Why is Stoicism the best ethical system to follow?

A question asked in our closed Stoic Recovery Facebook discussion group.

Because it is naturalistic, founded in physical realities, scientific and social.

It puts “morality” back where it should it be, grounded in the relationships between humans and their environment, not in the commands of transcendent beings, logically deduced axioms or cold-hearted calculation of benefits.

It places the human agent front and centre, with priorities not based on their own self interest, but on the interest of all, which is ultimately one’s own interest.

The idea is that in behaving rationally in a pro-social context, we are doing what humans, as humans, are evolved to do, to think and look after each other, and in doing this we find fulfillment.

In this way we flourish in the same way a plant flourishes in the right environment, or an animal.

The dichotomy of control, the theory of emotion, the understanding of virtue are just tools to this end.

That is Eudaemonia, a life well lived. Morality as happiness.

It works across the political spectrum: Adam Smith was a big fan of the Stoics.

If you have an ethical theory that can unite these two ideas, you have something special.

“Every man, as the Stoics used to say, is first and principally recommended to his own care; and every man is certainly, in every respect, fitter and abler to take care of himself than of any other person. ” Adam Smith

“The wise and virtuous man is always willing for his own private interest to be sacrificed to the public interest of his own particular order or society”: Adam Smith..

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