"Emily. She had the idea that every type of friendship is not at all isolated; it is an enhance and build-on process."
"I found Isabella's opinion enlightening. She connects three kinds of friendships together and explains how these friendships can form a loop and essentially all kinds of friendships can have shared characteristics."
"I thought it was very interesting what Jaidyn said about relationships overlapping into multiple kinds of friendships."
"Sea said that if two people have mutual respect and love for each other, no matter the amount, they can have a friendship for the good."
Depiction of the agora in ancient Athens.
The Stoics: Background
Stoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium (c.334-c.262 BCE), who was a contemporary of Epicurus (along with the Chinese philosophers Zhuangzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi). Its name refers to the south colonnade (the Stoa Poikile ἡ ποικίλη στοά) of the agora, or public square in Athens, where it was shared publicly rather than in a private academy.
Despite its democratic origins, Stoicism eventually became most popular among educated elites in the Hellenistic (i.e. culturally Greek) world during the Roman Empire, which is the period that we have complete texts from, including Seneca (c.4 BCE–65 CE), Epictetus (c.55-135 CE), and Marcus Aurelius (121–180 CE).
Both Epictetus and Marcus (as a monarch, we refer to him by his first name on subsequent reference) were Romans, and lived within the orbit of the imperial court. And yet both were also Greek in their linguistic and cultural preferences.
Epictetus was a major influence on Marcus, the latter of which is probably as close to a "philosopher king" as Rome ever got.
Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius
How does Epictetus believe we ought to maximize happiness?
What is Marcus Aurelius's view on anger? Why? What might that mean about his view on other emotions?
What does Marcus believe about the multitude? Does that make him an elitist? If so, is that a bad thing? If not, why not?
How would you summarize Marcus's view on the human condition?
Introduce concept of "with the grain" and "against the grain" textual readings.
Practice evaluating these ideas: do you agree or disagree with the authors? Why?
Zero in on the part or parts you least agree with. Consider how you might find value in these perspectives.
What's one thing one of your peers said that you found enlightening? Please name the classmate who made the enlightening remark. The person you name may not be Emily, Isabella, Jaidyn, or Sea.