Stoicism is a philosophical school in ancient Greece that was founded by Zeno of Citium. This is philosophy provided teaching of self-control and determination that served as methods of overwhelming destructive emotions. It doesn’t mean that those emotions should be completely extinguished, but they are supposed to be transformed by the ascetic way of life. To live ascetically means to avoid all pleasures that the world offers and to achieve an adequate judgment, inner peace, and absence of suffering.
It is hard to define stoicism as a group of statements and beliefs as it is more like a style of life. The person chooses such way of life and need to practice constantly, combining the training of logic, self-dialogue, observation of death, and meditation in order to train the attention to enduring in the present.
Speaking of the term itself, it originally means the “colonnade” where the founder, Zeno of Citium taught. If considering it in the current usage, it describes someone who is unemotional and impartial to pleasure, pain, and joy. This person lives a detached way of life and does not go deep into its aspects.
The aim of Stoicism as an ethical doctrine is to be free from passion, through the search of reason and apathy. In those times, passion had the sense of suffering while apathy meant to become unemotional and detached. It teaches to be indifferent and to have the neutral reaction to the surrounding world. It proclaims that there is no need to distinguish the good and the evil; and the person should equally accept both ups and downs in the life not paying any attention.
The stoics stated that achieving the condition of self-disciplined and clear thinker the person is able to get the “logos” (the universal reason in everything). The explanation of the unkind behavior is hidden in their unawareness of universal reasons and in order to avoid unhappiness, one should practice the philosophy of Stoicism. They proclaim living in the correlation with nature, examining the universe laws, and the reason.
Stoicism has the aim to improve one’s moral and ethical well-being by practicing four kinds of goodness: wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. In accordance with their proclaiming, living relatively to virtue and reason is to be in harmony with the universe arrangement and distinguish the reason and value of everybody. They stated that every person should be equal with others as each of them are the God’s sons. That was the reason why they stood against the differentiation in the society and dividing all the residents into poor and rich.
One of the most known philosophers, who were stoic themselves, was Seneca the Younger. He paid great attention to the anger and completed a book about this subject. He persuaded that the anger is the problem of philosophy and it appears because of one’s too optimistic statements and expectations that are far from the reality. Seneca provides the idea of pessimistic attitude towards the surrounding world to be ready to receive all the bad in the life.