The following is a guest post from Enda Harte.
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According to Nature
The goal of life is to live in agreement with nature.Zeno of Citium
The idea of “living according to nature” is at the core of Stoic thought and practice. Living in accordance with nature, as advocated by the Stoics, is not just about accepting the natural order of things. It is about actively striving to understand and align ourselves with it. They believed that by understanding the natural laws that govern the universe, we could lead a life that is in harmony with nature.
One of the key tenets of Stoic philosophy is that we should strive to align our own will with the will of the universe, or nature. If we follow the concept of “oikeiôsis,” which means “identification” or “appropriation”. This refers to the process of identifying with the natural order of things and understanding our place in the world. By understanding our place in the world, we can align our actions and thoughts with the natural order of things.
This means we should accept and embrace the natural order of things, rather than resisting or fighting against it. The Stoics believed that by living in harmony with nature, we could, in essence, achieve a sense of tranquillity and peace.
Acting Upon it
One of the ways to live in harmony with nature is to practice virtue. The Stoics believed that virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice, and self-control were essential for pursuing a virtuous life. By cultivating these virtues, we can align our actions and thoughts with the natural order of things.
Another way to live in accordance with nature, is to practice mindfulness and focus on the present moment. The Stoics believed that by paying attention to the present moment and not getting caught up in regrets about the past or worries about the future, we can find peace and contentment.
Good are the following sorts of items: wisdom, moderation, justice, courage and that is virtue or participates in virtue. Bad are the following sorts of items: folly, intemperance, injustice, cowardice, and all that is vice or participates in vice.Stobaeus
The Stoics also believed in the importance of self-control, or the ability to regulate our own thoughts, feelings and actions. This means being able to detach oneself from negative emotions like fear, anger or grief, and to focus on the present moment. In addition to these practices, the Stoics also believed in the importance of self-discipline, or the ability to control our own thoughts and emotions.
By cultivating self-discipline, we can in theory, detach ourselves from negative emotions and focus on what this principle means. Stoicism throughout the ages also emphasized the importance of living a simple life, free from excess and luxury. They believed that by living a simple life, we could focus on what is truly important and find inner peace.
Living in accordance with nature also means accepting the natural cycle of life and death. The Stoics believed that everything in life is fleeting, and that we should not cling to material possessions or status. Instead, we should strive to live a simple and virtuous life. It is worth noting that living in accordance with nature doesn’t mean being passive and accepting everything that happens to us.
If you regard your last day not as a punishment but as a law of nature, the breast from which you have banished the dread of death no fear will dare to enter.Seneca the Younger
The Stoics believed that we should use reason and virtue to actively improve ourselves and the world around us. It’s critical to understand that nature is not always kind. Therefore, living in accordance with nature doesn’t mean having a life without challenges, but facing them head-on with wisdom, courage and equanimity.
Overall, the Stoic principle of living in accordance with nature is about actively striving to understand and align ourselves with the natural order of things through reason, virtue, mindfulness, simplicity, and self-discipline. By living in accordance with nature, we can hope to find inner peace, contentment, and fulfillment.