Humility and compassion are a few practices that don’t often get associated with Stoicism. I assumed Stoicism was more or less compassion-free and disregarding the need to connect with others. But after a bit of digging, my ignorance couldn’t be further from the truth. One of if not the most famous Stoics, Marcus Aurelius, has so much on these topics in his writings. Even the underlying principles of interconnectedness that define Stoicism point to the need for humility and compassion constantly.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Be something bigger than yourself,” or something similar, and that is one of the principles Stoics want to aim for when thinking of the Universe as a single entity. Fragmentation can’t be good because it divides what is meant to be whole. We know exactly what it means to do good and to be a good person. We feel a twinge of discomfort when we go against what we ought to be doing for a reason — We know better.
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius
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