The following are three fundamental concepts of Stoicism, simplified & adapted for practical application. These are the non-technical essentials for general, applied Stoicism as it pertains to personal stability and well-being. While there’s obviously much more to classical Stoicism than what’s listed here, I’ve found these to be among most defining elements of the Stoic approach to “the good life.”
– Virtue is essential to a good life. Virtue is our ‘goodness’. Virtue must be applied above all else, or rather concurrently with everything else.
* Virtue serves as a sort of ‘Moral Structure‘: it’s a healthy & constructive psychological framework + appropriate behavior rooted in ethical integrity
* Virtue is like a home’s foundation. It’s what continuously supports everything and allows it to stay standing strong for a very long time
2. Truth & Reason
– We must seek truth (aka objective actuality) to the best of our abilities. We must always apply reason to the best of our ability to determine & uphold truth
* Truth & Reason make up Constructive Rationality (as opposed to Destructive Rationalization)
* Truth & Reason are like a home’s framing, roof, and drywall. It’s what gives a home (and life) it’s form & functional stability.
– We must become increasingly aware of what we can and cannot control/influence (often classically referred to [somewhat mistakenly] as the Dichotomy of Control). We must discern in every situation, and especially in challenging situations, either how we can reasonably act to change the conditions, or why we must fully accept the conditions as they are. Or rather more appropriately, how we must consciously oscillate between states of action and acceptance upon active discernment of conditions and our relative position.
* Discernment is how we attentively maintain tranquility and equanimity
* Discernment = Psychological Coherence + Continual Functional Adaptation
* Discernment is like a home’s plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems. It’s what allows a home to be livable & comfortable.