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Stoa del Sol: Stoicism and a new spiritual paradigm

The Avalon Web Directory of Oneness: An alternative internet directory at spiritandflesh.com

 

The Stoa of the ancient Greco-Roman world was a teaching forum for the philosophical precepts of Stoicism. First expounded upon by Zeno of Citium (c. 366-264 b.c.e.), Stoicism was one of the loftiest and most sublime philosophies in the record of Western civilization. Its scope included a cosmology, logic, and ethics. And its impact has reached down through the centuries--early Greek Stoicism, later Roman Stoicism, Stoic influence in Christian thought, Stoic thought found in the humanism of the Renaissance, and beyond this in the pantheistic philosophy of Spinoza.

The Stoa del Sol is a contemporary forum for essays that reflect some of the historical principles of Stoicism in relation to a New Cosmology and New Spiritual Paradigm prompted by modern science and systems theories.

What are some of these Stoic principles that, today, may be meaningful to our world--to an outer world bombarded by new knowledge due to the advent of scientific advances and a technological revolution, and to an inner world now better understood by depth psychology and the recognition that there are anomalies of human experience that beg for new explanations?

Stoicism is a doctrine that declares that all existence is confined within the limits of the sensible universe. For the Stoics nothing passes unexplained--there is a reason for everything in nature.

This reason of things is an active force, "a spirit deeply infused," germinating and developing as from a seed in the heart of each separate thing that exists. What the Stoics called "God" was a long held philosophical principle (dating from Heraclitus and earlier philosophers); God was a fiery energy and the Logos diffused throughout the cosmos. And the law of nature is the material presence of God in the universe!

The Stoics considered that human nature was the universal on a small scale--a microcosm! "Each human soul is a fragment of the universal divine force..." Hence human beings have the potential ability *to know,* to ply the cosmos!

In the centuries before our own day, this coming *to know* mainly depended on rudimentary sensible observations and logic. The Stoic depended on what he considered his highest mental faculty: reason. Hence Stoics evolved their cosmology; which, though antiquated, strikes an uncanny resemblance to the New Cosmology of our own times. As for their ethics, they stressed living reasonably. Their famous motto was: "Live according to nature."

Ancient Stoicism provided spiritual comfort, showing the right course of how to live according to their views of creation. For the Stoics, the Logos and the Natural Order is One--a world soul in progress! Now, in light of modern knowledge, how are we to view Stoic principles today?

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