SDP 020 STOICISM | A letter to my sons


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SDP 020 Stoicism and a letter to my sons
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Mantra for the week: “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

I am going to answer 6 questions about stoicism but not directly, the answers are contained in this episode but it is up to you to find them and draw them out. I think if I was to give you a simple list of questions and answers then it would hold no value and soon be replaced with the trapping of the day. Instead I want to stimulate an internal conversation, a dialog that you can continue long after this episode has ended. If by the end you cannot answer these six fundamental questions then listen to this episode until you can, or just hold that internal conversation on all day until you can find the answers yourself. They will hold more value because you worked for them, they were not given out like a free sample at the supermarket.

The questions you should answer for yourself are:

1. Who can benefit from the Stoic Philosophies?

2. What are the basic ideas of stoicism?

3. When should these principals be applied?

4. Where should I begin my journey into stoicism?

5. Why should I study Stoicism?

6. How will this make my life better?

I hope that you either write down these questions or commit them to memory. I have chosen to list them as 5W’s to make them easier to recall at least for veterans who should already have that model permanently imprinted on their brains.

OK time to define it.

Stoicism is an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium around 301 BC. Zeno taught this philosophy in an open forum at the Stoa Poikile (Po eek a lay) think of an open discussion on the steps of the Lincoln monument. It was something like that.

Stoicism may have started with Zeno but it has gone through three phases since the beginning.

The Early Stoa, Middle stoa, and Late Stoa.

The Late stoa is where we have the actual written accounts so that is where we will focus. This period began with Seneca and continued through Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the five good emperors and if that interests you then I encourage you to do more research because it is beyond the scope of this episode.

This weekend was the 19th anniversary of the death of my father. He died of cancer as I was rushing home from a deployment to see him before that happened. He died the day before the 9-11 disaster and I was traveling to his funeral when that event took place. We never had the chance to sit and talk about the things that fathers tell sons when they become men. He was only 4 years older that I am right now. So this event has inspired me to write a letter to my sons, and share this with you, because it may also be to your benefit, and I can’t take it with me.

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