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The ethical tradition of thought

Should we suffer in silence, or quietly and with dignity, share our thoughts with others?

By Novel AllenPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
Stoic Mind

Is the ethical matter of thought and sharing deeply entrenched and coded into our psyche. Whether or not to compromise our individual identity by confiding in others, versus locking our minds shut against possible bias and unsavory repercussions of negativity.

Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης; c. 470–399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and among the first moral philosophers of the ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, Socrates authored no texts and is known mainly through the posthumous accounts of classical writers, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. These accounts are written as dialogues, in which Socrates and his interlocutors examine a subject in the style of question and answer; they gave rise to the Socratic dialogue literary genre. Contradictory accounts of Socrates make a reconstruction of his philosophy nearly impossible, a situation known as the Socratic problem. Socrates was a polarizing figure in Athenian society. In 399 BC, he was accused of impiety and corrupting the youth. After a trial that lasted a day, he was sentenced to death. He spent his last day in prison, refusing offers to help him escape. (Wiki).

How do our actions define us, and how do they affect other people's opinions of us. I struggle with the dilemma of what is appropriate for me to impart to those close to me. Do I heap my troubles upon their already weighted shoulders, or do I tightly lock them away inside myself and suffer quietly and alone. What are the moral and ethical paths which I should base my decisions upon.

Ethics or moral philosophy, is the branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior". What are the aesthetic concerns and matters of value to my way of thinking and sharing my thoughts and ideas.

Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual inquiry, moral philosophy is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory.

Three major recognized areas of study within ethics today are:

Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined.

Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action.

Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action.


The Stoic philosopher Epictetus posited that the greatest good was contentment and serenity. Peace of mind, or apatheia, was of the highest value; self-mastery over one's desires and emotions leads to spiritual peace. The "unconquerable will" is central to this philosophy. The individual's will should be independent and inviolate. Allowing a person to disturb the mental equilibrium is, in essence, offering yourself in slavery. If a person is free to anger you at will, you have no control over your internal world, and therefore no freedom. Freedom from material attachments is also necessary. If a thing breaks, the person should not be upset, but realize it was a thing that could break. Similarly, if someone should die, those close to them should hold to their serenity because the loved one was made of flesh and blood destined to death.

Stoic philosophy says to accept things that cannot be changed, resigning oneself to the existence and enduring in a rational fashion. Death is not feared. People do not "lose" their life, but instead "return", for they are returning to God (who initially gave what the person is as a person). Epictetus said difficult problems in life should not be avoided, but rather embraced. They are spiritual exercises needed for the health of the spirit, just as physical exercise is required for the health of the body. He also stated that sex and sexual desire are to be avoided as the greatest threat to the integrity and equilibrium of a man's mind. Abstinence is highly desirable. Epictetus said remaining abstinent in the face of temptation was a victory for which a man could be proud.

I am with Epictetus on the matter of peace of mind, love and its many emotional inconstancies, roller coasters, fluctuations and fickleness, is the most unpredictably unstable facet of the human interactions. The mind is most at peace when matters of love and the heart are separated from the equation of life.

To this end, the matter of sharing and how it affects one's sense of identity, I believe, is purely up to the individual and the person, persons or groups which they feel is most open to intelligently dissect and accept the individual, their concepts, ideas and thoughts. Choosing one's niche is the best way forward to defining our accepted choice of identity.

Keeping an open mind to the opinions of others is also a wise avenue to ponder.



About the Creator

Novel Allen

Every new day is a blank slate. Write something new.

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Comments (9)

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  • Alison McBain3 months ago

    It always seems like it is hard to know exactly how to share, what to share, how much to share, and each unique situation dictates the balance. Thank you for this thoughtful piece.

  • Grz Colm3 months ago

    I think sharing is good, but it depends when it is and what their initial understanding is of such matters..sometimes timing is key. I use to love philosophy too and did a little a Uni many moons ago now. 😊 great relaxation music too. I play similar ones on you tube for sleep or sometimes personal meditation. ☺️

  • I didn't know Socrates was sentenced to death! That's so sad! 😭😭😭😭😭😭 I agree with Epictetus regarding the peace of mind and sexual desires. I'm a celibate by choice. However, to accept things that cannot be changed, that I have a lot of difficulty with. So my solution to this is, is something can change, then I don't want it because I don't wanna deal with the changes. Lol

  • But what if I find this music irritating? Well written article.

  • Well written and great research. My philosophy on life, and thoughts, and communicating is to simplify it. I try not to put too much overthinking into situations. Pretty much if I feel like I need to talk with somebody about an issue then I get on the phone with a friend and I talk. If I feel like something needs to stay with me then it stays with me. But I never let myself suffer in silence. Because if I am suffering because I'm being silent then that means I need to let it out somehow. But first and foremost simplification of life is most important.

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Your writing is truly commendable, my dear. It's a masterpiece!

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    Interesting, but it seems the stoics feel we cannot both feel deeply and be masters of our responding.

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Novel, this is a wonderful and interesting article and superbly written!!! Loving it!!!💕❤️❤️

  • KJ Aartila3 months ago

    This is so interesting to me - probably because I'm quite comfortable sharing a lot of thoughts - maybe I should rethink that - I probably won't, as I wish candidness was much more common. ;) Thank you so much for sharing this!

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