Beyond the Individual

The title of this post is also the title of the book I am reading currently. “Beyond the Individiual” by Will Johncock is a book that is changing a lot of my outlook on my own Stoic learning. The author main goal in the book is to alter Modern Stoic understanding to include a more communal focus rather than the self-help pushed by many today.

In my own practice I am often self-absorbed with trying to attain all of the “benefits” that come from Stoic practice. We all want peace and tranquility and the fabled Eudaemonia but ironically it is this pursuit of that goal that undermines its achievement. This is because by making them the focus we are no longer focusing on virtue but what we want from it. I am guilty of this and it is something I struggle with.

The communal approach, which is often less discussed because no one buys a self-help book that doesn’t help ourselves is arguably as important as the dichotomy of control. Because it is the exercises of Justice towards others. As our sphere of concern grows and as fate assigns us our different roles to play we must work to exhibit the virtues that make those roles exemplary. To be good father for example is impossible without children. To be a good boss is likewise impossible without employees. People around us are the medium for us to exercise our virtues.

In short, I am working to focus more on acting virtuously towards others and if I receive some measure of peace from this so be it. If not then that is also fine. I have to start trying to focus on what I am here on this earth to do and less on what I want to do.