Enduring Fortitude

“Life is pain, Highness.  Anyone who tells you different is selling something.”

-The Dread Pirate Roberts

The third of the classic Virtues is Fortitude.  It’s also the one that seems to be the hardest to talk about.  In fact I remember quoting Cicero on Fortitude and actually upsetting someone.  The quote was, “All pain is either severe or slight, if slight, it is easily endured; if severe, it will without doubt be brief.”  The nature of pain was called in to question and whether or not life is worth living if you are in constant pain.  According to Cicero (and the Stoics) pain that doesn’t kill you is by definition minor.  So let’s take a gander at fortitude and what it means to a Stoic. Continue reading

An Introduction to Stoicism

I was first introduced to stoicism back in college.  My medieval history professor made reference to a teacher of Marcus Aurelius who was tortured.  During this torture he was placed on the Roman equivalent of the Rack when he calmly announced to his torturers that his arm was about to break.  This almost super-heroic ability to ignore pain intrigued me.  As with many things from history, though, it seemed as though this was a kind of magic that was as unknowable as it was unattainable. Continue reading