Piotr Stankiewicz | Correcting Our Perceptions & Reforming Stoicism (And Much More!)

Piotr Stankiewicz | Correcting Perceptions & Reforming Stoicism 

ABOUT OUR GUEST

Piotr Stankiewicz is a philosopher, author, and promoter of reformed Stoicism. He's the author of Does Happiness Write Blank Pages?, On Happiness and Artistic Creativity, Manual of Reformed Stoicism and other books. He writes in English and Polish, he is a member of the Modern Stoicism team. He is based in Warsaw, Poland.

GUEST LINKS

- We need to bring Stoicism into a modern context and understand that the Stoics could only see the world from their point of view and point in history. We should take what we’ve learned in the past 2,000 years since Stoicism began and allow our modern understanding to interact with the Stoic theories so that we can advance the philosophy.

- The dichotomy of control is an ancient idea that has without a doubt stood the test of time.

  • Piotr says in his book that the world we live in is not one of things and facts, but rather it is one of our perceptions about those things and facts.
  • The Stoics taught that our perceptions create what we see in the world around us, and that if we can step back and observe these perceptions for what they are then we will begin to understand that we can change our perceptions and therefore change the way we live and feel. 
  • There is a stream of consciousness or thought which is constantly interpreting the world around us in real time. This is the voice in our head which instantaneously makes up the meaning of everything you see in every moment. 
  • Stoicism helps us to see that most of what we experience in life is simply a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves. The first step to achieving greater “flourishing” in your life is to understand this fact. 
  • Once you’ve understood that everything is perception, the key is to start to negotiate with these stories we tell ourselves. You won’t be able to immediately change the way you feel in your life, but over time you can make real progress by allowing yourself the attention to thought and patience. 
  • There is a question around whether or not Stoicism is for everyone. Piotr argues that it depends on the person’s goal for life. For example, an artist may not necessarily have the goal of happiness, but rather the goal of creating something which brings meaning to them. Simon argues a more idealistic view that if everyone focused on the true principles and realised the power of Stoicism then this philosophy could be for everyone. 
  • Piotr suggests that a “conservative Stoicism” might be one negative path for a Stoic. This is where a person accepts too much indifference to a bad lot in life even though they could do things to move in a better direction. This is not what Stoicism should lead us to. 
  • Piotr suggests that a “Stoic happiness” is different than what most people would view as happiness. This is clear as the Stoics teach that only individual virtue can lead to a flourishing life, whereas many people simply chase after externals like money or fame. 
  • We are the canvas and we paint the best picture of ourselves that we can. This is a beautiful idea and one that is definitely reflective of Stoicism’s ideals. 
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