Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is MGTOW the Idea of Ancient Stoicism repeating itself?

My knowledge of ancient writings has been limited to the Old Testament and the usual Greek and Latin classics that mainly had to do with history. There was enough in them though which mentioned the bad behavior of women and the worship thereof as goddesses that it reminded me of what we see occurring today in the form of feminism.

During my research on Jezebel I was looking into the Pythia. A class of priestess in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Plutarch who's book I've read on Sparta was also priest there who was responsible for interpreting the omens of the Pythia (Oracle of Delphi).

I thought I would have a look into what that guy had to say about all that when something caught my attention. He was somewhat opposed to Stoics and Stoicism.... what, wait a minute. Was Stoicism a philosophy or some school of thought at one time? Isn't being stoic a manly quality kind of like the way the Spartans were and why would he be opposed to it?

Ok, let's take a look.

Who were the Stoics?

We do not possess a single complete work by any of the first three heads of the Stoic school: the ‘founder,’ Zeno of Citium in Cyprus (344–262 BC), Cleanthes (330-232 BC) or Chrysippus (279-206 BC). Chrysippus was particularly prolific, composing over 165 works, but we have only fragments of his works. The only complete works by Stoic philosophers that we possess are those by writers of Imperial times, Seneca (4 BC –65 AD), Epictetus (55–135 AD) and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121–180 AD) and these works are principally focused on ethics.

What did the Stoics believe?

Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how that person behaved.

Later Stoics such as Seneca and Epictetus emphasized that, because "virtue is sufficient for happiness", a sage was immune to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase "stoic calm", though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious.

When was this period of Stoicism?

Stoicism was one of the most important and influential traditions in the philosophy of the Hellenistic world. It claimed the adherence of a large portion of the educated persons in the Graeco-Roman world. It had considerable influence on the development of early Christianity. The Roman Stoics, Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius were widely read and absorbed by the Western cultural tradition. Indeed, the very word 'stoic' has, in the popular sense, become synonymous with 'philosophical' and has come to represent that courage and calmness in the face of adverse and trying circumstances which was the hallmark of the ancient Stoics.

That Hellenistic period was time when the world was transitioning from a Greek to a Roman one.

The Hellenistic period is the period of ancient Greek and eastern Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. At this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its peak in Europe, Africa and Asia, experiencing prosperity and progress in the arts, exploration, literature, theatre, architecture, music, mathematics, philosophy, and science. It is often considered a period of transition, sometimes even of decadence or degeneration, compared to the brilliance of the Greek Classical era.

Where was it taught?

The Stoa Poikile or Painted Porch, originally called the Porch of Peisianax was erected during the 5th century BC and was located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. The Stoa Poikile was one of the most famous sites in ancient Athens, owing its fame to the paintings and loot from wars displayed in it. The Stoa was the location from which Zeno of Citium taught Stoicism. The philosophical school of Stoicism takes its name from having first been expounded here, and was derived from the Greek word stoa. Zeno taught and lectured to his followers from this porch.

Why did it happen?

Stoicism originally emerged at quite a volatile period in Greek history, when Athenian city-states were being conquered by foreign empires. It developed as a way of staying sane amid all that chaos. An important part of the therapy of Stoicism was to remind yourself at all times of what you can control and what you can’t. We can’t control geopolitics, we can’t control the weather, we can’t control the economy, we can’t control other people, we can’t even control our own bodies, not entirely anyway. The world is beyond our control. It’s a rough and unpredictable environment that is constantly changing. The only thing we can really control are our own thoughts and beliefs. If we remind ourselves of that, and focus our energy and attention on our own beliefs and opinions, then we can learn to cope wisely with whatever the world throws at us.

Basically those Stoic Greeks were taking a look around, seeing the ship was sinking and coming to the conclusion early on that there wasn't anything they could do to stop it. May as well kick back, go their own way and enjoy the decline. They couldn't change the world they lived in so they opted to change the world that they could, their own.

This all sounds very familiar.

Getting back to Plutarch (46-120 AD), I can start to understand why he didn't like this Stoic way of thinking. Being a Greek and a priest in the Temple of Apollo in Delphi Greece that would make him a member of the state or ruling class. He would have had an interest in keeping the traditions going. He needed the male disposability of those Greek Warriors coming in consulting his Oracles on their way to fighting wars for the empire but was going out of business as they realized there was nothing in it for them anymore because it was all getting hosed away back home.

The idea of Stoicism moved on into the early Roman world but seemed to have died out as life began to get cushy again. Greek gods and goddesses were replaced by Roman ones all the while Roman Emperors were increasingly declaring themselves to be gods too.

Come to think of it, if ancient hypergamy was alive and well and the women where thinking themselves as goddesses what is a poor mortal Alpha Emperor to do? He would have to one up them in their narcissism. Which they did, then proceed to play the bad boy with impunity, which they did that too.

Once again though the Romans like the Greeks were not too happy with all this nonsense. New ideas of living removed from the world, away from a degenerate society and it's gods came in the form of Christianity in place of Stoicism. They were saying screw this by going off grid leaving the empire to collapse all by itself. Which it eventually did despite all the shaming language and persecution aimed at those pesky Christians determined to go their own way.

There are a few audiobooks out on YouTube that should make for some good listening on the subject.

Of Peace of Mind; Maintaining a Tranquil Mind, by Seneca

The Enchiridion by Epictetus

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

I'll be interested to hear more about this subject.

MGTOW... No worries, it happens all the time.


Anonymous said...

mgtow- the age of learning . It is as if the cycle repeats itself. I must say it is refreshing to sometimes find a story about history among the red pill throng. I feel that mgtow changes its name within the histories but not its core foundation. We are not lestened by our lack of female companionship, rather we are strengthened by it. When we as men drop the pebble in the pond, are not the ripples by our design? Do not the nations of men feel our tides? What a piece of work is man....

John Varius said...

Stoicism was something that likely worked well in tandem with basic Christianity. To stay calm, and unperturbed in the face of chaotic and unjust happenings is far easier when you have the basic assumption; that all things will be settled and judged in the end---and you need only do your part.

MGTOW cycles probably happen anytime society gets so far away from natural law, (or Universal truth or God etc) and so men who understand this falling away, decide they must take a "time out" (unplug) and force a re-balance.

Take The Red Pill said...

A very interesting read, Rex! I didn't learn very much about the Stoics in college beyond the usual paragraph or two in most history textbooks of the time, other than the 'canned' definition that it was a philosophy that emphasized self-control and self-mastery.
Since it coincides with much of my own personal beliefs as well as my philosophy of MGTOW, I'll definitely have to be reading more on the Stoics and Stoicism. Thanks!

P.S. Just had a thought: do you think that is a possibility of some connection of sorts between Stoicism and various Eastern martial arts? My reading of such Eastern classics (The Book of Five Rings, The Art of War, etc.) as well as the minimal training I have had, all emphasize the NEED to maintain a inner calmness and self-control, that seems to also be at the core of Stoicism.

Cybro said...

I don't think they were connected but ran in parallel. I've read those books along with the Code of the Bushido and another one I can't find. Something like The way of the Ninja or The way of the Warrior. I don't think it was the same one as Secrets of the Ninja. I remember some good concepts about ghosting in that one like moving through a village undetected disguised as an old lady or homeless man. These works were all based on actual experience through trial and error. Their philosophy was a way of life like Stoicism is said to have been and of course MGTOW.

Being a Level 4 MGTOW myself moving to Going Ghost I have been thinking about writing an Art Of Ghosting with all these old ideas but I have to get all the works together first then go over them again. Right now I'm doing a lot from memory and finding new stuff as I go along like this Stoicism Philosophy. It's time consuming but well worth it because it's how I live in real life.

Everyday avoidance of women and Blue Pill men are becoming essential to my professional survival. I don't work with hardly any women but I am surrounded by Blue Pills and man let me tell you what. They are as bad and as evil as any Feminazi is. I have to really watch my back, keep my mouth shut and play dumb around those guys.

Hence the need for me to write a Going Ghost manual as guide to live by.

Pillar Of Autumn said...

This.....this is brilliant. Well done.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. The Enchiridion has been my Bible for years.

boellemis said...

great post. ill share it on facebook.

Anonymous said...

Hi brothers,

you know what is strange. Since yesterday i had the thought that the old greeks knew much more about the nature of woman and us man and were brutaly honest about that. And now i´m on this site here and think we here, the MGTOWs are the wise man of old. We just had to rediscover their knowledge with the help of the feminazis and the slavemasters (governments). These idiots have opened our eyes once again!
If that is not a win for us man that what else ;)

Cybro said...

I'm already liking this Epictetus guy. In his Enchiridion he explains when the females first jump on the Cock Carousel and why.

XL. Women from fourteen years old are flattered by men with the title of mistresses. Therefore, perceiving that they are regarded only as qualified to give men pleasure, they begin to adorn themselves, and in that to place all their hopes. It is worth while, therefore, to try that they may perceive themselves honored only so far as they appear beautiful in their demeanor, and modestly virtuous.

Meaning, looking hot and acting slutty was all they cared about but it only lasts a short period of time.

It's the same thing all over again to this day. I remember this one reformed slut I was with actually bragged how she was the mistress of some married rich guy in NY. Lived in his Manhattan penthouse, had her own driver and dreaming about how great life was in those day.

Man, stay the hell away from those types, once a slut always a slut and they only get bitter with age.

I listened to that Audiobook three times last night, he's got some good stuff and I have a couple more of his books ready to go. No better way to get through a ten hour shift noise canceling Blue Pill chatter than by listening to Ancient MGTOW philosophy.

Oh Joy.

Anonymous said...

I know my comment is going to be off topic but I have been noticing some Mgtows who are Islam sympathizers. Dimitri Vincheov said "Are you in Islamophobe, I hope not!" and Luimarco. It truly disgusts me. These people want the over throw, Gods values and kill all Christians. These dirt bags co-sign with Sharia Law. Quotes below exposes them: Qur’an:9:29 “Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission.”
Qur’an:9:5 - “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

Cybro said...

Then they probably are not MGTOW or can't grasp the concept but be prepared for all kinds of wackos to claim they are MGTOW then go on to redefine what it is in order to fit their agenda.

Mindstorm said...

How is it possible to go one's own way and to follow the 'moral' imperatives of Islam (especially to fight unbelievers) at the same time?

Anonymous said...

Morality and Islam doesn't go hand in hand. Molesting children is okay, not only in the Qu'ran but also in the middle eastern culture. Men hold each others hands like two gay men as a normal part of the culture, I could go on.

Christopher said...

Well, the problem is that you have not represented Stoicism accurately so the conclusions you draw from the inaccurate understanding are fundamentally flawed. At no point did the Stoics ever advocate 'sitting back and enjoying the decline', indeed they advocated quite the opposite and promoted the idea of Stoics being actively engaged in building a better community, engaging with and having compassion towards fellow humans and so on. The way you have interpreted Stoicism is more like Epicureanism - they advocated withdrawing from politics, commerce and the hurly burly of day to day life, trying to insulate themselves from events over which they had no control, trying to be self sufficient, and so on. They were probably the first survivalists. However, the additional problem is that both the Stoics and Epicureans advocated the education of women in philosoohy and regarded women as the moral and rational equals of men. Stoics were not 'going their own way'in the sense you now use it, they were adhering to a philosophical school which held that only the practice of the virtues were coherent with a humans rational nature. Further to one of the comments above, Stoicism is not and could not be compatible with christianity as they hold fundamentally opposed positions. For example the Stoics did not believe in an immortal soul, but that the soul dissipated shortly after dead and no part of the person remained, there was no heaven or hell, no punishment for sin or reward for good, that prayer was pointless and antithetical to Stoic practice and philosophy, that there was no religiously inspired concept of evil, that the stoics practiced virtue because it was the only correct course of action whereas good deeds are done in order to win favour with god, to be rewarded with heaven and avoid hell. The instrumental approach to the virtues is incompatible with stoicism. Finally, the idea that Stoicism is all about being a 'manly man' is again, a fundamental misunderstanding of Stoicism. The modern idea of being Stoic is completely removed from the practice of the philosophy, the name has become associated with a stereotype but is not related to the Stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca or Musonius.
So, many of your points are not really valid as you have not understood sufficiently the nature and practice of Stoicism.