STOICISM IN THE ERA OF WOKE CULTURE
We currently live in a culture that emboldens angry ideologues who want to force compliance and bastardizes the intellect that serves to uncover truth.
Society has become obsessed with identifying and singling out the “other” – the ones who make us feel like we are on the most virtuous path – the ones who appear the most alien to our own social identities, because our way of “being” is the correct way – the moral way – and they are the insignificant “other”.
There is no real merit in praising one’s self for dividing humanity into groups of value and groups of social subordinates. Allowing yourself to bask in the praise of kindred allies who already agree with you is purely masturbatory. In other words: quit jacking off!
There is no better time in modern history to adopt the stoic principles of calmness, presence, and resilience in a culture of increasingly polarized chaos, anxiety, and confusion. As a man, your intrinsic principles will be challenged, dismissed, and met with hostility – GOOD. The ability to engage in meaningful dialogue is the reason there are 8 billion people scattered across the earth and somehow, we aren’t all slaughtering each other.
You will be forced to have discourse with toxic people who believe that your manhood alone has granted you sufficient advantages, therefore your point of view shall be deemed banal. It is the reality of living in a culture as diverse as ours – conflict is inevitable when our civilization is no longer mediated by social trust. When the theory of intention has been wholly discarded, and you are challenged by a man or woman’s demand for compliance, how do you navigate a firestorm while maintaining a state of noble refinement?
The Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius clarifies how to assert yourself in the face of high-handedness in this quote from ‘Meditations’:
“Objective judgement, now, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now, at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.”
Do not underestimate the power of indifference. This does not mean to accept things as they are and retreat, or resort to apathy. What it means is to accept objectively the state of which the way things are and adjust your own actions to embrace the things that you cannot control. If you are conscious of how your emotions manifest when met with hostility, you can be confident that you are expressing yourself in a manner that declares pride and dignity.
Those that attempt to climb the dominance hierarchy by tearing it down and stacking bodies may be skilled in creating chaos. But once the dust has cleared and all of the powers stripped from the “privileged”, who amongst the overtly oppressed gets to claim their empire of dirt? Who among the downtrodden inherits the power to demonstrate how we ought to orient our lives? Woke culture is no more than a snake eating its own tail. A game of winners and losers – where nobody understands the rules.
You do not make society safer by idealizing fragility. You make society safer by teaching bravery and fortitude. The truth matters – and the truth is that notions of moral superiority are neither moral nor superior. To conclude this sentiment, I will leave you with this:
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche