Home Curiosity Why does Stoicism matter in modern life?

Why does Stoicism matter in modern life?


Philosophy often gets a bad rep. A lot of people think of it as something quite boring, reserved for old dusty books and libraries – certainly not something that could be applicable to real life. This viewpoint is unfortunate and quite false. 

We all have our own philosophy, whether we like it or not – the difference is that while some famous philosophies are contrived and inapplicable to real life, our personal philosophies are invariably based on experience and truly dictate the way we operate in our daily existence.

There are, however, some ancient philosophies that deserve a renaissance. One of these is Stoicism, a philosophy that is highly relevant to modern ways of life.

What is Stoicism?

Stoicism is a Hellenistic philosophy that arose in Ancient Greece in the 3rd century BC, founded by the philosopher Zeno of Citium and arguably most associated with Marcus Aurelius

As a philosophy, it rests on the central tenet that you can achieve a long-lasting, durable internal tranquillity that cannot be shaken by external events. It centers around taking complete control of our internal lives, in order to ensure that our happiness cannot be shaken by changes in our material circumstances. 

Already, it should be becoming quite clear as to why Stoicism matters in modern life. 

It helps bring meaning to our lives

For many of us, the world seems to be increasingly void of meaning. The world around us appears more and more chaotic, with political and climatic turmoil ever present in the media. 

Stoicism can help us by providing a stable source of meaning to our lives – stable because that meaning comes from an internal source rather than the world around us. 

When our purpose is to achieve mastery of the self and our emotions, to persevere in the face of difficulty, and to increase our wisdom, it matters not what the world looks like around us – we become our own source of purpose, our own source of meaning.

It’s self-empowering

Unlike certain other philosophies and worldviews, an adoption of Stoic philosophy almost always leads to a powerful sense of self-empowerment. Stoicism persuades us to become the best person we possibly can, to realize our full potential; in a modern world that can often seem to encourage us to conform, limiting us when it comes to realizing our full capabilities, this kind of worldview can be both refreshing and empowering.

It promotes responsibility

Something that is lacking in today’s day and age is a sense of responsibility. Everything is someone else’s problem – nothing is our fault.

This way of looking at things leads to a societal circle of finger-pointing, with nothing being done to remedy our errors. 

Stoicism promotes a sense of responsibility – each of us is responsible for our own happiness, regardless of our material circumstances. 

While this can be hard to accept at first, in time it can have a powerful effect on the sense of control that you feel over your life’s trajectory and your personal happiness