Death, Love, Stoicism

The Ancient Stoic Philosophy of Death

This is a new audio recording of an article I published on Medium about the Stoic contemplation of death. The photo shows me outside the ruined Temple of Hades at the ancient site of Eleusis near Athens.

2 replies on “Death, Love, Stoicism”

“The free person thinks least of all of death, and his wisdom is a meditation not on death but on life.” — Spinoza

Even though this statement above 👆by Spinoza appears to contradict The Stoics approach to death, the result is the same, the fear of death loses it’s sting. Spinoza (who loved the Stoics) comes to this understanding from the opposite side of the coin, but achieves a similar freedom from the fear of death.

I think Aristotle was correct in striving for the golden mean or balance in our philosophy. Stoicism tends to mitigate the effects of hardship in life and is the basis for Cognitive Behavior Therapy used to treat depression. However, positive emotions, i.e. the pleasures of life, need to be embraced as well, even according to the Stoics, for balance.

The positive psychology focuses on positive emotions (hence the name) and was inspired by the philosophy of Buddhism. I think it would be helpful to consider both Stoicism and Buddhism when discussing topics such as death. Buddhism suggest acceptance of death through training the mind (such as through meditation) to detach from personal conceptions and expectations of death and to see the impermanent nature of life as way of dealing with the concept of death.

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