Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Friday, April 27, 2012

Test post

This is a test post using the new gui.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nihilism and Modernist Literature

"The Arts reflect the spirit of the age and literature is no exception. Nihilism, a worldview that rejects ultimate meaning and purpose in life, heavily influenced the literature of the early 20th century, in which this philosophy was illustrated and addressed. The influence of nihilism is particularly evident in The Sun Also Rises, The Sound and the Fury, and “The Wasteland”."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Stoicism in a Nutshell

"So now the threads of the sections can be tied
together. Someone who judges truly will never be unhappy,
will in fact experience continual uninterrupted appropriate
positive feelings, and will always act virtuously. Anyone
would agree that someone who led a life like that was
happy. Judgment is in our control. Hence, not only is
prefect continual happiness possible, it is actually in our
control--we can actually guarantee it by simply judging
correctly, and acting on those judgments."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Annotated bibliographic reference for Thomas Jefferson

Author: Navakas, Edward H.
Title: “Thomas Jefferson's Need for Liberty: Obsessive Personality Style and the Quest for Certainty,”
Publication: The Psychiatric Forum
Volume: 1
Date: (no. 2, 1988)
Extent: 1-2, 12.

Notes: “Published quarterly by the Loyola University Department of Psychiatry in conjunction with the Hines V. A. Hospital Psychiatry Service. ” Uses the work of Leon Salzman on the nature of obsessive personality in order to discuss “the embodiment of obsessive personality style, a man striving to create a world of perfect individual liberty that is immune to time, change, and the vagaries of others. ” Emphasizes that TJ is not simply “a neurotic mistaken for a great man” because obsessiveness is for him a style of adaptation to the world and not a denial of it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Carl Rogers

Here's C. George Boree a third time:

" the extent that our society is out of synch with the actualizing tendency, and we are forced to live with conditions of worth that are out of step with organismic valuing, and receive only conditional positive regard and self-regard, we develop instead an ideal self. By ideal, Rogers is suggesting something not real, something that is always out of our reach, the standard we can’t meet.

"This gap between the real self and the ideal self, the “I am” and the “I should” is called incongruity. The greater the gap, the more incongruity. The more incongruity, the more suffering. In fact, incongruity is essentially what Rogers means by neurosis: Being out of synch with your own self. If this all sounds familiar to you, it is precisely the same point made by Karen Horney!"

Alfred Adler

As I said, Horney seems to have been influenced by Alfred Adler. Here is C. George Boree, again:

"Alfred Adler postulates a single "drive" or motivating force behind all our behavior and experience. By the time his theory had gelled into its most mature form, he called that motivating force the striving for perfection. It is the desire we all have to fulfill our potentials, to come closer and closer to our ideal. It is, as many of you will already see, very similar to the more popular idea of self-actualization.

"Perfection" and "ideal" are troublesome words, though. On the one hand, they are very positive goals. Shouldn't we all be striving for the ideal? And yet, in psychology, they are often given a rather negative connotation. Perfection and ideals are, practically by definition, things you can't reach. Many people, in fact, live very sad and painful lives trying to be perfect! As you will see, other theorists, like Karen Horney and Carl Rogers, emphasize this problem. Adler talks about it, too. But he sees this negative kind of idealism as a perversion of the more positive understanding. We will return to this in a little while."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Karen Horney

The core concept of Karen Horney's theory of character neurosis is the neurotic need for perfection.

C. George Boree on Horney's theory:

"At first glance, it may appear that Horney stole some of Adler's best ideas. It is clear, for example, that her three coping strategies are very close to Adler's three types. It is, of course, quite conceivable that she was influenced by Adler. But if you look at how she derived her three strategies -- by collapsing groups of neurotic needs -- you see that she simply came to the same conclusions from a different approach. There is no question, of course, that Adler and Horney (and Fromm and Sullivan) form an unofficial school of psychiatry. They are often called neo-Freudians, although that is rather inaccurate. Unfortunately, the other common term is the Social Psychologists which, while accurate, is a term already used for an area of study.

"Please notice how Horney's self theory fleshes out Adler's theory about the differences between healthy and neurotic striving for perfection, and (to get ahead of ourselves a bit) how similar this conception is to Carl Rogers'. I usually feel that, when different people come up with similar ideas relatively independently, this is a good sign we're getting at something valuable!"

Friday, May 02, 2008

I've changed the title of this blog back to the original name. I no longer identify with Christianity and Christian doctrine, as represented in the Christian Creed.

I've thought for a very long time that Christianity is not the faith of Jesus, but a faith in Jesus, invented by the apostle Paul.

I'm thinking of myself as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth trying to emulate his faith in God and his faithfulness to the Torah.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dave Winer interviews George Lakoff

Great interview by Dave Winer of cognitive scientist George Lakoff: discussion of the 2008 Presidential race and language. I believe that this long listen (1:05 hrs.) is a must for politically interested progressives.

Mirroring entry at

Monday, January 21, 2008



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stoic and Christian Conceptions of Happiness

This paper looks interesting.

"Despite the popular identity of the Stoic and Christian conceptions of
happiness, in this paper I will argue that the Christian conception of happiness has, in fact, greater correspondence with the Aristotelian tradition than with the Stoic outlook. External goods, while certainly insufficient for happiness in themselves, are nevertheless presented in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as goods necessary for the temporal happiness of the Christian in this life. If I am successful in this argument, then the traditional "Stoic" (or stolid) perception of Christianity will have to give way to a nuanced "Aristotelian" or truly biblical outlook of Christian happiness, for Stoicism is, at least in principle, far more ascetic than is biblical Christianity."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Reinhold Niebuhr: Man as Sinner

"Niebuhr’s critics have said that he paid an inordinate amount of attention to the doctrine of sin. They have said that it was his controlling insight, the most fundamental of his ideas, the clue to his anthropology, and his most valuable contribution to contemporary theology. Some liberal critics seem to have blamed him for sin because he rediscovered some of its dimensions. My own feeling is that this doctrine was not his central concern, although it was a central pole around which his writings gathered."

Reinhold Niebuhr