What Happens When You Go Full Stoic

A personal journey into one of the most popular philosophical movements of all time

Amy Shearn
Forge
Published in
15 min readSep 4, 2020

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Bust of Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius against a background of a crowd of people going up stairs.
Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Image sources: Araldo de Luca/Yiu Yu Hoi/Getty Images

I’ve never felt less stoic.

I’m essentially a walking raw nerve. I’ve just gotten divorced, ejecting from a 15-year marriage straight into a global pandemic, a combination of facts that’s so theatrical and bizarre, it makes me laugh. The news is terrifying and relentless and there is no plot.

“This is a lot,” I sagely tell my children. “This is a lot, and so no wonder if you feel strange.” Then I go to bed and lie there sleeplessly and ponder my main philosophical query these days: What the actual fuck?

I need something like religion at this point. Because this really is a lot. It’s too much. Existential situations require reaching beyond your go-to comforts. Meditation, yoga, and Netflix binges are no longer going to cut it. I need something more transformative.

Here at Forge, where I’m an editor, many of our most popular stories are about an ancient but resurgent philosophy: Stoicism.

It’s everywhere. Just ask the 326k+ members of the r/Stoicism Reddit community, or the 81k+ members of the Stoicism Facebook group. Joe Rogan’s into it. Athletes, like the New England Patriots! Billionaires, like Jeff Bezos and Mark

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Amy Shearn
Forge
Writer for

Formerly: Editor of Creators Hub, Human Parts // Ongoingly: Novelist, Essayist, Person