|An interesting article written by Shayla Love was recently published in Vice. Love follows the rising popularity of Stoicism, a philosophy which died out in antiquity, recorded largely by Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. The Stoics believed in being virtuous, living ethically but most famously, taking a sober view of life, not stressing about things outside their control.|
Today, Love notes, a lot of Stoic ideas have been co-opted by marketing, a pick ‘n’ mix selection of disciplines for modern life-coaching, self-help and entrepreneurs— “not so much a philosophy as a collection of life hacks for overcoming anxiety… curbing anger, and…finding stillness and calm.” Stoicism’s practical applications make it very “meme-able” but it is not surprising that it is striking a chord with many.
As the Mad Christian has observed, the tsunami of 2020 has left a lot of wreckage but also exposed the fragility of things we once assumed were here forever. Life in Modern-land can make victimhood seem attractive, but you don’t need the grit of a Mandalorian to appreciate that a serious acceptance of how life is can help stave off a feeling of helplessness.
At this moment, some Stoic realism may be just what is needed in the white noise. The value of focusing on things near at hand has become an antidote to the frenzied chattering of those far away. Producing things yourself is a satisfying counterpoint to mass-produced Stuff and online existence. Opting out of the cracking pace to spend time in God’s Word and with your family refuels your peace of mind.
No fatalism is necessary, though, for those in Christ Jesus. We can know, as recorded by the prophet Isaiah, God declares the end from the beginning. His counsel will stand and he does his own good pleasure. We can live this life with quiet endurance, knowing that he waits for us at the finish line.