Love, kindness, … and Stoicism?

Figs in Winter
9 min readJun 12, 2024

A reader asks what’s the relevance of Stoic philosophy to central aspects of our life. Here’s the answer

Love (upper left), kindness (upper right), and Stoicism (bottom).

Darin wrote: I’m a subscriber at Figs in Winter, and am looking forward to the discussions about New Stoicism. When I mention Stoicism to people as a life philosophy and a way to deal with difficult, or indeed any points in life, I eventually get questions like ‘what about love, or kindness as central tenets, and helpful solutions to life’s ills?’ They feel like Stoicism is sterile and not addressing some central need. I feel like they are missing the point of Stoicism, but I don’t know how to address it. Can you post something in FiW to address this?

I get what these people are saying. I used to say the same sort of things, before I paid attention to actual Stoicism, rather than the stiff upper lip caricature of it. Years ago I came across an announcement from Modern Stoicism inviting people to celebrate Stoic Week. I thought, what? Why would anyone want to live their life like Mr. Spock from Star Trek?? (And I’m a huge fan of Spock, as a character…)

But then I looked into it more seriously and realized that Stoicism has actually nothing to do with suppressing emotions and cultivating a silent persona who endures the unendurable. So let’s address directly the…

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Figs in Winter

by Massimo Pigliucci. New Stoicism and Beyond. Entirely AI free.