The Stoics’ Understanding of Society and Politics

The Stoics’ Understanding of Society and Politics

July 1, 2021 Off By Felso

The Stoics, who argue that the laws of nature, social laws and individual reason are in accordance with the universal mind or logos, that the laws of nature, the laws of the people, and finally the laws of the mind are all part of the same universal mind, move on from this to the idea of ​​universal brotherhood, the understanding of world citizenship or the concept of world citizenship. they had achieved cosmopolitanism.

In other words, by saying that individual minds share in the universal divine mind, the Stoics arrived at the idea of ​​the universal equality of men, claiming that where differences of ancestry, wealth, position, and nation are not sufficient to separate people from one another, their sharing of the same universal mind or logos unites them. On the other hand, the Stoics, while saying that people who obey the laws of the same universal mind and who have no distinction between them, should be in various states, not under various laws, but under the laws of a universal state that apply to all people in the same way, they believe in the idea of ​​universal world citizenship, which Stoicism has adopted with great force. It would come to the fore in Rome as an idea perfectly suited to the purposes of the empire – they had arrived.

Accordingly, the Stoics said that the differences between people, such as noble-common, free-slave, Hellenic-barbarian, rich-poor, which are said to be in question, are not important, and the main difference is that the universal mind, the sages who accept the destiny that God has drawn for them, and those who resist destiny. They stated that he was among the fools who wanted to oppose. In connection with this way of thinking, the Stoics said that slavery is not about true freedom. For, according to them, real freedom is not an external freedom, a freedom dependent on circumstances independent of man, but an inner freedom that one can realize by being able to act rationally without being a slave to emotions. From this point of view, a slave can be free and a king can actually be a slave.

Early Stoa, for example Zenon and Khrysippos designed a society without states, families, temples and money, and adopted the ideal of a world society based on the principle of universal brotherhood of all people. However, these egalitarian and utopian thoughts of the early Stoics in question were forgotten day by day. The principles of the Stoic School were revised and changed by Panaetios, who became the head of the School during the Middle Stoic period, and could be transformed into the philosophy of the imperialist Roman order in the Late Stoic period. Theoretically, however, it must be said that of all the prevailing styles of government, no form of government fits the Stoic ideal. Their governing ideal is the universal state governed by the sages. Leaving these ideals aside, the Stoics seem to prefer monarchy in practice.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, “History of Philosophy” Ahmet Cevizci