The Relationshop Blog


1 March 2007

Stoicism = Insensitivity

An open letter to an acquaintance.

Hi, Jace, Found the most appalling quack therapy website today.... We were talking about phenomena in which the mere presence of a person who is hurt or sad brings wannabe therapists and their Peter Pan advice out of the woodwork. I went looking to see if there wasn't some website that contains all of their pat buzzwords and catch phrases all in one place — a place where I can do some one-stop-shopping for red-flag terms — and boy did I hit the mother lode:       Bill Ferguson's Mastery of Life website       (as (allegedly) featured on Oprah) In particular, these articles made my eyes roll:       + Upsets are not caused by what happens       + Resisting makes your situation worse And this article is patently offensive, if not dangerous:       + Be free of depression This crap is to psychology/therapy what astrology is to astronomy! All these neo-Stoic victim-blamers just make me want to vomit. So I'm using some pretty stiff antacids today ;^) One day I should make a list of all their buzzwords and read it often, as an inoculant, so I can see these people coming a mile away. Best wishes,

J. E. Brown relationship activist Relationshop Los Alamos, NM USA

P.S. The next time some starry-eyed guru wannabe informs me that "Hate leads to anger, anger leads to suffering," I think I'll inform him that "A lack of education leads to Yoda-isms." ;^)

P.P.S. A common element I'm noticing: These quack websites encourage people to be passive and weak. In this context, I prefer the words of Malcolm X, who said "It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks."

P.P.P.S. Stoicism pretends to be a philosophy, but it is nothing more than the ideologizing of disgust. The glorification of insensitivity. Stoics don't care about others; the emotions of others disgust them. Stoics seem to forget that their disgust is an emotion too. Stoicism comes from a time when human sacrifice was considered entertainment. When murder in the Colosseum was considered a sport. A time when human life was not valued. The time has come for stoicism's practitioners to "Get over it" and "Be in control of their own emotions," as they are so fond of saying to others. Persons who see other humans as purely a source of entertainment disgust me.

about the author

J. E. Brown, relationship activist, decided in 1987 that verbal abuse will be wiped off the planet.

He has been working on it ever since.

While writing a book on relationships, he occasionally designs online surveys and writes educational materials for this web site.

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