The Stoic Renaissance | Fr. Joseph-Anthony Kress & Fr. Bonaventure Chapman

June 20, 2024

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Hi, I’m Father Joseph-Anthony Kress.

Fr. Bonaventure: This is Father Bonaventure Chapman. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And welcome to Godsplaining. Thank you to all of those who support us. And if you enjoy this episode, please consider making a monthly donation on our Patreon. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment to Godsplaining wherever you listen to your podcast. Fr. Bonaventure, welcome back to another episode.  

Fr. Bonaventure: I’m glad to be back.  

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yeah, it’s been a while, I think, a few. I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve been together on this. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yes, I think that’s true. When we have the three, the three friars things for the Lexios, for instance, we seem like we know each other, each other often, but I, yeah, we do, we don’t just manage to be ought to do maybe together, as far as I can tell, but maybe we do, and you just don’t know. No, it makes us in. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: I don’t know. I don’t know. Yeah. And this is, is this your first full academic year teaching?  

Fr. Bonaventure: It is, that’s right. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Okay, so we got the first year…in the books. Thoughts. Quick hitters, give me uh… 

Fr. Bonaventure: I love it, ya know? It’s nice to do something you love. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yeah. 

Fr. Bonaventure: I love teaching and I get to teach honors freshman. So they get the bright and chipper students and that’s great. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: You get to extinguish that flame that they come in with. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Stoke it. So I bring that to full, we full froth. Should I switch the metaphor to boiling things? But no, yeah, stoked that flame. And then I teach a philosophy of art class to juniors, and that’s the elective where it’s– they have to take it. The philosophy elective on top of their normal two philosophy core courses, if they’re not in honors. And I explained on the first day that you might be in here because you looked at the schedule and you said, well, I gotta take a philosophy. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Right, right. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Let’s see, philosophy of religion, no, not gonna do that, philosophy of God, not gonna do that, philosophy of language, no idea what that would be, philosophy of art, I like looking at art. And I said, so if you think this is like an art appreciation course you’re sadly mistaken, we’re not gonna be doing art here. It’s gonna be no paint. We are not even going to be really looking at art, we don’t care about that. We’re not going to be judging whether art is good or bad. Nope, this is an ontology course. This is a metaphysics of art. We’re looking at what the essence, what the concept of art is. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Okay. 

Fr. Bonaventure: So if you like math, this is good for you. So and I did this the first year and one student decided that she was there for something else maybe.  And then four others joined. So who new that metaphysics of art was actually a desirable thing. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yeah. 

Fr. Bonaventure: But it’s a delightful pairing of teaching some juniors and seniors, the upperclassmen, and some religious. And then also the upperclassmen, some religious, and then also the freshman. They’re very first class at C-Way, I teach that, and then get them into the Aristotle and philosophy through the year in ethics, politics, and logic. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: That’s awesome. I just keep thinking, if there was a lab portion to our philosophy of art, it should be just a bunch of like turkey drawings of hands 

Fr. Bonaventure: That’s it. Start there and go. You gotta start somewhere. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: But getting the, getting students looped into, you know, Aristotle and moving through the kind of, the whole kind of spectrum of philosophy, especially from the early end, the freshmen and things like that, you’re gonna cover everything, right? That’s part of the philosophical cover.

Fr. Bonaventure: I mean, everything in depth and everything in breath. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yes, exactly. 

Fr. Bonaventure: That’s a great idea. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And that’s kind of motivating this episode a little bit. And a little bit from my experience working with college students as well. I have noticed there’s been a rise in interest in philosophy. Which is great. I love that. 

Fr. Bonaventure: There is more leisure time today and such. So this is the good part, the world of AI and computers. And this is, we have more leisure time to think and read and all this. We don’t have to know cows every single day and plow the fields, but we can actually like just set the computers to do our things and then we can figure out what to do. And some people choose the life of the mind for that. That’s great. So I can see that. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And I think one of the things that I’ve seen is because of that interest of maybe there’s a set of guiding principles that I should live my life to. Maybe there’s something foundational… Maybe there’s something foundational through which that gives me direction, framework, something through which I can engage with the rest of my life. And one of the things that I’ve seen, there’s been this kind of renaissance or increased interest in the Stoics. And I’m seeing this particularly with like, frat bros and finance bros, some athletes, the quick quips from the Stoics of years past. There’s something that is really attractive to that demographic that they’re like.. there’s whole Instagram accounts and things that are just based on the Stoics. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yes. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And it’s really popular. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yes, I remember this a couple years ago when I was actually here with you and we were student brothers, and the Stoicism was becoming a philosophy of life. So the book’s by Stoic philosophers, historians of philosophy, and philosophers who taught about Stoicism, then putting it forth as actually a philosophy of life. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Right.

Fr. Bonaventure: ‘Cause you might teach certain philosophies and not think of them as philosophy of the lives. But this one, proposing like the good life according to stoicism is, I remember picking this book and thinking, wow. And it’s true that people do seem to glom onto this. Stoicism is coming back in a sense. It’s a bit like Athens and Sparta for the West and for us are just perennial sources of inspiration. And generally Athens is kind of a reasonable one, but then of course, I mean, with 300 came over that couple of years ago. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Oh, I remember when that came out. 

Fr. Bonaventure: There’s a sense of, yeah, Sparta always has this pull to us in the sort of, yeah, military, hunkered down kind of things, especially for men. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Do you remember that whole fad? It may still be there though like the tough modern, the Spartan races where like, you know, a group of accountants, the accounting team of whatever firm would be like, we’re gonna do a Spartan race to like, for team bonding, like they had that like attraction to it. 

Fr. Bonaventure: In a sense, Exodus nin-, these kind of, there’s always a sense of excellence in physical discipline and such. And that’s very much the Spartans have very much of the Stoics relate to the Spartans in the sense that they’re cutting both in the same cloth of this very disciplined marshal, but reasonable system. And of course, Stoicism is a bigger system than that, but Spartans have this tie into that. So it’s a perennial, I don’t want to say temptation because there’s much good in it, but it’s a perennial experience that people will go back to these, these fonts, other be from Aristotle and virtue ethics or Epicureans with the kind of pleasure sense or Stoics with the sense of virtue and reason. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: So let’s, let’s go dive into the Stoics, then. It’s like who are when we say the Stoics, like who are we talking about and what are the individuals that are kind of epitomized that title? 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah. So these are, so the Stoics initially, of course, they get their name from where they do their philosophy, where they stoicise. And you could say, so at the stoa, it was a particular porch in Greece. So a lot of the original schools were just gathered around a man, so like the academy with Plato, and then the Lyasseum with Aristotle, and they have students gathered around, and they’re really places. And the stoa was a particular porch or patio or something in Greece, and Zino is the first kind of stoic. You could say post-aristotelian, but very close. Very close. And then he has a number of followers who inherit the school, probably the most famous as Crecipius, who is an excellent logician. So Stoics have this three-fold sense of philosophy: the logic, ethics, and physics. And they were excellent at all of these things, but their logic, particularly stoic logic, is a little different than Aristotelian logic. And it’s much more like modern logic than Aristotle’s logic is. So that’s a thing. So Crecipius is one of the founders of you could say even modern logic. But then we often know the Stoics, not from their Greek versions. So from the BC time period, 300s and such, but from their Roman version, of course. But the Romans, of course, pick up, it’s marshal stuff. They pick up some of the Stoics, and we know them through largely Cicero, so deyoficius, would be popular. Seneca is also downstream of that. But of course, Epictetus might be the most approachable. He was a former slave and wrote a little handbook and I have it here. It’s very, very easy, very light, called The Enchiridion, and it’s by Epictetus, which is a great name for a child because it has dental fricatives in the middle there, t’s. – And so this is– 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Because that’s what every parent says they get about what they named their child. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It’s very– But it’s very pro–  If you want to know, Stoics, Epictetus is excellent on this. And then of course, the most famous you can say is Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations from 161 to 181. And he reigned, he writes these sort of stoic meditations downstream of Epictetus and Cicero. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: So on the historical side of things, just to make sure that we’re clear, on the Greek side of things, we’re placing the Stoics after Aristotle. 

Yeah, it’s exactly so, Socrates, Plato, with Academy, Aristotle, Lysium, and then you called the Hellenistic period, which is just post-Aristotle and you have the schools of the Epicureans and then you have the school of the Stoics. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Okay. 

Fr. Bonaventure: There’s other ones there, but they’re the main players just after, so we don’t say not too far, but they’re all responding to Aristotle and others, but they’re their own Greek schools. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And then the Romans kind of picked this up a little later.

Fr. Bonaventure: Very similar to, I mean, they’re just, they’re bringing the Romans sense to it, so it’s in the big differences of, they’re writing Latin. And Cicero, of course, many people, Tully, read him as the Latin classic. So Thomas Aquinas is very much influenced by Dia Fiches, and this is just a classic text. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: So as we understand, okay, now we know who we’re talking about, but you mentioned these three big categories that the Stoics are just like experts in. Can you break those down, let’s look at, see why and how they focused on those three. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, and before even analyzing, what we have, we might as well synthesize initially in that for them, I say there are three things of philosophy, which is based on the logos and reason, but actually for the Stoics, in should have their three sides of the same triangular coin. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: (laughs) 

Fr. Bonaventure: So logic and physics and reason, I’m sorry, reason in a sense breaks into three parts. Logic, which is the purely formal matter, and then two material matters. One to deal with physics in the material world into three parts, logic, which is the purely formal matter. And then two material matters. One to deal with physics in the material world, you could say, things that happen by determinate causes. And then this other one is ethics. And that’s to deal with humans in reason. So you can think of it like matter and reason, humans in reason, and then reason on reason. So the stoic system is intertwined, it doesn’t have the kind of dualisms that we might be familiar with today, but theoretical and practical philosophy, the reason sort of thing. It actually is very united in that they’re all forms and different sides, you could say, of just reason, the logos. They believe very, very strongly in the rationality of the world. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yes. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Such that everything makes sense. That means that in logic, your job is to know how reason works, to coordinate and agree yourself with reason, the qua reason, you’re thinking process to get it right, logically, they’re very tight about that. But then the two other ones, the physics and the ethics, those are actually a combination such that you as a human meet the physical world. And that’s governed by reason and you ought to be governed by reason. And so your job is to get into agreement and harmony with the reason that is in the world of the causes and you in your will. So it’s a unification there. The ethical project is in a sense to live in agreement with nature. Not in the sense of like plants and cannabis and all this, but nature, quality, rationality. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Right. And I think that’s one of the things I’ve like, why this continues to come back to be in like, oh, this is a form of life. It helps to helps you to understand existence, reality, that there’s an ordering to this that I can engage with, I can understand I can be a part of. Right? So it helps just to understand the reality that we are a part of. And it gives a certain kind of engagement and understanding of that, there is order to it of itself. And I need to investigate that. And like you said, so importantly, to be in harmony with that. But at the same time, it’s like, this is also not just like the pure investigative side of like, I need to understand it. But this entire thing is ultimately aimed at the flourishing of the person. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, I need to, as I bring myself into obedience with reason, I will find myself in a sense flourishing more. Although we’ll have to nuance that. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yeah, exactly. 

Fr. Bonaventure: That’s an Aristotelian way of saying this. And then I get the same kind of business. But I think there are perennially with rational beings if we’re anyone who’s intelligent and reflective, this is a human trait that you have attention between knowing that stuff should make sense and yet stuff not always making sense. The most basic forms. At any given, any philosophy that’s worth its salt is going to have some way of grasping both the fact that things seem to make sense in some way. And yet at the same time, there are parts that don’t make sense and trying to make sense of the senseless with this. And stoicism, I think why it’s perennially popular is because it does give you a way of understanding the senselessness while not making everything senseless. So it’s a matter of, a matter of reconciling the tension of reason and unreason. And that’s a, so any philosophy that can get at that fundamental tension to the human person, uh, to be successful in propagating over and over and keep returning because we again find in our experience that stuff should make more sense than it does. Yeah. Maybe that’s the fundamental experience that stuff should make more sense than it does. And you’ve got to have an account, or you want them an account that will explain both why it should make sense and why it doesn’t always make sense. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And I think out of those three areas and the kind of push to understand and give reference– 

Fr. Bonaventure: Reconcile. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Yeah, reconcile a living harmony with that. The thing that probably is the most both accessible and attractive to most people are the teachings, the understandings with respect to persons dealing with persons, the ethics side of the world, right? That’s going to be the one that kind of captivates and gives you the most clarity insight on that. 

Fr. Bonaventure: And that’s what people are probably caring about anyway. Very few people are interested in Stoic, well, many people are interested in Stoic logic because we’ve just, but that’s just logic now. So it’s so good. Very few people are interested in stoic physics. But stoic ethics is something that, when Pilemus says I’m interested in stoicism, they mean ethics. So maybe that’s a good point to turn to that, I suppose. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And that’s people’s first encounter with it. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Marcus Aurelius is generally doing ethical principles. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Exactly. And then that’s where the quotations and things are kind of short and quippy and things like that and grab your attention, but it’s mostly the ethical side of things, where persons are dealing with persons. So in that understanding, but let’s talk a little bit about like in our terminology when we talked about kind of the flourishing side of it, but like what is happiness with respect to that? Because we talked about like this is a framework, a way of living that is ordered towards flourishing, which is, you know, not necessarily that terminology, but it encapsulates that, which means it wants people to be happy. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yes, that’s true. Exactly. And it’s happiness. Aristotle starts to make ethics for the sense that everyone, we’re always, we’re looking for some universal good. Everyone says that’s happiness, but what they don’t say is, what that they don’t all agree what it means.And that’s good. But everyone agrees that you ought to be happy. With stoicism, I would say first off, it’s not so much happiness in the earth’s two incense, but rather peace of mind is the key. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Okay. 

Fr. Bonaventure: So there’s a sort of stability, which is for them, happiness consists, not in so far, in so much as activity, which would be more a Aristotchian sense of flourishing and acting, in a way that we think of God as being happy because he’s pure act and all of this. But the Stoics have much more a sense of passivity that happiness lies with becoming peaceful with other things acting, so if I could just so the first line of Epictetus, The Handbook gets this nice and I think it’s a nice quip for everybody, says: “Some things are up to us and some are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us and our impulses desires a versions in short whatever is our doing our bodies are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions, in short, whatever is our doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, our public offices, or that is whatever is not our own doing. The things that are up to us are by nature free, unhindered and unimpeded. The things that are not up to us are weak, enslaved, hindered, and not our own.” And so all of a sudden you have this binary set, that says the things that are up to me are really the mental products, like my mental life, how I interpret, take, respond to things mentally. What’s not up to me is anything that has to do with physical matter. Now that’s not just the stars and the sun and such, but actually it’s like what happens to my body. So it’s a sense in which, while I said there wasn’t the dualism that you might find in other things, there is a stark sense as well because I think dualism is again a perennial issue that we have to this West deal with that you are not the sole arbiter and agent of all in the world. Rather for the stoic, your job is to harmonize yourself and accept the fate of the universe and even your own fate. You have control over your mental properties, you could say, your desires, what you think, what you kind of want in some way, even that, though is a little influenced. And then how you interpret things. But what happens to you, your daily life even, the situations in your life around the world, everything from politics to tsunamis to natural disasters, you have no say over that. And this is one of the Stoics points, one of the points of the Stoics is to kind of like draw yourself, you know, get a hold of yourself. And remember, don’t confuse the things that are not up to you as being up to you because then you will find them frustrated and you will lose peace of mind. Peace of mind is saying, I have a basket of things that are not up to me and I have nothing to do with those and so I just get rid of them and I have a bunch of things that are up to me and when they’re up to me, they are totally up to me. So for instance, if there’s a great tragedy, like I lose a child or someone else loses a child, or something happens, you know, I sustain a great injury, I lose a job or some, none of that stuff is up to me. The thing that’s up to me is whether I choose to accept it or reject it. And there’s no… the only reason I would do that is because either I wanted to be peaceful or not peaceful. So you have this, which I think is why it’s so attractive, especially today, is when things feel out of control, when things in our lives seem to be just fate or it’s too big for us, politically or whatever, the Stoic says, don’t worry, here’s a way to still be happy amidst your inability to deal with things. So it’s not as much happiness and sense of Aristotilian flourishing, but rather happiness in a sort of resignation and a peace of mind to that, because according to a Stoic, so many things which are not up to us. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And I think that’s, I see two things and maybe we’ll get into this a little later, but that whole concept of, okay, the things that are up to me are entirely up to me. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, that’s right. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: So how does that not quickly devolve into like relativism? 

Fr. Bonaventure: Well, that’s, I mean, in a sense, relativism means that I get to choose what counts in the external stuff. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Okay, so yeah, that’s it. 

Fr. Bonaventure: You could have relativism is like an external everything’s up to me, right? In terms of I can decide whatever. Where’s a stoic is, you could say is the antithesis of relativism…

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Okay, that’s awesome.

Fr. Bonaventure: …because literally nothing is up to you in the external. You don’t get to decide what you’re at this or this or this. You’re, you and these up to you is whether you are happy with what is not up to whether you choose to accept it as something good or bad. In some ways, there’s an immense freedom in stoicism because what’s up to you floats free of everything physical. So literally nothing for a stoic, right, could make you unhappy except you. This is an Aristotle knows this, this thought and he rejects it really mentally because for Aristotle, he thinks, and he thinks if anyone says that you can be happy while suffering, they’re insane. He just thinks it’s unintelligent because people, Aristotle thinks that you can’t really be happy and flourishing unless you have some kind of material for flourishing, whether it’s your own life and control, whether it’s external goods, but you have to have something has to go be going well outside of you. You can’t just wall off and say no matter what’s happening outside of me, whether I’m burnt or being stabbed or I’ve lost my entire family or everything’s on fire, the Stoic says there is still possibility and actually the only thing that’s keeping you from being happy in this situation is you. Whereas for Aristotle, that’s nuts. The things keeping you from being happy is the fact that you aren’t flourishing, your arms are being ripped off and your house is on fire. And no one can be happy when that’s occurring. But for a stoic, because you have this, you have this way of stepping back from all the physical, that’s the physics, not the ethics. And they’re not, even the related in the reasonable passion section. They’re not related on the physical because this ethics is not the physics. So you have this big, big divide in that. So that’s, that’s a massive divide between Aristotelian accounts and the physics. No. So you have this big, big divide in that. So that’s, that’s a massive divide between Aristotleian accounts and the stoic account. But you can see why today, when you have also the sense of dominant, regnant, materialism, right? So in Aristotle’s time, you don’t worry about determinism so much. Whereas today, I mean, just recently, this, uh, Spolowski, a professor, um, producer book on, “There’s No Free Will,” and all this is standard stuff, you know, in this term, evidence determined, according to laws of nature, blah, blah, blah. And the Stoic has an ability to say, sure, whatever. I’ll give it all to you. We can be, I can be a scientific as possible. I can, you know, I don’t have to go weak at the knees and say, well, there’s some things that aren’t determined. No, I can, I can say everything is before determined. And that doesn’t bother me because that’s the physics. My own internal attitudes now you might say, well, what about those? But they’ve got this, you know, stark, divide between them. I float free of that. I can choose no matter what is happening to myself outside. I can still be happy in this way. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: So we talked a little bit about the difference between Stoics and Aristotelian thought. And I’m sure there’s a lot more to actually really uncover, but you mentioned Epocharian earlier, and that’s the other kind of prevailing tension with the Stoics. So can you make some differentiations there with that? 

Fr. Bonaventure: That’s good to situate with our audience. I suppose, Aristotle’s the man in the mean. And in some ways, that’s a shame because there’s something that you shouldn’t be in the middle about. But Aristotle is, you know, almost always in the middle, occasionally he says no murder, no divorce, no murder, no adultery, and no thievery. He’s got an absolute proposition. It’s unclear why he should have those, ’cause he should be entitled to them, but that’s a side point. The key point is that Aristotle, you could think of me standing between the Aristotle kind of virtue, which Thomas picks up, of course. He stands between these two post-hellenic, these two Hellenic responses, post-Aristotelian schools. One, of course, Stoics where it’s reason is in a sense the governor of the good life. And the emotions and the passions and the physical doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. They happen. But yeah, but the only reason they matter is because you make a matter. Whereas on the other side, you have the Epicurians, which they kind of hedonist school, where it pleasure kind of, and you can make this accrued version of just kind of sense pleasure, or you can make it a more refined version of like a rational pleasure in a way. But the Epicureans have the sense that, you know, that pleasure is what drives it. And so your reason is downstream of that. You see this again in say, Hume and the empiricist. This is a very kind of physical notion, utilitarianism has this kind of sense that British love this kind of thing. Whereas you could say the Stoics had out to Germany, the Stoics of the Germans pick up on this, the British, they like matter and purestism and all of this senses. So they pick up on that. So they’re more, they think the Stoics are also nuts because they’re even, no, Stoics are even worse than Aristotle, because for an Epicurean, all you have is sensible pleasures. Aristotle, it’s reason related to the pleasures. That’s what virtue is about is drawing the pleasures up into reason and conforming them. Stokes just reason, really pleasures aren’t that important. And the Epicureans, the Stoics are the worst in the world because they, they deny anything that actually matters. It’s not like halfway with Aristotle. So, and the, and hedonism is of course, pleasure principles, something that’s always, always because pleasure is attractive given our sensible nature. But the stoicism one shows up and I think the reason why stoicism shows up more often and more commonly is because it’s so starkly contrasting to our general thing. And you’ve got to take as a stoic, you kind of man up a bit, you could say, and you have a sort of harsh retruth and facts, ya know, and facts don’t have feelings. That kind of thing. So it stands out a little, that procuring is everyone kind of like pleasure anyway, whereas freedom from all pleasures that requires you to give an explanation or at least an excitement. So Aristotle’s between these two. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: It’s funny because even though Stoics are about like, okay, you have absolute control over the interior aspects of things, but the physics and the things that are outside of your controller, totally outside of your control. I think we, once again, get it back to some of the things that we talked about at the very beginning, it’s like, okay, well, why is this like becoming more and more attractive right now? Why is it getting more traction? I think that, you know, there is this extreme emphasis in the Epicurean school of the senses and the hedonist experiences. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Push again, you know, we go one side, you swing to the other. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Exactly. But the emphasis on Stoics, or like almost presenting a little bit of a facade with the Stokes is like, okay, we’re gonna go from the utter dependency on the pleasures. And now we’re gonna have total utter control over yourself. And it’s like, well, it’s not just like the full control, like I’m gonna assert my utter control over all these things. Like there is that understanding that there’s a lot that’s outside of your control within the Stoics, but people become really dissatisfied and kind of exhausted with a hedonist thing and The Stoics present this completely opposite experience and it seems like those Stoics are like just the uber disciplined control freaks that it’s like what I don’t have in the hedonist life, so I’m gonna pursue that with all I have and go from one side to the other one I’m going to sing to the other you know.

Fr. Bonaventure: You think that it’s both, both have a sense of letting myself go. Hedonists, are like ah I really let myself go there. And then the Stoics like, just let yourself go. Just let it let all of it go. You just you focus on interior peace. I think there’s and I think there are the dangers of the Stoicism, of course, is a sense of fatalism. And it’s how it kind of slides into that wealth. Nothing is how much that that part that’s up to me gets smaller and smaller. And so, like is it anything up to me? Even my desire is my thoughts and all of that? Like how do you bankroll that? And it is exhausting to realize and always force yourself to believe certain things you could say against the senses. So disconnect between the senses and such This is of course. I’m sure there’s a stoic person. Well, you’re making those easy target fine to make a big broad brush strokes here 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Right, yeah, that’s a 30 minute episode. We’re gonna try to do a lot here.

Fr. Bonaventure: So say that there the dangers are a fatalism, and they just doesn’t have a…especially and for the from the Catholic perspective, the Christian perspective, your bodies matter, so it’s they’re created good and they have this relation. So we want to be attentive to that. Jesus brings a lot of wine to a wedding. Instead of when they say, we’re out of wine, He says, you could be happy no matter what, whether poor, which doesn’t matter. But then again, the motifs of stoicism are helpful in taking up and Christianity largely through St. Paul, although Jesus of course, Paul talks about you often hear kind of stoic refrains. I can be happy in much, in less, in shipwrecks, what have you. He has this sort of sense of whatever’s happening physically to me, I can still find happiness, but it’s from a different perspective, I would say, in that it’s not rooted in some sort of deep kind of fatallism that says, whatever’s not my fault, but that the producer of the external in a sense, the, the physical is God who loves him. And so he’s happy regardless of a situations, not because he could do nothing about it. It’s just the nature of things, but because it’s a nature and a that’s a providence. And therefore he’s happy because he knows that the Lord will attempt him beyond he can endure this kind of thing. So it’s it’s although on the surface, many people say, Oh, Paul’s got the stoic influence on this. Yes, but he’s just like Aristotle takes up the passions by reason. Paul has taken up the stoic insight, which is good that you can be happy even in suffering but he is re-tooled it in providential,  personal relationship. The stoics… logos is logos. What was for Paul? Logos has a face. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: And there’s a certain kind of redemption in that, where like yeah, maybe some stoic understandings and things are taken up by Paul, but they are never outside that relationship that he has with Jesus. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, it has to be, it has to be…

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: It’s always a pre-allowing Christ who is the light himself to illuminate that in those ways. And with that kind of understanding, like, as we kind of wrap things up, like, there’s always going to be with these kind of perennial things, whether they’re, you know, pre-Christian, post-Christian, or things like that. There’s going to be some, some truths in the midst of it, some pros and cons and stuff like that. What would you say would be this renewed interest of maybe some of our listeners who are like, they find these Instagram accounts of daily Marcus Aurelius or whatever it is. And they’re like, yes, this resonates with me. Like, what are the goods there that is like, yes, this is a pro? 

Fr. Bonaventure: I mean, I think it’s, I think really is the sense of that we need not worry about what we’ll to wear the next day, how we’ll be clothed, what we need not worry about the things that we have no control. There are some things we’re not going to draw, we’re not worried about those things. So the sense of not being anxious, but going for a piece of mind, sort of the, but that that piece of mind is the mind of Christ. I mean, so that He is in a sense, He is a stoic in the best sense that He’s the, He’s the person who is not bothered by the storm around Him, you know, on the water. He’s not bothered by the crowds. He has control of his emotions, and he knows His Father’s Will, and that that’s what we are to embrace. So the pros are, that we need not be worried about what will happen to us tomorrow, that there’s a sense in which we are protected and we have control of what matters is our love. It’s really, that’s what matters. Regardless, the situation is what we do with our heart and how we see a situation in the light of Christ, but that’s specifically it. It’s the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding and knowledge, not the peace of mind because of a deterministic and fatalistic kind of physics. So I’d say, if you find people who are interested in stoicism, as with many things, you say, right on. But let’s let me introduce you to the very best of the stoic of philosophers. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Jesus.

Fr. Bonaventure: The logos Himself. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Right. Right. And what’s the biggest risk, do you think? 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, I think the biggest risk is to deny the relationship with the passions, to feel that nothing really matters in my life. And that I’m just I’m just a quietist and I’m resigned and that happiness and joy are entirely something up to my own mindset. It’s a denial of our, I think it’s a denial of human nature, fundamental way. And the fact that God says this, you created all things good and that Christ multiplies wine at a wedding because he wants people to not just be happy in a state of mind, but to feel happy in their bodies and their flesh. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Awesome. Awesome. So let’s all pursue the great stoic, Jesus Christ, the one who was able to integrate the logos and His passions and all that is by taking on our own humanity and the incarnation. So we’re going to end up with that, Jesus is Lord. So thank you to all of our listeners. We really appreciate it. And you can follow us on all the social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, X, Google+, is that still a thing? Anyway, Instagram. And we really enjoy the engagements there. So please follow us on those platforms, like, comment, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you are listening to this podcast. If you’d like to donate to the podcast, please do so through our Patreon and follow the link in the description or the show notes of this episode. Also, in that link, the show notes or description, you can find information about upcoming Godsplaining events, one of which is our upcoming Men’s Retreat, which will be in North Carolina, Brevard, North Carolina, this upcoming August. So that’ll be for men that are in a certain age range. I think it’s like, I don’t know what it is, 21 to 35, 40, something like that. The information’s on the website. Check it out there. I do know Father Bonaventure and Father Patrick will be leading that retreat. So they’re excited about it. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Maybe we should do stoicism.

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Real stoicism. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Real stoicism. 

Fr. Joseph-Anthony: Because from ends, yeah. A men’s retreat. Possible theme for the retreat. Stay tuned and check out those information. You can also follow the link to our website for Godsplaining merchandise and to get more information about anything else that we are doing. Thank you so much for listening and God bless you.