Stoics have said that our ability to “reason” is important for us as human being, that it’s what separate us from beasts. Stoic thinkers were also based their writing on the existence of gods, like Lady Fortune in Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. There is a higher power in play that we can’t know and we can’t control. But it leaves us with our ability to reason, to make best of our situation, and to do good rather than whine or do evil.
Modern stoicism is stripping off the need of higher power while still pushing for the benefit of looking at the bright side, make do of what we have and don’t lose your sanity over things you can’t control.
Without higher power, the need to do good will need reinvention. The very basis that we need to do good because we are creatures of higher moral has became blurry. And therefore the questions over perseverance of moral and the definition of control will change too.
Forget about modern Stoicism, let’s get back to the “reason”. That’s said to be the only thing that we have full control of. Our ability to think and to perceive things. To be an optimist and to stop ourself from self harming thoughts. That if we can dig back into our inner desire to do good, we can overcome suffering.
But, here is the big question, do we really have control over our mind. Neuroscience has shown that our brain is a bowl of chemical mess. It reacts to the outside world and create an illusion of reality. And with example of genetic differences and mental illness, can one really master our mind? Can a person with mental illness achieve enlightenment if they can’t even choose to be sane? or everything is pretty much set to stone?
That also say that the great minds like Boethius and Epictetus could be a stoic because they had a brain that’s stoicable, that they were able to reason themselves to accept the world as it is and to make use the best of it.
I say that everything is predestinated, not of a higher power like a God, but of a chain reaction of events. That given that we’ve known all the variables, with a predictive model we could predict the future up to the individuals. And that by knowing the future will change the future in a constant reactive way. That the decision to see and change ones future is based on those predestinated chain itself and a million other variables that we’ve yet to discover.
So I guess for now we can call that magic.