EPICUREANISM VS. STOICISM
I know Epicureanism vs. Stoicism isn’t the sexiest title in the world… it may even seem a bit heavy and somewhat deep. But, just stick with me for a bit because as we teeter on the precipice of a new year – this is the perfect time to reflect, set intentions and decide how you want your life to look. It’s all about mindset and inner philosophy and setting your course now.
There is no doubt that the year 2020 was a year like no other. 2020 was hell for many – globally. The impact ranges from inconvenient to catastrophic. For many, it was the worst year that has ever existed on this planet. There was sickness, death, loss, unemployment, financial issues, and despair. There were major inconveniences like not being able to see family, rationing toilet paper, the loss of normal rites of passage (like proms, weddings, funerals and graduations) and cancelled travel plans.
For some, 2020 presented an opportunity to revert to simplicity because there was no other choice. It was a time to focus on family and do puzzles, watch TV, play games, and go for walks outside. A chance to live simply which would not have been possible pre-Covid with our crazy schedules, non-stop activities and technology. Teenagers were forced to spend time with their immediate families and for some 2020 wasn’t that bad. A walk outside in the fresh air became enjoyable and a trip to Target became the highlight of the day. It truly has been a year like no other.
No one went unscathed. Everyone has their own experiences and stories to tell – all varying in degrees of awfulness, pain, sadness, sorrow or perhaps heroism, kindness, generosity, philanthropy or bravery. 2020 is almost done and set-in stone. There is nothing we can do to change history, but we can use what we learned to help shape our outlook and our future in 2021.
And with that, let’s take a look at this seemingly heavy topic – Epicureanism vs. Stoicism – which trust me is not so heavy after all. It’s time to determine if you want to take an Epicurean approach to 2021 or if Stoicism is more your style, but you be the judge.
Before we can delve into Epicureanism vs. Stoicism, it’s important to understand their differences in order to make an informed decision.
WHAT IS EPICUREANISM?
“Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquility, freedom from fear (especially the fear of death), anxiety and the absence of bodily pain”1
Epicureans favor a simpler life void of complex ideas, situations, and things. The thought is the less to be tempted with the better, and the easier and less anxiety-ridden life will be. Anxiety is seen as one of mankind’s greatest weaknesses and the goal is to live life to its fullest, simply and without regret. An Epicurean values close, sincere and honest friendships. They tend to be more introverted, out of the public eye, stay closer to home and surround themselves with people they can trust to go through life with together.
An important factor to note within Epicureanism is what is considered to be good, whole and joyful is also seen as pleasure and seeking this type of goodness, pleasure, is natural and part of human nature. However, the Epicureanism philosophy believes that “the pleasures we seek should not be excessive, because of the pain that tends to be the flip side of profound pleasure.”3 The founder of Epicureanism divided pleasure into three categories:
WHAT IS STOICISM?
“Stoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd Century BC.”2 A formal definition for Stoicism “claims that living justly and virtuously is the highest good that one can experience, and that pleasure and pain are to be treated indifferently by fully accepting the course of nature.”3
Basically, whatever happens … happens.
“Stoicism emphasizes living in agreement with what happens, rather than rebelling against and lamenting what we cannot change. Stoics believe that all pain stems from our perceptions and that we have the ability to not suffer when things typically considered bad happen to us.”3
Stoics are not introverts and believe that participating in society and experiencing all that is associated with it is a natural part of life and we should accept all that comes our way.
There are four core values of Stoicism that are essential to understand:
In short, Stoics are realists who do not hide, and live life based in reality without worry and accept their fate – whatever that may be.
YOUR OUTLOOK FOR Life – EPICUREANISM VS. STOICISM?
Whatever you choose to explore – Epicureanism vs. Stoicism – know that it’s ultimately YOUR decision. No one can choose for you and that is the beauty of starting a New Year. It’s a time to start fresh and to start over. And, just know that your new start doesn’t have to start at precisely 12:01 am on January 1, 2021 – all you need to do is make a conscious effort and have the desire to make 2021 different.
Sometimes making that change on your own is extremely difficult, but just know that you have the support and that I am here for you in 2021 and always. My name is Mike Giannulis and I want to help you get there and start working towards accomplishing your goals for 2021 and beyond. We don’t know what lies ahead or where the road may take us but setting a clearer path will help. So, let’s rip off the 2020 band-aid and get started today! Contact me to start your 2021 journey.