How or why do you become a stoic? This is a question that was asked of me on Quora. Here is my answer:
Can a person really “become” stoic? Can you truly put into practice the moral philosophy of Stoicisim, if it isn’t already present?
I would love to see the successful transformation of an average, neurotypic person into an awe-inspiring, evolutionary wonder that is a true Stoic. I personally know of only one. His name was William, and the way he lived his life was a direct reflection of every single letter written by Lucius Annaeus Seneca.
Strickened with cancer in his early 30’s, his attitude toward his illness caused the intensely aggressive cells to flee his body. His emotional rigor and vast intellect kept his body alive for 74 years. With an intense desire for quality of existence, he expected never a handout. He lived as if he knew he was going to leave behind a legacy, so with his intense mental drive, he rose to the very top of his “game”. Properly conservative, yet peacefully simple, he afforded himself the means to see the world. Egypt, Iceland, Africa, and Hong Kong were amongst his most amazing travels. Not a boastful word ever escaped his lips, yet engaging with him conversation was always an enlightening experience.
There was always something very special about William. He was greatly respected by his colleagues as a leader amongst leaders. Conservative and proper, he followed the ebb and flow of life with dignity and respect.
Unfortunately, cancer would return to his body several times as he grew older. And, I clearly remember his words, as his life was ending, “Just throw me in a ditch somewhere, I’ll no longer have need for this body”. It was as though he knew that his evolutionary process was, yet again, about to beseech him.
William was born into this life on November 2, 1936. And, on his 76th birthday, his body finally seccumbed to the cancer that had tried to defeat him so many times before. He died peacefully in his home on November 2, 2013. I sat by his side in the hours before his death. A calming sense of peace flooded the room, and, without words, he just gazed at me with the most endearing look of love and pride. I fought back a river of tears, knowing that this would be our final goodbye. And in those moments, everything he’d ever taught me became pivotal, and I felt an overwhelming urge to make him proud. He was a true stoic, in each and every aspect of his life, and I am immensely grateful to be a part of his lineage, for we WILL meet again in another life. I am a stoic, just like William; for he was my father, whom I lovingly called “D”.
His existence, for those years, was part of his journey to become a God amongst Gods. I know he’s here somewhere, because he, like all humans, hadn’t yet experienced all that’s required of mankind. He lived and learned from his mistakes, but from his many successes, he shared his wisdom. I never heard him say that he was a Stoic, but the letters written by Seneca were the fundamentals my father lived by. It’s lineage that produces a true Stoic and the morals within our nature reflect the rareity of our philosophy.