Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Stoic view of Friday...

...So Im a bit late, such is life.

That was my attempt at a Stoic title. I just received my issue of Catholic Men's Quarterly, and I was quite interested in Eric Scheske's article about the Stoics.

Ive thought about these same issues as well. As Chestertoninas, we have the theme from The Everlasting Man, to paraphrase: Stoicism was the best that the pagan world had to offer, and it was supplanted by Christianity.

I would like to carry through this thought by looking at the Asian experience. Theravadin Buddhism, the oldest of all of the fragmented sects is basically saffron wearing Stoicism coupled with meditation techniques. Systems of Philosophy painted with the Stoic brush do seem to be end asking a subconcious question which might actually be an inner pleading and opening to grace. Christianity was the lock that the Stoic key opened......providing for the joy and fullness that it suspected, but could not reach by its own efforts. Likewise in Asia, the Theravadin schools of Buddhism became a numerical minority as its monks traveled Asia. Teachings of gods, heavens and hells were attached onto the teachings, providing more backdoor evidence that the human spirit has a natural yearning for a Messiah.

Eric did note that alot of the Greco- Roman philosophy of the Stoics was absorbed into Christian thought. This is a politically difficult thing now. Ive told people in arguments that even if a red telephone booth appeared in the room (all time travelers have one)and the bearded fellow who got out explained that he was the guy who had started Christianity as a joke, very few of my political ideas would change, that a great deal of what is publicly seen as matters of faith and revelation are actually secular, even atheist Greco Roman philosophy.

3 comments:

Ian Ransom said...

Excellent points. So many, of course, are unaware of the very real Stoic underpinnings that remain firmly in place--underpinnings that have influenced the development of Christian/Western thought...even since the proliferation of the Pauline corpus. Overdue, perhaps, for a fresh assessment?

On a lesser note, I remember my (pleasant) surprise at PJPII's direct exposition of Buddhism in such a popular work as his 'Crossing...' back in 1997. Funny, where things tend to pop-up, at times. Hurrah for Stoics.

Regards

Ian

Eric said...

"Systems of Philosophy painted with the Stoic brush do seem to end by asking a subconcious question which might actually be an inner pleading and opening to grace."

Great insight. I'm cutting-and-pasting it into my note file.

Joseph Duggan said...

You may like to see my article praising Chesterton in RealClearMarkets, "New Media vs. Gnostic Bureaucracies."

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2009/04/new_media_vs_gnostic_bureaucra.html