University of Illinois at Chicago Stoic Themes Philosophy Question


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This week we continue journaling on Stoic themes, the theme of impermanence in particular. Journaling was a key practice for many Stoics, Marcus Aurelius being perhaps the best example. It involves reflecting on a passage focused on an aspect of virtue and where possible putting some of the lessons into practice in one’s own life. Our journal entries are not meant to be exams or anything of the sort. Instead, they are meant to deepen our awareness of Marcus Aurelius’ writings and hopefully our own attempt to become better human beings in the Stoic fashion. Keep in mind that the writing can be free and loose and that there really are very few rules outside of making sure your writing is intelligible and focused on the task at hand and the requirements below. Feel free to think and worry less about impressing anyone (myself included) and really try to reflect on the themes you are writing about. Think of yourself as doing the same sort of thing that Marcus Aurelius was doing.


You should have at least five dated entries that are a minimum of 100 words each. The format is up to you as long as each entry is clearly dated. You can write more, if you like. While I really can’t stop you from throwing together your entries for the week at the last minute, the assignment will be much more beneficial if you act as the Stoics did: Make an an entry each night before going to bed or first thing in the morning. An entry in the morning will give focus for the day to come. One at night will help you reflect on your day that has passed.

The entries should be connected to the passage given for reflection each week and also to your own life in some way. You can focus on any part of the passage, or what you take to be its meaning as a whole. You can focus on one part one day and another the next. It is up to you. Whatever makes you think is what you should focus on. These entries can be as personal as you like. (All entries will be confidential and I will not share them with your classmates).

*Make sure to preview the rubric associated with the assignment!

This week’s passages (Feel free to reflect on only one of these or both of them):


Matter. How tiny your share of it.

Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it.

Fate. How small a role you play in it. (61).”

“So many who were remembered already forgotten, and those who remembered them long gone (86).”


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