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Stoicism and Epicureanism---Ethical Guidepost for all ages

  1. A.Villarasa profile image72
    A.Villarasaposted 7 years ago

    Over the past decades, we have witnessed patterns of human behaviour unique to each decade. The anti-authoritarianism and sexual promiscuity in the 60's; the hedonism and aimlessness in  the 70's; the materialism and greed in the 80's; the political disenchanment and polarization in the 90's; and the terrorism and tribalism in the current decade became widely disseminated in the social landscape, tearing the communal fabric so that in the ensuing upheaval, the concept of  moral and ethical responsibility were lost in some quarters and compromised in others. An idea one hoped was not irreversibly compromised is the verity of man's inate worth and dignity. Marcus Aurelius, ever the stoic, found dignity and worth in man's attempts to cope with the most trying of life's vicissitudes. On the other hand, Epicurus demanded that the active avoidance of these inequities be tempered by tranquility, prudence and justice. Stoicism and Epicureanism as ethical guideposts, sadly, have all but vanished from a landscape populated by people whose moral compass could not divert them from a life of secular diversion and ephemeral gratification.

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image64
      prettydarkhorseposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Hi, to some extent the prevailing economic condition is a big factor in the determinants of the behaviors of individuals in a society coupled with the advancement in technology -- some cultural behaviors are easily transmitted in different cultures. Epicureanism and Stoicism are general values which should be upheld but mainly it is my contention that "It is the being which determines the consciousness", and not the other way around.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image72
        A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Economic conditions, in so far as they impact one's sense of worth as a human being could only go so far. Just because one has fortune and fame do not necessarily mean that one has the conscious congruity to appreciate that life lived meaningfully is life spent  fruitfully. A prime example of fruitless lives are the one now being lived by some  of Hollywood's glitterati. On the other  hand , it is usually the poorest of the poor  that appreciates life to its fullest in their day to day struggles to keep alive their humanity. Stoics and Epicureans posit that life's travails are necessary impediments,  to a fulfilling  and meaningful journey.

    2. profile image0
      Brenda Durhamposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Good stuff.
      It reads very stilted, though, even though very professional-sounding.
      May I say it in layman's terms?

      Mankind is prone to sin.  Our sense of self-worth depends on an innate connection to the Creator.  Otherwise, we get lost in secularism and other selfish agendas.

      Perhaps you don't agree that that's what you were saying, but hey that's what I read in it.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image72
        A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        You read right....but  I couched  my arguments in secularist  terms because, as I have experienced it on these forum, the mere mention of your connection to a Higher Being, brings out  the anti-religionist brigade on HubPages out of their closet and they start throwing all sort of darts and arrows in your direction. Sometimes I wonder what it is in people with religious moorings that rattle  these folks, what it is about people's religiosity that palpitate their hearts, wrench their guts,  boil their blood, chiil their bones, bend their minds and search  their souls.

        1. Doug Hughes profile image58
          Doug Hughesposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Speaking for myself, I have my own beliefs about a Supreme Being which I'm reluctant to share with anyone else. But I'm more than tolerant of Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Moslems, Wiccans, Hindus and the occasional athiest. The  thing that raises my hackles is ANY member of these groups presuming to impose his/her beliefs on me.

          The religous wingnuts flatter themsleves with the fantasy that they are the victims of relious persecution that isn't there. (from me). I have no quarrel with their religion - until they presume any aspect of THEIR religion must be part of MY life.

          1. A.Villarasa profile image72
            A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            I hear you loud and clear, and I certainly have no intention to impose my religious beliefs on you. I agree with your contention that some religious  "fanatics", for want of a better word, do go beyond what is appropritae and proper when they are discussing their beliefs with non-believers

  2. Ralph Deeds profile image64
    Ralph Deedsposted 7 years ago

    Although I have a book by Marcus Aurelius I don't remember much if anything about his philosophy. Nor do I know much about Epicurus. Kant's theory or rule for determining whether an act is ethical comes to mind. If I remember correctly his test was what would by the result if everyone else did the same thing as opposed to "if I do it no harm will result." That rule might be applied to one's duty to vote.

    1. A.Villarasa profile image72
      A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      "....if I do it no harm will result"  reminds me of the Hippocratic Mantra: "First, do not harm". Doctors are rightfully reminded that in the practice of medicine, a patient's right to not being harmed superceedes any other consideration. In reality errors of omission and commission do occur in medical practice...which as in any other fields of  human endeavour is littered with good intentions that do not always result in the best outcomes.