but it wouldn't surprise me that if people who wanted to see our world demolishedn existed in there. There were such people in Russia before the October Revolution, or in China, or in Cambodia... The resentful, manipulative and power-hungry radical left was a major fixture in the recent history and I don't see a reason for why they'd suddently stop existing.


I agree he sounds kind of paranoid.

Christianity and monarchism are elements of Western civilization, and both patriarchal. Nothing has to be traced.


The full context of the quote includes elaboration which makes it worse. There’s so many mess crammed into that quote it’s hard to know where to start.

“Western civilisation” is a weasel concept, meaning different things to different people at different times. You have to pin it down. “Western Civilisation” naturally must include Donald Trump, Karl Marx, and Andrea Dworkin. Their ideologies do not cohere at all.

When they say the patriarchy they mean the patriarchy. When I say I’m opposed to patriarchy I mean I’m opposed to patriarchy. Oh, I’m actually opposed to “Western Civilisation”? Wtf does that even mean?


> “Western Civilisation” naturally must include Donald Trump, Karl Marx, and Andrea Dworkin.

Marx And Dworkin, at least (and I think the case could be made for Trump, too) were dissenters against what they saw as dominant in their society, so even if we accept that their society must be identical to the whole scope of “Western Civilization”, the fact that they don't, along with Trump, have a single cohesive viewpoint doesn't in any way contradict the idea of Western Civilization as a coherent concept. (In fact, I don't think any of the three would disagree with the idea that patriarchy is deeply embedded in Western Civilization; Dworkin clearly saw that as a problem, Marx & Engels in passing discusses it as an effect of capitalism in the Communist Manifesto, and it seems to be one of the points on which Trump, even if a dissenter in other areas, is quite enamored with about his social milieu.)


You've attempted to show that they would agree on 'patriarchy in Western Civ.', but that doesn't go so far as to show that the full scope of their 'ideologies' can be reconciled

Trump and Dworkin are key parts of Western Civilisation, and I think it's undebatable that their ideology and theory do not cohere.

For Peterson 'Western Civilisation' clearly entails a very specific account of the role of certain people in developing our notions of things like liberty, empiricism, and individualism. Others are free to invoke in their idea of 'Western Civilisation' the role of certain people in practicing slavery, genocide, and colonialism.


"The world is a transformation, and life is mere opinion", Marcus Aurelius.



Wow I've never read a more shitty article in my entire life. tl;dr They blame Stoic philosophy for the growing mass shooting from USA. And even try to make a pseudo-philosophical parallel with modern feminism.


"Stoicism" got a bad rep 1700 years ago when I was defamed by Roman christians. I think it still suffers from this.


Citations? Because that sounds completely wrong[0].

[0] https://catholicexchange.com/christianity-and-stoicism


My issue is that it seems that this "modern stoicism" always seems to be coupled with another toxic ideology. At least from what I've seen online.


It seems to be a phenomenon across the board. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc, etc, all have silly modern counterfeits floating around. Think of how a Hindu belief like "I am God" may be read by a traditional Hinduism vs. some New Agey American counterfeit Hinduism. In Catholicism, there's even the heretical cluster of views under the name of Americanism[0].

Not that this article gets stoicism right either.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americanism_(heresy)


I had assumed this referred to "A New Stoicism", which was published in 1998, but looking around amazon there seems to be this self help culture that's cropped up around the term.


Stoicism is the first of nine "masks" in the book The Mask of Masculinity.

https://www.amazon.com/Mask-Masculinity-Embrace-Vulnerabilit...


Surely that's an indictment not of stoicism but of that particular "self-help" volume?




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