What is Stoicism?

Darryl Bachmeier
Aug 4, 2019

We all know about philosophy. Most of them are not practical; that’s why people generally do not bother much about philosophy. But if you have explored the world of philosophy, you might come in contact with the term Stoicism. Stoicism is very different from all other types of philosophy. It teaches us to value ethics and more.

What is Stoicism?

Stoicism is also known as Stoic philosophy. It is a philosophy of practicality. It is a method of seeking personal ethics and practical wisdom in our lives. It’s more like a personal operating system that helps us to understand our actions and help control them.

Principles of Stoicism

Stoicism divides everything in the world and beyond into two categories. Things that can be controlled by our actions and things that are not affected by our actions.

One key principle of Stoicism is that we do not react to the events happening around and with us. Rather we react to our own judgments about those events. The events are out of our control, but our judgments are totally controlled by us.

By observing these core principles of Stoicism, we can easily understand how practical Stoicism is.

Origin of Stoicism

Stoicism is considered to be one of the major schools of Philosophy. It was at its peak between the era of Hellenistic and Roman. The founder of this great philosophy was Zeno of Citium in Athens around the time period of 300 BC.

The name “Stoicism” is derived from “Stoa Poikile.” It translates as a painted porch. Basically, it is the place where Zeno originally taught philosophy.

Originated a long time ago, the history of Stoicism can be divided into three phases known as Stoa.

  • Early Stoa (3rd century BC)
  • Middle Stoa (1st century and 2nd century BC)
  • Late Stoa (1st century and 2nd century AD)

Notable Contributors of Stoicism throughout different Stoa

In the early stage of Stoicism, we have the founder Zeno himself. Alongside we will see the contributions of Chrysippus, Cleanthes, Diogenes of Babylon, and Antipater of Tarsus. Although there were more contributors in the Early Stoa, those mentioned above had noticeable contributions.

Next, in the middle of Stoa, we have stoic philosophers like Panaetius, Posidonius, and Cato the Younger.

Finally, in the late Stoa, we have some great names like the Romanian emperor Marcus Aurelias Antoninus. Alongside this powerful man, there was Seneca The Younger, Musonius Rufus, and Epictetus as the leading Stoic philosophers of the late Stoa.

Virtues of Stoicism

Stoicism has four core virtues. These virtues are the main foundation of Stoicism. These virtues are wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.

These four virtues are again divided into more basic categories. Wisdom is divided into a good sense of the environment, calculation, wittedness or IQ, resourcefulness, and discretion. Just like that, courage is divided into confidence, endurance, industriousness, and cheerfulness. Temperance into self-control, discipline, and modesty. Justice into honesty, equity, piety, and fairness.

These are just some subdivisions of the four foundation virtues of Stoicism. If we explore more, we will see a more diverse subdivision of these virtues. They cover all the practical aspects of our lives that can be controlled by our actions.

Practical Implementation of Stoicism

Stoicism is a philosophy of practicality and personal ethics. It is a methodology of finding our true selves in the vastness of the universe.

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelias Antoninus stated Stoicism as Objective judgment now at this very moment, unselfish action now at this very moment, and willing acceptance now at this very moment of all external events. That’s all you need.

Stoicism is used by writers to explore other sectors of philosophy. It is used by artists to illuminate the meaning of their art. Soldiers on the battlefield also use this philosophy to encourage themselves to endure the hardship of battle. Big and successful entrepreneurs use Stoicism to find out the difficulties of the general public and design a service to ease up their life.

Down below are some other implementations of Stoicism,

A true sense of control

Stoicism divides everything in the universe into two categories. Those that can be controlled and those unaffected by our actions. Doing that, we can easily identify the things we can control with our actions. As a result, we would not be disappointed by trying to control the uncontrollable. Thus, it will establish a true understanding of our actions and their controls in our minds.

Acceptance of the past

As Stoicism stated that some things are out of our controls, it includes the oast and some certain events of the present. That is why it encourages us to focus on our actions and judgments in the present so that we can control the outcome; hence, the future of ourselves.

Increase our value of certain things with negative visualization

We sometimes don’t give enough value to the things we possess because we take them for granted. Stoicism teaches us to value these things by visualization of losing them through meditation.

Focusing on your goals

Stoicism suggests that certain events are out of our control, but it did not tell us to be sitting ducks and do nothing. It told us to accept the inevitable and work on our goals. Through hard work and endurance, we can achieve our objectives and goals. This is what the soldiers on the battlefield used under the command of Marcus Aurelias Antoninus to achieve victory.


Stoicism is a great practice of philosophy. It will guide you through hardship and struggle. It is different from other sections of philosophy. You can make use of it. So be sure to explore Stoicism.

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