Having listened to the Meditations audiobook on YouTube, and having watched Professor Michael Sugrue's lecture on Marcus Aurelius - it seems to me, the essence of Stoicism is: to accept what is, as it is - dispassionately, whilst also maintaining the inner-rational-self regardless of external conditions or circumstances - and whilst also committing to doing the right-thing (common good), morally, ethically, lawfully...

Importantly, in my attempt to understand the essence of Stoicism, I've also discovered numerous YouTube content and articles... claiming Stoicism is concerned with operating effectively within high-stress environments - for example, in business, in the military... Some also highlight Stoicism as a model for self-improvement.

Considering Stoicism by comparing Classical and Modern context, is complex - therefore, my question is this: is it possible to demonstrate the essence of Stoicism with modern-day examples? Individuals?

I must say - I am not seeking an opinion. I am looking to identify individuals, from past and present - who embody Stoicism to whatever degree. This does present an additional question: can we apply some objective method to determine when something is, or is not - Stoicism, according to this philosophy - from Zeno of Citium through to Epictetus.


I've thought at great length about this, and I can think of only two individuals: Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela.


Part of the problem is that you'd first need to establish that this person is living in according to Stoic values, and then actually get them on record admitting that that was the genesis of their actions. Looking back further into history seems to makes it easier to identify people who lived - or at least appeared to, according to how their life is portrayed - in line with a specific ideal. I'm sure you can find some, but it will help if you are more specific about whether you are looking for people who embody Stoic ideals at some period in their lives (easier) or those who were specifically setting out to follow it specifically (more restrictive).

To actually answer your question, probably the most commonly-cited example of a modern person making use of a Stoic perspective is US pilot James Stockdale, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for a number of years, and is on record having said that his studies of Stoicism were very useful to him in that time. A good way to find more cases like this might be to read introductory pop-philosophy books on Stoicism, which will likely use as many real-world examples as the author could google in order to reinforce whatever their point may be.

A number of very prominent people (US Presidents, etc.) have also spoken about the usefulness of reading the classical stoics, though in most cases this is just the Meditations, and becomes less relevant as one would generally have to do a lot of cherry-picking to argue that they actually embodied those concepts.

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