Earlier in the semester we looked at the philosophy of the ancient Epicureans and Stoics. Along with the philosophy of the group known as the Cynics, these three philosophies are described by the textbook authors as not really well-suited to ordinary life, but rather as better suited to times of crisis. For example, concerning Epicurus and hedonism, the authors write “When people suffer great catastrophes, they may grasp at pleasure as providing some comfort and security in a collapsing world. Hedonism is a philosophy that justifies their behavior” (page 16, left column). And about Cynicism and Stoicism they write: “Their philosophy consists of advice to individuals for attaining personal salvation in a crumbling world” (page 18, right column).
I’m not claiming the world is crumbling! But these certainly are unusual times, creating a great deal of stress and anxiety. The point of this assignment is for us as a group to gather up a collection of insights from Epicurean hedonism, Cynicism, and Stoicism capable of helping a person cope philosophically with the stresses, worries, and challenges of current events.
Assignment: Do some web browsing to find quotes by or about the Epicurean, Cynic, and Stoic philosophers (for Stoicism, the principal ancient authors are Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca) that you believe provide some useful wisdom for helping a person cope with the virus crisis, or any dimension of the crisis. The quote(s) you find need not be by the ancient philosophers themselves, but can also be from contemporary online authors discussing the views of the ancients. Be sure to copy and paste the web address in your post, so we know your source.
What to post: You must, writing or pasting the material you found online and that you would like to share on the board, giving the web address for any direct quotes you present, AND offering some explanation and/or commentary in your own words on what you think the passage means, and why you think it is a useful or helpful insight. This post should be at least 150 words in length