Saturday, March 30, 2019

Stoic philosophy - The life of the philosopher is affirmed by the UU fourth principle.

Articles on stoic philophy is a regular feature of the UU A Way Of Life ministries blog which appear on Saturdays.


Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. How many people do you know who live examined lives?

Some people in twelve step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous do. Unitarian Universalists, among religious people, are more likely to because of their covanant to affirm and promote the fourth step which is the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. As Seneca points out in his book, On The Shortness Of Life, philosophers do.

The perennial philosophical question is, "What is the good life?" My daughter, Kelly, asked me, "Why don't they study this in school?"

"Good question," I said. "I think it is a dangerous question. The Athenians put Socrates to death for asking its youth this question. The Athenians accused Socrates of corrupting the youth. How do you think the authorities in this day and age would handle the controversies that would arise if this question were seriously posed and considered among our youth in government run schools?"

The person who can consider the question, "What is the good life?" is not bound by the conventions of societal norms and attitudes. Such a person is free to explore possibilities and eventually get to the Truth and the heart of the question of the purpose of life. Such an explorer, such a seeker, is the recipient of the wisdom of the ages which Unitarian Universalists identify as one of the six sources of their living tradition which is the "direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness ot the forces which create and uphold life."

The seeker, based on the UU fourth principle, engaging in the first source, is, indeed, treated as if there is a spark of God within to be further recognized, acknowledged, appreciated, and comprehended.

Perhaps the life of the philosopher is the good life which we all consciously or unconsciously seek.

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