Millennial men and Gen-Z boys seem obsessed with Stoicism.
Many young men believe that Stoicism, defined as the ability to endure, to stay calm and rational in moments of crisis, is a crucial virtue that will help them unlock their eternal pursuit of power and wealth.
While there is nothing wrong with the core idea, I believe that the modern consumer version of Stoicism is more like $toicism – a hyper polluted version of the original. ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ is undoubtedly helpful, but I see it overtly being used as a trick by young men to signal their masculinity.
The original Ancient Greek philosophy emphasizes being present, not being emotionally sterile to what is happening around us. It talks about building mental serenity and emotional endurance, which is vastly different from total emotional suppression as propagated by modern $toicism.
The internet seems inundated with How to get rich by practicing stoicism schtick to me. Young boys, hungry to claim their manhood are bottling up emotions, rejecting feelings like affection and acting apathetic all in the name of Stoicism.
How did this misappropriation of Stoicism come along? We don’t have to go too far to get a glimpse.
A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining – Definition of the word “Stoic” by Oxford Dictionary
To me, this is a dangerously reductive version. Not only does this create a misleading perspective on what the original Stoicism advocates, it allows legitimizing harmful male behavior in the name of classic wisdom.
Stoic philosophers did not consider feelings of loss and sadness as a sign of weakness, and there is nothing stoic about modern masculinity.