According to Google, Stoicism means:

"The endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint."

So does it mean that amid most difficult circumstances where there are hurt and suffering one has to be passive, and so should forgive them and absorb the pain as a stoic? Did Zeno mean exactly that?

  • 1
    Stoicism with a big 'S' simply does not mean that. Any more than 'Cyncism' with a big 'C' means what 'cynicism' has come to mean... Stoicism is rooted in not questioning nature, or rather, questioning all other things before nature, including your own feelings. Superficially, this means you don't quickly or intensely react against things that naturally occur. But that is not the point. It is just a noticeable aspect. Jun 7 at 21:01

First and most importantly, compare the differences between the definitions of the words 'stoical' and 'Kantian' as provided by the Oxford dictionary:

stoical - Enduring pain and hardship without showing one's feelings or complaining.
Kantian - Relating to or consistent with the works of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Both the etymology and definition of the word 'Kantian' is derived from the name Kant. In contrast, the word 'stoical' is only related to Stoicism etymologically. In other words, the meaning of the English word 'stoical' is unrelated to the philosophical school of Stoicism. At best, 'stoical' refers to what someone may think Stoicism is about after an extremely superficial reading. If you want to know more about how the word 'stoical' came to have such an unrelated definition, you should go to the History Stack Exchange site and ask how public perception of Stoicism shifted over the millennia until it became flanderized.

Now to actually answer your question, we simply need to turn to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Once a human being has developed reason, his function is to perform “appropriate acts” or “proper functions.” The Stoics defined an appropriate act as “that which reason persuades one to do” or “that which when done admits of reasonable justification.” Maintaining one’s health is given as an example.

  • Does that mean whatever suffering or pain is attributed toward me as a Stoic I have to be composed and absorb it?
    – user34484
    Jun 6 at 15:52
  • If you conclude through reason that you should reduce the pain you currently suffering, then a Stoic would say you should do actions that decrease your suffering.
    – E Tam
    Jun 7 at 0:12

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