Military Life: Stoics View As Eudaimonia

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This paper will explain what the Stoics view as eudaimonia and will apply this definition to the military life. I will apply Stoic view, specifically to the lives of soldiers and how they are supposed to conduct themselves. Through this, I will show the practicability and impracticality that of Stoicism in the lives of combatants. I will make an argument that Stoicism in military life can have damaging effects on combatants and a more moderate approach needs to be taken to ensure the health of combatants. The first page of Epictetus’s handbook says, “Some things are up to us and some are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us and our impulses, desires, aversions-in short, whatever is our doing” (Epictetus, 11). Stoicism reduces the importance…show more content…
Examples of this can be found in Stoic Warriors in the chapter entitled “Sound bodies and sound minds.” Army captain David Rozelle lost his right foot in a mine explosion. After receiving proper medical attention, Rozell was able to recover and persist through grueling workouts. He is resilient but at the same time, he is honest about the loss of his foot. We can view Rozell accepting the loss of his foot as an indifferent. He is not obsessed with having his foot back and he is able to continue living his life without it. Major Phill Ashby, an ex Commando of the British Royal Marines was taken hostage in Sierra Leone when he made the decision with the others he was captured with to attempt an escape. He escaped without any physical harm but he contracted a tropical virus that attacked his spine and left him with significant neurological, physical, and mental damage. Ashby understands how this will affect him in the future, that he won’t be able to live a life of physical challenge which has come to be apart of his definition of a good life (Sherman,…show more content…
Decorum in the military maintains order in situations with the potential to become dire while manners are ways to instill morals. Cicero’s roots decorum with virtue saying that decorum is part of the aesthetics of morals and that it “is not seen by esoteric reasoning, but springs ready to view.” To further explain decorum, he says that “decorum is ‘completely blended with virtue in the way that true bodily loveliness and beauty cannot be separated from healthiness’” (Sherman, 52). Our emotional demeanor is how we are able to perform our roles and duties well. Seneca develops these views as well but he isn’t focused too much in military demeanor but the ideas can still be applied. Seneca holds that it is not the large heroic acts of kindness but the small ones which are communicated through gestures and facial expressions that weave the fabric of community (Sherman, 58). On Stoic grounds, the duty of kindness is performed if a person has the correct mental attitude. Seneca’s focus is on the display of that attitude as well as the appropriate outward expression of thankfulness. Seneca would say that the Stoic principle of goodness as a matter of inner virtue is too narrow. He would say that other factors such as kindness and respect are needed as
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