God is not separate from the world; He is the soul of the world, and each of us contains a part of the Divine Fire. All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature. In one sense, every life is in harmony with Nature, since it is such as Nature’s laws have caused it to be; but in another sense a human life is only in harmony with Nature when the individual will is directed to ends which are among those of Nature. Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature. The wicked, though perforce they obey God’s law, do so involuntarily; in the simile of Cleanthes, they are like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes. In the life of an individual man, virtue is the sole good; such things as health, happiness, possessions, are of no account. Since virtue resides in the will, everything really good or bad in a man’s life depends only upon himself. He may be poor, but what of it? He can still be virtuous. He may be sentenced to death, but he can die nobly, like Socrates. Other men have power only over externals; virtue, which alone is truly good, rests entirely with the individual. Therefore every man has perfect freedom, provided he emancipates himself from mundane desires. (Zeno of Citium, 300 - 260 B.C.)
Stoicism Philosophy is founded on the Interconnection
and Dynamic Unity of the Universe which is governed by absolute laws. From these
absolute laws humans derive their reason and morality of which we are to live
by. The practical ethics of the Stoics emphasises self control, contentment
and living simply in harmony with nature.
As the founder of Stoicism, Zeno expresses;
All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature. (Zeno, 4th Century B.C.)
While the ancient Stoics were very wise and close to the truth, they did not understand what existed and borrowed from the ideas of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus that All is Flux - Fire.
I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! It is the fault of your limited outlook and not the fault of the essence of things if you believe that you see firm land anywhere in the ocean of Becoming and Passing. You need names for things, just as if they had a rigid permanence, but the very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one which you entered before. (Heraclitus, 5th Century B.C.)
With recent discoveries of the properties of Space and the Wave Structure of Matter (Wolff, Haselhurst) we can now understand this flux or perpetual change as being caused by the Wave Motion of Space, or more precisely, that matter exists as the Spherical Wave Motion of Space. Thus the Stoics realisation that All is One and Interconnected is correct, we now realise that the error has been the conception of matter as discrete particles (which obviously does not explain matter's activity / flux nor its interconnection). Please see below for short introduction.
Please see links on the side of this page for the main articles which explain and solve many of the problems of postmodern Metaphysics, Physics and Philosophy from the new foundation of the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter (WSM).
This webpage on Zeno and Stoicism Philosophy is an 'evolving work in progress' with many stoic quotes and ideas to be written up and explained by the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter. We hope for now you will enjoy the following page and think upon Stoicism Philosophy (All is One and Interconnected) from this new metaphysical foundation.
We greatly appreciate any comments on how we can improve this
website and its content. So please write to us.
Geoff Haselhurst, Karene Howie, (January, 2005) Email
Stoicism teaches ..
1. One to live in accord with Nature; worldly Nature and human
2. The Unity of All; all gods; all substance; all virtue; all mankind into a Cosmopolis (Universal City).
3. That the external world is maintained by the natural interchange of opposites (poioun / yin, paskhon / yang)
4. That everyone has a personal, individual connection to the All; a god within.
5. That every soul has Free Will to act and that the action of the soul is opinion.
6. Simple Living through moderation and frugality.
7. That spiritual growth comes from seeking the good.
8. That Virtue is the sole good, Vice the sole evil, and everything else indifferent.
9. That the Cardinal Virtues are Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.
10. That the path to personal happiness and inner peace is through the extinguishing of all desire to have or to affect things beyond ones control and through living for the present without hope for or fear of the future; beyond the power of opinion.
11. The sequential reabsorption and recreation of the Universe by the Central Fire; the Conflagration.
Zeno of Citium - Founder of Stoicism. Born in Cyprus, some time during the later half of the fourth century BC. He flourished between 300 and 260 BC. Zeno left no written philosophy, but his ideas were lived and passed on from his friends and followers.
Stoicism, while in origin contemporaneous with
Epicureanism, had a longer history and less constancy. The teachings of its
founder Zeno, in the early part of the third century B.C. was by no means identical
with that of Marcus Aurelius in the latter half of the second century A.D.
Zeno was a materialist, whose doctrines were, in the main, a combination of Cynicism and Heraclitus; but gradually through a mixture of Platonism, the Stoics abandoned materialism, until in the end, very little trace of it remained. Their ethical doctrine, it is true, changed very little and was what most of them regarded as of chief importance.
Zeno defined God as the fiery mind of the world, God was a bodily
substance, and that the whole universe formed the substance of God; Tertullian
says that, according to Zeno, God runs through the material world as honey runs
through the honeycomb.
According to Diogenes Laertius, Zeno held that the General Law, which is Right Reason, pervading everything, is the same as Zeus, the Supreme Head of the government of the universe: God, Mind, Destiny, Zeus, are one thing. Destiny is the power which moves matter; Providence and Nature are other names for it.
God is not separate from the world; He is the soul of the world,
and each of us contains a part of the Divine Fire. All things are parts of one
single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is
in harmony with Nature. In one sense, every life is in harmony with Nature,
since it is such as Nature’s laws have caused it to be; but in another
sense a human life is only in harmony with Nature when the individual will is
directed to ends which are among those of Nature. Virtue consists in a will
which is in agreement with Nature. The wicked, though perforce they obey God’s
law, do so involuntarily; in the simile of Cleanthes, they are like a dog tied
to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes.
In the life of an individual man, virtue is the sole good; such things as health, happiness, possessions, are of no account. Since virtue resides in the will, everything really good or bad in a man’s life depends only upon himself. He may be poor, but what of it? He can still be virtuous. He may be sentenced to death, but he can die nobly, like Socrates. Other men have power only over externals; virtue, which alone is truly good, rests entirely with the individual. Therefore every man has perfect freedom, provided he emancipates himself from mundane desires. (Zeno)
Zeno had no patience with metaphysical subtleties. Virtue was
what he thought was important, and he valued physics and metaphysics only in
so far as they contributed to virtue. He attempted to combat the metaphysical
tendencies of his time by means of common sense, which, in Greece, meant materialism.
Doubts as to the trustworthiness of the senses annoyed him and he pushed the
opposite doctrine to extremes.
Zeno began by asserting the existence of the real world.
'What do you mean by real?' asked the Skeptic.
I mean solid and material. I mean that this table is solid matter.'
' .. and God,' asked the Skeptic, 'and the Soul?'
'Perfectly solid,' said Zeno.
'And virtue or justice, also solid matter?'
"Of course,' said Zeno, 'perfectly solid'.
It is evident that, at this point, Zeno was hurried by anti-metaphysical zeal into a metaphysic of his own.
The main doctrines to which the school remained constant throughout are concerned with cosmic determinism and human freedom. Zeno believed there is no such thing as chance and that the course of nature is rigidly determined by natural laws.
The Stoic is not virtuous in order to do good, but does good in
order to be virtuous. It has not occurred to him to love his neighbour as himself;
love, except in a superficial sense, is absent from his conception of virtue.
When I say this, I am thinking of love as an emotion, not as a principle. As a principle, the Stoics preached Universal Love; this principle is found in Seneca and his successors ... (Bertrand Russell, The History of Western Philosophy, 1946)
The Stoic ethical teaching is based upon two principles already
developed in their physics; first, that the universe is governed by absolute
law, which admits of no exceptions; and second, that the essential nature of
humans is reason. Both are summed up in the famous Stoic maxim, "Live according
to nature." For this maxim has two aspects.
It means, in the first place, that men should conform themselves to nature in the wider sense, that is, to the laws of the universe, and secondly, that they should conform their actions to nature in the narrower sense, to their own essential nature, reason. These two expressions mean, for the Stoics, the same thing. For the universe is governed not only by law, but by the law of reason, and we, in following our own rational nature, are ipso facto conforming ourselves to the laws of the larger world. In a sense, of course, there is no possibility of our disobeying the laws of Nature, for we, like all else in the world, act of necessity. And it might be asked, what is the use of exhorting a person to obey the laws of the universe, when, as part of the great mechanism of the world, we cannot by any possibility do anything else? It is not to be supposed that a genuine solution of this difficulty is to be found in Stoic philosophy. They urged, however, that, though we will in any case do as the necessity of the world compels us, it is given to us alone, not merely to obey the law, but to assent to our own obedience, to follow the law consciously and deliberately, as only a rational being can.
Virtue, then, is the life according to reason. Morality is simply rational action. It is the universal reason which is to govern our lives, not the caprice and self-will of the individual. The wise man consciously subordinates his life to the life of the whole universe, and recognizes himself as a cog in the great machine. Now the definition of morality as the life according to reason is not a principle peculiar to the Stoics. Both Plato and Aristotle taught the same. In fact, it is the basis of every ethic to found morality upon reason, and not upon the particular foibles, feelings, or intuitions, of the individual self. But what was peculiar to the Stoics was the narrow and one- sided interpretation which they gave to this principle. Aristotle had taught that the essential nature of humans is reason, and that morality consists in following this, his essential nature. But he recognized that the passions and appetites have their place in the human organism. He did not demand their suppression, but merely their control by reason. But the Stoics looked upon the passions as essentially irrational, and demanded their complete extirpation. They envisaged life as a battle against the passions, in which the latter had to be completely annihilated. Hence their ethical views end in a rigorous and unbalanced asceticism.
Part of the originality of Zeno's Stoicism lay in its ambitious
attempt to develop an all-embracing philosophical system. The two most important
words in the Stoic vocabulary were 'reason' (logos) and 'nature'
By positing a rational universe the Stoics could treat the different parts of philosophy, logic, physics and ethics, as a coherent and inter-related whole. In his ethics Zeno put forward the radical, and often criticised, proposition that virtue alone was necessary for happiness; everything else, such as health, wealth and even life itself, although advantageous, was irrelevant to the attainment of happiness. But ethics is not to be understood in isolation. To live a virtuous life is to fulfil one's potential as a human; in other words, one's reason or rationality is in harmony with the reason of nature. Those who achieve this are the wise, the inhabitants of the ideal society of the Republic, which is thus a community itself in harmony with nature.
(Andrew Erskine, Zeno and the Beginning of Stoicism)
Problem of One and the Many - Brief History of Metaphysics and Solutions
to the Fundamental Problems of Uniting the; One and the Many,
Infinite and the Finite, Eternal
and the Temporal, Absolute and Relative,
Continuous and Discrete, Simple
and Complex, Matter and Universe.
Philosophy: Greek Philosophers - All is One (Space) and Active-Flux (Wave Motion). Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Atomists (Democritus, Lucretius), Socrates, Plato, Epicurus.
Philosophy: Morality Ethics - The Fundamental Morality of World Religions 'Do Unto Others ...'is Logically True as the Other is Part of Self.
Aurelius, Marcus - Famous Stoic Roman Emperor & his Meditations on our Interconnected Existence in the Universe & how we are to live. We should not say - I am an Athenian or I am a Roman but I am a Citizen of the Universe.
Seneca - Famous Roman Stoic Philosopher Seneca on Truth, Wisdom and Virtue. 'Language of Truth should be Simple and Plain'
- Stoicism Ethics
http://members.aol.com/Heraklit1/zeno.htm - Zeno of Citium - founder of Stoicism. A history of pantheism and scientific pantheism by Paul Harrison.
http://www.ucd.ie/classics/2000/erskine_art.html - Interesting essay on Zeno and the beginning of Stoicism
http://www.hku.hk/philodep/courses/zhuangzi/shendao.htm - Great essay on the similarities of Stoicism and Taoism
http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/s/stoicism.htm - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Description of the system of Stoic ethics, which has physics as its foundation
'The Gift of Truth Excels all Other Gifts.' (Buddha)
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A brilliant collection of portraits and quotes from 500 of the greatest minds in human history.
The Philosophy Shop has a great portrait and quotes from Zeno.
Zeno of Citium: Stoic Philosophy
'All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature.'
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