Over the past year or so, I have been learning more and more about the practical philosophy that is Stoicism.
This philosophy is going through a bit of a resurgence at the moment, and I believe that it is something that can help vegans to not only stay vegan in a world that isn’t, it can also help you with your advocacy, and encourage others to adopt this lifestyle.
What Is Stoicism?
For those who came in late, Stoicism is a philosophy that was founded by Zeno of Citium in around 300BC.
In a simple explanation, Stoicism is a practical philosophy that helps us live and thrive in an unpredictable world.
It does this by teaching us that, to a certain extent, we can control our mind, and how we respond to things.
Unlike other schools of philosophy, Stoicism is one that is to be practised and used daily.
It is also one that anyone can study.
One of the early Stoic teachers, Epictetus started life as a slave to Epaphroditus.
And, at the other end of the social spectrum is the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Stoicism has four core values that form its foundation.
They are, in simple terms:
This is the knowledge of what is good, and what is bad.
The ability to do what is right, even if it isn’t popular at the time.
Doing what is right. Treating each other in a way that is just.
Moderation or self-restraint. (This is not taking things to excess)
How It Can Help Vegans
Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.
~ Epictetus (Enchiridion 1)
Looking closer at the above quote, we get the dichotomy of control.
There are far too many vegans, and people in general who have a misanthropic view of the world.
This is the worst thing that you can be.
Instead, understanding the dichotomy of control, we understand that the only thing we can really control is what is within us.
Those things that are outside of us, we cannot control, nor should we expect to.
What we should be aiming for, is to be the best person we can be, by following the four virtues.
Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today inquisitive, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill”.
~ Marcus Aurelius
This quote from Marcus Aurelius is something that can help us to face the day, and to be surrounded by those “Mmmm. Bacon” comments.
While this is a short teaser on Stoicism, I encourage anyone who is interested in it, to learn more about it.
You can do that by buying a book or listening to one of the many podcasts that are out there.
I have launched a new podcast and blog on Stoicism from the vegan perspective.
If you want to find out more, head on over to VeganStoic.Live or sign up to the email newsletter below.
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This article was written by the founder of VeganPolice.com.au, Cameron Blewett.
Cameron is a long term vegan (30+yrs), and is passionate about veganism, and helping people to understand more about it and giving other animals equal consideration.
You can find Cameron’s other rants on his website, CameronBlewett.blog