We are not what we do, but what we do does in many ways stem from what we are.
In Stoic philosophy the way of a reasonable life is foremost, and they value universal reason over human reason. They say that poor moral conduct is an error of ignorance, but they don’t define morality in a religious sense.
They do have a sort of dualistic view of the world, but it isn’t materialistic. They see passive matter, and then an active fort they call reason or fate, and feel that people need to adapt to the force of this “fate.” They don’t feel one can avoid evil, but they do say that you can be free even in evil circumstances. Essentially evil isn’t supernatural, it’s error. To Stoics, good is in nature and human nature.
I differ in that I see a stronger role in the morally indifferent which they do acknowledge also, and though I respect reason and the universal reason, I don’t see a lack of truth in the “passions.” There is a truth in the worlds madness also, and well… that madness won’t let me go, and no amount of my own virtue has relieved me of it. Strangely my connection to the madness seems to be what has preserved my “sanity.” This knowledge has changed me. It’s the cause for my anger, and my feelings of alienation. Deeper than knowledge, I feel it like a pulse. Humanity creates a serious disturbance. Part of me wants to ease suffering, another part wants to revel in it.
Three of those close to me have suffered broken bones. Coincidence? It was a consequence of their own views. Reactive, and that’s one of the things that Stoics delineate. Freedom and virtue from ignorance and vice. For the Stoics a “Sage” can make decisions without the “passions”, the reactionary behaviours that are not the same as emotions. People mistakenly believed they were anti-emotion, they weren’t. They were against what they described as the “destructive” emotions.
What are those destructive emotions? Oh, the obvious, hate and such. They don’t delve into them very much, and the Stoics practiced asceticism so basically there were Stoic monks. Like Buddhist monks though, they did not embrace the concepts behind the class system. Even if they allowed the roles to exist, they couldn’t as a group change Greek law.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.