Since I wrote about the Stoics in my last piece, they seem to be popping up all over the place particularly in the Philosophy section of Medium.com. This a daily digest site with a platform for new and experienced writers to showcase their craft. One name that appears most frequently is that of Epictetus. He was a freed slave who studied Stoicism with the permission of his master, and gained his freedom after the death of Nero. not much is known about his life, other than that he lived a simple life according to the Stoic principles:
Epictetus taught that philosophy is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept calmly and dispassionately whatever happens. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. (Wikipedia)
It would appear, just from the above short extract, why people are talking about him. In our current political morass those in government and Parliament, on all sides and of all persuasions should exercise self-discipline when it comes to discourse. It is absolutely essential when choosing what language (i.e. words and terms) to use, self-control is paramount. The way our media operates should ensure that speakers act responsibly by not using inflammatory language, although it must be said that many politicians use the media for precisely the opposite – to add fuel to the fire! I would definitely point them in the direction of our friend Epictetus
This may seem like stating the obvious but, if , like many people you, dear Readers, are as shocked and disappointed at the behaviour of our politicians as I am, then I am sure you will agree that it needs to be said. The words of Epictetus, quoted above, say it most distinctly.
An ‘unlawful’ Prime Minister
I read over the weekend that Boris Johnson is considering making the Supreme Court a US style partisan affair. Judges would be selected by the government rather than the Monarch. This scares me more than anything else that is happening at the moment. The piece I read was a small paragraph in a sidebar, so as not to appear too important. But nothing would be more damaging to our democracy. In a country that has been one of the earliest and most stable of political systems for centuries and has no written constitution, the separation of powers is how it works. It is all based on the rule of law, of which the separation of the Judiciary from the Executive is key. If you want to destroy democracy in Britain that’s the way to do it!
The same sources can be used for for more information on the Stoics.