Stoic

Stoic: Not affected by passion; unfeeling; manifesting indifference to pleasure or pain. Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language.

Throughout history this has defined the typical, or rather, the stereotypical man; it has even been the definition of the ideal man at times. Men had to be unfeeling leaders due to the harsh and brutal reality of their time, living conditions were less than ideal, children died young, wives died in childbirth, and the men were expected to provide for their families often in difficult working conditions. The question is, why has this stereotype continued into current times even in first world countries? Even the “poor” are extremely rich when compared to the age of the Roman Empire. Men today have a significantly decreased need for this self preserving character trait and, while it is slowly becoming less prominent, often when there is a large group of men together you will find them hitting each other as hard as they can and claiming it doesn’t hurt; is this to appear more “manly”? I believe that this can, in fact, be traced back to ancient times; men were designed to be providers or bread-winners, protectors, and leaders. Having been created this way it is not a trait easily abolished even when it is much less necessary.

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2 thoughts on “Stoic

  1. I just want to expand a bit on what you’ve touched on in this blog. The stoic trait that, in your perception, men generally look to embody is an attempt for them to appear as “more” than what they already are as “normal” human beings. This stems from a need to compete with those around us, and to dominate, be it at a personal level as in dominating one’s own emotions more-so in relation to other people we know, or at a societal level in being seen as untouched and impervious to the troubles of this world, much unlike those who are troubled and distraught by what they feel. Stoicism, necessarily, is a sign of strength to them, and strength leads to the perception of dominance over others.

    There is another factor in the draw to stoicism that I feel is easy to overlook, however: the fact is, it is easier to lock out passion and avoid delving into the sinews of our hearts to face what we feel. It is easier to shy away from asking ourselves the big questions pertaining to why we feel what we feel, when we feel it, and whether what we feel really matters at all.

    I feel stoicism, at it’s core, is an out. It’s a shallow attempt to mask the pain and suffering that we all will undeniably face at a some point in our lives. Facing this, of course, scares most men, or even women, who find comfort in their ability to cut off and repress what they feel; it threatens their perception of themselves as strong, and dominant. So, to maintain that perception, we as people and a society have convinced ourselves that it is more worthwhile to push away emotion and passion than it is to let them in.

    True strength, I believe, is found in facing what you feel in it’s entirety, and releasing the idea of dominance as a whole. The beauty of it is, when we fully face what we feel, we as human beings have the capacity to go beyond our emotions, instead of being run by them. Stoicism, in the way we are describing, may appear as though an individual has gone beyond their emotions, but really they have not; they are still motivated by fear of facing what needs to be faced, and they are still only walking through doorways where emotion and passion aren’t found, instead of walking wherever they please.

    • Thanks Kris, that’s exactly what I was trying to convey. From the viewpoint of someone who is not a man it can be difficult to express what I have noticed. “Stoicism, necessarily, is a sign of strength to them, and strength leads to the perception of dominance over others.” This is the point I was linking back to when, for survival reasons, it was necessary to be stoic.
      I totally agree on the fact that stoicism can be a way to mask pain and suffering, some women are like that as well but in a slightly different way than men.

      Amy

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