Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What is Stoicism

Welcome to A Stoic Life. 
This blog was developed at a course assignment in a Masters in Criminal Justice Program at Saint Leo University.  Our instructions were to find any topic in the book Criminal Justice Ethic, Theory and Practice, 3rd Edition and start a blog.  Well for me I found this difficult because most of the topics in this book and most criminal justice books the topics can be somewhat boring, predictable, adversarial, and depressing.  Finally after going through the many topic, I finally found the one topic I could relate too.  A topic that had personal meaning to me and one that mimic the lifestyle I try to live: Stoicism.

In the book Criminal Justice Ethic, Theory and Practice, 3rd Edition by Cyndi Banks,  in chapter 13 there is a brief chapter titled:  Egoism, Pleasure, and Indifference.  This chapter  defines Stoicism (pages 302-303). 
For those that may not know what is "Stoicism" and how it relates to Criminal Justice Ethics, this blog will attempt to define "Stoicism" and it relationship to criminal justice and what it mean to live a "Stoic Life".

What is Stoicism?  One dictionary defines stoicism as: the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.  Another author's definition states:  Stoicism, in short, is a series of mental techniques and ways of life that allow you to decrease and then virtually eliminate all negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, while simultaneously building up a tide of pure Joy inside you that eventually starts to make you jump around and boogie at unexpected moments, and occasionally shout out “AHH YEAH!!” as discreetly as possible to yourself when the Joy overflows.

 Below is a statement from Seneca a Stoic Philosopher.

“For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it?
A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.”
Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters
Hopefully you now have some idea of what stoicism is, and in my next post and over the next few week I will share with you how I live A Stoic Life,  Stoicism and Criminal Justice, how stoicism relates Criminal Justices Ethics and to my goal of seeking a Master in Criminal Justice. 
I will end each blog with a quote from noted Stoic such as myself :-) 
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you learned something new.  Stay tuned for my next post.  
“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”